This column first appeared in the Manx Advertiser.
The time of year that parents dread is almost upon us; yes, the school summer holidays are about to start.
Now, although in the UK Education Secretary Michael Gove now seems hell bent on reducing the six week holiday, In the Isle of Man it remains for the foreseeable future. (By the way, how many people think that Gove must have been picked on by a teacher when he was at school, as he seems determined to make their lives as difficult as possible?)
So here are some tips to keep your young ones occupied in the long weeks ahead.
Find them a job. It’s time they pulled some weight, so help them get some seasonal work and if it keeps them out of your hair for the duration of the holidays, so much the better. Given the prospect of tuition fees looming over parents and children’s heads, no age for this is too young. For instance, check out how many homes in your locality still use chimneys.
Organise a treasure hunt. Now you must be careful to ensure that organising such a treasure hunt does not create more work for you than just looking after your children in the first place. So keep it simple. Give them a spade and tell them there’s hidden treasure in the back garden. If you like, draw a map that directs them to the area of lawn you were meaning to dig up anyway.
Give them a research project. For example, get them to observe Queen’s Pier for six weeks to see if any bits drop off it.
Rely on the weather. If it’s sunny, children should be outdoors enjoying the fresh air, so encourage them to make the most of the nice weather. For the remaining five weeks and six days they can play on their mobile phones.
Find some traditional pastimes. For instance, get someone to open up an arcade, give your child 50p and send them on their way.
Patronise them. Tell them how in your day you always found something to do and were never bored. They’ll be so sick of hearing it, they’ll be out of your hair as soon as possible.
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