Mid-term is here and a welcome break from school runs, school lunches and most of all homework beckons. The prospect of a week that belongs to us is very appealing and romantic notions of quality time spent together with less shouting, cajoling and/or threatening pleasantries fill our heads, well mine anyway.
Of course the reality MAY be somewhat different. Bearing in mind the “challenges” that all this quality time together, possibly during a rainy, cold week, may bring, I’ve compiled a list of tips to help make the experience more enjoyable – and hopefully ensure that everyone is still on speaking terms at the end of the week!
1. Take a breather: Spilled juice, upturned bedrooms, sibling rows, home phones down the toilet and constant calls of “mammy, mammy, mammy (or daddy, daddy, daddy) can cause a marginal increase in our stress levels.
Walk away and literally breathe. Big deep breaths for just a few seconds or minutes, enough time for you to feel more at one with the world and less likely to scream like a banshee. It will hopefully stop a knee-jerk reaction punishment such as grounding or no electronics time, that only you will ultimately pay the price for, over a loooooong day.
2. Get up earlier: Yes every school morning, you have to literally drag them out of bed but at the weekend and school holidays, they’re first up, playing the recorder, ransacking the kitchen as they “prepare” breakfast for themselves and generally causing mayhem!
Getting up before them means that you can get yourself sorted first rather than in the midst of chaos, where you’re chasing the baby who has swiped your deodorant and finding your missing bra on the three year old spiderman costume wearing enthusiast. Managing to get dressed before they’re even awake means you’ll be ready to leave the house without any (ok, as much) of the drama.
3. Leave the house: And speaking of leaving the house – leave the house. Go somewhere, anywhere. Escape the confines of the four walls. Even if the weather is not great, wrap up, wear wellies and get out. Go for a walk, along the beach if you’re lucky enough to leave near one. Visit some poor unsuspecting friends or family members. Visit a pet shop. Have a picnic, in the car if necessary. Go for a muffin. Go to a playground. Check out the kids club at the local cinema. Something small every day – and it doesn’t have to cost much, or anything. It’s about getting out and not letting cabin fever set in.
4. Playdates: Because after all, who doesn’t want to look after even more children over the midterm! But seriously though, having a friend or friends over for your own kids is not only great bribery, it gives you a break from the “what are we doing now?” question that you are in all likelihood facing every five minutes otherwise. And, if the weather is good you can chuck them outdoors. Then, when you return them to their parents later, while polishing your halo, you can explain that they had plenty of fresh air and spent a very limited time on electronics. Win, win!
5. Stock up on wine and chocolate: No explanation required.