Well, parents get ready. Here comes spring break. Kids will be at home climbing the walls and eating the cupboards clean.
I’m remembering back to times when, as a child, I couldn’t understand my parents’ frowning faces as the time for spring break drew near. Now, with children of my own, I understand.
On any sort of day off or extended break, my children seem to turn into monsters from another land.
Monsters with endless energy and bottomless stomachs.
Then comes the inevitable, “I’m bored,” which can go on for the remainder of the break, if you haven’t prepared properly.
As parents, we all know the importance of preparation and the sanity it can save in doing so.
To help myself, along with my fellow parents out there, over spring break, here are some tips to keep kids and busy and the parent in control.
Local spots such as the Hands-on Science Center and local community centers also have a list of activities set up over the next few weeks that can be seen in today’s lifestyles, so check them out.
Best of luck and although they can be monsters, they are our monsters and we love them unconditionally no matter what.
1) Have a plan. Call to order a family meeting to discuss possible activities that can be done during the week off from school. Everyone should have a chance to give input.
2) Engage your kids in the plan. Kids like to feel that they have choices and that their opinions count. Write down all the ideas the kids have for activities, places they’d like to visit, friends they’d like to see, etc. Even if one of your kids wants to play Wii and relax, there will be time for that and it’s good for the kids to have some downtime.
3) Make a calendar of possible activities. This will allow you (and the kids) to see what the plan is for each day. Whether it’s play dates or a trip to the museum, the kids can see what is planned. It allows them to see that their ideas are put into action and also teaches them the art of negotiation.
4) Be careful not to over-schedule. You’ve heard of not over-scheduling kids’ activities, play dates, etc. during the school year, but the same is true for vacations. Be sure to give breaks throughout the day, so the activity chosen is still enjoyable for the kids (and for you).
5) Schedule a grown-up night out. As parents, it’s easy for us to forget about adult time and especially time for ourselves. So, before you get caught up in the calendar of all the kids’ activities from morning until night, make sure to add a “grown up night” to that calendar.
Phone an in-law, a parent, or a sibling and see if they would be willing to watch the darlings for a couple of hours so you can have some grown-up time with your spouse or significant other.
Or, see if a friend would be willing to sit for your kids one night and you can sit for theirs another night. Or, if finances allow, hire a sitter.