Survival guide to fighting school holiday blues
As frazzled parents approach the second week of the school holidays, one thing is key to keeping the kids entertained - and you don't have to spend a fortune.
But families shouldn't feel pressure to spend a fortune on entertaining kids, and can cut the costs by planning ahead, according to an expert organiser.
Professional "life assistant" and former event planner Caroline Guillemain-Brunne says
families can cut costs and enjoy a hassle-free holiday period by planning ahead.
"School holidays can be an extremely stressful time, especially for working parents," she says.
"Winter school holidays, in particular can be tough as kids can be restricted to indoor activities depending on the weather."
The founder of Organise. Curate. Design, a lifestyle management agency that helps people tackle their ever-growing to-do lists, Guillemain-Brunne says incorporating a calendar into your routine is a simple step to keep days on track.
"I pride myself on being organised, but a change in routine, such as school holidays, can be difficult," she says.
"Before the school holidays begin, we sit down and fill out a calendar for the upcoming two weeks. This helps the kids see what I have planned, and for them to suggest some fun things they want to do outside the home, like sports clinics.
It also helps me work out what days we have free for play dates or days I need to work from home so need to organise a babysitter," said Ms. Guillemain-Brunne.
"I find having transparency around what is happening each day, and making a point to communicate that to your kids, can help map out your days together."
Guillemain-Brunne also suggests spending some time in your children's bedroom sorting through toys and games.
"The hardest part about school holidays is needing to find activities to entertain your children each day."
"Children can accumulate a lot of things, so we start the school holidays by sorting through them and identifying things they want to play with, or donate," she says.
The mother of two says she then writes down the range of activities and games on cards which can be drawn out of a hat whenever her children announce they are bored or can't decide what to do.
"They can be as simple as playing board games, having a movie night at home or going to the zoo," she said.
The entrepreneur also recommends planning snacks and meals in advance.
"Some parents celebrate the fact that they don't have to prepare school lunches, but sometimes it's easier to still pack a box of snacks in the fridge so you have something on-hand when the kids complain they are hungry."