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Tips to help entertain the kids these holidays

Rosalind Scutt
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
image: istock

School's out, summer's here and children need entertaining. But holidays are not always the easiest of times since managing kids requires additional logistics including travel and childcare, flexible meal options and let's not forget extra pocket money.

To help, we've collected some unbeatable tips to ensure your kids have fun and keep busy — without hijacking mum and dad's work schedules.

1. Stuck for carers?: Try the Five Family Theory

If you're working an inflexible job and can't take time out, consider the five family theory. This theory involves finding five willing families who each agree to provide one parent, one day each week (to look after all the children in one location).

  • Share the location between homes or choose the home with the best toys to act as the 'day care' base
  • One parent from each family takes a full working day off each week to supervise the children (the other parents go to work as usual)
  • This means that each parent can continue to work a four-day weeks over the holidays (while knowing their children are surrounded by friends and safely supervised — free of charge!)
  • Activities: depending on their ages (and the amount of children), there are a variety of activities to keep the kiddies busy. Try picnics in the park (kids can prepare pizza or sambo's for the event), a day at the museum/pool/park, or have the kids spend a full day preparing a dinner party for the parents (more below).

2. Annual kids' family concert

If your family is not in the tradition of performing an annual show — begin now! Just choose a future date (say, next Saturday night) and ask the children to spend a few days preparing a show for friends and family.

If they're young, have an older sibling help them with costumes and routines (dance, jokes and magic are all great fun) ,or simply ask them to prepare some carol singing.

This forward planning will keep them focused and they'll love being in the spotlight. All you have to do is turn up!

3. MasterChef at home: dinner extravaganza

Thanks to MasterChef, the nation is transfixed with cookery and cuisine. Suggest your team prepare a menu for a combined family dinner party (ask a few other families to join you). Decide on a budget (each family can contribute) and put the older ones in charge.

Help them with shopping (if need be) but leave them to arrange the finer details including the menu, decor and table setting (assign age-appropriate tasks to the little ones).

The adults will love the ease of a dinner party arranged for them and the kids will take great pride in preparing it!

4. Christmas tree art spectacular

With a bit of forward planning you can turn any home into an artist's wonderland.

Spend a few hours over the weekend in an art shop buying coloured card, glitter, glue and tinsel and set the kids the task of making new decorations for this year's tree (when children are focused, you'll be surprised at what they can create).

Ask them to observe a theme if you like (purple and silver for eg) or simply let them dictate the rules...

5. Cash for chores

Most kids hate chores — but offer them enough money and you'll see them change their minds.

Draw up a list of all the jobs you've neglected lately (cleaning the windows, polishing the silver, vacuuming the car are all great places to start) and set a price per chore (discuss a bonus payment for chores done extra well).

It's cheaper than getting a cleaner, keeps the kids out of trouble and most of all — it saves you doling out endless cash for holiday activities while teaching kids the value of a hard earned dollar.

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