“Why aren’t weeeee going away?”
This might be a question asked by your little one as Spring Break approaches. Friends or classmates are hitting the airport to go some place warm, and you and your family are at home, making the best of your youngster’s time off.
Why does Spring Break seem so much longer than the time off during the holidays? It may be because the end-of-the-year break delivers anticipation—new toys and time with extended family. But for some reason, Spring Break feels like it drags out longer—but it doesn’t have to!
Below are some Spring Break survival tips and activity suggestions…some ideas to make it through these long days at home.
Stick to your regular schedule
Sure it seems like break time feels more loosey-goosey, but relaxing or altering your child’s regular schedule will only make for an unhappy household. Stick to the regular routine, most importantly the bedtime one. Fill your days with enough energy-burning activities that nighttime shouldn’t be a hassle (see below for ideas). If homework is assigned over break, make sure they get it done in the same timely manner. Not fun, but its way better than overtired, crying kids with unfinished reading assignments on that Sunday night.
Limit screen time
Your children have been working hard and deserve a holiday from the norm, but make sure all that time isn’t spent in front of the television or tablet. Of course, some video games or a new app can soak up a little time during break, but it shouldn’t be the morning ‘til night activity.
Stock up on favorites or new, fun toys
For the weeks leading up to the time off, gather some of your child’s favorite crafts, arts supplies, puzzles, or toys, and introduce them slowly through the break. Have a rough outline of a daily schedule of activities during the week, including outings or the introduction of new keep-‘em-busy items.
Become a tourist in your own town
Pick a day during your break to sight see in your city. Whether you live in a town of 8,000 or 8 million, there is always something to do. Visit your town’s historical society or local attractions. Or check out a park you’ve never been to (if it’s warm enough.) You could even travel a little and go to a museum.
Browse library and park district offerings
Believe it or not, you are not alone. There are tons of families still in town for break looking for things to do, too. Your local library may have film fests, science competitions, or story times set up just for that reason. Many park district programs even offer sport, art, dance, or STEM-focused mini-camps during break.
Hotel-it for the Night
Here’s a well-known fact: Kids. Love. Hotels. A room with a big bed, different bathroom, and small fridge? Sold! Book a hotel room in your town or the next town over for one night. Just one overnight change of atmosphere will make them feel as if they’ve done something out of the ordinary. And the most important detail of your stay? The pool. Your kids will be in heaven.
Plan a backyard campout
If the weather is in your favor, dust off the summertime playbook and host a backyard camping trip for your kids. Have them “pack” a wilderness bag, search the yard for s’mores sticks, and get your fire pit going. Chances are high no one is actually going to sleep outside, but it is sure fun to do all the fun activities leading up to the sleeping part.
Create “Chez Family Restaurant”
Make your staycation feel gourmet with an out-of-the ordinary family dinner night. Plan your night’s menu in the morning and head out with the kids to the local farmer’s market or store to buy the groceries for the night’s feast. Prepare dinner together with music and chef’s hats. If you usually eat in the kitchen, set up the dining room with a tablecloth and candles. Who cares if pepperoni pizza is on the menu! Enjoy a night focused on family and food.
Family Day/Night at the Movies
Usually reserved for the weekends, taking in a flick on Tuesday can feel special to kids. If you don’t feel like going out, order from your favorite take-out place, let the kids eat in front of the TV, and rent a movie or watch a DVD. This is cozy bonding at its best.
Playdates. Playdates. Playdates.
Talk with other moms and arrange some play dates at your house and theirs. It’s best if there are an even number of kids on the play date so nobody feels left out. You can plan some activities or just let them play.
So, start thinking now. You’ll be shocked at how fast Spring Break will go when there’s a plan!
What are you doing for Spring Break? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!