12 + tips for surviving the school summer holidays

surviving the school summer holidays

Can you smell it? Yup, it’s the smell of parents across the land sweating bullets as they wonder what on earth they are going to do with their children over the summer and how they might have a shot at surviving the school summer holidays without becoming seriously stressed out.

As much as we love them, a block of six weeks intensive with our sproglets can be rather daunting. If you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to get through to the other side of the summer holidays today I’m sharing our favourite top tips for surviving the school summer holidays.

Pace yourself

Don’t go in all guns blazing right at the beginning otherwise by week three you’ll be struggling. Find as many free activities as possible and space out the treats across the whole holiday.

Budget it

Set a budget from the start so you don’t end up running out of money part way through. Get the kids to write a list of things they’d like to do (though make it clear it’s just suggestions and that they won’t get to do all of it).

Know that it’s ok to be bored

Let the kids be bored sometimes! You can’t fill every waking minute with activities and days out, and sometimes using their own imaginations to create new play ideas can be the best fun. 

Schedule down time and swap

Plan some down days, you know… film and popcorn, build a fort! Also swap days with friends so you get a free day and then they do… plus hopefully the kids will keep themselves entertained with their friends!

Make a bucket list

We’ve worked together to draw up a bucket list of things to do and places to visit. Having a plan gives structure to our week otherwise it would all become chaos!

Don’t forget me-time

Try to factor in some YOU time. Send them to the cinema with grandma or let them go play at a friends house. Have that time to get anything you need doing done, then give yourself a break even if it’s just a hot cuppa and a TV show.

Make a big wish list of activities before the holidays start. Split them into good weather activities and bad weather activities and put them in two jars, then when you want to do something, let the kids pick one out of the appropriate jar.

Book in the play dates

Try to put a few play dates on the calendar with school/nursery friends. Try to sort this before school ends as you’ll all forget otherwise!

Send them to the grandparents

If you can, send them to grandparents for sleepovers. The grandparents will be thrilled, the kids will have a great time and you will have some time to sort out the house. Or just sit and watch tv to recuperate!!

Stock up on snacks

Kids are relentlessly hungry, and it can be quite the shock to see their insatiable appetites at work in your home, away from the daily school provision of food they are normally used to. A hungry child is generally speaking an angry child, so be sure to have plenty of healthy snack supplies in your cupboards. We love Organix’s new range of delicious and healthy kids’ snacks which are perfect storecupboard fodder or fuel to take along on summer holiday adventures! Don’t miss your chance to win a summer stash of your own below!

Remember a child’s home is their castle

Don’t feel pressurized to constantly do STUFF. Think back to your own childhood and remember jetting all over the place isn’t just exhausting for us, it’s exhausting for them, and kids are more than happy playing at home or in their neighbourhood! Picnic lunches and garden play are always popular, as are visits to the local playground, getting the paddling pool out, patio chalks. Have the neighbourhood kids running in and out of each other’s houses keeping each other entertained!

Surround yourself with other mums

My friends and I compare diaries at the end of term and make sure that we get together as often as possible. I have found the six weeks holidays quite isolating in the past so I love that I can surround myself with other mums and support.

Find time to decompress

Be sure to plan in some me-time during – essential to surviving the school holidays for any mum! For me, that’s grabbing 30 minutes for a run to let off some steam or some relaxing yoga at the end of a busy day of chatterboxing.

Are you worried about how you’re going to survive the school holidays? Or perhaps you have some tips to share? Do leave a comment below.

photos created by freepik 


  1. A great list, I agree that it’s not a bad thing if kids are “bored” – maybe it will give them a chance to figure out something they want to do 🙂

  2. I needed this today, we’re half way through a 12 week summer holidays. 12 weeks!! Like a 1/4 of a year off school. I may as well be bloody home schooling! And I’m with you on the constantly doing stuff thing, I’ve always let my son figure out how to entertain himself and now he can play for hours 🙂

  3. Fantastic tips! I think budgeting is so important, because it can be easy to line up the fun days out and then realise it’s going to cost so much.

  4. These tips are great. Most plan trips early on in the summer which then leaves them broke towards the end. These points make sure you get the most out of the summer.

  5. I am a year away from these (thank goodness). My parents always worked so my summer’s were spent at a lot of schemes and activities but my favourite memories are running round the garden with the hose 🙂

  6. Without meaning to sound smug, I always loved the school holidays, especially so when I was working as a registered child minder, as was able to have extra older children too, yes it was hard work, but as I have already said I loved it, plus I earned mega money!

  7. Loving some of these tips, I have lots of days out in the calendar and have arranged a few nursery days for the younger ones so I can do something with the older ones.

  8. Thanks so much for including us. I’ve tweeted but will schedule this on my Fb. Some great tips in here, I’m going to pin it for reference!

  9. Great tips and totally agree it’s about pacing yourself nd not kicking the are out of everything in the first week, which is what my 9 year old would do give the choice! Holiday clubs are also a godsend!! Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub x

  10. L hasn’t started school yet, so the holidays bring different issues to me. All of Sudden or favourite haunts are busy and L doesn’t like busy. Things cost more, grr, supply and demand! #coolmumclub

  11. Some really good tips. I’ve planned to do one full day out a week and then the other days will be filled with a mix of down time, free outings to parks, forests etc and also hooking up with friends x

  12. I don’t have any family here in the UK, and hubby works long hours during the week, so I view the school holidays with equal measures of excitement and dread. I have to work right through too, so it’s challenging (to say the least) to get the balance right.

    I like to plan lots of little adventures – pond dipping at a nearby stream, trip to the cinema, picnic with friends, etc. I also like to leave the kids to make their own fun, as those are the ‘nothing’ days are the ones I remember most fondly from my own childhood. x #coolmumclub

  13. Can I please borrow Pink Pear Bears Grandparents?!!

    Pinned for survival tips…

    Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub lovely!! x

  14. These a such great ideas! I love the bad/good weather jars! And playdates are definitely a great thing – for kids and for parents! Visiting from #coolmumclub

  15. These are all great tips! I use Kalms tablets to chill me out when times get stressful… although were not at School Holiday age yet but I can imagine desperately needing time to yourself and making sure the kids don’t go stir crazy in the house! #coolmumclub

  16. This is brilliant and agree that planning can help you feel less overwhelmed. Also, remind yourself you got through it before and it will pass X #coolmumclub

  17. I’m loving all the holiday and end of term posts as they’re so relatable. Some very good tips and I agree it’s good to let them be bored and set expectations at the start.

  18. Some great tips here. We do a list too, each member of the family add one pricey activity and 2-3 free or cheaper options. We tick off as we go along. I think I will add a rainy day one also now. Thank you.

  19. I am a big advocate of play schemes and a bit of a summer school holiday ninja having it all planned out by May or I’m a gibbering wreck! #coolmumclub

  20. I love the holidays with my kids, always have done, as it’s such precious down time but we do a lot of chilling at home as I’ve realised they need this and rushing around trying to do hundreds of activities is more stress than it’s worth. But don’t get me wrong, I have moments when I’m craving me time too so it’s important to try to factor that in. Love the jars of ideas for wet days and sunny days. #CoolMumClub

  21. How weird Talya, I’ve just written a post about 12 things to do in the summer holidays and some of these feature. (I promise this is the first time I’ve read this post and I’m not plagiarising!) I definitely agree with the one about how it’s OK to be bored. I think that’s when creativity sparks. #CoolMumClub xx

  22. I’ll be surviving the school holidays by using grandparents as much as I can

  23. We have already created a nice bucket list of things to do in the summer holidays. Most of them are free so it won’t be an expensive summer and I am very lucky to live in London where there will be plenty of free stuff to do, even open air cinemas.

  24. Love the summer holidays and time together. These are fab tips. As I’m definitely one of the mums that doesn’t plan or budgets and then we have A LOT of park trips near the end of the holls.

  25. Such great tips here! And I completely agree – I think it’s really important that children experience boredom – it leads to creativity and inspiration 🙂

  26. I think this year is going to be a struggle for me. I need to remember not to try and do too much with them. But the holiday club is only running for the first 2 weeks and that’s usually when everyone is full of good mood! I’ll be working my usual full time hours too so I think stress levels will be quite high all round

  27. The kids have written down lots of ideas for things to do. They wrote them down and we they each pull three each from a hat, they love it and they get a input on our summer plans which they love. But think it is also good to let them have some down time and just do what suits for the whole family on some days too.

  28. lots of days out and things to exhaust them so they will get some sleep in between the play

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