WARREN HAYDEN: I’m dreading the B word this summer

Watching squirrells with the kids in the summer sun?
Watching squirrells with the kids in the summer sun?

Hero Ollie Hall stood up and was counted: would you?

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The school gates have now been slammed shut, locked tight and no matter how many times you shake those gates like you are an innocent prisoner they

Yes, it’s that time of the year that every parent looks forward to and secretly dreads in equal measure, the summer holidays.

Now, for forty-two days, it is the mission 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 with a brand new pencil case in their bag in September.

The first task is to admit to myself that at some point during the summer, probably sooner rather than later, I 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 staring at their mobile phone.

The second thing to admit is that during the next six weeks the television will be your friend.

We all like to think every second of summer with your children will be spent in the great outdoors, under the sun, watching squirrels run up trees but, let’s be honest, some days it will be wall-to-wall CBBC channel.

The DVD player will heat up as the Disney DVDs are on a constant loop of 24-hour repeats.

But then when they’ve finally got through every episode ever made of Spongebob Squarepants a walk is always a good choice of activity and can turn out to be a surprise summer holiday success.

It costs nothing, it gets them out of the house and it will help them sleep better that night.

I try to make a simple walk a little bit more interesting by turning it into a bug hunt or even play games like eye spy on the way.

Some of the next few weeks will probably involve my wallet getting lighter and my bank balance decreasing, it’s inevitable.

But we’re lucky to have many parks and places to go in this area that won’t cost a penny.

I’ll be fully utilising all the free play parks that come complete with slides and swings.

I hope at the beginning of September I’ll be scrolling through many new memories in the phone photo gallery.

Have a great summer and to all fellow parents, and of course grandparents too, good luck.