Most parents look forward to the long school holidays with feelings that are equal parts joy and dread.  We’re are definitely keen on spending quality time with our kids but we’re also sure that the holiday will have its share of temper tantrums and melt downs…

Embracing some simple strategies could help you make this summer not just good, but the best ever.

To start with, grab a sheet of paper, some sketch pens, and brainstorm possible summer activities with your children. Try to include a mixture of free or cheap activities, like playdates and craft activities, as well as expensive days out. Stick it on the fridge door and cross off activities as you do them – this will be your bucket list for the summer.

Stock up on cheap and easy items that’ll fill the time at home, such as pavement chalks, water balloons and baking ingredients…never underestimate how much fun can be had with a big empty box or empty talc tins! Arranging get-togethers, either with school mums or with friends that you don’t get to see during term-time, is a good way of providing the children with company, and yourself with some adult conversation.

However, everyday life doesn’t grind to a halt during the hols; there are tasks that need to be done, regardless. Keep in mind that children – especially younger ones – love nothing more than to be with you, helping you with household chores, such as dusting or packing away outgrown clothes and unused toys. Make the effort to get your child away from his tablet or phone…to spending some time in the great outdoors every day, even if you’re just playing or walking in the neighbourhood park.

So, how do you ensure that your children are having the best time during the summer vacation? Here are some fun ways of making the most of the summer holidays!

Meet up with mother nature

If you belong in a busy city, how about escaping to the hills? If you belong to a city by the ocean then how about trip to the hills? Ideally, parents should decide on visiting a place that is a new experience for the child and so he learns something new during the course of the trip.

Bonding with grandparents and cousins, uncles and aunts

Children these days do not experience and enjoy the caring company of grandparents or relatives. So, take time out during the summer vacation and catch up with your extended families.

Sports and other such stuff!

Let summer be the time for your child to go out to the park and play with other children. Toss a football around. Play catch with a tennis ball. Try and hit a sixer with a rubber ball. Learn a few swimming strokes. Just make sure they don’t play in the midday heat.

Join an extra-curricular activity

It can be painting and drawing, dance, drama, music or learning a musical instrument. Ask your children what interests them, and then send them to a summer school, a summer camp or hire a tutor to come home.

Encourage the chef in your child

The summer vacation is great time to let your child learn some cooking. However, when your children spend time in the kitchen, an adult should be around to ensure that they are safe and also help them while cooking. Learning to cook will make your child independent and self-reliant from a young age.

How about arts and crafts…

If you want your child to remain indoors during the summer, then arts and crafts is an engaging way of keeping them occupied! You can also teach them the basics of stitching so that they do not panic at the thought of mending a tear, in later life.

Register for part time courses

There are many courses on cooking and baking, computer, dance and sports conducted between the months of March to June. Register your child in one of these courses and you can make the summer vacation a learning time for them.

Encourage the reading habit

Send your children to the local library or help them make their own library at home. This will inculcate a love of reading in them. You should ensure that your children pick books which suit their age and genre. Reading books is great way for children to spend time during the summer vacation.

Start them early, to give back to society

Let your children learn the realities of the world during holiday time. Take them to an old age home or to an orphanage to spend time with those in need. Provide them with goodies that can be distributed amongst the occupants – in fact, this is one of the most productive ways of spending time during the summer vacation.