“Mum, I’m hungry!” Sound familiar? It’s a phrase on high rotation during the school holidays. To keep your sanity intact, it pays to prepare ahead. If you’re kids are like mine, feeding them junk food and packaged processed stuff will likely backfire with bad behaviour, so if you can make the time, it’s well worth it to do some big batch cooking before the holidays and stock up your freezer and pantry with healthy muffins, biscuits, muesli bars, balls and slices. Try these Banana Coconut Muffins, Chocolate Zucchini Muffins, or these Chia Seed Muesli Bars from Eat This My Friend – a great recipe resource with a whole stack of easy healthy recipes including gluten free, refined sugar free and vegan options. Other easy healthy snack ideas to fill your pantry are our organic popcorn, fresh and dried fruit and nuts. A great tip is to pack a lunchbox for each child in the morning, as you would for school. Even if they’re not going anywhere, it lets them feed themselves for at least part of the day.
“Mum, I’m bored!” Three other words you’re almost guaranteed to hear during the holidays. Limiting screen time is something almost every parent struggles with, so you need to be armed with alternatives. The cheapest activities – and often most enjoyable – are those that involve physical activity and getting outdoors. Go to the park or the beach, pack a picnic and go for a bushwalk, go for a bike ride, or ‘camp out’ in the backyard. If it’s wet, make a cubby house out of blankets and chairs in the living room, do some cooking together, play board games, draw or paint.
While it’s handy to have a few ideas up your sleeve, it’s not your job to entertain the kids 24/7, and letting them get bored occasionally actually encourages their creativity. The bored jar is a great idea for school aged kids – every time your kids say they’re bored they go to the jar and take out a slip of paper, which gives them an activity to do (it could be a household chore, an exercise or another activity).
There’s nothing like a good old Aussie road trip for making school holiday memories with the family. Once again, it’s food – and plenty of it – that’s key to keeping things harmonious in the car. Give your kids a container filled with healthy food and snacks (but keep a few things in the front with you in case they eat it all in one go). Try nuts, home made biscuits, cut up veggie sticks, protein balls, or make your own trail mix with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and choc buttons
Many of us will be juggling school holidays with paid work, household chores and all the other usual life stuff. It’s essential to give yourself some time off to relax and recharge, so make it a priority to schedule in some me time!