School's Out for six very long, tiresome weeks: Blaise Tapp
As Alice Cooper said, school's out for summer, and doesn't every parent know about it. The first day and third day of the six week break tend to provoke very different emotions.
I love my offspring as much as the next sleep-deprived, permanently harassed, near middle-aged parent, but there are only so many times a bloke can hear the refrain 'I'm bored'.
As annoying as it is to be told by a 10-year-old iPad owner that they are at a permanent loose end, it is fully understandable as little people – especially those who have yet to discover nicotine and members of the opposite sex – are institutionalised.
The vast majority of children enjoy the structure of school as being told when to eat, play and learn makes life much easier to understand.
Sadly, when it comes to following instructions in the home, especially during the long summer holidays, it is much less straightforward, with ‘no’ being the default response to most parental instruction.
I am lucky as we live in an area where the local authority provides first class holiday activities for a price that isn’t going to necessitate the family living on baked beans on toast until September.
Encouraging any child with a mind of their own that going to a summer camp, where a man in a tracksuit will blow his whistle with regularity, is a tough gig as organised holiday fun is anathema to stubborn pre-teens.
As with most things, summer camps or holiday clubs tend to work out well in the end and, if you are lucky, you might even get “it’s alright” out of the little darlings.
Then there is the family holiday which is a tribulation in itself, given that many parents have to consider an overdraft or even selling a kidney in order to pay for a week away.
We are still in the process of booking our break, determined not to get ripped off by greedy holiday firms who brazenly ramp up prices, safe in the knowledge that desperate mums and dads will stump up the cash in the end.
The month or so won’t be easy but I will tell you one thing for certain –we will secretly miss them when they go back to school in September.