Mourning the School Holidays

Mourning the School Holidays

I waved goodbye to my five year old daughter this morning as she skipped into the classroom ready for her fourth half-term at school. Half way through reception now, she has settled into the routine of school but is exhausted by the end of the school day. We were all so ready for the half term holiday, and I was looking forward to slower mornings and time to enjoy doing things with both of my daughters together again.

One of the things I’ve found difficult since September is that life is now crammed into the weekend. By the evening, both children are tired and throughout the darkness of winter none of us have felt like doing much after school. We haven’t had as much time for all of the lovely day trips and activities we used to do when they were both pre-schoolers, and weekends have either been jam packed or reserved for recovery from busy weeks. We used to be able to visit family mid-week, but these trips now need to be booked in for a Saturday or Sunday weeks in advance, carefully squeezed in amongst play-dates and dance classes, swimming and bike riding.

The Christmas holiday was the usual blur of festive mayhem and seeing every relative and friend under the sun, but this February half term was a real break for the children. We stayed at home and fitted in plenty of day trips; the beach, National Trust visits, woodland walks, play-dates, time with family, swimming and soaking up the sunshine in pub gardens. The glorious spring weather helped, of course. Wearing just t shirts on some days, my girls embraced being outside and played freely, not hampered by any timetable and (usually) not rushing to get out of the door in the morning.

I enjoyed having time with them and watching them play together, something that they also have less time for now that my eldest is at school all week. We had more time for reading stories, doing arts and crafts, and making dens. There was more time for talking, imagining and dreaming.

I actually feel refreshed at the end of half term, rather than exhausted. Whilst I am enjoying the peace of working on the first day that they are back at school and nursery, I feel a bit sad that the holiday is over and now I have six more weeks of seeing relatively little of my eldest. I am sure the summer holiday will feel very different (and oh so long), but today I am grateful to have had such a great school holiday with my daughters, and can’t wait for Easter holidays to roll around.

Hannah England

Hannah England is a freelance writer living in Bristol. She lives with her wife and two daughters aged five and two, and has written a novel that she is now trying to get published. She can often be found obsessing about getting the laundry done.

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