acepuppets

Posts Tagged ‘Summer holidays


I have to admit I have been a particularly bad parent this summer holidays because I have worked for most of it and only engaged in, ‘perfect’, activities a minimal number of times with my son.  So to write a condescending post about entertaining children seems exceptionally hypocritical.  It is not that I am not interested in spending time with my son because when we are together we gel so well that we chat and entertain each other with simple things.  I am constantly encouraging him to think for himself and find ways that he can entertain himself as a complete contrast to the intensity of the school day.  Is it my imagination or do children look lost the first few days of the holidays because nobody is telling them what to do.

When my son was born I dedicated all my efforts into getting him ready to learn and fortified him with so many words and sounds that he could pick them up pretty quickly when he got to school.  Now that he is six and achieving exactly what I was aiming for, I feel that it is time for him to start applying his skills more so that they become practical rather than theoretical so they are of concrete use to him.  This type of parenting involves only giving him a helping hand after he has tried or nudge him in the right direction – which looks like lazy parenting.  I put in such a lot of ground work to learn everything about my son when was small I don’t really have to nag him very much and only have to raise my voice to remind him that six year olds have to listen sometimes.

Next year is SATs for my son and although he seems to find tests quite amicable and just gets on with it, I feel rather sad that the first seven years of my son’s life is going to be summarised by some form of levelling, (which no longer seems clear). My son still believes in magic and is a cuddly and considerate little boy who can tell if you need kind words to make you feel better.  When he goes to the playground he finds friends to play with and enjoys socialising with people.  At school he appreciates everything that the teachers have set up for him in the school playground and never likes to leave.

Although I missed my son for part days during the holidays I did spend loads of time with him and just got used to him bouncing around singing, dancing, talking and cuddling up to me.  I am really dreading dropping him off at the school playground at the beginning of term because I love him more and more every single day and want to keep him in his magic bubble.

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The summer holidays provoke a mixture of reactions from parents, some embrace the time with their children and others dread the constant need to provide entertainment.  Without a doubt the summer holidays is expensive and even if you cut down spending to a minimum, if you are living in poverty it can still be too expensive.  Children still require feeding and tend to develop an insatiable appetite because they are outside a lot.  If you are a family that has relied on free school dinners to ensure that your children get the food they need the impact of the holidays on your food budget can be catastrophic. Yes there are food banks but the sheer humiliation of having to go to one is enough to reduce families self esteem to zero.   Just recently the very astute SNP MP Mhari Black quite rightly pointed out that “Food banks are not part of the welfare state, they are a symbol that the welfare state is failing” (New Statesman) whatever your political leanings are, you do have to agree that she has made a very valid point.

It is becoming more apparent that the establishment is making every effort to undermine families who have to rely on benefits to survive and the broadcasting companies seem to be in cahoots by producing belittling reality benefits programmes.  The shocking thing is how remarkably easy it is to go from a comfortable lifestyle to poverty simply through redundancy or ill health.  We are all part of the system and we are all at its mercy – maybe not today or tomorrow but sometime we will be, when we are most vulnerable. Getting out of the poverty trap seems to be like trying to climb out of a greasy pit and being pushed back in again once you see daylight.  People are having to apply for jobs in any sector of the workforce and can apply for hundreds of jobs just to be perpetually rejected.  Common sense tells us that it would be better if the Job Centre provided career guidance and directed people to apply for jobs they could be good at and enjoy rather than reduce self esteem to nothing and increase debilitating mental health problems.

Although the welfare of children is taken into account the emotional impact really is not, children suffer in every single possible way due to family poverty.  In April 2013 Caroline Hoggarth, headteacher of Greengate Infants School in Barrow, wrote an extensive report on poverty in the Furness area.  As Lead Commissioner of, ‘The Furness Poverty Commission‘, she lead a high calibre team on researching poverty in this area of Cumbria.  The research found that poverty is increasing and the impact on the town as a whole will continue the awful devastation caused by redundancy and lack of jobs.  The report includes quotes from people who had answered the questions and shows that they never aspired to be in the position they were in, it just either crept upon them or they were born into that lifestyle.

Living in poverty can be devastating for children as it deprives them of everything that is necessary to develop into rounded and confident adults.  When children go to school they are expected to spend their time learning and eventually applying what they have learnt to everyday life, in a perfect world this really does happen and a child does absorb themselves in their lessons.  However children who face the harsh truth of poverty and dysfunction are too distressed and tired to deal with learning, imagine trying to feel enthusiastic about capital letters if you have spent all night hungry, cold, listening to arguing  and feeling self concious because you haven’t had a bath.  The Furness Poverty Commission Report states. ‘The head of a junior school reported several children ‘unprepared for school- tired, hungry, struggling with emotional tensions at home. This dramatically affects their ability to learn’. A school adviser reported ‘the stress of family poverty seriously affects children’s ability to learn and to form supportive social relationships in school’

Every summer holiday children are uprooted from a routine that generally ensures that they are safe and teachers are making sure that they are well, they are receiving free school dinners and they are not alone.  As soon as they leave the school gate with their term’s work in their carrier bags they are at the mercy of their family circumstances.  For many they will enjoy days out, time with family and learning new exciting skills like how to swing as high as a bird.  Others will spend their holiday hungry, tired, lost and facing the reality of their situation.  Children are very much affected by their circumstances and suffering the effects of poverty and deprivation in your formative years can leave an emotional and educational scar that may never heal.


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I know that the Summer Holidays is all about making sure that children are entertained and not whining about being bored every five minutes but to me it is all about getting my son back.  I am really pleased with his progress in school and he has learnt an awful lot about a lot of things but now it is time for him to relax, enjoy playing and not have to do anything structured at all.  We have many plans to do simple things that are actually scientifically quite exciting like making butter and putting eggs in vinegar.  I am going to do a puppet show for him and his friend and no doubt we will go on adventures on the Estuary.  We will go on day outs and just enjoy being together.

I am so happy that my son is growing up to be such a wonderful human being and the fact that he is completely on my wave length is even more fantastic.  He has a thirst for learning, has an amazing imagination and is compassionate – yes he can be noisy, messy, whiny and just plain irritating at times, aren’t we all, but it never ceases to amaze me how much I fall in love with him more every single day.  When we first met I loved him because he was my baby and it is instinctive to love and protect him, now I love the person that he is and and am so proud of him.

The Summer holidays brings back memories of spending time in different playgrounds learning how to climb, slide, swing and look at the world around us.  Our shared experiences, when he was very young, have bonded us for ever and all of the times that I enjoyed like looking for fairies or messages in bottles he also remembers, we share the memory and become a little bit closer.  There have been times when I have taught him a lot of things and times where he has shown me that determination and never giving up is still a way to get there in the end.

I have learnt that true happiness comes from watching your child embracing life and confidently facing new experiences.  My greatest delight this summer is that my little boy has got a friend very close by to play with and have many adventures with.

The stellar speed at which time is racing past is the most important reason why I am going to make the most of being able to kiss and cuddle my son while he is still pocket sized because one day I will turn around and he will be man sized with children of his own.


I don’t know about you but the thought of entertaining children for a whole six weeks can be pretty daunting to even the most dedicated parents. Not only do you have to consider what on earth you are going to do with your little darlings you also have think about how much money you are prepared to spend on entertaining them.  Before you blow all of your hard earned cash this summer here are some ideas that will help you to keep your offspring happy and leave you solvent at the end of the holiday.

A Walk in the Park or Country

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If you live in the countryside then any wide open space is a potential natural playground, if you live in the city parks are just as good.  Children are most manageable when there are few restrictions on them and plenty of natural things for them to explore.  If you have a young child be prepared to take a carrier bag with you so that you can fill it with a large collection of stones, feathers and twigs – for some reason little ones love to collect them.  Older children will enjoy the challenge of longer walks and more difficult terrain – if you find a lake or patch of water on your travels then that is a bonus because water will keep children busy for hours.

Fifty Things to do Before you Reach 11 3/4

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Supported by the National Trust in order to to encourage children to explore and learn how to appreciate the world about them.  If you click on the link you will be able to visit the dedicated website and down load the full list as a tick list.  The, ‘Things’, include tree climbing, rolling down a big hill, building a den, set up a snail race, make a daisy chain, walk barefooted, camp in the wild and many many more.  In fact you may find that it keeps you entertained because you can fulfil anything that you may have missed out on during your childhood!

Put on a Puppet Show

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When your children are quite young they have a wonderful imagination that can take them into amazing worlds just by giving them ideas.  You don’t need a puppet theatre or puppets – just toys and something that can be like a puppet theatre.  Chances are children will have been learning about story telling at school and will love to tell you an epic story using their toys.  The stories tend to be epic and pretty repetitive at first and you can rest while they are performing making sure that you laugh when you are supposed to and are able to comment when they ask you questions about what they have been doing.

Visit Different Playgrounds

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You will be amazed at how varied different playgrounds are even in a small area.  The type of playground equipment is different in playgrounds even in a small area.  Children just love the opportunity to play with other children and meet new friends.  If you go to a different playground everyday you can enjoy different experiences and the walk to get there.  If you live in the country try to get to a more urban playground and vice versa if you life in a town.  The great thing about going to playgrounds is that you can walk their and generally buy treats at the local shop and make the occasion last as long as you wish.

Get Crafty

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Children love making things and are as happy sticking old boxes together as using expensive craft equipment from a shop.  You can choose to either have a structure approach where you have a lot of input and the end result looks pretty good or risk letting your child experiment themselves and produce something that is not as aesthetically pleasing but  has involved a great deal of learning in the process.

Your Children Want You!

What ever you decide to do with your children this summer remember they love being with you more than anyone else in the world so just enjoy spending time with them talking and reading and just being together!


After hearing the news about tragic Tia I got the same stomach wrenching feeling I get every summer holidays when there is news of children being murdered or abducted.

I am not sure if things like this happen every year but it seems like it. My earliest memories are of such awful incidents is of the news relating to Susan Maxwell and Caroline Hogg. Since then I have been very much aware of how dangerous the holidays seem to be for children when they are subjected to freedom and new routines.

I am devastated by the loss of another young soul extinguished before she even had a chance to explore the world. It is so sad to think that this child has never been safe in her whole life because the people who should be protective and caring betrayed her in such an unforgivable way.

It is awful to think that not too far from where she died there were huge celebrations and competitions going on and she was all alone.

Rest in peace sweet butterfly xxx


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