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27 April 2012

Stay Sane During School Holidays... Hopefully!

My youngest child has recently changed from a happy smiley baby into a screaming, shouting ball of rage and frustration. Horrible 3's... Even worse, in my opinion, than Terrible 2's! This metamorphosis has come along just in time for the school holidays (oh joy!) and I am already stockpiling my essential self-medicating tool, wine. It is the only way I will survive the next two weeks. This however, is the second time I have had to deal with a stroppy toddler, so I am armed with a bit more experience, a minute amount more patience and a list of fun stuff to do to make the holidays more manageable, fun for the kids and most importantly, pass by more quickly!

Here is Gertie's guide to holiday entertainment for kids:

1, Get your apron on and bake! Fairy cakes, biscuits - anything simple so the kids can help. They love getting stuck in, having a good mix, making a mess and licking the spoon. For inspiration I refer to and religiously follow the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I'm no domestic goddess and their recipes always seem to work out perfectly!

2, Make Believe. If you don't have stacks of dressing up clothes then dress your kids in yours/your man's, create a story for them (they are Cinderella or a dragon slaying knight), then build them a cave/den/hideout. I have a pop-up pink tent for my little princesses but before I invested, I used to make their "princess castle" out of the dining table draped with sheets and adorned inside with blankets and cushions. Kids can get lost in their own imaginations for hours (bonus) leaving you to catch up on your emails, cleaning etc. This is even more effective if you invite their friends over. They never want to leave!

3, For the toddlers, potato printing is a real winner. Get a few baking potatoes, cut them in half and either carve shapes out of them or shave the sides to create shapes that stand up from the lip of the potato, then squeeze poster paint onto plates, dip the potatoes in the paint and get stamping. My little ones loved this and I only needed a few shapes (heart, star, smiley face...) and 2+ colors of paint. Plastic aprons are good. You don't want to make more mess than you have time to clean up afterwards.

4, Down time. I used to have loads of guilt if I didn't keep my kids entertained ALL DAY LONG but these days I've come to realise that this makes them as miserable as me as they get tired too! Now I make the most of my high levels of energy in the mornings by taking them out to the park, to see their friends etc. and in the afternoons when I crash and burn, we can do some home-based activities. They can watch TV and I can have a cup of tea! And a fairy cake! Yummy!!

The worst thing is holiday guilt. Do as much as you can and then when you run out of steam, go and get a new Disney movie to watch together. Your kids need to learn how to chill out as much as they need to learn how to play and have fun.

Good luck mums, I'll be thinking of you! xG


Completely agree about the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I'm terrible at baking but seem to be able to follow their recipes and produce nice cupcakes.

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