Half term is just around the corner and although you’ll be happy your little one has some time to relax and play, as a parent, you may also be feeling the pressure.
For some, it’s feasible to book a few days off work to spend with your kids, but we know figuring out how to entertain them for the whole break is hard, both financially and physically.
Understandably, most parents tend to worry about being able to fund activities galore over the half term; whether it’s a trip out to theme parks and attractions or the cost of childcare, it can be a very expensive time.
But we’re here to let you know you’re not alone.
We’ve spoken to four real parents to find out their own half-term worries and how they manage them, as well as inspiration for things to do in school holidays so you won’t be left wishing it was back-to-school time already!
“Saving a little bit of money each month” is key
Jaymee told us:
“I would love to take my three boys to attractions and places to visit, but realistically it isn’t always possible. However, I try to combat this by saving a little bit of money each month. Not a lot, £5 here, and £20 there, as much as I can afford to. I also keep an eye out on offers for attractions we would like to visit.”
We know that putting a little bit aside each month can go a long way, but as Jaymee says, it’s not always easy. When doing this, try not to set unrealistic saving targets; start with trying to put away £2-£5 a week, a few months before the approach to half term. It’ll make the world of difference once the break has arrived and you’re planning things to do.
Think of creative alternatives for things to do
There’s always a few popular requests from kids for what to do during half term that could be hard to avoid and expensive. Paula and her family have come up with some great, creative ways to still do these fun activities at half the cost:
“This Easter break, we have come up with a list of things we would like to do and are going to make some alternatives. For example, the kids would like to go to the cinema, rather than spending on cinema tickets we are going to have a home movie day with popcorn and our sofa!”
It’s a well-known fact that kids love camping – but, it can often add up to be pretty expensive. Why not try camping in your own back garden, or building a den in the living room and telling bed-time stories?
They’re simple ways to keep your child entertained over half term, with the bonus of saving you a fortune in the long run.
“Keep the kids entertained so you don’t hear “I’m bored” every five minutes!”
The dreaded words that all parents can’t bear to hear – “I am bored”.
We get it. Finding fun things to do that keep your kids occupied for a good amount of time is hard, and coming up with new ideas can be even harder, especially after a long day at work.
Sam, mother and blogger at Stressed Mum, gets it too. She finds that “school holidays are usually more stressful than school mornings” as it’s a constant task “trying to keep the kids entertained so you don’t hear I am bored every 5 minutes!”
Sam and family like to “arrange days out with friends for picnics or walks in the woods and trips to the cinema. But always prepare for those rainy days with plenty of craft activities and baking ingredients to make cakes or cookies that they could decorate.”
Making sure you have a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities planned is key; we all know we can’t trust the British weather and little ones can get restless when stuck inside for too long. Baking and card-making are two great, fun activities that can take up time and allow you to show your creative side.
“Let your kids pick a passion that they want to explore!”
Max Jennings, parent and CEO of The Hoop, believes it’s important to encourage creativity and told us that it’s beneficial to “let your kids pick a passion that they want to explore – use the holiday as an excuse for them to give it a go.”
Max added: “from space and science to skateboarding and coding. Let them try new things for a week; going on that journey with them with help them to feel confident to explore new avenues.”
We think Max’s positive attitude towards seeing the half term as an opportunity (rather than an obstacle) is something every parent should try and take note of. Think of the school holidays as a wonderful opportunity to bond with your kids and let their developing personalities shine through.
Before you know it, your little one will be heading back to school, and will no doubt be telling their friends how they did the coolest activities over half term (serious top-parent points there).
How do I find age-appropriate half-term activities?
Max launched The Hoop, an app that lists thousands of free activities for children, with three other dads after struggling to find age-appropriate activities for their children to do over the half-term break.
Max told us:
“The biggest problem I have faced when trying to find ways to fill weekends and holidays has been finding interesting activities that are happening that are right for the age of my kids.”
Max shared a few tips on how to ease potential half-term worries:
“Try not to worry about filling the time because when the holidays hit, there are so many activities and holiday camps for kids that are designed for exactly this.”
“It’s all about preparation – amidst the chaos that kids bring – planning ahead and booking your week can really help bring some calm to what can be a stressful and busy time.”
Back-to-school time already?
From all of us here at Wynsors, we’d like to say a big thanks to our featured parents for sharing their half-term worries. We hope the above advice is helpful and you feel prepared – well, maybe a little more prepared – for what the half-term break has to throw at you!
If you’re looking for more parenting tips and advice, check out back-to-school hub. Find affordable school shoes for boys and girls from top brands right here, so your child can go back to school in style.