But I’m conscious that the second half of the school holidays can be the trickiest time as the novelty starts to wear off, the bedtime routine is well and truly wrecked by too many late nights, and you’ve exhausted all local days out.
So here is my guide to staying sane this summer.
1. Wet, wet, wet: Hosepipes are a mum’s best friend: Pack the kids into the garden, plug in the hose and let them soak each other . . . and when they are bored of that, they can turn the water on the car or the garden. Less jobs for you to do and it saves on bathtime.
2. Beg, steal and borrow: Beg your friends to take them on playdates, steal other mums’ ideas of days out and borrow help in the form of teenage cousins, nieces and neighbours.
3. Time teller: Tell them they’re getting to stay up really late tonight…then sneak round the house putting forward the clocks. They’ll think it’s way past their bedtime when it’s really only 8pm.
4. Say yes?: I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time yelling ‘no, don’t do that’ and ‘no, you can’t’. What would happen if I actually said ‘yes’ to every request from my children? I reckon they’d be so surprised at mum’s new easy-going attitude that after asking for chocolate for breakfast and to spend the day in their swimsuit, my high heels and a tutu, they’d run out of ideas!
5. Sergeant major: Tell them you’re playing soldiers (maybe facepaint them a little moustache or some camoflage) and they’re on exercise. Next send them on five laps of the garden, after which they have to hide in the hedge and wait quietly for the enemy (next door’s cat or dad coming home). Meanwhile, you’re the commander and will be inside on strategic planning (eg having a cuppa and reading the paper). It’s a game that could last for hours…
6. Sleeping lions: Have a lie in competition – the quietest child who stays in the bed for the longest in the morning wins a prize . . .
7. Role reversal: For one day only, you be the child and let them be the parent. Could be an eyeopener for everyone!