March Break is just around the corner, which we know means added stress, expense, and energy being expended – something we as women have in short supply already. But add in excited kids without their normal structure, the pressure and envy we feel over the perfect family trip everyone else seems to be taking, and our own responsibilities that necessitate staying home over spring break and it feels like we are losing before spring break has even begun.
Often times we think we need something grand to make March break special, but that is simply untrue. The biggest detriment to having the best spring break ever is the baggage we carry with us – we already struggle to balance all of the things in a routine week; it all threatens to self-destruct when the routine is thrown upside down and social pressure makes us think we need to do more.
Rather than allowing social pressures, an internalized sense of failure, or even simple miscommunication with your kids to cause dread over spring break before it has even begun here are ten tips to help you take back the control and have the best March break ever.
A little planning and a lot of being intentional can make an at-home March break extraordinary – and maybe even your best spring break ever without adding to your own stress.
10 tips to have the best March Break ever
1. My best tip ever for creating something special for the kids is to ask them what they want
Find out directly from them what spring break means to them and the ideas they hold dear. Often times we as moms are bummed out because we can’t do a Disney trip over March break, while what our kids really want is to eat ice cream for breakfast or to have you play a few rounds of Mario Kart with them.
Note: If your child brings up something they want to do but you can’t make happen, that’s ok! Tell them their idea sounds like a lot of fun and, as best you can to their age, explain why it can’t happen right now and redirect their brainstorming to more realistic ideas.
2. Make a list of your responsibilities during spring break
Whether it’s continual care of an elderly loved one, or a demanding work schedule, or the running of a household, make a list of everything that you need to take care of during March break. Once you have your list assess it honestly – is it all necessary? Is it important enough to be dealt with this week or can it move into another week? Knowing what needs to stay – and what can go! – will free your mind up mentally when you have the kids home during March break. They don’t need you every moment, but the moments they do have you – let them have all of you! And you’ll rest easy knowing you planned for this time with them.
3. Simplify as much as you can
This is definitely piggy backing on number two, but it can’t be emphasized enough – if you want to enjoy your children during spring break your life needs to be simplified. Whatever your normal arrangements are – homeschooling, co-op, or traditional day school, your children’s schedule is going to be vastly different during their spring break and yours should lighten up, too, in order to relax and enjoy this time. Write down your commitments and let go of the mental guilt for what you are letting slide for the week.
4. Hire help for the week or trade hours with another mom
Considering hiring help for tasks you need done this week – have a big work commitment you must do but are fighting the guilt of putting the kids in front of the tv? Hire an energetic teen to play with your kids and let go of the guilt knowing your kids are having the time of their life! Or perhaps hiring a house cleaner for the week before would give you greater peace of mind. Think through and consider if paying for a service would enhance your spring break experience with your children. Alternatively, there’s likely a mom in your community in a similar situation to you and you could arrange a trade off of watching each other’s children while the other has a few hours to herself.
5. Scope out some free fun things to do for inexpensive ways to get out of the house
Some of the fun things we know are happening can be found here:
6. Make up a fun tradition to do with your children every day of March break
You might feel overwhelmed and maxed out, but March break is only five week days long. Five days. You can do anything for five days! Why not add a fun ritual for those five days? It can be something silly like eating breakfast under the table every morning, or maybe hot chocolate with a different board game every day. Pick something simple that you can sustain every day of spring break, and yet something that it is a little out of the ordinary and will just tickle the heart of your child(ren) and make your heart smile, too.
7. Try different foods each day
Our family has a tradition of buying a new food item from the grocery store every week and it has been SO much fun to expand our world through food. I would highly recommend you find your own way of making this work for your family. One fun way to adopt this during March break would be to try a different ethnic food each day. You could buy pho from a Vietnamese restaurant for supper one night, and the next day try Tamales from a Mexican restaurant for a snack. If that is a little too adventurous for your family, try a different flavour of potato chips or ice cream each day.
8. Binge watch a show WITH the kids
Maybe you can watch some favourites from when you were a kid and stir up some nostalgia. Or ask them what show they’d like to watch with you…and really engage in it with them. Or plan a family movie night wth great snacks. These are some of my kids’ best memories.
9. Head to Micheals or the Dollarama and buy fresh supplies for current interests or hobbies
10. Create a reading basket.
Approach March Break with the flexibility life demands but also with the intention of fostering a beautiful and fun week with your kids. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be the best March break ever.