I’ve seen a few people mention on Twitter recently this idea that we only have 18 precious summers with our children, and how important it is to treasure them.
I have two issues with this.
Firstly, what the bejesus?? Everyone knows that the summer holidays are the WORST thing about being a parent, especially a single parent of primary school aged children.
Let’s do some maths shall we? There are THIRTEEN weeks of school holidays over the course of a year, not including INSET days. In a standard job you normally have around six weeks of paid holiday.
13 – 6 = 7.
SEVEN weeks where you have to come up with some kind of interesting, affordable childcare solution. Seven weeks where you have to try to convince your nervous nine year old that their very favourite thing to do is to spend a week with strangers in an unfamiliar location, putting on a short play or learning basic tennis skills.
Take it from me, that is NOT easy.
If you don’t work, or during the time that you do have off, you’re not let off the hook. Apparently it’s not enough any more just to tell children that ‘only boring people get bored’ and shoo them into the garden to makes dens. You’re meant to provide structured, wholesome activities or collaborate on Pinterest worthy crafts, because without supervision they become screen bandits, unable to entertain themselves for more than five minutes.
Once you have exhausted all of the entertainment options at home, (i.e. by 11.23am on day one of the summer holidays), you are then expected to offer a selection of outdoor options including but not limited to soft play, the zoo, beach activities, theme parks, cinema, more soft play.
(Note: free activities such as museums or fun trips to the library are likely to be shunned.)
Whichever of these delights you opt for, you will end up spending vast amounts of cash on entry fees only to have one of the children contract a vomiting bug half an hour into your trip. If you are lucky enough to get away with no throwing up then be prepared to part with approximately £62.30 per day in the name of ice creams, drinks, snacks and novelty gift shop items that your children absolutely cannot do without unless you want them prostrate and screaming on the gift shop floor.
You get my point.
The second issue I have with the whole ’18 precious summers with your kids’ thing is that it implies that for the rest of the year you’re not really that fussed about them. Why the focus on the summer? How about we just love and appreciate them every day, and take the pressure off the summer holidays a bit?
Perhaps then we wouldn’t feel weighed down with guilt during the holidays and wouldn’t NEED to spend all that cash.
Go the other way and encourage independent play regardless of the seasons.
Shoo them into the garden ALL YEAR ROUND I say, and keep expectations for the summer as low as possible.
What are your thoughts? Are the summer holidays precious times to be cherished or just a pain in the backside?
PS. I looked the actual quote up AFTER I wrote the post, because I am thorough like that, and apparently it’s 18 ‘delicious’ summers, which is EVEN WORSE.
This is the quote: ‘We get 18 delicious summers with our children. This is one of your 18. If that’s not perspective, I don’t know what is.’ Jessica Scott.
*throws up a bit in mouth*
For help choosing summer holiday activities and games check out playcomparison.com.