Wahoooo it’s holidays!! We hope you’re just as excited as your kiddos are!
We really love school holidays, but so many parents don’t feel quite the same way. The trick is to ‘lightly’ schedule things and have a bit of a routine going, and of course you know we’re going to say that you need to keep your kids physically active and burn some energy every day too, for so many reasons that you already know!
Of course, if you’re in Cape Town and you’d like to outsource some of that active time, sign up for one of our holiday adventures! They’re definitely a highlight for the children who join us.
Here are some tips and ideas for a great holiday, from our family to yours.
1. First, have everyone in the family make a holiday wish list
This can include absolutely anything you and your kids like to do, like watching movies, or going to the park. It’s your holiday, you can put in whatever you like, and spend as little or as much money as you like. Here are some of the things we’re planning to do this holiday:
Things that cost very little or nothing
- Trips to the library
- Trips to the park
- Walking the dog
- Playing on the beach
- Riding bikes
- Riding scooters
- Family movie sleepover (we all sleep in the lounge)
- Lounge camping (yup, in the tent)
- Board games
- Making crafts
- Building forts
- ‘Minute to win it’ games day with friends
- Driving up Red Hill to watch the sunrise with a flask of hot chocolate
- Backwards 3 course dinner – eating dessert first, then mains, and starters last
- Newlands forest, the Constantia Green Belt, or Tokai cycle path
And some special family outings:
- A show – we might check out Alice in Wonderland at Canal Walk. And of course a trip to the Canal Walk games arcade is quite an adventure for our ‘deep south’ kiddos. Apparently Northern Suburbs children are soooo lucky that they get to go to arcades, while all we get to do is hiking and surfing and normal stuff like that! While we’re there, we’ve heard Intaka island is great, so we’ll check that out too this holiday.
- Lunch somewhere different that the kids haven’t been before – we’re thinking Fish on the Rocks in Hout Bay which we’ve heard is really family friendly.
- Cape Town’s Open top bus tour with City Sightseeing. Their 3-for-1 family offer means kids go free which is a bonus.
- A harbour cruise at the V&A Waterfront – they’re also running a 3-for-1 family offer which means we can all go for a cruise for a grand total of R70.
- Ice-skating at Grand West’s Ice Station.
- We’re definitely going to spend some time at one or two of the play/activity centres that have appeared in the last year or two, like Be.Up Park in Pinelands, Rush trampoline park in Claremont, or The Play Station in Tokai.
- Cheese tasting at Fairview Wine Estate followed by a picnic at Joostenberg Bistro just down the road (always a winter holiday favourite outing of ours).
- Kirstenbosch Gardens is a must, so hopefully we’ll get enough sunny days to fit a picnic there in as well.
- Simonstown Scratch Patch, always a winner for some reason!
- Tobogganing at Cool Runnings is top of my son’s list, so I’m sure we’ll be paying them a visit.
Once you add in all of our Fit Kids holiday adventures that’s quite a full school holiday already, but do let us know if there’s something else we just have to add to our list!
2. Second, turn your wish list into a schedule
It doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to 100% stick to it. Leaving a couple of gaps is always a good idea so that you can intentionally have some down time. But, sketching out what you plan to do is super exciting for the kids, and makes you feel kind of purposeful each day. I don’t know about you, but the thought of waking up with no plans day after day after day makes me a bit crazy!
3. Third, create a bit of routine
You want to slack off on the structure a bit in the school holidays, but we find that our children are much happier if there are some constants each day. Here are ours:
- Having breakfast together. It just starts the day well.
- Getting dressed before 9am. We might spend a day or two in PJs, but mooching around until half way through the day puts everyone in a bad mood for some reason.
- No screen time before 4pm. Except on special movie days. I know, we’re pretty mean on the screen time around here.
- Having dinner together.
- Sticking to the same bed time each night. It’s invariably a bit later than usual in the holidays, but the grown ups in our house can’t function without a cut off time!
4. Lastly, add in a couple of holiday ‘must do’s’
Screen time is a great motivator in our house. In the holidays you only get your screen time if you’ve done all of these things:
- Something outside for at least 2 hours a day (easy peasy if you come to a holiday adventure…haha)
- Read for at least half an hour a day (looked at books/been read to for the little ones)
- Worked on a project for at least half an hour a day. Make something, write something, build something out of blocks or lego…you know what we mean.
Yes, there are exceptions if we have a busy day…but these are usually the kinds of things our children do everyday anyway, so it’s not a big deal. More like something to direct them to when they come and say that they’re feeling bored.
Wow, reading that list makes it sound like we’ve got it all figured out! Just so you know, we’ll probably get this ‘school holiday management’ thing right about 50% of the time. But we’ll give it our best shot. If nothing else, we hope these ideas will inspire you to make the most of this winter holiday with your family.
We hope you have a lovely break, travel safe if you’re going away, keep warm, and enjoy some down time.