How to Survive School Breaks With Your Kids

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Whether you are on spring break, preparing for summer break or in this instance, a pandemic break, entertaining your kids can be hard. I know that I really look forward to breaks with my kids because I have this image that it is going to be so perfect. I dream of all the wonderful things we will do and all the fun to be had. Then, reality sets in and a few hours into break, my kids are bored, looking for a snack and at each other’s throat. There is hope however! Here are some awesome tips on how to survive school breaks with your kids. 

1. Follow a Routine for Everyone's Sake

Listen, routines are not overrated. I understand that we are all just trying to survive when we are on break and it’s really hard to keep everyone on a routine but I promise, promise, promise… ROUTINE MATTERS. There’s a lot of funny memes going around of moms just trying to hold it together during break, but in reality, routines are the best way to hold it together. 

I am not saying you have to be completely rigid with your routine but having a system and time frame for lunch, snacks, TV time and bedtime will serve you well in the end. 

Without a routine, my kids will literally eat the entire day and play on their I-pads or watch youtube. I am not saying I will not let them do these things obviously, but it will be part of the routine. 

Kids need structure, period. I work in education, specifically with kids that struggle with behavior. One of the best ways to prevent poor behavior is to make the environment as predictable as possible. People think that kids like to have a parent or a teacher that is loose on their rules and expectations but that is just not true. Kids thrive when there are clear expectations and understand the routine. I know my son’s biggest meltdowns come from when he doesn’t have enough time to process change. 

Hanging Door Routine Chart

You can find a lot of printable routines on Pinterest. I really like this hanging chart though. What I like about it is that you can change it up as needed, it is dry erase and you can add your own activities. We also use this so that the babysitter knows the routine. It’s visual and the kids can see what’s coming next. 

2. Set Expectations for Chores

During school breaks with your kids is a great time to get caught up on chores. I know that I always look forward to the time that I can get some projects done around the house. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize I should be including my kids in the chores. 

Give them a checklist to follow. My kids do best when they have a list to check off. 

  • Break large tasks up into smaller parts. For example, rather than “clean your room” ask kids to “put all of your laundry in the hamper”. 
  • Reward you kids as they go. I give my kids a popsicle stick for each completed task. Once they have ten popsicle sticks they can watch one show. 

See how I implement a Saturday morning checklist for my kids, that works great for break as well right here and grab the freebie inside!

3. Kick the Kids Outside

Remember the days when we were kids and we would leave the house to go play with our friends first thing in the morning? (that is after we ate our cereal, read the back of the box and watched the Saturday morning cartoons) We would play outside literally all day long. My mom had a whistle that the whole neighborhood could hear. When we heard that whistle we knew it was time to come home, as did everyone else. Those were the good ol’ days. 

Here’s the thing. Those don’t have to be the good ol’ days. There is no reason our kids can’t experience the playing outside until the streetlights come on phase of their life. I know, times are different, but making your kids turn off the T.V. and getting outside to jump on the trampoline, or play in the backyard is not a bad thing. 

Get outside with the kids too. Use side walk chalk, get out the bubbles and let the kids get messy. I am amazed at how great of an imagination my children have when I really have the chance to see them use it. 

Besides, a little vitamin D is good for the soul.

4. Plan Something Fun

Plan something fun for the kids. You don’t have to make something huge and grand for it to be fun. Take the kids on a bike ride, do a scavenger hunt, build a fort and watch a movie inside the fort. Memories with the kids are made from moments like these. 

Check out this awesome spring break bucket list and bonus scavenger hunt here

You can also pop over to another one of my posts that gives 15 fun ideas of things to do at home during a break. Check it out here.

5. Unplug, and I Don't Just Mean the Kids

Okay, ready for it? Put your phone away (after you’re finished reading this of course). It’s a hard thing to do but model for kids that it’s not only okay but necessary to unplug. 

Yes, you can let kids watch television and play on their devices, but not all day long. Kids are significantly more irritable when they are plugged in all of the time. This is where the routine from above comes in. Make certain part of the day “tech free”. 

For us, morning is a great time to allow the kids to watch a show or two while we wake up and get breakfast ready. Also, when your kids are a little older, you can even catch a few extra moments of sleep by allowing your kids to watch a bit of T.V. in the morning. I talk more about that here. 

Plan a movie night or watch a movie with the kids. That way you can monitor your kids technology viewing and it becomes more of an “event” rather than what they are doing all day long. If a kid has the choice of doing a chore, reading, playing outside or watching TV, they are going to choose television. Don’t give them that option. 

Hang in there. It’s a little rough right now with the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember, this too shall pass. Stick to these 5 tips how to survive a school break with your kids. I know in times like these, I remember the good. I am grateful for time with my family and grateful that we are all healthy. 

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