There is just one week left of parental freedom. Then as your child leaves school, the gates will be slammed shut, locked and no matter how many times you shake those gates like you are an innocent prisoner, they will not be re-opened until six long weeks of summer have passed.
Yes, it’s that time of the year that every parent looks forward to and secretly dreads in equal measure – the summer holidays.
For 42 days it is your job all day every day to be chief entertainer, taxi driver, chef, toy-finder, boredom-buster, money-dispenser and everything else your child requires until they are back in their school uniform in September.
The first task is to admit to yourself that at some point during the summer, probably sooner rather than later, you will hear the ‘B’ word.
I’m talking about when your child is looking glum and out of their mouth in a monotone voice comes ‘I’m bored’.
It is the enemy of all parents, but my advice is that when you hear those words don’t rack your brains for ideas of what could take your child out of this spiritless state of mind, but just let them be bored and allow them to use their imagination.
Soon they’ll be grown-ups and every second of the day will be taken up by texting and tweeting.
The second thing to admit is that during the next six weeks the television will be your friend.
We all like to think that every second of summer with your children will be spent in the great outdoors, enjoying the sun.
But let’s be honest, some days it will be wall to wall Nick Jr and the DVD player will become warm as the Disney Frozen DVD is played several times in just one 24-hour period.
But then when they’ve finally got through every episode ever made of Peppa Pig or SpongeBob SquarePants, a simple walk is always a good choice of activity and this can turn out to be a surprising summer holiday success.
Not only does it cost nothing, but it gets them out of the house and will usually help them sleep better that night.
But of course we’re spoilt in this area for places to take the kids, although most of the time it will involve your purse or wallet getting lighter. Some days out planned with my daughters over the six weeks include Marwell Wildlife Park, Blue Reef Aquarium, Longdown Activity Farm and Monkey World, along with taking full advantage of all the great free parks and play areas we have in the city.
I hope you all have a great summer – and of course, good luck with keeping them entertained.