I am thrilled that the sunshine has arrived. Looking out of my window at the blue sky does make me smile. But already, I'm dreading the idea that for the next six weeks, my usual mums group is closed up for the holidays. Its a reminder of how much I rely on that one group to provide me with two hours of adult socialisation while my Little Monster's in the crèche. There aren't many activities for under-5s on at all actually and play centres are due to be packed with older children. So here is my guide to surviving the summer holidays with a toddler...
1. Keep Cool. Tantrums are far more likely to strike when your toddler is getting too hot. My daughter loves an afternoon shower to cool off. She splashes about it in the water and the whole thing becomes a game of me chasing her around the bathtub with the shower hose.
2. Keep a good supply of arty crafty stuff. On a really hot day, leaving the house may not be the best idea with your toddler. Plus, daily trips to the local park can become a little boring for all concerned. If there are days where you have nothing to do, get out some paper and paints/stickers/glue and various scraps of wrapping paper and tissue paper. Baking is another great indoor activity.
3. Make a play-date. All those mums I miss seeing during the holidays do actually exist outside of the group. Now could be the perfect time to turn a playgroup acquaintance into a friend. Invite someone who has a child of a similar age to yours over for lunch. Or arrange a big meet up of all your usual group at the park or even the beach if you're fortunate enough to have one nearby.
4. Don't feel guilty about having the occasional lazy day. At least once a week, we spend the day indoors. We watch DVDs, read books and play games. Its actually really nice to have a day of simply enjoying each other's company. There's no need to arrange activities for every day and if you try to, you'll probably run out of ideas very quickly.
5. Have a picnic. My daughter gets ridiculously excited at the prospect of a picnic. It must be the combination of yummy food, a break from the usual routine and being outdoors. You needn't go far - if you're lucky enough to have a garden then use it. Unfortunately, I live in a first floor flat but the park isn't far away.
6. Keep an eye out for any activities that are on. As I said, there don't seem to be many activities for under-5s on during the summer holidays. So it would be a real shame to miss them! Keep up-to-date using local authority websites or your local paper. If you search the internet, you might find a website giving listings of events in your local area.
7. Remember the sun cream and a hat! I know we hear it time and time again but make sure you have a good supply of sun cream and a few hats for your toddler. I'm the kind of person who looks out the window and rejoices at the gorgeous weather, only to realise that I have no sun cream and my Little Monster's sun hat has completely disappeared. Plus, my daughter has been known to lose her hat on days out so I always try to remember to carry a spare.
Most importantly, have fun! I hope everyone has a great summer!