To pay or not to pay?

Let your children create a landscape. No garden? Use a shoe or window box.

Summer holidays are so close now and every day my daughters’ bookbags seem to be filled with a new flyer, booklet even, of all the things they could do. This post is by Nicola Baird.

On offer are lovely crafty activities – make a seahorse, make an alien. There are skills – learn to cook or speak a new language at the borough “university”. There are sport of all sorts. There are theatre sessions so you can put your child on the stage (whatever their age Mrs Robinson). There are even play sessions. Some of these 8am-6pm clubs are free, most involve payment. Obviously anyone who is working and has a young child – and can’t find someone likeminded to do some childcare swaps – needs these holiday clubs and activities.

 The problem is that because so many people need the clubs (this is a very city concept – keep the kids busy out of sight) that the ones who don’t use them start to think their children are missing out. But long summer holidays give children a chance to reboot, focus on the things they love and learn to occupy themselves. These are essential life skills, akin to learning to love yourself and your own company. If you can offer your children the chance to explore their neighbourhood, or a bookcase or a patch of woodland go for it. Not paying for supervised learning doesn’t have to be thought of as “second best”. Find more ideas for fun things to do with your kids (and their friends/siblings) see my just out book Homemade Kids (very cheap on Amazon!) or look at my Homemade Kids website.

Here’s an idea
We have a tiny strip of lawn (a roll of grass found in a skip and carried home on a bike) but Nell, 9, likes to lie on it and play. Recently she took her cereal spoon out and dug a hole to fill with water for her model animals. Despite the garden becoming that bit more wrecked I was proud at her play initiative, and quickly took a snap of the new water hole in our garden. It reminds me of my friend Jenny who hadn’t the heart to be upset when her toddler son wrote his name all over the bathroom wall because for the first time he’d spelt it right!

 What things have your children done that could be seen as naughty – until put in context of their overall effort to master all the skills we already take for granted? Do share. Nicola x

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