Updated: Nov 11, 2021
This is the dream! Right!? Well, with a little work, we can make it real-life. Promise!
We all love our kiddos… don’t get us wrong. BUT, school breaks are a change of routine for EVERYONE. With big changes, can come big stressors. Not to mention, many of us have to work, so we're scrambling to find care. Even if we don't work outside the home, it's still drastically different pace for kiddos and for us.
Breaks are super beneficial for everyone. We all get a bunch of family time, kiddos get to be home and have a different pace and expectations than at school or daycare. HOWEVER, it is still hard, and feels overwhelming.
With a little effort upfront, a tiny bit of brainstorming, we can make planning 14 days of a Holiday feel not so daunting. But, let's be real, We're not magic (as much as we'd like to think we are). So even if you follow our advice, by the end of these school holidays, expect to appreciate our children’s teachers a little bit more!
I don't know about you, but as an adult, I love some time at home, being with family, lounging around in my space with my things (in my pajamas). Heavenly... until a certain point. Then, I start to go bananas, totally nuts! I feel like I just have to get out and do something new. Sometimes we forget that kids are people too. They're just tinier and have fewer coping mechanisms, a shorter fuse, and less focus. So, no matter what amazing toys, games, and company they have to play with at home... if there are no plans, no novelty, no change of pace, they too start to go bananas.
So, what does this mean?
It means you have to figure out what to do. EACH DAY. ALL DAY LONG.
But guess what, a little planning can CHANGE EVERYTHING!
Let us help! We created a quick and easy school break planner so that you can have some schedule and structure** to your days, even if that schedule is: "We have no plans before lunch. What do you want to do?"
Now, before you dive in to this planner, let me just say that down time is awesome! Free play (or guided play🏆) around the house is so beneficial. Kids, like adults, need that time! However, everything should be balanced; you and your kiddos will appreciate this. The key to a successful break is variety and balance: Some time planned, some time not, some time in the house, and some time out! More about this a bit later!
This post will show you how the planner works. Check out the rest of the series to find some awesome ideas for balanced play… these are the play ideas you will be writing in your planner and doing each day.
Balanced play happens when you create opportunities for different types of play that provide balanced skill development, which, in turn, fosters balanced brain development. To read more about balanced play, check out this post!
(**insider secret… this is HOW your kiddos’ teacher does it! Predictability, structure, and routine)
Three quick notes about the plan...
1. Balance your playtime
You will see that we also believe in a balance of play inside and outside the house. Some play will happen in your playroom/ play space. Some outside in your yard or on your sidewalk. Some at a destination.
2. Art does not mean craft (or Pinterest)
We talk about art with kiddos. Sometimes art involves a craft, but often it does not! No craftiness required. Offer some materials and watch some good ol’ free form, explorative art happen.
3. Shift your thinking!
So, here’s the deal. DON’T BE STRESSED. Shift your thinking. These are the days you GET to do all of the things you wish you (your partner, grandparent, or caregiver) could do with your kiddo, but never have the time!
So, Heres What You DO:
Create a list of ALL of those places you have been meaning to take your kiddos. This might include:
Drop in art/music/cooking class
Library/ story time
Indoor play places
Museums (art, history, science, children etc)
Create a list of all of the baked goods your kiddos LOVE! Find a couple recipes. Our favorite resources are here:
Create a list of art materials you already HAVE. Create a list of art materials you might want to get and use. Some suggestions:
Make play dough
Get out those paints
Pull out tinkering materials/ loose parts (for older kiddos 3+ only)
Create a list of any toys you have been wanting to see your kiddos try. Maybe these are ones they haven’t played with in a while, or ones that you have tried but they weren’t interested in or developmentally ready for.
List friends and neighbors who also have kiddos and may want playdates! Get together with them or trade off for childcare.
This is meant to be a super flexible planner. Use it anyway that feels helpful for you! We find that people fall into two camps:
1. Totally Pre-planned. You can pre-plan your weeks by filling out the planner now. This might help you gather materials the night before or morning of… or make that last minute amazon order (we’ve all been there).
2. On A Whim. You can use the brainstorm columns as banks to choose from for each day. Just be sure you have the materials on hand so you don’t feel like your scrambling to find the crayons!
But do keep in mind, no matter what camp you find yourself in, be flexible. Remember sometimes (especially with kids) you just have to ditch your plans, and that's okay! If you have been out a couple days in a row, you may just need to stay home. If you have been home, you may need to go out. Read how everyone is doing in the morning and go from there!
Good Luck! Let us know how it’s going. We can't wait to hear about your school break!