By: Rachel Doherty | Tweens 2 Teen

It’s not long now until the kids go back to school! But there’s still time to squeeze in a few last minute activities to keep that holiday feeling going.

The traffic is picking up and the new year well underway, so that means it’s almost time for school to restart. Whether your kids love it or loathe it, there’s lots of things that need doing in this last week of holidays, but it’s doesn’t need to be all work and no play.

“Time is a game played beautifully by children.” – Heraclitus

Making the most of your last week of school holidays

All good things come to an end, including school holidays. How quick do those weeks fly? Between haircuts and digging out uniforms and books, there’s still a time to enjoy life without the timetable or the school bell.

Kids who find school a tough gig can start to withdraw as the first day approaches. The anxiety can be overwhelming. Particularly if they’re making the move to high school or changing schools.

If one of your kids is fearing what’s ahead, check out my article on helping anxious kids settle back into school.

But before we get back into the school routine, here’s 14 things to squeeze into life this week:

1. Prepare to dive. Just like a submarine gets ready to go underwater, the last week of holidays is a changeover for your home. There’s all those holiday treats and games to put away. And the desks need a clean off so they’re ready for homework. Doing this changeover gradually can help kids make the mental switch back into school mode too.

2. Head to the beach or mountains. There’s time for one or two last outings before the reality of the 9-3 schedule takes hold. Make the most of it to grasp some time with nature and one another.

3. The big shop. The first week of term is the one we should be best prepared for. If it goes smooth, often others will follow the pattern. Stocking up on lunchbox goodies, the staples and dinner ideas will get you off to a good start. And there’s still time to enjoy a couple of holiday treats too!

4. Squeeze in one more movie marathon. Nothing says holidays more than lazing on the lounge watching a couple of movies back to back. Whip out the popcorn and make it a big deal.

5. Make nice breakfasts. If your staples in term time are toast and cereal, make a big effort this week to put on the fancy options to keep that holiday spirit alive.

6. Play a board game. The one thing you don’t get when the kids are at school is time to linger over a game. So many good things happen for families when they gather together and play games.

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” – Robert Orben

7. Let them have a lazy day. The pace of life when school returns is hectic. Most kids don’t get a lot of down time, so don’t timetable the week to much. Make space for them to dive into a book or fritter a few hours away doing nothing.

8. Eat lots of meals together. There’s no better way to affirm your family values and goals than by sharing a meal together. I tend to go for “big platter” meals, where there’s lots of things to pass around the table and get everyone talking. A meal at the table can often be the perfect set up for a board game too.

9. Wash the car and have a water fight. Lots of these chores can get pushed to the backburner once school goes back. As part of cleaning up, it can be lots of fun to work on a few together and finish with a massive water fight or Nerf war.

10. Drag out the school bags. Get the kids to find all their school stuff and check what needs replacing. It’s better to find that long forgotten lunchbox a few days before school, rather than the last night.

11. Put on a challenge. Most kids love a good competition, particularly one that involves their wits and strength.

12. Invite friends over. Informal afternoon teas, poolside barbecues or brunch on the deck. These are all great ways to connect with special people before life gets busy again.

13. Crank up the music. Invite fun into your house. Play that daggy 80’s music, and let them put on their favourites to get everybody moving and laughing.

14. Talk it up. For some kids going back to school can be a real drag. They need to be reminded that it’s just 10 more weeks until they’ll be footloose and fancy free again. Talk up the good times you’ve had together. And make a few plans for the next holidays that they can hang onto when things get tough or they feel down.

No matter how your kids feel about school, the last week of holidays is a time to gloss over the inevitable.

And if you’re not sure where to start on getting things ready for school, you might find my back to school routine helpful.

Article supplied with thanks to Tweens 2 Teen.

About the Author: Rachel Doherty helps those living and working with young people, through supervision, coaching, speaking and consulting.