Let’s jump straight to it. Kids plus holidays equals “I’m bored”, “I’m hungry” and generally a lot of expense.

How can we survive the holidays without breaking the budget? Here are our top 5 tips to keep the little munchkins entertained!

1. Child Swap

Sounds a bit strange, but please hear us out.

Before boredom sets in, establish which friends of your child/children are home with their parents during the holidays and who are willing to have structured weekly/fortnightly play dates.

By locking in the days where you have the lot, you can be prepared with things like board games, park activities, DVD’s etc. and by having the extra kid/kids means you can hopefully tick off a few home tasks while they entertain themselves.

When it’s your turn not to have the kids, it will give you time to catch up on any appointments you may need to do, plus any food or Christmas shopping you’d prefer to do without inquisitive eyes watching.

2. Search for free kids activities online

You will be amazed at how many free activities are available in and around your suburb.

Aside from all the wonderful parks and beaches we have, search the web for local ideas.

There are always markets, fetes, free shows, and topical displays during this peak holiday time.

For entertainment that will cost you, do some research and planning first – make sure you check all of the reward programs you’re a member of, plus entertainment books and cheap movie days in case you’re eligible for a discount.

3. Go Camping

Every family should try camping at least once. Kids absolutely love it.

Firstly, camping is it is not expensive.

Secondly, you can travel an hour from home, or four hours; there are many wonderful campsites around Australia.

If you don’t have any camping equipment just ask around. Many friends/family will have the equipment and will be glad to see it being used rather than sitting in the shed. The other great things about camping are:

  • You can stay for one night or many – and can change it at any time.
  • It’s a great way of getting the kids off the electronic equipment and see nature without interruption.

4. Set a goal with the kids and thank them for helping!

This one may cost a little bit – but you are in control as to what the reward will be.

All kids love rewards. At the very start of the holidays determine what reward would be particularly suitable for your child/children. It could be going to a water/theme park, a show/concert, mini golf, a train/boat/day trip, etc.

Print out a calendar and for each day nominate something your child must do and mark the day the reward will happen. Things like, helping with dishes, cleaning, washing the car, helping with dinner etc.

Your kids will stay focused, and if the holiday whinging really does bother you, include this in the task list – i.e. every time they say they are bored they will get a cross marked on their calendar. If they get more than 10, the reward will get pushed back or cancelled!

5. Help the community

A quality we all want our kids to have is compassion.

We also want them to understand that there are kids who are very sick, disabled or less fortunate and they need to be reminded of how fortunate they are.

Find a charity/hospital/fundraising event that you and your kids can help with or participate in. It’s worthwhile for the kids and us as parents.

For example, have your kids sort through their toys, books and clothes and explain to them about the hospital/charity/event you are going to, so they understand how they are helping. It is a wonderful thing to do, and they will remember it.

We hope you find some or all of these ideas helpful over the school holidays, and remember our kids grow up so quickly – enjoy them now before they turn into grumpy teenagers!

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