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Opinion: Struggling to entertain the kids over the summer holidays?

One of the things I love about the summer holidays is the fact that there are no rules – we are at nobody else’s beck and call.

Aisling Lyons

SUMMER CAMPS ARE brilliant. Particularly if you work ‘outside the home’ and have this long stretch of time to manage. There is an amazing variety of activities from drama to religion (if that is your bag) so you can plan your summer with less stress and more choice than ever before. In fact, I don’t know how professional parents would cope without the variety of summer camps out there.

However, as a stay-at-home mum, I don’t ‘do’ summer camps. One of the things I LOVE about the summer holidays is the fact that there are no rules – we are at nobody else’s beck and call, we don’t have to be anywhere at a particular time, and most of all I don’t have to make packed lunches!

Summer is all about unwinding and relaxing, and I truly love having the children at home with me. Yes, of course they drive me up the walls and there are A LOT of hissy fits (including theirs…) but even with all that I still love having them about.

I got myself into a bit of a panic recently – everywhere I looked, there was information on summer camps – on social media, in the newspapers, and in leaflets that were constantly coming in through the letterbox. Most of my peers were booking their children’s summer camps; just a week here or there to give some variety. Was I causing my children to miss out by not sending them to camp? The main reason I gave up work was to spend more time with the kids so it really goes against the grain with me to sign them up for a camp. I swallowed my panic and made a list of all the things I plan on doing with my guys during the summer. So here it is:

Send them out to the back garden to play!

We will also do lots of things like taking trips to the beach/playground/park, walks, a little gardening, a little housework (emptying the dishwasher and putting away clothes for example), visiting friends and family, playing games together, going on picnics (somehow I don’t view making a picnic in the same dastardly light as making school lunches), browsing for some books at the library and stopping off here and there for the occasional ice-cream. However, outside of these plans, I will revert to my list and…

Send them out to the back garden to play!

We might even spend some money on day trips to town, or to the zoo or the farm. Make a journey the whole length of the DART line, or go on the LUAS to a secret destination (aka The Dead Zoo), but these will be one-offs and in the meantime I will revert to my list and… send them out to the back garden to play!

So, if you are struggling to come up with ideas of how to entertain the children over the summer holidays, and the thoughts of picking home-made playdough out of your carpet for the foreseeable don’t appeal, please feel free to make use of my list. I appreciate not everyone has a back garden but the local green or park will equally suffice. My general point is that we don’t have to farm out our children or fork out lots of money to create magical summer holidays.

Aisling Lyons, aka Babysteps, is a mother of three from Co Wicklow, Ireland. Aisling has over 20 years experience in the childcare sector. Her blog aims to help any parents struggling with the little and large problems that parenting young children can bring! Visit her website, Babysteps, or Facebook page

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Aisling Lyons

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