View Full Version : How do you cope with holidays?

Clever Clogs
08-04-2009, 04:10 PM

Been a while since I've been on here so hope don't mind me qeustioning. This is only the secod set of holidays I've had where I've been full (6 kids a day) - and today has not been quite so good. Between nappy changing and solving minor arguments I have set out, and cleared away about 4 planned activities - and it still doesn't seem to be enough for the 6 year olds. We've done egg carton painting, easter cards, making a paper plate hen and arts and craft of own choice but still every half hour or so getting asked what are we doing next? How many set activities do you all plan? And how much involvement do you have - it seems I have to be involved in everything - and obviously can't cause of the wee ones.

Food too has been an enourmous task. Since Mon I've gone through 4 loaves bread, 20 or so yoghurts (wee ones), cheese strings etc. I can't seem to feed them enough. If I just give fruit and a yoghurt - it's never enough. Getting asked all the time for food - although they do now wait till snack time etc.

Had a conversation with hubby who says I need to be stricter but I just felt I've moaned at them today, asking them to wait, don't do that, don't do this. In all honestly during pst 3 days I don't think I've sat down once for over 5 mins from 7.45 till 6pm. Shattered and wondering once again is this the right job for me - I can't kep up with keeping them entertained. Also been hard cause they all been coming and going at different times so quite hard to plan an outing.

Once again your tips advice and hearing your methods may save my sanity.


Lady Haha
08-04-2009, 04:32 PM
Wow, I think you are trying too hard! I am caring for a bunch of kids between the ages of 5 and 8 so similar to you. And I hate to say it, but your hubby is right, you do need to be a bit stricter! Especially on the food thing! I am assuming they are snacking on the yogs and cheese strings etc? Have set times for food! Have breakfast, then snack time, dinner, snack time and tea. No food in between!!! I always get the kids saying 'I'm hungry' all the time, when usually they mean theyre bored or just want some attention. I know they aren't hungry cos if I offer them an apple they skulk off again.

I only plan ONE activity for the day and one outing. The rest of the time is free play, where they choose their own toys to play with. Then meals and snacks use up more time. The activity will usually last half hour at most and the outing, even a free one like to the park can use up a good couple of hours.

Don't feel like you are moaning at them all the time either! I sometimes feel like that, but if I didn't 'keep them in line' for want of a better phrase, there would be chaos!!!

Have plenty of drawing stuff too, they love that! Pens, paper etc, obvious, but they will sit for ages drawing sometimes!

I'm not the expert, far from it, so look at all the advice you will get here!

08-04-2009, 04:42 PM
With regard to food, we have set snack times & meal times. Start as you mean to go on - don't give them food in between times & they won't expect it. Often they only ask out of boredom. When they're at school they can't eat all day, so they don't really need it. I do give them drinks as often as they want though. Or if it's nice weather & we're outside they have an ice lolly. Nothing fancy, but it lasts a while.

As for craft activities, don't do so many! One or two a day are really enough or they start to become mundane and the children rush through them without concentrating. I set out lots of activities that the children can chose from, but only set out one main craft activity (paper, pens, glue, shapes etc are always available).

It might help to write a daily list of what you're going to do and pin it up somewhere. Tell the children that 10am will be morning snack, 10.20am quiet activity, 10.45am outdoor play etc? It doesn't mean you can't vary it as you go along, but it does help to give the day some routine.

Also, make it clear that the children must amuse themselves at times. I've got several big boxes of all sorts of mixed toys & I put the boxes out & say 'there you go, see what you can find'. They'll spend ages hunting through to see what's there. I also have a box of old McDonalds toys that they love - keeps them amused for ages. Often it's a case of finding what works for them & letting them get on with it.

Like I said at the beginning - start as you mean to go on. If you give into their demands all the time (food, time, attention) that is what they come to expect. Be a bit more strict now & it'll be worth it in the long run.

08-04-2009, 04:43 PM
Blackandsparkly, it looks like we've written virtually the same thing! Great minds think alike...:rolleyes:

08-04-2009, 04:45 PM
My thoughts go out to you all - I only have 2 mindees in the hols and both of them are part time so my workload is far lighter and that's how I like it :D I'm not sure Iwould cope with a hectic - and hungry - housefull.....

08-04-2009, 04:48 PM
I agree with the above - I was like that at the start; you get into it. I have a questionaire that I like to do with the children which asks about their interests, likes and dislikes - that really helps with planning. Alongside that I have a stack of colouring in sheets that I get from a lot of free sites - I print in draft too. They spend ages at the table with pens and crayons. Playdoh is a good one for them to come and go with. Other than that they play outside for hours without too much input from me.

08-04-2009, 04:49 PM
I have set meals and snack times with nothing allowed in between, I plan one thing at most and go out a lot so they can let off steam, nothing expensive, just the park or library,pet shop anything really! If it's wet we try library, museum or soft play, i never stay in all day it drives me and them mad, when we've been out we come in to free play or a dvd or both!
I think you're trying to do too much, and toughen up on food, the kids i have would graze all day given the chance.

08-04-2009, 05:08 PM
Agree with all the others set times for meals and snacks. Four planned activites is alot for one day aim for more free play its the holidays let them enjoy it.

I sat all mine down mon and asked them to make a list of what they would like to do and am trying to work through the list. But tbh the last two days have been that nice its been walks out to the park and nature reserve with picnics.

What you have been doing is fantastic but your going to wear yourself to a frazzle :)

08-04-2009, 05:16 PM
We go out for at least the morning in holidays and they have a snack. Then a picnic lunch out. If we are in for the afternoon then i do one activity then they just play.

If the weather is nice and we are out all day i dont plan any activity.

They are not allowed to snack all day and apart from juice with meals they have water. I trat them too chip shop chips or Mc Donalds once in the holidays. This easter we seem to have had a lot of chocolate already, but hay ho it is easter.:thumbsup:

08-04-2009, 06:05 PM
Monday- Spent whole day at Drusillas and had a picnic as well as am and pm snack

Tuesday - Kids arrived and free played until after snack (apple slices) then we made placemats and laminated them. Then we got the bus and met up with another childminder and her lot then walked to soft play area. Stayed there till half twelve then walked to the park had picnic lunch then they went on play equipment. Got home about 2pm watched finding nemo (younger ones free played after about 30 minutes of the film). About 3.30pm walked the dogs and came home older ones went on Sims on the laptop younger ones did colouring then we all cuddled up on the sofas and read stories till mums arrived.

Wednesday (today!) - Kids arrived and free played for about an 45 minutes then we started are easter craft activities. They made easter cards (while one 5 sulked) then easter bunnies (5 year old then stopped sulking) and we breaked for snack of toasted hot cross buns then after snack carried on with easter bunnies and put everything in gift bags with creme eggs. Then we had music time where we all got musical instruments and skipped round the coffee table singing she will be coming round the mountain (even me!). Then we made pizzas for lunch cooked them and ate them then walked the dogs came back dropped off dogs and went back out to adventure playground (on the way another 5 year old tantrumed the whole way there screaming I--I Wa-Nt -T-OOO --Gooooo ---Ho--MMMMEEEEEE!" because I put sun cream on him) got to park (then same 5 year old threw another tantrum because he had to wear a wrist band in play area) stayed there all afternoon, had picnic snack there, came home cuddled up read stories and then went home.

I do get the kids occasional moan their hungry I just simply rely we will be having snack soon or mummy will be picking you up soon to take you home and get your dinner - sometimes kids confuse hunger with thirst too :thumbsup:

08-04-2009, 06:33 PM
My goodness you'll be creamed by the end of the week!!!

I only have one or two set craft activities during the day. Most of the time is made up of free play.
In the afternoon we have dvd's when the littlies are having naps.

As for food. All have had breakfast when they arrive so they get lunch, tea if parents have requested it and I make fruit and juice freely available.

Don't worry you will find the right balance in time:)

08-04-2009, 07:26 PM
I'm finding the hols a bit tough too! I have taken on 2 older girls for holiday care only and although they themselves are really easy to care for, keeping up with everyones needs and still doing a good job with the little ones is quite hard.

I'm wondering whether or not to take them again, or just to stick to my regular little ones. However, I must admit my own son (aged 4) has been much easier to keep amused whilst the older children have been here. He'd normally be bored all day but they have been playing together really well. So I might be better just to keep them after all!!

08-04-2009, 08:18 PM
monday i had 6 children age between 18mnths and 10yrs old, we made cards and painted eggs then out came the drawing which i left at the table for them to get on with, we played board games and went to the local childrens center for messy play.
tuesday i had one mindee and my two so we went to the zoo
today i had the same as monday again so we finished the cards andeggs, made chocolate nests, did and easter egg hunt and made chick masks, inbetween they played in the garden or with toys. by about 4pm they were all flaking and looking board so on went the tv or playstaion till tea time then after tea we read books till hometime.
tommoro its one mindee andmy two and we are off to the park for a picnic then my two are off to my mums till tuesday.
nomrally i only do a couple of activites, one will be a craft and the other playdoug or cooking etc. i find if you do to much they excpect it all the time and dont learn to amuse themselves. i did more the last couple of days because it was easter and didn';t have much time to fit it all in.
as for food we do snack about 10am then lunch around 12-1pm snack again around 2.30pm then tea at about 4.30pm-5pm. if they pester inbetween then tough and if they decide not to eat their lunch or snack then they go hungry.
unfortunatly i dont have a 7 seater, just an estate car so cant fit everyone in the car on the busy days but we still do have outings with all of them, its to the local park, libary, feed the ducks, and even to the supermarket to buy ingreediants for the cake we make later. doesnt have to cost a fortune and also walking everywhere takes longer so passes more time although they do get tired and grouchy by the end of the day:rolleyes:

08-04-2009, 08:34 PM
Im so lucky as this Easter hols, i have my own 3 and 1 mindee!

And my hubby has been working days and this evening at his shop so he can have some days off to spend with us!! yippee

Ive only had mindee who is 1 year old mon, today and tom, then hes off on hols for 2 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh how relaxing with just 3.

In term time i have 9 throughout the week!

My tip would be pace yourself, dont do too many activities, let them free play too, or take them to the park and field anywhere they can run around and wear themselves out. I take them out in the mornings and afternoons to break up the day. Also dont forget let them help tidy up too thats an activity in itself!!

Clever Clogs
08-04-2009, 08:35 PM
HI there

Thanks a lot for all your good advice and replies. I have been having set times for snacks which has helped. Will take on board advice about limiting activities and letting them get on with it. You're right - am going to end up wearing myself out. Got to be stronger and stricter. Can I just ask what you give for snacks? And do they get that and that's it or do you ask what they want? What if they say they don't like it - do you give an alternative? Today for lunch my dd wanted a toastie so went with that however, one wanted toast and banana and other wanted toast and cheese, and probably silly me gave in and made them all.

Tired and frazzled and want tomorrow to go better.


08-04-2009, 08:54 PM
I felt just like you when i first started, i tried to be superwoman, but i had to learn to relax and let them get on with stuff. I always have toys available with general toys and a couple of themed toys available (i change the themed ones on a weekly or so basis, ie cooker, cars, train track, duplo). There is always access to age appropriate pens, colouring, drawing stuff, and scissors and glue and stickers card and paper for them to create what they like. The littlees (under 3) are supervised and get to colour with a slightly more arranged timescale as i don't want them doing it around my house!

Other than that playdough and painting is done on occassions, but i only do one organised thing on most days, especially in the holidays we go out as much as we can and it is good if you can do this with other childminders as part of a group, the support is enormously valuable.

You can if you are really stuck do an alphabet hunt around the streets, i did a sheet of paper with the alphabet written in little and capital letters on it for all the children and gave them a pencil and piece of card to lean on. They had to write or draw something beginning with the letters of the alphabet as we went around. The very little ones were shouting out what they could see and trying to point to things. This lasted ages and we didn't walk miles by the time we kept stopping to write. We had fun discussing what each child thought began with what letters and how many things including rubbish we saw. This led us to a small woods where we found birch bark that was just the right size for little hats that we then spent ages decorating with the leaves and twigs, not something we planned but a really fun stroke of luck!

Little ones, are often quite happy doing their own thing and are still learning even when it appears they are happy to wander from one end of the room to the other ( i have two who love doing this). Older ones when left to their own devices are often far better at making up and carrying out games than i could ever plan for them.

Let them see you spending more time observing than needing to be part of every game, otherwise you will wear yourself into the ground!!!!!!!!:laughing:

Relax and you will enjoy more, and then they will enjoy more.:thumbsup:

08-04-2009, 08:58 PM
for snacks i give fruit, raisins, toast and the odd biscuit.

Apart from my 2 year old son telling me hes hungry all day long!! the other mindees dont, but i would feed them breakfast, snack, lunch, milk and snack then dinner and pudding. If they ask for something else, i just offer them a drink and say its not long til lunchtime etc (i can normally tell if they are hungry or bored) and if they really are still hungry due to a growth spurt then i would accomodate that - lol

As for giving them all something different to eat if it wasnt a big change to the menu then i would still accomodate, i wouldnt be that strict as to say this is what we are ALL eating and thats it, i do offer some flexibility-but obviously as long as it doesnt put you out too much, what you did with the toast was good and i would do the same, but if they became demanding and wouldnt try different foods then i would limit their choices to try and get them to eat a wider variety. (just thinking of my 8 year old as i write this)

Lady Haha
08-04-2009, 09:23 PM
I do a morning snack and an aftertoon snack. One is chopped fruit and the other is a biscuit or two each. Job done!

Main meals are my biggest headache! I sometimes have 6 kids here and if I only cooked to please them all we'd be having chicken dippers every day!

I came to a compromise with the kids. I asked each of them what they're favourite meal was (out of the ones I make) and then said to each of them 'right, one day a week we will have your favourite, but that means you have to eat other peoples favourite meals on the other days.'

It's sort of working:rolleyes:

08-04-2009, 10:08 PM
Thanks Clever Clogs for asking this question and everybody else who replied - that's helped me a lot with how to cope with my 5 full time (3 of my own + 2 mindees) during the rest of the hols :) :)

08-04-2009, 10:33 PM
Our snacks are sometimes just fruit or fruit and toast/crumpets/cheese strings/cracker/cheese/biscuit/rice cakes.


Clever Clogs
09-04-2009, 08:45 PM

Thanks for all your helpful advice. Today was much better than yesterday and feel a much better for it. Introduced a tidy up chart where I put all our names on it (mine too). I told them when it was time to tidy up I would put a song on (let one kid choose it today and will let another tomorrow) and if they cleared up before the end they would get a sticker. If they didn't, I would get it. Person with most stickers at end of day would get a certificate for the best tidy upper(even though I don't think that's a word). It worked!!!! For snacks Istuck to my set times but only gave them one of each thing, so today it was a slice of toast, a yoghurt (if wanted) and chopped fruit. Did get asked a few times throughout for more but just kept saying it's nearly dinner time etc , hae fruit it you're really hungry and it seemed to be ok.

So thanks for keeping me sane and sharing your comments.