Before I had kids holidays were all about long lie-ins and lounging by the pool with a book. Taking a whole evening for dinner and wine or dancing the night away has given way to more family friendly activities. When you combine the practicalities of travelling with children with the pressure on everyone’s finances at the moment it’s no surprise that more people are opting to have a ‘staycation’ or holiday at home, but can that ever be as much fun?
Here are a few steps to make sure it is:
1 – Adopt a ‘holiday’ frame of mind
It’s not going to seem like a holiday if you are occupied with all the usual boring things so try and get any chores finished of beforehand. Get the shopping done along with any cleaning or washing to stop it hanging over you so you can enjoy your break. To make sure you stay in your ‘holiday bubble’ try and ignore things like your social media accounts, the news and the papers. Why not go the whole hog and tell people you’re going away if you really want some peace and quiet?
2 – Make a Plan
On a normal holiday you can take each day as it comes, planning outings or lazing around. If you don’t make plans for your staycation, however, you’ll just end up slipping into your normal routine and where’s the fun in that? Try to schedule one or two things a day so there is always something to look forward to and you don’t end up stuck in front of daytime TV or cleaning the kitchen.
3 – Investigate local attractions
We often forget about the things we see signs for everyday and go for ages without visiting the attractions right on our own door step. Take some time before your break to look into events scheduled during your holiday. I’m sure there will be some big permanent attractions like zoos or National Trust properties near by but also think about temporary things like exhibitions or theatre shows that may be coming up. There may well be some regular scheduled events at your library or community centre. How about something as simple as visiting a ‘pick your own’ fruit farm or finding a little bit countryside for a picnic which can be a fun day out for all ages.
4 – Do something unusual at home
They say a change is as good as a rest so why not try spending the day at home but doing something unusual? How about a Film Day? Rent some DVDs and get comfy with popcorn, pick ‘n’ mix or some nachos. You could even set the kids to work making some tickets for everyone to allow them entry to the living room.
Maybe a ‘Books in Bed’ Afternoon? Head off to the library so everyone can choose some new books or gather up their old favourites at home and then don some PJs and squish into bed together to enjoy them. Take it in turns to read out your favourite parts and to talk about what is happening or why you like the characters.
Gardening can sometimes be a chore but what about getting some cheap plastic pots for the kids to decorate and fill with bedding plans or herbs so they can watch grow for the rest of the summer. Kids will love a chance to play all the board games that you’re normally too busy for or to make their own pizzas with their chosen toppings. I’m sure you can come up with lots of ideas once you get started.
5 – Remember little things can be treats too
One of the nicest things about being little is that it only takes a tiny treat to make your day and, let’s face it, when they’re happy we’re happy so remember the little things. How about letting them choose their favourite dinner or getting a tin of special chocolate biscuits for an afternoon snack. One favourite in my house is letting the boys have a bath in the middle of the day. Instead of waiting until the evening when you’re all tired and focussed on getting them into bed why not do it during the day to make the most of all those toys and bubbles (and don’t worry about the splashing). So have a great staycation this year. Who knows, you may never want to go away again!
Cat is a married mum of two small boys who, after a career in health service management, now works as a freelance writer as well as blogging about parenting and family life at Yellow Days.