Choosing the right childcare/early learning centre for you and your child

The challenge of the blank page…

This can mean different things for different people … but when it’s school holidays and you are responsible for ‘entertaining’ your children during this time it’s the abyss of “I’m bored” or, almost worse, adult cries of “get away from that computer/tv/gaming console, get outside and do something!” that can feel just overwhelming.

For me, it’s one of those conflicting times as I:

  1. Believe that children have a right to a break from the day to day drudgery too! Going to school, daycare, before and/or after school… getting up at a certain time, rushing to get ready – being driven by the clock… it’s exhausting for adults – so why not for our children?
  2. It’s also kind of like when I hear that “Dad is babysitting”… he’s the Dad – so is it really babysitting? I see that organising things for your children during their holidays is that has to be done because you’re the parent.

Surely we should be embracing this time?  All the books, platitudes – ahem I mean motivational gurus – tell us that ‘every second’ is precious… so why do we find it so stressful?

So let’s not fear the blank page.  It’s just blank.  All it needs is something put there to make it not blank… So let’s reframe school holidays.  Don’t feel guilty about arranging for them to spend time with grandma/grandpa, aunty/uncle, playdates and the like… the children will love it (as will most of those doing the caring).

When you ARE able to steal some time from work, there’s approximately 3.6 bazillion websites out there offering hints and ideas on what to do these holidays… but here’s our thoughts for some great (good value) local outings:

  • Go to your local library. Honestly, there’s hours of fun to be had there.  Check what they’ve got planned (they always have something on in the holidays) and these activities are often free.  If you haven’t been for a while, they also lend out DVDs, music, magazines and even toys!
  • Check out your local museum. Don’t have one?  I’ll bet you do!  Just check.  Sometimes they’re ridiculously small and a complete waste of space… but other times – they are amazing and offer nothing but interest and can inspire your children in other ideas and projects.
  • Weather permitting – go to the beach. Make sure you take lots of sunscreen, something to read, plenty of water and ideally some shade… spend just a few dollars getting some chips from the local fish and chip shop.  The children will enjoy the snack and there’s nothing like the experience of being swarmed by seagulls as they catch wind of your purchase!  Oh – and sunshine at the beach is not compulsory – sometimes wind and rain add a really fun element to a trip to the beach – just make sure you have towels and maybe even a change of clothes in the car so you can be comfortable on the ride home (a hot chocolate could be great too).  Take the dogs for a further level of enjoyment (check your local council regs to make sure you can take your dogs).
  • Family games night/day. Needs no explanation.
  • Movie day/night… particularly good for those swelteringly hot (provided you have air conditioning) or miserable, wet, windy days… everyone gets to pick their favourite. Popcorn and home made choctops all round!  A picnic of pizza on the loungeroom floor is always fun too!
  • Go to your local park… take a picnic and spend several hours there relaxing, playing and enjoying each other’s company.

I hope these aren’t just too darned corny, but they’re absolutely true…


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