Sigh. When he's home, I feel I should be engaged with him and doing fun things. But I work from home, and work will still need to be done. So, I'll feel guilty when I'm working and ignoring him, and guilty when I'm having fun with him and ignoring work. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this!! It seems to be a common sentiment among parents who "stay at home" or "work at home" with their kids around. The trick is to find the right balance for you and your family, and be prepared with a plan.
Here are a few ideas to get you through March Break with a minimum of guilt and bored kids, avoiding the #MarchBreakMeltdown that can come from that boredom, and a maximum of fun and independence.
1. Get Out of the House.
March Break is a total of 9 days. That is a long time to be at home. If you are able, plan a couple of fun days out. Two, or maximum three, so you don't overschedule. In Ontario, it is prime maple syrup season, and many locations hold festivals where kids can learn about maple syrup production, both now and in the past. Bonus points - a visit to a maple syrup festival is time spent outdoors! Take a nature walk to look for signs of spring, or simply plan an afternoon at the local playground. With any luck you'll get some adult conversation while the kids play with their friends.
If the weather isn't the greatest, or you prefer indoor fun, check with your local library or community centre and see what March Break activities they have planned. our library branch is doing story times, and running a coding workshop.
2. Kids Love Crafts.
Have a crafter on your hands? Be prepared with a few new projects they can try. Pick up a book like Boredom Busters (affiliate link) to get ideas, and head out to grab your supplies. Just be sure to pick projects the kids can handle at least mostly unsupervised.
Even a new colouring book and pencils can be a great way to keep a creative kid entertained for hours. Or finger paints and a big roll of paper. Be sure to get a cheap plastic table cloth while you're at the store to cover their work area.
3. Interactive Toys and Games.
4. If You Have a Backyard, Use It.
When I was a kid (insert "back in my day" voice) we were sent outside, and usually told to stay out until we were called for the next meal. Barring a bathroom emergency, we generally did just that. If you have a yard to play in, or if your kids are old enough to go to the local park on their own, send them out. The fresh air will be good for them, and with any luck they'll bump into their friends, or make new ones. Let them entertain themselves, and get them off their screens for a while.
Boo is fond of heading to our back yard and calling over the fence to his buddy next door. They get together a lot for outdoor play in the warmer months. A favourite activity is NERF wars. Both boys have excellent collections of both blasters and super soakers. Boo just got the MEGA Mastodon Blaster for Christmas, and he's itching to try it out. The kids can work on their strategy and planning skills with a battle, or hold a competition for accuracy or distance. Since this NERF fun has been on hold over the winter, it's sure to be a big draw and will hold his attention for a long time. And since we power his NERF blasters with Duracell, they will be able to keep up with him and his friends. I may need to pick up some dart refills though.
5. Keep Them Learning.
I'm just going to come out and say it. It's perfectly ok to make your children do some homework over March Break. No matter what they may tell you. Not tons. This is supposed to be a week to regroup and refresh. But if the kids are a little older, they may actually have school projects they can and should work on. There are graded workbooks available for many school subjects that can help your child to better understand concepts they are being taught in class, and a little time each morning can keep them in a learning routine. This can be a big help if your child needs a little academic boost.
You can also encourage your kids to read, whether it's picture books, novels, or non-fiction. Even comic books are a great option to keep them reading during their time off. You can pick up new titles while you're at the library looking into activities, right?
6. Capture the Moment.
I loved taking pictures when I was a kid, and both of my boys have always enjoyed it too. What I find even more enjoyable now is looking at the pictures my kids have taken. It's wonderful to see what grabs their attention and get a look at the world through their eyes. Do your kids have a camera or their own? I have been known to pass over my phone for photos, but I don't want my battery drained, especially if we'll be away from a charger for most of the day. Consider purchasing an instant camera like the Fujifilm Instax 300 (available at Walmart) and they can get the instant satisfaction of seeing their image in print. I like that this camera has an automatic lens cover as well, to help avoid scratches. Keep it working longer with Duracell batteries, of course.
March Break is a time for fun, and a time for resting too. Moms and Dads shouldn't feel they need to schedule every minute or entertain their kids the whole time. It's important for our children to learn to entertain themselves, and even to deal with boredom. But if you plan things out and have some great options to toss out when the "I'm bored" complaints begin, then you can be sure to avoid the dreaded #MarchBreakMeltdown - both theirs and yours!! It will be an enjoyable March Break for all.
One lucky RMB reader will receive a $50 Walmart gift card plus a selection of Duracell batteries to power their March Break. Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm ET, March 22. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec. Best of luck!!
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Duracell. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.