‘6 out of 10 parents’ dread the summer holidays – top tips for entertaining kids while staying sane

‘6 out of 10 parents’ dread the summer holidays – top tips for entertaining kids while staying sane

When you’re a child the summer holidays symbolise freedom, but by the time you’re a parent they symbolise the exact reverse.

Term time isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s predictable. You drop off and pick up your children at the same time every day, help them with their homework, and arrange periodic activities for the weekends.

Suddenly, school’s out and your well-honed routine lies in tatters.  A new survey by Sphero has found that 61% of all parents actively dread the summer holidays – 72% said they struggled to occupy their kids, while 79% feel guilty about failing to get their children to use their brains.

Here’s how to survive your children’s demands this summer, without giving up and packing them off to camp…

Talk to your children in advance

Parents We Just Want Whats Best For You GIF by SVU - Find & Share on GIPHY

Where one routine fades another must take over, and it’s important to have a proper chat with your child(ren) while the break is still young.

This is not only to reaffirm your ground rules (yes, you still have to go to bed at nine, we don’t care how light it is outside), but also to come up with ideas for new hobbies or skills they might want to learn during the summer.

When the inevitable refrain of “I’m bored” gets going, you’ll have a list of potential activities that they themselves pre-approved.

Don’t overcomplicate things

Confused Laura Dern GIF by EditingAndLayout - Find & Share on GIPHY

When the planning builds some momentum it’s easy to get carried away, but you don’t need to fill every moment, and most children have simple pleasures.

They might very much enjoy touring three aquariums, seven petting zoos, and completing a bespoke treasure hunt in the park, but they might also enjoy just kicking a ball around.

Slow the summer slide

Carrie Underwood Cma Awards GIF by The 52nd Annual CMA Awards - Find & Share on GIPHY

Ah yes, the summer slide – six to eight weeks of education-less torpor that turns your polymath of tomorrow into a slack-jawed delinquent of today.

It’s unavoidable, but it only takes half an hour of learning per day to substantially slow the rot. Make sure it’s rooted in their routine from the first day of freedom, or opt for something that doesn’t feel like work, like a scrapbook.

Try to get them to leave the house

Season 2 Adventure GIF by The Orville - Find & Share on GIPHY

Prepare yourself – it’s time to drag your children away from their screens. Pre-existing outdoorsy interests should be seized on with gusto, otherwise try to push something already played by a classmate or friend.

Going outside makes children healthier and happier, but, more importantly, it means they’re nice and tired later when they’d otherwise be bugging you to buy them the latest Fortnite Lego set.

You will make mistakes

Feels Season 3 GIF by Rosanna Pansino - Find & Share on GIPHY

Honestly, they might not even be mistakes. Your children are around more, and that means they’ll act out more. It’s no one’s fault.

It’s fine to join in

30 Rock Hello GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Kids respond best when you meet them on their level, so don’t be afraid to embrace your inner child. Everyone needs a dorky-but-enthusiastic parent that just can’t get over the baseball mini-game on Wii Sports.

Call in the cavalry

Lisa Simpson GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It is entirely possible to love your children with all your heart, and also to occasionally wish you didn’t have to deal with them.

When that happens, call in a grandparent, family friend, or babysitter, and flee to your nearest happy place.

Don’t feel too pressured to spend

Kat Dennings Money GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Increasingly independent kids want increasingly independent piggy banks, and if they’re constantly coveting cash it might be a good moment to develop their money management skills.

Keep a lid on spending by giving them a limit, and if they run out then it’s lesson learned. If they really need extra dollar consider ways they can earn it, like with household chores.

Treat foreign forays with care

Vacation Going GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Travelling with young children is…. volatile.

Leave contingency time for everything, for the love of God don’t fly if you don’t have to, and remember to pack food, travel toys, and vast reserves of patience. It’s perfectly doable, and thousands of families travel abroad every year. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Don’t forget to do what YOU want too

Fun Kids GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Martyr complexes help no one, and to parent properly you need time to recharge. You don’t want to spend a month being sweetness and sunshine, before suddenly snapping and telling them they were an accident.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Janet Jackson and 50 Cent to perform at Saudi Arabia concertJanet Jackson and 50 Cent to perform at Saudi Arabia concert

Billions of flying ants picked up on satellite imagingBillions of flying ants picked up on satellite imaging

Hitting the right note with new Luciano Pavarotti documentaryHitting the right note with new Luciano Pavarotti documentary

€100m worth of dangerous items in fake foods and drinks seized across Europe€100m worth of dangerous items in fake foods and drinks seized across Europe

More in this Section

Gardening: Be skincare-savvy for summer Gardening: Be skincare-savvy for summer

In these times of climate change, choose plants to weather all conditionsIn these times of climate change, choose plants to weather all conditions

The best bedtime audiobooks for children and teensThe best bedtime audiobooks for children and teens

Cascais: The dreamy Portuguese seaside town you really need to knowCascais: The dreamy Portuguese seaside town you really need to know


Latest Showbiz

The concert takes place tomorrow at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium.Janet Jackson and 50 Cent to perform at Saudi Arabia concert

Queen Bey celebrates Africa with 11 outfit changes from designers all over the world.Behind every incredible outfit Beyoncé wears in her new Spirit music video

Andrea Camilleri set his popular detective stories in his native Sicily.Inspector Montalbano author dies aged 93

The Australian rapper suggested a collaboration when she found out she and Peppa were set to release albums on the same day.Iggy Azalea requests collaboration with Peppa Pig in tweet exchange

More From The Irish Examiner