by Stacey Schifferdecker
Christmas break has just ended and your children have gone back to school, probably moaning at least a little. But the last semester of school looms with numerous school holidays, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, spring break, Memorial Day, and of course parent-teacher conferences. In fact, there is not a single month between now and summer break when my children are not out of school at least one day. The kids may be delighted, but most parents find these breaks in the routine of daily life less fun. How can you survive school breaks with humor and grace?
If both parents work outside the home, you will want to explore sitter or day camp options. Many community centers offer “spring break camps” where your kids can have fun while you are working. Sign up early, as these camps tend to fill up fast.
If you and the kids are going to be home all day, you need to fill up the hours. Sure, you can always plop the kids in front of the TV, computer, or game system for the day, but this is isn’t the best choice for anyone. If your children’s friends all seem to be going on exotic vacations, they may be disappointed if they don’t get to hit the slopes or the beach. If you will be taking a vacation later in the year, gently remind your children about your plans. Give them options for their break and let them help plan. Here are some ideas for inexpensive outings and activities:
• Unless the day off is on a national holiday, check for special events at the library or community center. They may have story times or other programs for kids.
• Go to the park. Go to several parks and decide which one has the best swings or the fastest slides.
• Take a day trip. Pick out a town you have heard of but never visited, and go explore.
• If your community has a nature center, visit it and hike the trails.
• Let your kids have a sleep-over.
• Visit grandparents or friends.
• If you have a little more money to spend, go to a hotel in your town for a night, preferably one with an indoor heated pool. Swimming in the winter is usually a treat for everyone.
• Plan a game day. Your kids no doubt have board games they haven’t played in a while. Get them out and plan a day of fun. You can also invite friends to bring their favorite games and join you.
• Cook something together. Even young kids can help shake sprinkle on cookies or pour a cup of sugar into a bowl.
• Check if the zoo, aquarium, planetarium, or museums have discounted admissions for kids and any special activities. Many art museums now have kids’ activities such as art scavenger hunts.
With a little planning ahead, school breaks can be fun for everyone!
Stacey Schifferdecker is the happy but harried mother of three school-aged children—two boys and a girl. She is also a freelance writer, a Children’s Minister, a PTA volunteer, and a Scout leader. Stacey has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and French and a Master’s degree in English. She has written extensively about parenting and education as well as business, technology, travel, and hobbies.
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