December 16, 2013 by talkaboutyork
Every holiday we go through the same thing. My children want to do nothing except stare at a screen. Or play with friends. I want them to be able to relax (including with screens/be with friends) but also do things that they don’t ordinarily get time to do during term time. I want to be able to spend some time with them. But I also want them to use their imaginations and not rely on me to entertain them.
What normally happens is that I suggest something and they roll their eyes, cross their arms and say ‘no way!’ I get frustrated. I suggest they just find something to amuse themselves. They get bored. Everyone ends up grumpy. Or we end up spending a lot of money.
So this holiday, I have set my children a challenge. It goes like this:
We are each put in charge for a day. I get tomorrow, child 1 gets Wednesday and child 2 gets Friday. (Today we were with friends and the boys have play dates on Thursday. Thereafter it’s free fall into Christmas. We shall revisit the challenge thereafter depending on its success.)
The rules are:
- no more than 3 hours of screen time during their day (that excludes watching a movie together). Three hours may seem a lot but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to what they would like. I would like it to be zero.
- I’d like for the activities to be free, but feel that a budget is needed. That way if they choose to go to the cinema or a museum (ha ha) or even a lunch out, they have the money to do so. A max of £35 per day has been set. I don’t intend to use mine other than a possible hot chocolate.
- No whinging about what’s on offer.
- It has to be age appropriate/not illegal.
That is where the rules end. I am trying to get them to think outside the box and come up with some good ideas. We shall see what happens……
My day for tomorrow includes going for a 2 mile walk around Rievaulx Abbey while geocaching, a picnic lunch, then back home for a Christmas cooking lesson (I’m thinking Christmas mince pies – I know, I can feel your eyeballs rolling into the back of your head, but I want them to learn to cook), then a movie or board game. Pretty tame or probably lame in their eyes. But I want them to have some good old fashioned fun. Trust me, they will come up with the expensive high tech stuff.
I shall be challenging them to come up with good days that they will enjoy. If they want to stay in their PJs all day, they can. If they hate mine, I don’t care. Similarly, I may hate theirs. But I feel this is the most democratic way to run holidays.
Wish me luck. I might have to lean heavily on my Christmas spirit to get through the week! How do you survive the holidays?