Being outside is paramount to healthy minds
- Credit: Getty Images
After a blink and you miss it return to school the holidays are upon us.
I’m not complaining because I love having my children home (without home school), but what are we going to do with so many restrictions still in place and how shall we stop ourselves going stir crazy again?
Half term was a bit of a bust for us so I’m absolutely determined to make this holiday different and with some easing of the rules I really think we can do it.
Two families of any number suits us larger tribes and I plan on spending time in friends' gardens, having a trip to the closest beach, eating nice food (I mean what else is there?) and… Though my kids will groan we shall be taking daily walks because it’s good for the soul and once you’ve been out and done it everyone always feels better!
“Better” is my main plan for the whole break.
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The funk I found myself in last time, though I had looked forward to not having to bribe my children into sitting down to do maths for the week, was no good for any of us.
The hard going part, I realise now, was not having plans, no matter how small, meaning I found myself almost hankering after the stimulation of school work even if it resulted in arguments.
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I was moody, the children were bored and we all felt relieved when it was over.
It was not a scenario to be repeated and though it feels perhaps like nothing has changed I will be damned if I don’t change the narrative for this family time.
We do have an easier ride coming up for this fortnight at home so I’m hoping it won’t be a bleak mission without fruit.
Boris giving us a slightly longer leash coupled with the weather promising to be milder and we can but make like the flowers and point our faces towards the sunshine – everything feels that much better with more light in the day.
Last year on Jimmy’s lockdown birthday, when we still had fresh energy to make something out of nothing, we had an army themed day with a treasure hunt to find army related fodder (enemy bullets were horse droppings – we played to his boyish-ness).
It’s inspiration to jazz up our daily exercise this holiday with a different theme every day.
On Easter weekend we shall have seasonal treasures to find.
We can hunt for stones shaped like eggs (for every one found a chocolate equivalent shall be presented to the finder – it IS the second biggest chocolate holiday after all)!
Sheep will be another (different points for sheared sheep, black and white and if you spot a lamb you get double), daffodils (prize for one found - not picked - unattached to its roots so that we can bring it home) and bunnies (we always see plenty of bunnies).
Luckily living in the countryside we should be able to make these treasure hunts/daily walks work!
I think being outside is paramount to healthy minds and so whatever the weather we are going, doing, being, seeing and it won’t be all singing and all dancing but it will be good.
There won’t be trips to Roarr or Pensthorpe or BeWILDerwood but we will try to use this time to recover some of the camaraderie we found amongst ourselves this time last year when we were new to making the best of a bad situation and yet did it with aplomb.
It’s harder now because it’s been going on for so long but we find the silver lining with no plans of any magnitude meaning we won’t be spending money.
If we have any saved at the end of it we can put it towards doing something really big and bold and full of the singing and dancing we had become so accustomed to pre lockdown.
We can plan a really special trip, a day out or restaurant meal as a family making something to really, really look forward to!
And sometimes being able to look forward is enough.
When I was 14 I remember speaking to a homeless man I used to see wrapped in his duvet every day on my way home from school.
One day he didn’t have it keeping him warm so I went to ask him if he’d like a cup of tea or coffee from the shop next door and when we chatted I asked him why he didn’t have it.
It had been stolen he told me and I was aghast for him. I said how sorry I was and that I was sorry I was too young to offer to buy him one.
Then he said this: “It’s fine. I was used to it being there so I wasn’t thankful for it anymore. Now it will be a while, I will be cold and uncomfortable but just think of the day I get a new one, I will appreciate it so much more.”
That has always stuck with me.
Ruth Davies has a parenting blog, rocknrollerbaby.co.uk