Christmas seems a lifetime ago and parents and kids are chomping at the bit in anticipation of the first holiday of the school year. Have you already planned this holiday or is the anxiety of how to fill empty hours with non-stop fun and activity overshadowing the chance for real rest and rejuvenation?
Why not make the decision to ‘unplan’ these school holidays with these tips on how to have an unplanned school holiday. Hopefully, they will offer a welcome diversion to the hyper-busy, uber-organised and non-stop merry-go-round of modern day life.
Why not spend Day 1 of the hols in your pyjamas and watch cartoons? Drag the pillows and blankets into the lounge room and camp there for the whole day. Especially cosy if it is windy or raining outside. Serve up popcorn and hot dogs and throw in some sliced carrots and celery for a dose of healthy!
If you can’t spend the whole day on the lounge, then sleep in for one delightful morning. Get the kids to gather a grab bag of toys and books the night before so they have something to do when they wake up, but no leaving their beds, and definitely no electronic devices! Hopefully, they will fall back to sleep and catch up on the zzzzzz they have missed over Term 1.
Or sleep out! Camp out in your own back yard. Set up the tent, pack a camp dinner and snuggle in for a night under the stars. Sing a campfire song, and roast some marshmallows if you have a brazier or fire pit. Great opportunity to chart the phases of the moon and watch how it grows from nothing on 16 April to a full moon on 30 April. Good segue to explain how the story of Easter is tied to the full moon which is why it moves around each year.
Have a street dance with your kids and the neighbour’s kids too. Education guru, Sir Ken Robinson claims that “Dance is just as important as mathematics in schools,” so why not use the time to learn a few new steps? Exhaustion might help them sleep better and it won’t hurt your kids to see you having fun too.
If you are lucky enough to have grandparents or relatives who provide babysitting, then make it a special occasion. Get the kids to draw up an invitation to ‘hugs and high tea’, ‘snacks and snuggles’, or ‘lunch and laughs’; post the invite and have the kids prepare the table setting or food for the occasion. Watch them beam with pride when Grandma or Grandad thank them for the spread.
Family life today is ‘crazy-busy’ and we feel compelled to fill every hour and minute, sometimes out of guilt or pressure. But without balance we risk exhausting our kids, stretching their nerves until they snap. The Bible tells us there is a time to lie fallow, to rest the land so that it regains its fertility. In this state, there is not much one can do, no sowing, tilling or harvesting, just waiting and watching. The dictionary definition includes ‘fallow’ in relation to the mind, of an idea that hasn’t taken seed yet but will sprout in good time, once the soil has rested. Out of rest comes creativity and passion.
Think about how to make that ‘space to be bored’ in your child’s life so they can learn the beauty and benefit that flows from a mind uncluttered and open.
So these holidays: unwash your face, unbrush your teeth, uncomb your hair and unplan a great holiday at home.
For more ideas on school holidays visit our website at www.ccsp.catholic.edu.au
The Council of Catholic School Parents (CCSP) NSW/ACT is the peak representative body for parents with children in Catholic schools in NSW and the ACT. Parents and educators can access more handy resources on the CCSP website: www.ccsp.catholic.edu.au