Sunday 17 December 2017

Five ways to make it work

Stock image
Stock image

Divide and Conquer

You must accept the occasional mutual exclusivity of the under-sixes and over-12s, and plan to spend time with them separately

Let Them Decide

Chuck the ball back in their camp: "Right, you've got €10 to spend. What do you want to do?" They might want 1,000 penny sweets - but they might also come up with creative suggestions. Best thing: they chose it, so they can't whinge.

Keep It Cheap

Camp in the garden, have a picnic on the floor, kick a ball in the park. Low-key, low-expectation, no-frills sometimes works way better than the expectations of Big Days Out.

Be Strategic

Unless you're willing to spend a fortune, don't plan too many day trips. Pick a couple, sprinkle them throughout the two-week period, and use them as the set pieces of the holidays.

Cross-All-Ages Fun

Try swimming, skating, maybe horse riding. Go to the park to race - obviously the playing field needs to be evened out, so give headstarts, or weigh the fastest down with something heavy.

Five ways to stay sane

It's Not All About Them

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your family is take time away from them. Book a babysitter, go out with your partner, even to the cinema or an evening walk. Don't talk about the kids.

Early Birds

If you have to fit work around children and holidays, can you start and finish an hour earlier? Clocking off at, say, 4pm, still leaves time for doing things, now that the evenings are longer.

Don't Try To Do It All

Seriously. It's not a North Korean rally to showcase the gloriousness of the nation. It's a holiday, a few days off. You don't have to frantically try to make this the Best Ever.

Remember To Rest

The point is that you start back - to school, work, life, whatever - feeling as if you have had a break, recharged, done something different, relaxed. Not that you have knocked yourself silly trying to cram every moment with memorable hilarity.

Make Friends With Screens

So what if they spend a few hours on Subway Surfer or watching unboxing on YouTube? You might think it's dumb. You might be right. But let them at it all the same. After all, they probably think that digging weeds out of a flowerbed is pretty dumb - and many of us love that. Live and let live.

Sunday Independent

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