The Summer holidays are seven weeks long for schools. SEVEN weeks. That is an awfully long time from a child’s point of view and an even longer from a parent’s point of view.
This year I cannot wait.
I am really looking forward to spending time with both of my children. I want to see what they’ve learned over the past year – usually you realise in surprise at the little things that they say or do.
I want to see what they can learn, things I can show them for the first time and in-turn learn from myself. Could these few weeks be the first time they ride a bike on their own? learn to swim? or even tie their own laces?
There are so many things that you begin to take for granted as the daily grind of life takes over – school – work – busy weekends. Since my breastcancer diagnosis I am mindful of how fast time passes us by…
So this Summer I have decided to go ‘back to basics’. No trendy Summer camps or expensive holidays abroad, because non of that really matters. Children don’t care how much you spend on them – £100 might as well be £10. All they care about is having fun and preferably with you.
This year I am replacing all of the ‘trendy’ things with all of the lovely things that we used to enjoy as children (my generation) all of the little things that my special memories are made of.
Making dens with blankets and chairs (not expensive trendy tipis), and filling them with cushions and teddy bears and dolls.
Walks around a local beauty spot (not a huge country park & manor) but just a plain old lake, with some ducks to feed and some grass to run on and even some trees to climb.
Picnics in the park (not a theme park). Just soggy sandwiches, a few biscuits, crisps and fruit to be eaten on a park bench, or on a blanket, or even on the way home if it rains.
Drawing things (not Hobbycraft style arts & crafts) but paper, felt tip pens and a bit of imagination. Actually thinking about it my daughter won’t let me get away with ‘no glue’ but I can always try!
Swimming at the local pool or even paddling at the seaside (if you are brave enough to stand the cold British waters).
Reading new books or even going through existing ones that nobody has looked at for a while. The old favourites can be read over and over.
Surprises – any surprises, my kids love surprises. An impromptu trip to a local sweetshop, toyshop or even a load of old boxes from the supermarket can mean hours of fun.
Meeting up with friends. An attempt to prevent the inevitable bickering and tiring of sibling company. It will happen, it is bound to happen, and maybe I will keep a little bit of my own sanity by letting the kids play with their friends that they won’t see everyday.
A Rainy Day stash. My mum used to have one of these – usually includes Lego or random toys never seen before, colouring books etc*. A modern version of this probably includes the iPad, chocolate & Disney movies.
*You may note that I have tried to avoid things that end up driving you mad as a parent, things that begin with the best intention, but that spiral into a house of chaos – paints, baking or play dough. I wouldn’t say never to be used – but maybe just stick a warning on these things [resort to at your own peril]
We will be going away for a week to the seaside and also a visit back to where we used to live. I am looking forward to the break and the thought of getting a much needed change of scenery.
These breaks will inevitably include car journeys where my husband tries to ‘keep calm’ on the roads and the children eat every snack available in the first half an hour, and then put the question “Are we there yet?” on repeat.
All of the classic family time is time that I will try never to take for granted again, because all of the non-perfect times* also make up memories.
The non- perfect times are usually the golden moments that you look back upon and laugh at in years to come. These are the things that are so special because they belong to your family and your family only.
*Getting lost, emergency toilet breaks, being caught in a sudden downpour, arguing over boardgames, dropped icecreams, food strops…