How to Survive the Holidays with Children


Caring for a baby or toddler at home is tough. Having school-aged children home for the holidays is difficult too. But having to deal with both of those things at the same time can be enough to drive you up the wall! Whether you're at home full-time or you have to juggle work and holiday childcare, having to work out how to handle both preschool and school children at the same time is no easy feat. It can be exhausting, even if you love them and you don't have to do it all day.

It might be difficult, but there are plenty of things you can do if you want to survive the holidays with your sanity intact. Balancing keeping children of different ages happy can be hard, but there are things you can do together. And in this post I'm going to hopefully help!

Think about Finances

Before making any plans, you might want to think about the cost of keeping everyone entertained during the holidays. Maybe you want to do lots of things together but it can get expensive if you plan multiple activities over a few weeks. It could be smart to make a budget so that you know how much you can afford to spend every day, whether it's on activities, meals, or any other expenses you might have.

One of the things that can help you save money is focusing on free activities. Depending on where you live, you can usually find various things to do that won't cost you a thing. There are activities that will always be available, such as going to the park or a trip to the library. But you can also find that there are free events put on or free entry into some attractions during the holidays. If you want to take little ones for a treat, some cafes and restaurants will do 'kids eat free' deals too.

Find Activities Everyone can Enjoy

Entertaining children at different ages can be tough, but you can find things that everyone can enjoy. There are ways to adjust activities to work for different ages or things you can do that kids of any age will like. If you look at the article Toddler Games: 7 Ideas To Keep Your Child Entertained And Learning, you can see that lots of activities and games can be fun for toddlers and older children too. For example, arts and crafts are fun at any age and children can use age-appropriate methods and skills to be creative. You can get active in different ways that work for any age so everyone can have fun dancing, running around, or going for a bike ride. You can easily adapt certain activities to suit a range of ages too - you might just need to get your thinking cap on!

Start off Slow

If you have at least a week of holiday in front of you, and up to six during the summer, you don't want to go full steam ahead right away. You might want to plan lots of things to do together but you don't want to run out of energy before the end of the holidays is in sight. It's best to ease your way in and make sure you pace yourself. There's no need to start packing activities into every day. Not only will it make you tired but children are sure to get tired quickly too. Space out your outings and treats and try to make sure you have some calmer activities on your list too. I like to plan one 'big day out' a week and then just choose smaller / closer to home activities for other days. That way everyone has chance to relax - plus your budget isn't spent all in one go either.

Let Them be Bored

Children need to learn how to be bored and how to find their own entertainment. If you spend every minute of the holidays providing them with things to do, they won't learn how to overcome boredom on their own. Of course, you can still make sure there are things available for them to do at home, so they can pick up a book or do some crafts if they feel like it. But you don't need to have a full schedule of things to do for the whole holiday. Let them have periods of boredom so that they have to use their imagination to come up with something fun to do!

Create a Routine

Just because it's the holidays, it doesn't mean you should throw out your routine. It might be a bit different from your routine during term time, but you can still have a good routine that keeps everyone on track. It might be even more important if you have mixed childcare arrangements where you need to make sure handovers happen at the right times. You can still get everyone up at the same time, have breakfast, and ensure everyone is ready for the day. You might have to schedule naps for younger ones, which could be the perfect time to spend some time with older children on their own.

Don't Forget to Make Time for Yourself

It's always important to make time for yourself as a parent, and it can be even more important when your children are at home all day. It's not always easy to find time for yourself, but there are a few ways you can do it. If you can, why not ask if their other parent or another family member could take them out for a few hours, or maybe you have a friend who would be willing to work together a childcare arrangement with you. Hiring a babysitter is an option if you can afford it too. You could also look for activities and clubs that they can join during the holidays, some of which you might be able to get financial help with or could even be free. And there are always evenings, when you can take some time for yourself after they've gone to bed. 

Plan Plenty of Downtime

There's no need for everyone to be rushed off their feet for weeks. Having downtime could mean you might plan some things to do but it gives everyone a chance to relax. You could plan to watch some TV or movies for a while, play some games that everyone can join in with, or do some quiet activities. There are lots of things that you can do at home too, from baking or making lunch together to building a fort or getting out your fancy dress box. Don't be afraid to let children chill out with screens too - everyone needs time to switch off and be and they are a great way to achieve this. Of course you can put limits on them if you're worried about them being used too much though.

Team Up with Other Parents

There's strength in numbers, and teaming up with other parents can really help you to survive the holidays. You can plan some playdates together or swap who has the children so you each get a chance to have some time to yourself. It can be a good way to send either your older or younger child to spend time with a friend so you can have some special time with whoever is left. You can also team up together and plan outings or other activities so you can tackle the day together - everything is always easier with another adult along for the ride!

Split Time with Younger and Older Children

It's always a good idea to try and give each of your children individual attention. While it's not always easy to do, there are ways you can ensure each of your child gets the one-on-one time they deserve. During the holidays, it could be even more difficult, but you can still find ways to do it. You might spend time with an older child while the younger one is taking a nap. Someone could be off on a playdate or attending a club or class, while the other is with you and gets to spend some time with you. Just make sure everyone is treated equally, so plan a special one-on-one day for each child.

Give Older Children some Freedom

While it might not work for everyone, allowing older children to have a bit more freedom can mean you don't have to provide constant entertainment for them. If you can allow them to go to the park with friends or even just play outside without your supervision, they will learn to entertain themselves. And with mobile phones available to everyone, it's easy to make sure they're completely safe, even if they do walk or cycle a little bit down the road. Of course, all children are different, so some can be a bit more trustworthy and mature than others when it comes to things like this. If you have teenagers, they can definitely be allowed a bit more freedom.

Find Family Fun on Holiday

If you decide to go away during the holidays, the whole family is usually together, which means you need to find things to do that everyone will enjoy. Fortunately, there are activities that everyone will like, from toddlers to adults. Things like swimming, bike rides, or going for a meal in a restaurant can all please everyone, no matter their age.

It can be hard to manage the school holidays when you have younger children too. But there are lots of ways you can keep everyone entertained until it's time to go back to school. I hope this post has helped!

This is a collaborative post.

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