Half term. It’s the two weeks of the school year that creep up on you with no warning. And before you know it, you’re frantically looking for childminders and an array of activities to keep your brood happy. You may, of course, be one of the few parents to be ahead of the game, and have arranged everything in advance – but chances are that you’re not. And that’s A-OK. With a mind boggle of things to do, it’s incredibly easy to put the half term break on the back burner. But if you follow our simple but effective tips and half term hacks, then you and the kids will be well equipped to have the best break yet.
Stay ahead of the curve
Because it’s just far too easy to procrastinate. And if you’re lucky enough to spend the half term break with the kiddies, then planning ahead is crucial, because let’s face it, there is nothing worse than wasting half the day deciding what to do. Just don’t go to go cray-cray with a tyrant of ideas – jot a few things down on your phone or notepad as a starting point and go from there. It’s also worth sniffing out any events, or any local attractions in your area two weeks prior to half term – who knows, you might even find inspiration that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Equally, if you weren’t able to take the time off from work, it’s important to be even more prepared for the week ahead. Whether that’s enlisting your friends and other mothers to take the kids on a playdate; asking extended family to chip in during the week or using the schools out-of-hours facilities.
Keep within budget
A week’s worth of entertainment can quickly become a financial struggle. But don’t let that scare you because ultimately it’s more important to stay within your own budget. The way to crack down on your spending is again to plan in advance, that way you can cut down on any impromptu cinema trips and takeouts. The same applies if you’ve decided to take the family on holiday. Regardless if it’s in the UK or abroad, half term holidays will be a family staple for years to come, so there’s no real reason to overspend.
On the flip side, you may have given your teens some spending money for the week, and that’s great – you just have to make sure they use it wisely. It will team them the importance of money and budgeting whilst they’re young, so you’ll have to be strong and resist their puppy dog eyes when they’ve spent it all on the first day!
Free for all
Like we just mentioned, the half term break can be extremely costly, but they really don’t have to be. Stay on the lookout for free children’s activities – from museums, national parks, to story time at the library and everything in between, you would be surprised at how accommodating and frugal places can be during the break.
But besides that, it’s also a great chance for you to get a little creative with the kids. How about crafting your very own treasure hunt from scratch. It’s free and fun – and the treasure can be as delicious as a bag of gold coins. You can host it in your garden or the nearest pub.
Lie-ins are a godsend and while you should totally make the most of them, it’s no excuse to stay cooped in. Not only is it going to drive you all mad (and cause a few arguments or two), but it will help them doze off in a jiffy when bedtime finally arrives.
Keeping fit and active can be as easy as taking the kids to your local pool/leisure centre. It won’t cost too much either, but they’ll hopefully be having fun and (fingers crossed) out of your hair for a few hours.
Say no-no to electronics
Well, at least for the most part. iPads, TV and gadgets are a massive blessing at keeping the kids entertained, especially when as parents were busy with never-ending tasks. But the half term breaks are for family time, so cap the time they spend in front of the screens for 2 hours (max).
The rest of the day they can be using their energy rummaging outside, or channelling other creative outlets, like…dare we say reading?
Prepare for bad weather
Half term breaks in the UK are totally unpredictable, so, as a rule of thumb, expect the worst and you’ll almost always avoid disappointment. Although, rainy days aren’t so bad. Crack out the crafts and should we say… paper mache. Or alternatively, bake some meltingly good chocolate brownies – and yes, licking the batter off the spoon is still as thrilling, regardless of age!
The rain is definitely a pain, but it’s worth bearing in mind that kids are rarely ever bothered by it. So if you can, get them out for a couple of hours to let off steam. Even if you’re secretly dreaming of a duvet day with your latest novella.
Don’t over think it
We know that you want the kids to have a week to remember, but things don’t always go to plan. Not only can we almost guarantee that someone will end up with the sniffles, but the kids won’t even remember what they did during the half term a month down the line.
So, if all else fails, order a pizza, curl up on the sofa and watch Moana (for the hundredth time), with popcorn at the ready, and a deserved glass of wine for you.
Parents, you’ve got this! Just take big breathers and don’t sweat the small stuff.
If you’d rather swap the half term planning, for a sunshine getaway – get in touch with our concierge team. They’ll be with you from start to finish and will ensure your holiday goes off without a hitch in sight.