Parents deserve break too

The kids are out of school – are they driving you crazy yet?

If you don’t have any, you might be muttering that the mall or the movie theatre is busy or traffic patterns are wacky, but count your lucky stars. If you are a parent, you have kids underfoot at all hours. If you didn’t manage to get everyone on a holiday away from the rigours of daily life, how can you survive?

My plan this week is to offer you three suggestions centred on your happiness; yes, it’s OK for parents to be selfish once in a while and put themselves first.

I will also include another three suggestions based on maintaining full family fun levels. After all, a holiday should be fun, right?

Parents often don’t have any break in their schedule when the kids are on Spring Break. Therefore, my theory is that if the kids help out with the endless “to-dos” during some of their free time, then everyone has more quality time together.

Divide and conquer is the theme here.

Kids can help with cleaning:

  • Smaller children can help clean bathrooms, load dishwashers, feed pets and fold laundry.
  • Older kids can take on more and more, including vacuuming or taking out the garbage.
  • Be inventive and make it an adventure, maybe a competition (not Survivor – we’re not voting anyone off the island; rather like The Biggest Loser, with the best performer getting a prize.)

Kids can cook:

  • Younger kids can wash veggies or tear lettuce for salad, older kids can do more prep like chopping or peeling or mixing sauces.
  • Simple meals like homemade pita pizzas or pasta dishes are fun to do as a group.
  • Salad for dinner is a quick and easy option – canned tuna, chick peas, nuts or seeds or even cheese can add protein. Want more ideas?

Kids can take over:

  • When I was a kid, one of the most important jobs my little brother and I had was to clean up after dinner. This included clearing the table, doing the dishes and putting them away, and making tea for my mom and dad.
  • After dinner was their quality time together and we took pride in taking over the kitchen.

Families have a tough time making room in the calendar for actual free time. 

That is my theme here – it’s not so much about organizing every detail of every day. That is the regular routine. So how about a bit of spontaneous good old-fashioned fun?

Family movies:

  • There are cheap options at Landmark Cinemas over Spring Break – only $3 for a few kid-friendly films.
  • But you don’t have to leave home; you can choose a movie through a streaming service like NetFlix or your cable on-demand, or even pull a DVD from the shelf.
  • Make some popcorn, get everyone settled in with cushions – pajamas on before the movie means you save time afterwards if it’s an evening show.

Family walks:

  • Maybe it’s a walk to the neighbourhood park for a game of catch or tag, or even just a stroll. Grab the dog, put extra-small people in strollers or wagons so they don’t get tired too quickly, and dress for the weather.
  • Take a family picture to commemorate the moment.

Family Meals:

  • Everyone sits at the dining room table, together, from start to finish. I know it’s a tall order, but once you get there you’ll remember how lovely it is.
  • It doesn’t have to be dinner – breakfast on the weekend is a great choice too. Have a conversation around the table that asks everyone to offer their favourite thing about spring, or something they want to do before school is out for summer.
  • Some meal ideas.

OK, go forth and enjoy. Mix up that routine, take time out for an extra hug. Breathe the spring air, hear the birds singing. Take time to talk to each other without multi-tasking and soak up the moments together.

Pretty soon, we will be back to the regular chaos; make the most of this special chaos while you can.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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