MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE
Our resident funnyman Tim Ross on keeping the kids amused in the holidays
During January, it’s never pleasant to see parents unravelling at the seams as the prospect of having to entertain the kids for another four weeks kicks in. Summer holidays were designed back in the olden days so children could help parents harvest the crops. These days, when most families have an indoor fig tree rather than a field of corn, the actual need for kids to have what feels like a million weeks off over Christmas seems well and truly superseded.
Obviously we can’t cut back the length of the holidays, because then our poor school teachers would get a lot less time to spend driving Ubers, so unfortunately we just have to tough it out. To help get you through it, I’ve compiled my list of things you can do to keep the kids entertained… on a budget (hooray!). Grandparents
Banish the phrase “Mum can only cope with one!” from your vocabulary. The grandparent of today got cheap housing, the first round of fluoride in their drinking water and saw Neil Diamond in his prime. Life has been good for them and now they have to put down the referral for the specialist, suck it up and do their time with as many grandkids as you can drop on them. Your new phrase is, “This rosé ain’t going to drink itself, Mum. Take the kids to see the new Minions movie now.” iPads
When I was a kid, people were concerned that if we watched too much telly, we’d end up with square eyes. The only thing that happened was we ended up knowing quite a lot about
The Simpsons. Now everyone is worried about kids and devices. You call them devices; I call them the next generation babysitter. If they were just one degree better, I’d be happy to pay mine eight bucks an hour. The next door neighbours
Don’t let being named and shamed on some local parenting Facebook group put you off. Letting your kids knock on the neighbours’ door with enough food for a whole day is the new black. Most people will wait until you do it for the sixth or seventh time before calling community services, so time your run well then move onto the next house. The family archive game
Tricking children into cleaning things up is the oldest trick in the book. If you have a bunch of photos you need sorted, why not play a game of “Quick kids, I bet you can’t find a photo of your dad’s first wife”? Sure, the kids will no doubt end up needing some therapy later, but if they hold it in for long enough, you won’t be around to pick up the tab. Random play dates
If you have an email list of the parents from school, just pick a couple of random names and send them a note saying, “Jessica is always talking about [insert random kid’s name here] and would love to have a play date”. If you get a bite, make a date and then the day before, tell them your pool fence has fallen over. The play date will be swapped to their place quicker than you can say, “I’m only putting five bucks in for your teacher’s present”.