When I was a child the school holidays, particularly the six week summer holidays, were my favourite times in the whole world. I remember playing with friends, riding my bike, making perfume out of rose petals and water (really gross!) and attending week long play schemes. And there in lies the clue. I’m remembering the holidays of an older child. I don’t remember those from when I was a littley and no one told me just how disruptive and stressful these could be!
During term time, Oscar and I have a kind of a schedule, much as those children who go to school.
- Mondays, we decide on the day
- Tuesdays is Noah’s Ark Toddler group followed by coffee with a friend
- Wednesday is library or sometimes a trip into Godalming
- Thursdays is Hammer Toddler Group followed sometimes by lunch with a friend
- Fridays is my NCT group meet up
- Saturday is swimming lessons
Its pretty samey, but I need this routine as much as the boy does. I like to know we have something planned for most days. It motivates me to get out of the house. Its important for both of our sanity’s.
However, in the holidays, and particularly in the summer holidays everything stops. All the toddler groups grind to a halt and the library’s activities for pre schoolers cease. I looked into it and most other local pre-school classes/courses (such as baby gym, music, sensory, play etc) also stop. Their hiatus leaves me with no more routine and a baby I can’t explain this to.
Don’t get me wrong, I know why this is. Some toddler groups are run in schools, which need to close their buildings in the summer. Some groups are run by women who have their own older children who need looking after. As an aside, neither of these apply to our groups.
I see many places running classes, courses, schemes and workshops over the summer and these are wonderful, if pricey. I remember going to some myself as a child. But not one of those I’ve seen does anything for under 5’s let alone under 2’s. It would appear that the assumption is that younger children/babies do not need entertaining in the holidays in the way older children do. I can’t think why this might be the case, or is that just my toddler?
OK, so this is the case and we the parents of little children just have to suck it up and get on with it. Right, so we find new places to takes them, different things to do. We find the money to cover the expense and we go. And wherever we go is heaving with older children, as quite rightly their parents have had the same idea. But this can makes these trips incredibly stressful. Anything physical, such as a park you would happily let your toddler roam around, suddenly becomes dangerous with long legs and big bodies fly around with gleeful abandon. As it should be of course. But I’d like to see you explain to a firebrand of a 16 month old that actually he can’t go in that park or as happened in the playpark in RHS Gardens Wisley on Monday that he had to go back in the buggy and be taken away for fear he’d be brained! He was livid with me but what could I do?
Whenever I bring this up my husband tells me to “be the miracle”, In other words, “do something about it”. Or “if your’re not going to do anything about it then shut up”! So I try to not bitch about it and find other things to do. I’d find it hard to do anything about it at the moment, as I have Oscar to look after. Maybe I’ll wait til he’s older. Oh wait then he’ll be off school and I’ll have to look after him. Oh hang on……… 😉
Believe me I do understand the situation. The only people affected by this are parents of young children, who either have little ones to look after or who work. And those who work often have their little ones in day care and probably don’t notice as much, as day care runs all year. Why wouldn’t it? You pay enough for the privilege. Maybe I need to think more seriously about going back to work. That’d shut me up!
Maybe it’s just where I live. My friend in the US says this simply doesn’t happen where she lives. What’s it like in your neck of the woods? How did/do you cope with toddlers in the summer hols? I’d be interested to hear.