The school summer holidays are really odd this year. It is actually the first time in years that it is truly the holidays because whilst we were home educating we had kept work going throughout, even if that meant just the twice weekly sessions with Explore Learning. But with our youngest returning to school in September we have frozen his membership giving him the whole of August off. Well I say off he has a couple of (complicated for him) bits of work to do that the school have put on their website.
What the Children Want to Do Vs What I think is Good for Them
Before the lockdown the boys were really active through varies different ways, most of which had nothing to do with being at school, as well of course any PE/Games at school and walking to school and back. Plus not forgetting the 5K family Parkrun on a Saturday and the odd race.
We started lockdown with lots of walking and still running, which was particularly easy when it was the only time they could leave the house. Their bikes even saw a lot more action than they have in a long time – but we have done them so much running/walking/cycling during lockdown that they really are fed up of it all (and they aren’t really that interest in the stunning views, flowers and butterflies like I am). Likewise the paddling pool was used at first, but they soon became bored of the tiny space of water, and we actually ended up putting it away before even the school summer holidays began. Which brings me on to how hot it is. No they would rather just stay home on their screens eating ice-cream (and cake because it is never too hot to cook and eat cake, and flapjack!).
The only forms of exercise they do is a tiny bit of walking and some swimming in the river (and using the SUP board) – but that’s mainly our tween. The walking is also forced rather than something they just want to do. Thanks to the Eat out to Help Out Scheme we have been able to get them to walk to the local places to eat – and I also had them walking into town to sort out school shoes in return for ice-cream!
Screen Time Usage
The problem is I have a household full of techy-gamer types and honestly all the want to do is be on screens. I am sure they are not that unusual. Usually we have strict rules on hours which are relaxed over the holidays. These screen-filled hours are typically broken up with festivals, holidays, theme parks and other get-out-the-house activities (usually one of which is going to the cinema so not screen-free but they are out and about).
Of course this year there are no festivals, our holiday was cancelled and to be honest they still aren’t comfortable with visiting most places due to the risks of covid-19. After our teen’s skiing accident he should receive a free lesson but again he is reluctant to go out and likewise our local swimming pool is open but, even though the tween can swim for free, he isn’t comfortable with the risks.
As well as exercise I have also managed to get them to have some screen-free time by doing Art and reading. As well as a very little bit of playing with LEGO. To be fair as time has gone on the younger two have tried to find more and more to do to help around the house before asking if they can go on computer games. I tend to delay screen time in the morning – but they are usually already on by the time the teen comes out of his room. They have all spent more time with the bearded dragon too (who has moved from the tween’s room to the living room over lockdown), by which I mean taking him out and interacting with him, or just letting him sit on them whilst they are on screens!
Which then brings us on to sleep – they just want to stay up late and get up late. This is mostly due to their friends playing online until later, but more recently due to the heat. I am usually really quite strict on bedtimes and feel it is really important – so they are really loving this relaxed approach. It also makes it harder to go out because the teen is up much later than his brothers, and by which point it usually is too hot a part of the day. It doesn’t help that my husband has been working so much that our own good sleeping habits have gone out the window as we have ended up staying up hours beyond our own bedtime to spend time together. That and disturbed sleep because the teen is still up. Also now we are finally doing our bedroom now that a plasterer has been. This is around my husband’s full-time job as well as a lot of other things and we are currently sleeping on a mattress in the living room!
This is an area I have felt as a family we need to work on anyway. Usually it is time and when lockdown began it was great and we tried lots of new dishes and used the slow cooker a lot. The tween even planned and cooked for weeks. We went three months without take-out (because it was enforced) but it wasn’t long before we ended up tired of thinking up ideas – especially when it is hard to find things we all like as a family. We have returned to eating the same things, getting bored and having take-out – plus eating out (again due to the Eat Out to Help Out, well it’s our excuse). One thing we do get right is eating together each night as a family, so are really reluctant to make separate meals.
I would like us all to consume more fruit and vegetables and drink more water. The teen is great at drinking the water but the rest of us not so. In fact my husband and I drink decaf tea but caffeinated coffee – and yes the coffee machine has been in more use.
At least the boys’ hygiene isn’t something I have to worry or nag them about. They always wash their hands and brush their teeth (super important whilst we still can’t see the dentist/the teen has a brace); teen has a shower every day and the tween is starting to be more aware of this. Problem is we now have a leak and so there’s a risk with a bath or shower that water may pour through the ceiling! They have even started doing their own beds, and I have never had a problem with their washing – but all of them know how to use the washing machine – which has been a big help.
How is/was the summer holidays for you?