11 ways to cope with school holidays

Use my top ways to cope with school holidays to maintain your sanity, keep the kids busy AND happy, and end the holidays with a smile on your face rather than relief! The school holidays can be a tough time for parents, but also for the kids. Routine is thrown out of the window and you have to think of things to keep the kids busy so you don't lose your sanity. The kids are constantly "bored" and you need space. 

First of all if you haven't planned for the school holidays don't panic. There are still ways to cope without having to make sure you have things at home prior to the holidays. Planning for the school holidays is helpful, so in the future perhaps highlight the holidays in your calendar or use your phone to remind you there's school holidays coming up. I do both!

Visit Family during the school holidays

This one is easy right? If family works you could wait until the end of the day but if, like my family, they're taking time off you could spend the day visiting your family. It's almost like a day out but you're spending the time with your loved ones.

This week I'm taking the boys to see my parents. My parents do work but they have a week off as it's my Dad's birthday and we'll be visiting then. For us it has to be a day trip, they live 90 miles away so it's a 2 hour drive there and a 2 hour drive back. Thankfully we often get to spend the whole day with my parents and the kids have a brilliant time. The boys enjoy spending time with their grandparents because they don't get to see them very often and I love watching them chat to their grandparents.

11 Ways To Cope With School Holidays | Visiting family is a good way to get a rest and enjoy a coffee while chatting to your parents.
Oh yes, and someone (usually your mum) cooks for you! I love my mum's Sunday lunches!

Another reason visiting family is good is that it gives you a little rest. The family members, whether your parents or in-laws, will enjoy spending time with the kids as well as chatting to you. It gives you someone other than your kids to talk to and the kids are occupied some of the time so you may even get to drink a hot coffee!

Free resources in your local community

During school holidays most local libraries and community centres will run activities for the kids. It could be an Easter Egg hunt at Easter, or a craft day but there'll always be something the kids will enjoy and that won't cost you the earth.

You can be childlike without being childish. A child always wants to have fun. Ask yourself, 'Am I having fun?'

Christopher Meloni

In our local area the library is running an Easter Picture Hunt on various days during the Easter school holidays and later in the week they're running a collage competition too. This means I could take the kids along, no cost involved (apart from getting there), and the kids can have fun and I can probably have a coffee.

Sports and clubs in school holidays

Some kids love sports, LP is one of them, and whenever it's school holidays there are various sports and clubs that he likes to attend. This week he's attending a club where he gets to play with other kids, have fun playing sports, and even watch a movie. He's there all day and I give him a packed lunch - it's kind of like a school day. But best of all is that he has a fabulous time.

11 Ways To Cope With School Holidays | Football, or sports clubs, are a great way for your kids to have fun during the school holidays.
My boys love kicking around a football from time to time.

A great way of coping with school holidays is to find the sports and/or clubs that run through the holidays. Sometimes there's cost involved, sometimes it's free (if it's run by your local council for example), but you can be sure that your kids will love it!

Stock up on craft equipment before the holidays

Perhaps for one of the days during the school holidays you can let the kids go crazy with crafts. Trawl Pinterest and you'll find some great craft ideas for the kids to try. Hold back on the clean freak in you and let the kids play. Sometimes it's nice to let them have fun with crafts, even if they make a mess.

11 Ways To Cope With School Holidays | Stock up on your crafts and you can let the kids play for hours!
A good stock of crafts can keep the kids busy for hours.

My two don't often want to do crafts so when they do I let them make a mess. It's not fun cleaning afterwards but it's worth it to see them having fun creating. Also I get them involved in the cleaning, that way they get to see the effort it takes to clean up after making a mess - a great teaching opportunity.

Board games - a great way to distract them during the school holidays

Whether it's Scrabble or Connect 4 playing board games with your kids is not only a good way of spending time together but it's also one of the brilliant ways you can cope with the school holidays. Getting the kids to sit around the table, either work together or use strategies to beat each other, and generally spend time together as a family is always a good thing.

11 Ways To Cope With School Holidays | Board games are a great way to spend time together and enjoy the school holidays.
Scrabble is one of our favourites, especially for LP who likes coming up with good words.

Some of our favourite board games include Ticket to Ride, Carcassone, and Scrabble - I've even won a game of Scrabble during these school holidays! Go ME! (it doesn't happen very often).

Go somewhere "off peak"

Coping with school holidays is tough enough when you spend all your time at home, but when you try to do a day trip and every single other parent in the land decides to do exactly the same day trip on the same day it can leave you exhausted. Not only do you have to make the kids listen and pay attention but you also have to watch them like a hawk so they don't get lost amongst the hoards of other people.

11 Ways To Cope With School Holidays | Don't let the rain put you off that day out - you might enjoy it more!
Heading to Chester Zoo when the weather isn't great means you'll be able to see all the animals because there won't be many people about!

That's why I try to go to places that aren't busy. Like going to the beach - in winter. Or going for a lovely walk when it's really windy or raining. Or visiting the play centre when it's lovely and sunny outside. Chester Zoo is brilliant when it's raining - no one wants to walk around in the rain to look at animals and the animals love being out in the rain! Win Win! Admittedly there are some things that are just better at peak times, but if you can get away with it wouldn't it be good?

Games help you cope with the school holidays

One of my favourite ways of coping with school holidays is letting the kids play their games. Fortnite, Overwatch, whichever is the most popular game at the time is the one they'll spend playing. I'll be able to make, and drink, a hot coffee and maybe even watch a movie (!) while they play. The kids will be quiet (okay not quiet but they won't bother me about snacks!) and I don't have to worry about what they're getting up to.

Gaming has been a great way to get to know people. That's part of what I love about games, that they are social.

Rich Sommer

I also believe that playing games teaches kids, it's not all about screens and how bad looking at screens is for them. These games can teach your kids about strategy, about how to win without shooting everything in sight. Some games can make them think, and they're sociable too. My boys chat to their friends all the time when they're playing games, it reminds me of me back in the day when I used to spend hours on the phone to the friend I'd just seen at school that day!


Letting the kids watch movies, or even watching with them, is a good way of getting chill out time and helps to cope with the school holidays. Why not rent a new movie like Ralph Breaks the Internet, or let them choose their favourite, be sure to have snacks like popcorn or Doritos for them to munch on while watching too. 

11 Ways To Cope With School Holidays | Have the right snacks so your kids can enjoy a good movie!
Having the right snacks is essential!

My boys love watching new movies when they get to have snacks and call it a movie day. They'll choose their favourite movie, pick out which snacks they want, and then they'll sit for an hour or two (depending on the length of the movie) and I don't hear a peep out of them. It's lovely, and it means I can get other stuff done while they're watching. Win!

Time apart - cope with school holidays easier when you get a break

If you have more than one your kids are going to want time apart as well as spending time as a family. It's not only you that gets used to them being at school and if they're together 24/7 the bickering will be bad and you'll lose all your hair before you know it! Giving them time away from each other does them good and it helps to avoid the bickering. 

LP often goes out for a bike ride with his dad, they can be out for at least an hour, sometimes more. This gives LP the chance to be outdoors, which he loves, and it also means he's away from his older brother. BP is relieved because he's not being bothered and can scroll away on his phone in peace!

Spa Days

Okay, so I know this is unlikely during the school holidays but if you manage to get a spa day booked for one of the days in the holidays you're going to win! You can spend an entire day on yourself, forget about home, just chill out and read a book - ALL DAY! It is magical.

11 Ways To Cope With School Holidays | Spa Days are a brilliant way to cope, because you can concentrate on yourself.

Getting a spa day will be enough to let you cope with anything in the school holidays. Think about summer right now - book that spa day, tell your Hubby he'll have to look after the kids, and look forward to your day off!

Treat at the end of the school holidays

Towards the end of the school holidays why not plan a treat for you and the kids. It could be a day out to Chester Zoo, it could be a meal in your favourite restaurant, but make it something special. It'll help with getting the kids ready to go back to school and you'll give them something to talk about with their friends.

11 Ways To  Cope With School Holidays | A treat at the end of the holidays, like Barburrito, will give them something to talk about when they go back to school!
Visit Barburitto and have a yummy meal together!

As well as visiting family towards the end of the holidays we'll probably take the boys to a restaurant to enjoy a nice meal together. They'll go back to school and I'm sure the meal will be the main thing they talk about!

11 Ways To Cope With School Holidays | From video games to days out, there's something for you all to enjoy.

Like I said, coping with school holidays can be tough but as long as you have a few plans you'll be fine. I hope you'll use some of these tricks to help you cope.

Do you have any ways (I haven't mentioned) to cope with school holidays?

Put the kettle on, make yourself a coffee and grab the Captured! colouring page so you can enjoy your hot coffee while the kids colour in!