Ahhh yes, it’s that time again when all the kiddies are home from school and all the parents and grandparents are losing their mind.
Noooo? Ok, it’s not that bad. In fact from the time the kids finish school through to Christmas Day, it’s actually quite a lovely time of year. With the buzz and cheer of the Christmas season floating around, one can’t help but get swept up in the excitement.
But what to do once the Christmas high has subsided and the juletide hangover starts to set in?
Here are some tips to help keep parents and children sane these school holidays:
This one is usually a family favourite and not just for the smaller kids, but the big kids as well (mums and dads included). It’s become quite the tradition in Brisbane over the last few years to go all out at home with intricate displays (with music) and now, with the 4KQ Christmas Lights Competition in its 30th year, 2016 is set to be a cracker. Click here for more information regarding all of the 2016 Christmas Lights Competition winners, as well as for a listing of all Christmas lights across Brisbane and Ipswich.
Summer holidays in Queensland wouldn’t be complete without a trip (or many) to the beach. As a kid we were fortunate that my dad lived right in Southport, so we spent many a lazy beach day boogie-boarding our hearts out and burying each other in the sand. The beach is also great as it can keep the kids occupied all day if need be and it’s easy on the budget as well if you pack your own meals.
If it’s going to be one of those typical summer holidays, then it’s going to get hot, really hot. So for a little reprieve, nothing beats a good movie-date with the kids and thankfully there are plenty of age-appropriate movies to choose from this season, from Trolls for the littlies to Red Dog: True Blue for the older kids.
New Farm Park at the Brisbane Powerhouse will also once again hold its Moonlight Cinema program throughout December and January, see here for more information and movie listings.
Of course, this list has to include the obvious big attractions that SE Queensland has to offer- namely Sea World, Movie World, Wet ‘n Wild, Dreamworld and Paradise Country. Although tickets for a day trip can be a bit on the steep side, you can make savings if you invest in multi park and repeat-visit packages.
With all the focus on what parents can do to occupy or satisfy their kids these holidays, I think it’s also important for kids to understand the importance of giving back as well and what better way to do so than to volunteer their time helping others in some way. Not only is it rewarding, it can also help teach children compassion, empathy and gratitude. So go visit that elderly relative or family friend you haven’t seen in a while and offer to help clean up their yard or do a spring clean of your own house and donate the stuff you no longer need or use to charity.
Have a bake-off
Kids just love to help in the kitchen, so if you want to get them really excited, let them help make all the meals for the day. If that’s too much, get them to help you bake a cake. My daughter Audrey is almost four, so still too young to do anything on her own, but I sometimes buy the pre-mix cupcake or cake mixes from the supermarket which feature one of her favourite cartoon characters. It makes for simple, easy and relatively mess-free fun. The pre-mix packets usually only cost around $3-$5, so a cheap and easy activity. But if you like to make things from scratch then there are tons of recipes you can find on the internet. Just consult with Mr Google or do it the old fashioned way and look in a recipe book.
Probably not something high up on the kids’ agenda, but definitely something of interest for all parents, is the free Kid’s Health Check offered by the QUT Health Clinics. This great initiative will once again provide free health check-ups for school-age kids and those getting ready to start school. Check-ups are at the Kelvin Grove Campus on the 10th, 11th and 12th of January 2017. They include: foot checks, vision screening, nutrition assessments & dietary advice and education & development assessments. Free parking will be provided on the day and registration is essential. To book in call: (07) 3138 9777.
Brisbane CC Website
If you’re really stuck for ideas, or if you just want to try something completely different, then there are plenty of free kid-friendly activities planned these holidays by the Brisbane City Council, ranging from Botanic Garden tours to Zumba in the park. Check out the BCC website for loads of kid-friendly activities!
And as the experts say, sometimes it’s good to let children be bored as it provides room for creativity and for them to discover their passions, so don’t feel bad if your every day isn’t packed full of activities, because you’ll actually be doing them a favour.
Myjanne Jensen is a full-time journalist and mum of two girls, soon to be four (twin girls due April 2018).
Myjanne has written for She Society (formerly She Brisbane) in addition to her full-time role for more than two years, where she has focused on writing about life as a mother to two young children and has covered a range of other topics such as physical and mental health and well-being, relationships, beauty, fitness, societal trends and issues.
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Myjanne has a strong interest in a variety of different issues ranging from women’s rights, social justice, health and wellbeing, multiculturalism, human behaviour, music and the arts.
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