School holidays can bring about tears of joy or tears of frustration – and that’s just the parents! The last thing we need to be hearing is that over-used phrase ‘I’m bored, there’s nothing to do’ (said with an eye roll thrown in for good measure). While most of us will love having the children home for a week or more it can be an expensive week when school is on a break. It therefore makes sense to have a plan and look at how you can give them some treats but not break the bank. Here are some tips in time for the upcoming half term.
1. Plan ahead, the best way for us to ensure everyone has a good half term holiday is by having a conversation well ahead of the break and decide as a family what you want to do. Set realistic expectations that maybe includes one big day trip out and the other days are filled with more low key events and activities. This way each child knows what to expect and is involved in the planning.
2. Don’t fill all the time with activities. I am a firm believer in letting children relax and have nothing days. We will have a day where they eat bacon butties and don’t get dressed until lunchtime. Term time can be busy especially if like me you have one doing GCSE’s and one doing SAT’s plus a tot in reception. Let them have some downtime. I recommend grabbing some bargain DVD’s from the charity shop or car boot and saving them for a day like this. These are also great if the weather doesn’t play nicely during a week off.
4. When the sun is shining make the most of your local park. Plan a trip there with some other mums, take your own picnic lunch, blanket and bats and balls. This is a sure fire winner. The mums could even slip a little Pimm’s in to the picnic – after all it is your week off too and apparently Aldi’s Pimm’s is highly rated if you are money saving! Organise a game of football, or set up some races. Lots of laughs with very little cost.
5. Use the internet to find out what is on offer in your local neighbourhood for free. I am always amazed by some of the activities that local libraries and museums put on for children for free or a nominal cost. Local churches often run activity days too and advertise through local schools. Again if you arrange it with some other mum friends your little one is likely to be keen to go. Take turns doing the drop off and pick up and it means mum gets a break too.
6. Pre-book the big day out. It is nearly always cheaper when buying tickets for attractions online for example if you pre-book Drayton Manor Theme Park seven days in advance each ticket is £5 cheaper. For a family of four or five that is a big difference and could maybe cover the cost of your picnic.
7. Cash in vouchers like Clubcard points to spend during the week off. Cinema tickets are quite pricey but you can get through Meerkat Movies, which are 2 for 1, and it’s always worth checking the voucher sites to see if anything local has some holiday deals.
Good luck and let us know how you manage to rein in the costs of half term holidays!