Alex Molton has survived the first week of the school holidays, despite an onset of illness and less than sunny weather.
So, it’s not been the most relaxing start to the long summer holidays, with son#1 still reeling from an awful virus which seems to have taken weeks to finally go and my daughter now seemingly coming down with suspected tonsillitis. I suspect it is symptomatic of the manic nature of the summer term; it was bound to catch up with us.
It’s not been quite the start to the holidays we were hoping for (also what is up with the weather?) but I have tried to reinvigorate our previous summer holiday deal where the kids can earn themselves gaming time by completing household chores. As I am working this holiday for the first time in a long time, there is no way I can get all of the jobs done around the house too so it should work well for us all.
Meanwhile son#2 managed to get to the end of term relatively unscathed (he even quite enjoyed his leavers’ play and end of term party, which I think surprised us both) and has been quietly entertaining himself with random Lego projects (frog robot, anyone?) and reading sci-fi novels. His endeavours remind me of my own summer holidays as a child, mainly spent making up games by myself and reading in the garden. The other two, meanwhile, feeling poorly and sorry for themselves, have spent most of this week watching TV or or on phones.
So my plan to manage ‘screen time’ for the children during the holidays by getting them to complete household jobs hasn’t yet got fully off the ground, but there have been a few room tidies, some dishwasher emptying, washing folding (which it seems son#2 has a talent for) and even some dog walking taking place with relatively little complaint. Nuggets of time have been earned and actually they have managed to share devices and stick to their allotted time without much disagreement. So far.
The tricky part now is keeping it going and finding an endless stream of jobs for them to work through, ensuring that they are all given the chance to earn the same amount of screen time per day and don’t ‘steal’ each other’s jobs. I suppose it is a step too far to get them to paint the bathroom skirting boards or replace the grouting. Hopefully, it is instilling in them some sense of work ethic, even if the reward is an hour on Fortnight rather than a monthly pay cheque; I suppose to them that is valuable currency.
I’ve been working this week so slightly chaotically trying to juggle work tasks, the bump-up in cleaning, dog walking and endless requests for dippy eggs (I’m vegan, I don’t know how to cook eggs!), but actually it’s not been too bad, considering. And I am loving the lack of morning chaos and the sea of packed lunches, school shirts and PE kits which we usually stumble our way through.
There are a few nice local events going on over the next few weeks, but son#1 now considers himself ‘too old’ for treasure hunts and play days, while my daughter still wants to go to petting farms and soft play. It’s amazing the difference in interests with only five years between them. Is that a consequence of the modern world we live in I wonder, or just that she is very sociable and he wants to be at home? Possibly a combination of the two.
We never take a summer holiday as a family as OH always has to work. Also it is just eye-wateringly expensive for five of us to go anywhere together. Maybe we’ll try and sneak in a weekend camping trip with the dog. Although not the most relaxing of holidays it’s always the most fun for us as a family and the times where I feel we really spend time together actually being present, playing games in the great outdoors and living without rules (and screens). Last year we taught our eldest to play poker; being a natural mathematician who loves statistics, he took to it like a duck to water.
So whilst friends and family are excitedly gathering holiday outfits and digging out passports, this week we are trawling Disney for new family movies to watch and trying to find easy ways to keep ourselves busy at home. However, some actual time off has now been booked, the weather is looking a little less wet and the kids should be feeling better soon and so onwards and upwards to next week!