Half term school breaks are now well and truly over, wherever you are in the UK. I’ve just come to the end of a two week holiday from work, looking after our daughter as my wife worked on her dissertation. We didn’t go away anywhere and have been filling the time with activities and day trips close to home.
Here are my 3 autumn observations after two weeks off work.
1. There are a lot of fun low-tech children’s activities.
It’s been a while since I’ve gone on woodland trails, collected golden brown leaves to make into green men, or gone on bat walks. You tend to do them when you’re young then forget about it until you have kids. I’ve enjoyed rediscovering nature, as corny as it sounds. We surround ourselves with technology and tend to rush around always on the way to somewhere. Sometimes it’s good to take stock and have fun with simple things like crafts and traditional games.
I remember dressing up for Halloween parties when I was younger but I don’t think it was everywhere like it is today. Supermarkets and pop-up shops have been full of gory make-up, masks, and witches’ brooms. Thankfully, we’ve managed to avoid bumping into any of those scary clowns doing the rounds. Halloween is getting big in the UK, perhaps not as big as in the US, but it’s a huge part of childhood now. And that means I’ve had to swallow my grouchy tendencies and take part, dressing up, wearing and putting on face paint. I can now do a mean cat face. My pumpkin carving still leaves a lot to be desired.
Again, not trying to be a grouch, but I’ve realised there’s a long run-up to Christmas. As soon as the Halloween costumes are swept away the Christmas decorations have arrived. November and December are busy months for anyone, and when children are thrown into the mix it’s one long stretch of excitement, anticipation, and desire. By that, I mean they are exposed to all the things a parent tries to ration: too many sweets, toys, parties, etc. It’s easier to manage when they’re young and don’t know any better. The challenge is to let them have fun without everyone burning out.
So my 1 big reflection after two fantastic weeks off work with my daughter is to focus on finding fun in the meaningful things like walks, painting, crafts, reading, and not to get too caught up in the excitement of the holiday season. By all means we’re going to take part in things, but we’re going to do them at our own pace and in our own way.