How savvy parents avoid half-term getaway havoc

It seems as though they’ve only just started the new school year before the October break begins and the educational system very kindly hands your bundles of joy back home for the week. Many of us look to distant shores and new pastures during this time in a bid to combat the evitable boredom-induced mischief. However, with droves of other families thinking the same, traffic jams, tantrums and domestic chaos can soon ensue. Here are some hints to help you breeze through the half-term school break without too many meltdowns on your October getaway.

Don’t be driven mad

Ah, the unfeasibly long car journey – every parent’s favourite, with highlights such as WWIII breaking out in the backseat and an irrepressible, metronomic chime of “I’m bored” at unnecessarily frequent intervals. Childhood wouldn’t be the same without some formative memory of taking 11 hours to get from A to B, but to avoid the stress of cooped up, bored kids the savvy parent will become a Grand Master of Prep. In the digital age, tablet devices and smartphones are a godsend for keeping little ones occupied via an eternal rotation of Peppa Pig and Little Mix videos, but if you’re looking for a more wholesome ‘battery-free’ approach, you’ll want to take frequent rest stops to avoid crankiness.

If you’re not in a rush to get to your destination, why not make the journey itself part of the holiday by hitting up Ping England’s Ping-Pong table finder and break up that road trip with a stopover into a little roadside tournament or two? Be warned: winner gets to choose the music for the rest of the ride, so there’s a lot at stake.

Monkey see, monkey do

At the age before children are embarrassed by everything their parents do, there is a golden time when they actually want to copy everything their parents do. To appease tiny consumers wishing to sport a style “just like Mummy’s” (and/or) “Daddy’s”, get your little ones a pair of super cool Ray-Ban Junior sunglasses – pint-sized versions of the adult originals which are guaranteed to offer superior sun protection from harmful autumn UVA/UVB rays, while also making your Mini-Me feel very, very grown up. This should result in their ‘best behaviour’, in theory.

Don’t be afraid to freewheel

You read correctly. While it is tempting to organise every second of your trip to military precise detail, the best-laid plans of mice and men will always go awry in the mysterious universal comedy that is life.

Showing up at your destination with a blank diary and a ready-and-willing perspective can be just as exciting as a regimented itinerary of activities. This allows the kids to get actively involved in the decision-making process of what to do day-to-day, based on their energy levels and eagerness. The output of this radical thinking is a more relaxed holiday for parents who can revel in the element of surprise along with more compliant, enthusiastic kids who won’t feel as though they’re being dragged from one attraction to the next.

If you do factor in one part of the trip, be sure that it’s a babysitter or daytime kids’ activity club to ensure a decent amount of parent-only quality time. After all, you might have outgrown the uniform, but it’s your October break as well!

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