Holidays are a time to put your feet up and relax, and time with the kids doesn’t have to be non-stop action, writes Julie Houghton.
When I was growing up, I found a quote that seemed hilarious to my teenage self.
“In February thousands of eager eyes turn towards the school gate—they belong to the parents!”
But with the wisdom of years and hindsight, I now know how important those long Christmas holidays were for forging closer relationships with our own children
In our family, when our boys were young, during the year life was dictated by the clock and the calendar. Monday night was choir, Tuesday night was basketball training, Wednesday morning was orchestra, and Thursday was band rehearsal…the list of commitments went on.
So the beauty of holidays was that our family got to take a breather from the normal demands of our schedule. Instead of resembling the mouse on the treadmill, whatever time we had off work for summer holidays meant we could downgrade the frantic pace of living and simply chill.
Of course, with busy children, chill time has to be balanced with active fun times, but it can be done and gives wonderful memories that adult children will look back on fondly.
Let’s look at the practical side, and start with the time that one or both parents are on holiday with their offspring.
The first out-of-routine thing that can be enjoyed by everyone is the absence of the breakfast rush. No need to find that missing school tie or homework and race out the door by 8 am.
Sleep-ins are the norm, and does it matter what time breakfast happens? And talking of breakfast, the fun of making different breakfasts like pancakes or bacon and eggs on the barbecue gives a delicious twist to your normal routine.
The only downside of all this lovely extra time is the drain on your hip pocket for activities to enjoy. So get smart. If you have primary school-aged children, check out all the free or low-cost activities your local library or council has on offer and book them in.
Go to the movies on the discount day, take your own little packs of popcorn, crisps or lolly bags, and avoid the queues for over-priced cinema food.
One of the things we did with friends that our boys still remember is picnics in the park. Sometimes we took our own sandwiches, but as a treat we would meet up with a couple of other families and pool our resources to buy some fish and chips—they always tasted so much better eaten out of paper in the park! Then there was a game of cricket for the older ones, or playing on the swings for the young fry.
However you fill the holiday time, you are creating that special family bond, and memories that will endure.
And we have an excellent precedent to follow that goes back to the dawn of time.
“In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed” (Exodus chapter 31 verse 17).
Sounds like a plan…