Spring break is an exciting time. It’s the only real break between the winter holidays and the end of the school year. As you look around, you might notice that everyone around you is heading out on a trip during spring break. But what about when you need to stay home? You’ll need a spring break staycation survival guide to get you through the week.
Spring Break Isn’t Magical for Everyone
As a kid, spring break felt like magic. A whole week away from the grind of school. I loved it! As a mom, it’s a lot more complicated. We can’t always afford a big vacation and my husband can’t always take an entire week off to go on a trip. But staying home doesn’t usually feel like a vacation. For example:
- Spring is a little moody and doesn’t usually send us a weeks worth of beautiful weather, so my kids are stuck inside. Last year during spring break we had one great sunny day, so we put up our trampoline…only for it to snow the next day.
- A lot of our kid’s friends go out of town on their family vacations during spring break. Which really bums out my kids when they don’t have friends around to hang out with.
- As much as they say they want a break from school, my kids get SO bored. Which leads to messes, fighting, and non-stop whining.
- Parents might still have to work. Even if you have the luxury to work from home during spring break to be with your kids, you still have to work. It’s hard to get it all done with kids around.
It’s easy to feel concerned about spring break when a staycation is in the cards.
Spring Break Staycation Survival Tips
Spring break at home might feel hard. Most of us wouldn’t say that a staycation is our top choice. But with these spring break staycation survival tips, you can make the most of your time at home:
Break The Rules
Sure, the kids should go to bed at 8pm. But during spring break, it won’t hurt to let them stay up an extra hour one or two nights.
Do you normally sit at the table to eat dinner? Spread out a blanket on the living room floor and watch a movie while you picnic inside.
It won’t ruin you kids if they have an extra hour or two of screen time this week. You gotta do what you gotta do!
Be okay with breaking your normal house rules a few times during spring break. It’s all about survival. Not to mention, your kids will love the break from the routine!
Have New Down-Time Activities On Hand
Your kids are going to be telling you (constantly) that they are bored. Be prepared with plenty of activities to keep them busy during down time. This might include:
Books – take a trip to the library at the beginning of the week. Load up on your favorites. Grab audio books too. My kids love to listen to books while they work on Legos or another building project. Right now my grade schoolers are loving these books!
Movies – is there a movie that your kids haven’t seen? Save it for spring break. Or plan a movie marathon where you watch one movie in a series each day. Make it a big deal and act like it’s a special treat!
Puzzles – plan to set up a new puzzle for the family to work on throughout the week. We like to set ours up on a card table and leave it up in the living room so that it’s easily moved, yet accessible for kids to work on when they have a minute. These puzzles below are so fun!
Games – when was the last time your family brought out a new game? Borrow or buy a new game for your family to learn together. Bonus points if your kids can play it without parental supervision! This game has been on our wish list for awhile! I’m going to have to snag it before spring break comes!
Need more ideas for family games? Read: 20+ Games to Play During Winter Break
Plan Something Fun Every Day
One of the best ways to break through the boredom of a week with no school, is to plan at least one fun thing every day. Maybe that fun thing is a dance party in the kitchen after dinner, or maybe it’s going roller skating together as a family. Before spring break even starts, write up a daily schedule and put one fun thing into each day. It’ll give everyone something to look forward to doing.
Get Out of the House
Just because you are having a spring break staycation, doesn’t mean you are stuck at home all week. Get out of the house when you can. Even if it’s just once or twice during spring break. Go to the park, go for a walk, go to the zoo. Break up the week with some fresh air and Vitamin D.
Be Consistent with your Essentials
While it’s good to bend the rules a little, try to be consistent with the essentials as much as possible. Decide ahead of time where you are willing to break the rules, and where you need to maintain them for your sanity. One great way to do this is to decide on the essentials for a happy home life. Stick to those essentials.
For example, maybe you know you’ll go crazy if the dishes sit in the sink all week. On the other hand, perhaps you don’t mind if your 3-year-old skips a nap or two while you are out having fun. Enforce consistency in the things that matter most to you.
For me, I know I’ll be happy if we have regular meals, semi-consistent sleep schedules, and finished chores. But I don’t mind the kids making a giant fort in the living room to keep themselves occupied on a boring and cold spring break day.
Be Open about Expectations and Schedules
My kids love knowing what is coming. A regular schedule helps them feel grounded and secure. Spring break is challenging, in that your family’s regular schedule is upended. Writing down a loose schedule and posting it somewhere your kids can see will help everyone know what is happening and when.
Plan Meals Ahead of Time
Don’t wait for spring break to get here before you plan meals. Having a set of pre-planned dinners will be a lifesaver. Sit down and brainstorm a week’s worth of dinners, as well as easy ideas for breakfasts and lunches.
If possible, prepare those meals ahead of time to make things easier during spring break. If you don’t feel confident that you can get around to making a week’s worth of meals, pick up a few from the freezer section at your local grocery store.
You can even plan on eating takeout a night or two, or eating cereal for dinner. The point is to have a plan in place so you don’t feel panicked at the end of the day.
Choose a Theme
I’m going to just throw this out there in case you are feeling a little “extra”. Choosing a theme for your spring break can be really fun. I say it’s extra, because it’s totally not essential for your survival. But if you want to do it, here are a few ideas.
- Plan an international week. Last year for spring break we did an international week. Each day we learned about a different country, ate a meal that somewhat resembles what they eat in that country, and had fun trying new things.
- Organize or remodel kid’s bedrooms. It can be as simple as switching out different bedding and organizing their closet, or as difficult as painting walls. We did this one year and the kids LOVED us taking the time to make their bedroom feel nice.
- “New to me” week. Write down at least seven things your family has never done. Then do a new thing each day. That could mean trying new foods, new games, or visiting a new place you’ve never been.
- Favorites week. Each person in the family gets to have their own day. During that day you do their favorites. Favorite foods, favorite movies, favorite games, and favorite music.
- Kindness week. Choose one kind thing to do each day for someone outside of your family. Encourage family members to do acts of kindness to each other throughout the week.
Let Them be Bored
It’s so tempting to think you need to fill every minute of your child’s day with fun. But that’s not really healthy or necessary. Let them be bored. Let them find ways to occupy themselves without your help. They will be just fine.
Listen to Your Needs
When your kids are home for spring break, it’s easy to forget about yourself. There is so much to do. But don’t forget to prioritize some time for yourself. Set aside time each day to be alone. Take a bath, read your favorite book, or take a walk. Just make sure to take some time for you.
So there you have it! My top tips for spring break staycation survival with kids. What are your go-to tips? Share in the comments below!