Friday 19 January 2018

School's out for summer? Yipee!

. . . and here are 10 reasons to cheer. By Heidi Scrimgeour

The summer holidays are upon us, but there's no need to panic (yet) at the prospect of keeping the kids entertained for the long weeks off school. Instead, revel in reasons to be cheerful. . .

1. Lie-ins in the morning.

Many kids don't do their parents the courtesy of adjusting their body clocks to summer holiday mode, so plenty of us will still be rudely awoken at the crack of dawn. But it's still good to know that you can sneak in an extra few minutes of snoozing.

2. No more homework.

The only people who despise homework more than kids are their parents. What a relief not to have to face that particular hour of misery every weekday evening for the next few weeks.

3. Freedom from packed lunches.

Is there anything more soul-destroying than slaving over a sandwich at 7am in the knowledge that you will be scraping the same sandwich straight into the bin in 12 hours' time? What a joy to be free of this stultifying task.

4. Your spare change will be your own.

Between toast money, cash for after-school clubs and milk fees, I fork out close to €15 every week. I've often had to forgo a much-needed latte because I've been cleaned out. For the next two months the lattes are on me.

5. Not having to find/wash/ iron/mend school uniform.

I won't miss the daily games of 'hunt-the-school-socks', 'find your shoes', or 'where did you leave your school jumper'.

6. Going out for breakfast.

Sons eat you out of house and home, pee in inopportune places, and must be exercised by 11am every day or they'll destroy the upholstery.

So I like to treat my troops to breakfast in a local cafe once a week. Nothing says summer holidays quite like pancakes (made by someone else) for a leisurely breakfast when you'd usually be shouting about lost school shoes.

7. No one will ask about PE kits in a panic-stricken voice.

My sons routinely come home wearing their PE kit following an after-school club. I understand that this is probably to spare the teachers the horror of persuading 30 tired kids to get dressed, which must be worse than herding stray cats, but it invariably means I have to get their PE kit laundered, dried, and ready for school again in a matter of hours.

(My mother wisely advises me to keep a spare PE kit for this very purpose, but there's precious little latte money left as it is and I'm not spending it on yet more school kit.)

Usually I realise all-too-late that their school uniforms are also bundled up at the bottom of their PE bags. It takes days for those creases to fall out. I look forward to not spending my evenings on such dull pursuits and am considering instigating a daily cocktail hour instead.

8. No more hunt-the-school's-property.

I appreciate the effort that my sons' school puts into lending educational items, but I am overjoyed to think that there will be no more frantic 11th-hour search-and-rescue missions for lost fluffy puffins, plastic dinosaurs, CDs or pop-up books.

9. Goodbye, school run

I'm happy to leave the madness of the school run behind for a few precious weeks, and I intend to savour every second of eating breakfast and watching telly on the sofa in pyjamas instead of rushing to school like a bat out of hell crossed with a bear with a sore head.

10. Getting re-acquainted with your kids

Towards the end of the school year I start to feel as though I barely know my boys, but by the end of the first week of the holidays I'll no doubt feel ready to write a feature along the lines of 'reasons to be grateful that the new school term isn't too far off'.

But until we start driving each other up the wall, I am looking forward to hanging out with my kids at a much more leisurely pace.

And I can't wait to have a relaxed conversation with them that extends beyond 'What did you do today?' and the inevitable 'Nothing' that usually comes by way of reply.

Irish Independent

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