- Family and Parenting
School Vacation Survival Guide
The First Time in Snow
The Excitement Doesn't Last
Twice since this school year started, a parents worst nightmare occurred: whether at the end or the beginning of the vacation, it has been extended by 2 days as a result of snow. Now to clarify, I love my sons and love having them around. I do enjoy the quiet, but it is sad to know that they are growing up so quickly and the minute you blink, they are graduating college. However, let's be honest: the having them around when they should be at school lasts only a few days before you have to hear "mom, I'm bored" and whiny fits that follow the boredom. Then, you get a whole week of "I'm bored". My response usually ends up being "well, you have a room that needs to be cleaned and laundry that needs to be done and if you're really that bored, I have a long list of my own chores you can do for me, since you're so bored". Luckily for me, that usually stops the complaining.
How can these children be bored?! They have Netflix streaming they can waste away on, they have what seems like an unlimited amount of videogames to play. They have books, and various different game systems. "How can they be bored?!", I ask again. All I had books, some art supplies, and more books and I wasn't bored. They keep telling us on the news fluff pieces that this is our fault, because they have all these games and they are becoming zombies that get no enjoyment from them anymore. No enjoyment from them anymore? I hear my son getting plenty of enjoyment playing his videogames, I don't think this is the problem. I'm not saying I know what the problem is, I just don't think it's our fault for giving them as many games as we do. I will personally just blame their short attention span and inability to sit still for 5 minutes for this.
There's also the other side of the coin here: the "too much" mommy. You know those moms. Those ones that when you appear someplace and they tell you their daily itinerary for what they did that week with their children being home. These are the moms that take the children out to everything every day that week. "Well, we went the museum, the park, and we even hit up the library afterwards. And that was just on Monday!" (cue laughter). They make me exhausted just listening to their adventures that week. Do we really need those extremes? I think to myself. No, I don't think we do. There has to be some middle ground of entertaining the children so you don't hear how bored they are all day long and running around everywhere and driving yourself to exhaustion. There has to be... right?
God I hope so. I don't want to run around to every event and place every day of my week. I'm a homebody, I enjoy staying around the house, where I don't have to deal with the hustle and bustle of strangers with less than ideal behaviors that I have to suffer through that only makes me miserable to be out which my children feed off of. Plus, we don't have a whole lot of disposable income where I can drop $40 on a movie, $40+ on a museum or aquarium trip, and all the gas running around to all these events every day. If you do that, you can easily drop $200 just that week including meals while out on the road. It makes my head spin just thinking about it. There is an easier way, I promise. I think.
Tips That I Hope Work
For all of our sakes...
I mentioned there had to be an easier way? I think there is. All it takes is a littler preparation and planning. Here are my survival tips for all of us parents out there.
- Events are great. Newspapers and the internet are a great resource out there. Especially during school vacation weeks, they have calenders that have which events are occurring where, which are sure to be something you all can enjoy. Now with that said, you do not need to take this calendar as I take to my Insanity workout calendar. You do not need to do every event on every day, for the sake of your own sanity if not for your bank account. Pick and chose the right ones for your family, maybe one for each child if they don't share interests. Don't go crazy here. Also, your local parks and rec department often has some interesting events to attend, though sometimes these are very expensive.
- But free is better. Yes, you read that right. There are free things you can do. Our local parks and rec has a week long arts and craft event for the children that is 100% free. Libraries also have great events during these vacation weeks that are also usually free. During spring vacation, when it's warmer? Parks are great to go to and enjoy a picnic and a way to burn all that energy. Even better than that, make sure your backyard is a fun place for them to play, and you don't even need to go out! Scout out awesome places for sledding on those snowy days, just to give you another idea.
- For those BRRRR days. For these days, be thankful you have Netflix or videogames. It's too cold to even be bothered leaving the house, so make yourself some popcorn and stream some family friendly movie that you all can enjoy. Well maybe you if you're lucky, but the real goal is to keep those children quiet and happy. Plus you get cuddle time you normally wouldn't with them, and trust me they grow out of that quick. There's also so many great sites dedicated to arts and crafts that you and your children of whatever ages you need to occupy can do. And boardgames, they are timeless and enjoyed by all. Plus, did I mention that for the most part, these are also essentially free activities. Added bonus? You're able to be warm and lounge around in your pajamas and there's really nothing better than that.
- When in doubt, bribe. I don't mean necessarily that you bribe your children into fun. But let's be honest, sometimes they only complain about boredom because they really just want a new game. And if you have the money and lack the patience, sometimes it's easier just to give in. I don't, because I assure myself that I am more stubborn than my children. Luckily, I actually am. But if you're not, then it's best this way. I promise for your sanity.