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School Holiday Ideas for Working Parents

Dear Working Parents,

I’m a Stay at Home Mum and it’s the school holidays, and I know some of you may be envious of my “occupation” at this exact moment, but please don’t be.

I mean, I feel blessed, I truly do, I have the luxury of spending the time with my children and I have the choice to do whatever we want to do, and I do try to make it fun and memorable for them.

But here’s the issue:

We sometimes take the time with our kids for granted

Working Mums… there’s a catch, us Stay at Home Mums sometimes take things for granted, there’s always tomorrow, there’s more time, I don’t have to make the kids’ lunches today I have HEAPS of time… oh, and my personal favourite “gosh, look at the mess they created yesterday, I really must clean that up”.  With “stay at home” comes mess, and if you’re me, there’s lots of it.  See, I thrive on creating amazing memories for the kids, I pull out the paint, the toys, the craft materials and anything else that once had a place in the house and I try really, really hard to create those amazing memories.

They often last maybe 40 minutes, sometimes my children have the focus of a goldfish and the preparation and mess doesn’t quite equate to the “expected memory”.

Then the cleaning comes, and it lasts the rest of the day and I hate to admit it, but sometimes, yes sometimes (it’s really rare I promise *gulp* *rolling eyes* *looking shady*), whilst I’m doing it, my kids have their noses stuck in technology.  The shock, the horror…. But I’m speaking the truth.

Kids want what they can’t have

Don’t get me wrong, we go places and do amazing things, but there’s another catch, my kids often say “Mama, can I go to school holiday care?  All of my friends will be there!” and then I feel guilty that I’m depriving them of the memories of the majority, the chance to just chill with their buddies in stock standard school holiday care.  Apparently THAT is the most fun you can have.  Who knew?

You on the other hand, have the guilt of not being with your children, I feel it with you, I’d have it too if I were you.  Honestly, I think I have it easier than you do, I have some choices that you don’t, but I’m afraid I probably don’t appreciate what I have at times (I’ll do better tomorrow I promise).

Focused attention wins every time

Working Mum, I wonder if you’re different to me.  I wonder if you’re so guilty that you make every second with your kids count, whereas maybe I don’t.  “Mum, can you play Minecraft with me?”  “Later honey, let me just get lunch on the table”.  “Mum, can you jump on the trampoline with me?”  “Later honey, let me just clean up the nerf gun bullets and paint from the last activity that lasted 5 seconds”.

I’m home with them all the time, I am, but I’m not sure they are getting the true benefit of that, I wonder whether you’re more present than I am when you’re with your kids because you’re missing them and I have them all the time.  I’ll try harder tomorrow, I swear.

Working Mum School Holiday Guide

Working Mums, I’m sorry that you feel bad so I’ve put together some suggestions on how to make the school holidays special for your kids, I think maybe I’ve discovered things that you haven’t.

I’ve discovered that it’s not the amount of time you spend with them, it’s the amount of time that you are 100% focused on them, when you are truly with them and not distracted.  I’m sorry that sometimes I waste this opportunity when you’re craving it.

I know your time is limited, so here’s some suggestions on how you can make your school holidays special, with the limited time you have, and after hours time at that!:

  • Head to see the glow worm caves
  • Look for disco nights at ice skating and roller skating rinks
  • Look for disco nights at play centres (like Tiddlywinks, if you’re on the North side of Brisbane).
  • Look for movie nights at swimming pools
  • Look for movie nights at parks, the Brisbane City Council (and Moreton Bay and Gold Coast) have fantastic movies playing, particularly in summer.
  • Go to the movies
  • Replicate a camping experience with glow sticks on the trampoline or in the bathtub and marshmallows toasted over a table top gas burner
  • Head to the local playground and play spotlight… remember that? Soooo exciting.

But seriously, do you need to go over the top like this?  Remember that I discovered something that maybe you haven’t?  It’s that all the activities in the world don’t mean as much as one on one time with you.  It’s the simple stuff they’ll remember.

Working Mama, make a big deal of allowing your child to stay up late, bring out the pillow and blankets, make a homemade pizza with them and some cupcakes (of course they’ll decorate them and you’ll let them put on way too much icing… but you’ll just smile and ignore it).

But there’s one thing that will make it special working Mama, ditch your phone, ditch the cleaning, ignore everyone and focus on your baby… they’ll remember that I promise.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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