MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE

Our res­i­dent fun­ny­man Tim Ross on keeping the kids amused in the hol­i­days

Real Living (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

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”.

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