When it comes to family holidays, a lot of planning is involved prior to actually going anywhere. 
 Picture: Avio
When it comes to family holidays, a lot of planning is involved prior to actually going anywhere. Picture: Avio

5 ways busy parents can make the most of the school holidays

By IOL Supplied Time of article published Mar 14, 2020

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When it comes to family holidays, a lot of planning is involved prior to actually going anywhere. 

Often, the majority of this workload is handled by moms. Then, once the whole family has arrived safely at the holiday destination, there’s unpacking, entertainment and activities and cleaning to think of. 

Unless you’ve booked a luxury package at an idyllic resort where your every whim is taken care of, you’re likely to find yourself in self-catering accommodation where you can cater to your family’s every need. Sounds exhausting for the planner of the family. 

But moms (or whoever does the bulk of the planning in your family) deserve a break too. Quality time with loved-ones is a rare commodity these days. So, how can you maximise on quality time while on holiday?  

Make sure you don’t need a holiday to recover from your holiday with these useful tips. 

Failure to plan is planning to fail 

There’s a lot that you can do ahead of time to ensure that your holiday goes smoothly and, ideally, allows time for you to just relax. First things first, be sure to book your leave days early to make sure you can maximise on quality family time during the school holidays. 

Once your dates are set, book any flights and accommodation to be sure to get the location you want and potentially get discounts for booking well enough in advance. 

Now it’s time for the itinerary. Avoid that “I didn’t do everything I wanted to” feeling by plotting out your activity wishlist in advance. If you need to book tickets for any activities, be sure to do that early so that you don’t miss out. 

All of this said, don’t overplan. You want to be able to just be together, chill out, play games, go for walks and have at least one pyjama day. 

Don’t over-complicate mealtimes

Perhaps the most time-consuming part of a family holiday is making sure everyone is regularly fed. But you don’t need gourmet meals every day of the holiday. You can save yourself a lot of time by packing cereals and snacks that are good to go, and by making quick and simple meals the rest of the time. 

Boerewors rolls, kebabs, build-your-own burgers and potjie are always crowd pleasers. Don’t forget to pack some tin foil to cook all sorts of veggies on the coals if you’re braaing. Or, for rainy days make an oven dish.

Don’t think twice about asking for help

No matter how prepared you are, there is always going to be a lot of cleaning up involved in a family self-catering holiday. Minimise this chore by taking a day off and booking a cleaner for a day (or two, or three). 

If you’re travelling within South Africa, or perhaps spending the holidays at home, apps like SweepSouth enable you to book a ‘SweepStar’ at the click of a button. This frees up time for you to take the kids out for the day and return to a clean space where you can relax. 

For everything else, delegate  

For the rest of the holiday, maintain calm and order by delegating tasks to the family. One person washes dishes, another dries up and packs away, everyone tidies up their own belongings and makes their own beds, and share the workload when it comes to getting ready to go out, preparing for guests or cleaning up messes. 

At mealtimes, get the kids chopping veggies (if they’re old enough, of course), making sandwiches or putting together a salad. With everyone involved and sharing the work, everyone gets more time to unwind.  

Embrace the chaos 

No matter how prepared you are, there is always going to be some chaos. Children’s toys are going to be scattered around the house, pool water will be splashed everywhere, sand will be brought in from the beach or dirt from the garden. 

Part of the fun of family holidays is kids running around, getting messy and having fun. That’s what memories are made of. Embrace the chaos, let it happen and remember the above strategies for cleaning up.

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