The summer holidays are here

They’re here! The summer holidays are here! Don’t panic, put down the gin, we can do this! Deep breaths.

It is 10am on the first day of the summer holidays in our house and Belle is sat in front of the TV eating toast and jam. I suspect this could be a sign of things to come as I spend large chunks of the holidays juggling work and child care.

Summer holidays

Any time you come to our house, there will be a 79% chance you will find Belle in this exact position. It is her favourite.

I am envisaging a lot of conversations that go something like this:

Me: Turn the TV off now and do something else. You don’t need to watch a fourth episode of iCarly.

Belle (groaning): Can I go on the laptop?

Me: No, I am working on it.

Belle (sighing heavily): Well can I go on the iPad then?

Me (exasperated): No! Go and do something that doesn’t involve a screen. Build a fort or something.

Belle (sarcastic): A fort? This isn’t the Middle Ages you know. Do you want me to go out in the street and spin a top?

Me: Yes.

At this point she will stamp up to her room and lie on her bed playing on her iPod touch while I pretend not to realise so I can buy myself an extra half hour of work. Not ideal.

The summer holidays are tough though. We’re bringing up a generation of kids who don’t really know how to entertain themselves with something that doesn’t have a USB cable attached to it in some way and to suddenly ask them to amuse themselves for a month and a half is a bit of a challenge. We have myriad books, comics and activity packs, but does painting with a toothbrush really constitute a two hour activity for ten year olds, as the books might have us believe?

Summer holidays

This Sainsbury’s activity pack actually looks pretty good – activities and scrapbook and a wall chart for a fiver. I would have loved this when I was ten.

Perhaps I am being too hard on myself. It’s not like we are spending the whole six weeks with me sat at my desk with my back to Belle, expecting the highlight of her day to be making me lunch. We do have a lot of fun activities and little holidays planned, it’s just that on the days when I’m not laying on top notch entertainment, I would quite like Belle to be able to keep herself busy and for me not to have to come up with new ideas for her every twenty minutes.

Is that too much to ask?




  1. 25 July, 2013 / 9:54 am

    “…on the days when I’m not laying on top notch entertainment, I would quite like Belle to be able to keep herself busy and for me not to have to come up with new ideas for her every twenty minutes.

    Is that too much to ask?”

    In my experience, yes. I find I’m increasingly reaching for the wine bottle by late afternoon as the school holidays progress! This summer I have booked my 10 yr old son into the local sports centre holiday club for four days a week, to try and save both our sanity. I’m sure we were much more self sufficient (and less whiny) at their age. But maybe my mum would disagree!

  2. Helen McI
    25 July, 2013 / 11:15 am

    Get a friend round. Two 10 year olds seem to be able to entertain themselves – two of them are currently making a raft for an egg out of drinking straws! When the one 10 year old gets bored (and she gets bored with telly too), I either chuck her outside and/or ignore her. Then once she’s bored with being bored she’ll find something constructive to do (sometimes!)

    This strategy might not last 6 weeks though!

  3. 25 July, 2013 / 1:17 pm

    I have exactly the same problem with my 8 year old. He seems intent on spending the entire summer on his Wii. I also have twin girls who are 5 and luckily they are quite good at entertaining themselves, but then again, they have each other to play with.

  4. 11 August, 2013 / 8:17 am

    I am completely terrified of the summer holidays! my kids get bored quickly and I’m running out of entertainment ideas. last time I decided baking might be fun….I’m never doing that again!! I was in a serious need of having 10 sets of hands to clean up the kitchen….

  5. 31 July, 2014 / 7:22 am

    I’m super excited this year as my 7-year old has a place in the free 4-week play scheme the council run, and he loves it. On the days when he’s not there he’s lost without direct attention or a screen. If he gets on my nerves I give him chores which either goes one of two ways a) he disappears to entertain himself, or b) he amuses himself doing the chore.

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