Whitefield Academy Blog
Surviving Christmas Break: A Mom’s Guide
I remember the days when I used to really like school vacations. Now that I am a mom, I’ve realized that “vacation” now actually means “hide in the bathroom while tiny fingers reach under the door and high pitched voices scream about being hungry and bored.” Ah, motherhood. It’s a battlefield, folks. And as in any great battle, one needs a well thought out, easily implemented battle plan (Christmas Break Edition).
Unless it’s a set of snow days, one nice thing about school vacations is that we always know when they’re coming. So, a few days before crazy town hits, assess your situation. Are toys, games, puzzles, and crafts relatively organized and where they’re supposed to be? If it’s like my house and they aren’t, then take a minute to purge the finished activity booklets, the baby toys that keep creeping back, the stuffed animals that seem to multiply, and figure out what you need to make kid organization easier for you. I recently grabbed a Trofastsystem from Ikea and stuffed it with bins of different sizes to help control the Lego/PlayMobil carnage. Having toys easily accessible and easy to see helps little kids get ideas for playing without having to ask mama.
Make A Schedule
After you’ve matched all the missing puzzle pieces up with their boxes, sit down and figure out what you want your daily schedule to be. I was recently complaining about how our girls are constantly asking for snacks and then never eat dinner. My husband suggested that it is because I am constantly giving them the requested snacks so they’re too full for dinner. After I recovered from this affront to my parenting skills, I realized that he was right. So for us on vacations, we have snack times (9:30, 3:30) and meal times (7:30, 11:30, 5:30). This cuts back a bit on the annoying begging for snacks and treats and helps meal time go a bit more smoothly.
Alright, so the kids are out of school, the toys are all organized, you’ve got your snack schedule, and boom, they wake up and are little raging Tasmanian Devils. Before trying to get them to sit down and play with your carefully labeled Hungry Hungry Hippos, run those little kiddos like the wild maniacs they are. Send them to the backyard with a hula hoop and lock the door, direct them into the basement to build an obstacle course, have them walk the dog, or grab a workout off of Pinterest and make them do burpees and jumping jacks (Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that the moms work out! Grab a cinnamon roll, girl.). Remember that our kids are used to two recesses a day! And though I’ve tried to get my daughters to sit nicely in coffee shops all morning, they’re much happier and better behaved when they’ve burned some energy first.
Minimize Screen Time
One of the things you should decide when you’re preparing for a school vacation is how much screen time (TV, iPad, video games, etc.) you are going to allow. Don’t fall into the temptation of throwing a screen in front of a bored kid. It’s ok to be bored! Instead of screens, try having a craft box full of feathers, popsicle sticks, googley eyes, glue, and whatever else you can find. The best part of this idea is that if they use feathers, it takes an extra 30 minutes for them to clean it all up when they’re done. You’re welcome! We are also big fans of making a boredom jar at the beginning of break that is full of kid-generated activity suggestions. Sometimes pulling out a piece of paper on which the kids wrote “put on a puppet show” is way more exciting than if mom suggests it.
Now let’s be real, my kids are watching TV while I’m writing this. But because I know they’re limited to an hour, I don’t feel bad about it!
School vacations do not have to be horrible for Mom and Dad. I can’t guarantee that you will get to drink the entire mug of coffee without having to heat it up a few times, but with just a little bit of planning and some intentional organizing, you can create an environment that fosters creativity and encourages your kids to leave you alone to eat Christmas candy in the bathroom in peace.