Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How to Survive

Your Kids' Spring Break

Some time during the next month most American kids will enjoy the time-honored tradition of driving their parents crazy during Spring Break.

My kids are on Spring Break now, and because their school is on a balanced calendar, they're not just off for a week -- they're off for three. So, I'm called-upon to be part housemaid, part cruise director for a little while.

That means it's time to share survival strategies. Try these ideas to inject a little fun into your time together AND keep your sanity with a houseful:

Keep a morning schedule -- Have the kids do their grooming just like a school day. Set good habits early-on and they will be easy to keep later on in the break. (That way, you don't fight them to get out of their pajamas at 10:00 in the morning!)

Get Outdoors -- It's not 40 below anymore. Hooray! As long as there is no thunder and lightning, we are outdoors a good bit every day. Yesterday we walked 2 miles round trip to the grocery store. It was a windy adventure. We love to play in the yard and take advantage of empty neighborhood schools -- they have great playgrounds, you know!

Work in some Quiet -- Take time for yourself each day to write, read, workout, whatever. And get your kids to slow down too. We have a half-hour of reading after lunch when my youngest is headed to sleep for her nap. It restores our sanity and refreshes the soul a bit.

Try some Spring cleaning-- There's nothing like a little coin to motivate my crew to help. We have a list of Spring cleaning jobs that need to be done. A little time every few days does the trick to bang out the list. My guys have also asked to help with daily chores like washing dishes and -gasp- laundry. How lucky am I? (Hint: negotiate a price beforehand if you pay your children for chores.)

Hold Cooking Class -- On the first day of Spring break, I let my boys bake a cake from scratch. They were so proud of themselves. Bring your kids in on the supper prep and teach them to do it for themselves. We've made a list of foods my boys want to learn to cook and I'm teaching them one by one. It may take some time now, but I keep telling myself there will be a day when I'll sit back and let them run the show.

Get Creative -- Many schools have cut out art class because of funding and testing issues. It's amazing what a blank roll of newsprint and some tempera paint will bring out in your child. Make time for creative expression by providing crayons, paper, scissors, clay, and space to use them. Your child might amaze you.

Find Strength in Numbers - You're not the only parent who is up to their eyeballs in children over Spring Break. Call friends and arrange an exchange of play dates. Or meet friends at the playground. Moms can dish while the kids have a ball.

Have an Adventure Every day -- I ask my kids at breakfast what adventure they would like to have today. They have come up with some great ideas -- playing tennis, going to the children's museum, planting seeds in the garden, going for a hike. Putting your kids in control a little bit can be lots of fun for all of you.

Good luck, and enjoy your "vacation"... I'll do likewise.

Anybody want to meet at the playground?

- Midwest Mom


  1. Those are all fantastic tips and ideas! I will have to try to remember them for when my kids are old enough to be on Spring Break and drive me crazy.
    Lucky you that they want to do chores including laundry. Austin does pretty well with the chores we give him. I sure hope he keeps his helpful attitude.

  2. You are such a good mom - love your attitude and your planning. Both keep stress to a minimum. Have fun with those kids!

  3. Ah yes, a little planning always keeps my tribe from getting too crazy!

  4. Cool tips it will come handy in 2 years ;)

  5. Wow, 3 weeks with 3 kids!
    Great tips.
    Luckily spring break IS during spring and the outdoors is the best thing for kids to take out all their endless energy. Unfortunately for me, my kindergartener is an indoor type. I have to drag him out the house :) Unbelievable.

  6. Strength in numbers . . . oh, how you called it!

    And I just have this cute little 19-month-old.

    Nicknamed . . . Mr. Destructo!

  7. I really enjoy having outings with my kids. But the quiet time and the time for chores are 2 GOLDEN ideas. Whenever my children seem overly bored, keep getting underfoot or decide that they want to quarrel, a light goes on over my head (ding!) and I know that it's time for them to do some laundry.


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