Surviving the school holidays 101

Family at beach

School holidays are here. Excited? Scared? Already counting down the day they return?

Here is a run down of good, the bad and the ugly of the school holidays, and better yet, the SOLUTIONS on how to survive them (the bad and the ugly bits anyway).


Probably the best part of the school holidays (for parents anyway) is a more relaxed routine.

Relaxed mornings

No more rushing around each morning to try and make the school bell, only to end up missing it. And then having to find clever, passive-aggressive ways to blame the kids on the late slip.

Though sometimes honesty is the best policy.

School holidays - Tardy

Image: Pinterest

Even with some of us sending our kids to vacation care, these centres tend to be less rigid about arrival times (though understandably less so about pick-up times) and there are no shaming tardy slips to fill.

No more school lunches

If the kids are at home during the holidays, there is no need to frantically prepare lunches in the morning. They can also eat out of a tin without judgment.

School holiday lunches – Expectation

School holidays - Nice lunch

School holiday lunches – Reality

School holidays - bad lunch

Bonding time

Not being tied to routines such as morning rushes, homework and after-school activities, there is more time to bond in a chilled fashion.

Lighter traffic

As a parent working outside the home, school holiday roads are a relief. It’s also nice to avoid the ducking and weaving (and fearing for the safety of side mirrors) that comes with school drop-off zones.


Bonding time

Yes, this has made both lists. You can have too much of a good thing and saturation point can occur two weeks (or days, or hours) into the school holidays.


Boredom leads to complaining, fights and more boredom.


You had all these plans to go out in the sunshine and do fun outdoorsy stuff that would put the roses on all your cheeks and provide lots of lovely instagrammable moments.

But then there was rain. Lots of rain. As Forrest Gump said: “Little bitty stingin’ rain, and big ol’ fat rain, rain that flew in sideways, and sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night.” I live in a part of the world where all of these are actually possible.

But as anyone with kids will know, even two days in a row of garden-variety drizzle can be trying.

School holidays - rain

This is all mum’s fault.

Reaching consensus

Anything involving more than one person requires compromise. And it’s not always easy. Kids’ interests can vary according to their ages, genders, personalities and moods, so they will often want to do vastly different things.

We also need to consider ourselves as parents. Given that we are most likely going to be the financiers and chauffeurs for said activities, we need to find something that we can also handle so we don’t lose the plot – or the shirts off our backs.

Resisting the lure of the screen

For kids and for parents.

Throwing the kids in front of an iPad or the telly is tempting. But 45+ days in a row of pure, unadulterated screen time is a tad above the limit recommended by experts.


Extreme versions of The Bad.


Nicole Avery is the family organisation expert who, with five kids, has endured more than her fair share of school holidays. Listen to our podcast and gain some handy tips and tricks for surviving the school holidays.

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