As my first summer holidays with school age kids comes to a close I have been mulling over how it went, what went well and what went less well. I can proudly report that I am still in possession of two children. I didn’t lose one or let harm come to either of them, so basically I’m on a parenting high right now.
10 things I learned in no particular order.
1.There’s no shame in letting the kids watch more telly than you think ideal. And there’s no shame about playing on your phone/reading a book/picking your nails while the kids watch said telly. You don’t have to enjoy the shit that passes for kids’ entertainment. I would rather clean the loo than watch Paw Patrol or Topsy and Tim. Thus far there is one film in the entire world that my SG will watch from beginning to end without sobbing. You’d think I’d love it based on that sentence alone, but no, I effing hate Color City, a film about crayons losing and finding their colour.
2.Arts and crafts are less painful than I thought and make my kids really happy…although this then results in handmade kid crap hanging around the house.
3.For a small child, eating lunch under the table is the height of brilliance. As is hiding lunch items around the house and telling them to ‘hunt for lunch’.
4.Once I’ve paid for an activity I bloody expect my kids to do it. I don’t want whining and crying on the side of the sodding swimming pool. That said, I’m glad I made the decision not to put them in holiday club when I didn’t need to (no judgement, I wasn’t working this summer so gave the kids the choice to go or not). It would have been hard to leave sobbing kids somewhere they didn’t need to be when they didn’t want to be there.
5.Our kids LOVE outdoor adventures. The more they can run, climb and explore, the happier they are. It’s good to know this about them.
6.I don’t have endless patience. I actually already knew this but a stroppy, know-it-all five year old and a ‘free with the hands’ three year old, pushed me to my limit (and over) many times in the last six weeks.
7.I’m not always great at remembering I’m the adult and they’re the kids. I mean, I know I’m 37 and they’re little but sometimes I ask them to maintain a composure I don’t know that I manage myself. Of course they yell when they’re tired/unhappy/stressed/worried. So do adults. But, I also know that I’m modelling good behaviour in being able to apologise when I am unreasonable.
8.Making massive plans for academic (almost wrote educational but then remembered all of life is educational except for Paw Patrol, which is just stupid) activities is wishful thinking. SB and I agreed he would read to me every day and that together we’d write and illustrate a story. SG told me she wanted to learn to read. SB did read to me, but nowhere near every day. Still, I regularly find him sitting with a book now so I reckon that’s a win. We didn’t even pick up a pen to do any writing but he’s done loads of drawing and some computer work. And SG read a word that wasn’t her name the other day. It was ‘oooooooo’. I was proud but yeah, it isn’t exactly Shakespeare….or Biff and Chip. But it’s all good, we pay other people to teach these skills, right?
9.If you fly with a ratio of two adults to two kids you’re likely to find yourself in the situation where one adult is sitting with two kids while the other adult pretends to travel alone. Be the latter adult! But if you can’t be the latter on both journeys, take it on the return flight when the kids are whiny, tired and annoying and just want you to read their shit magazines to them over and over.
10.Final lesson: kids’ magazines are a total and utter waste of money. We have been allowing them for aeroplane journeys but I think I’m totally cured of that. £5 for some plastic shit, one zillion stickers and painfully bad stories about tv characters you can’t stand and they can’t read alone yet. Whatever happened to a 20p Beano?
If you read this article hoping for anything deep and meaningful or to actually learn anything, apologies…I’m tired. Remember, I have just spent six weeks entertaining my kids!
Did you learn anything about kids or yourself over the summer? Any top life hacks worth sharing?