It’s really simple. I have one piece of advice. Take a breath, sit down and prepare yourself.
Here it is.
Act like you’re on holiday.
That’s it. Do that and I promise this whole raising up your kids thing will be a foregone conclusion.
List the things you like to do on holiday.
Then do them.
Ask your kids what they like about going on holiday.
Then do them.
Oh, you’re still wanting some examples? Well, here’s some from my list:
Swimming at the beach.
Playing together – uno, last card, catan, guess who.
Listening to music.
Lying in the sun.
Reading my book.
Using public transport.
Visiting interesting places: museums, cafes with exotic food, old settlement sites, wildlife sanctuaries.
Going to bed together and smelling the sun in my children’s hair.
Going somewhere we’ve never been before.
I asked my kids what they like about going on holiday, and here’s what they said:
Getting ice cream
Wondering where we should go.
Parking somewhere in the bush.
Seeing new cities.
Going to see family.
Going to the beach and having fun
Having fun with lots of people.
That’s all I could get out of them while they were on their screens.
I would hazard a guess that they like going on holiday to spend more time with us doing fun stuff like reading to them, playing cards, swimming with them, biking with them.
There’s something about going on holiday that creates a sense of “team”. Of being on the same one. Of cooperation. There doesn’t seem to be the competition between chores and play, or getting shit done and hanging out.
So, to borrow that Americanism “staycation” – have one of them. Garner a sense of adventure, of relaxation, or excitement, or wonder from the comfort of your own home. Throw bed times out the window. Don’t set your alarm. Let the dishes sit. Wear the same clothes for several days because they’re comfy and practical and mildly clean. Get your nose in a book and let your kids relax on their screens while you read. Binge watch a series on Netflix. Dust off the board games and play them with your partner. Your kids will flock to see what the commotion is. Drink wine. Eat chocolate. Make platters.
Do this until it feels normal.
Welcome to the rest of your life.