Surviving the Summer

By Angeline Ruston 2019-05-31 17:27:59

How to handle the HEAT

Surviving the Summer


“We’re all going on a summer holiday

No more working for a week or two.

Fun and laughter on our summer holiday,

No more worries for me or you, … “

Song by Cliff Richard



Summer Holidays! I am literally feeling quite petrified! No more school, or at our girls age 3 and 5, I should rather say institutionalized babysitting, for 10 whole weeks seems quite daunting. Nothing like 110%, 24-7, full on and fulltime parenting with ultimately ZERO down time, to leave this Mum in a tizz….  


Something seems to happen to children during the summer vacation… they tend to vibrate at a higher frequency. And the activities you could use to entertain them during the previous Christmas winter break or a skiing Chinese New Year escape, no longer have the same effect. 


For instance, that lovely My Little Pony and other activity books which kept Juliette, our eldest, colouring, cutting, sticking and entertained for almost 2 hours at a time during December, has only a maximum 15 minute effect in July. Or similarly, that fabulously funny Peter Rabbit movie on a lazy January weekend would be our cozy family time.  But now, any TV time over 10 minutes is met with summersaults, acrobatics, den making and the very active couch trampoline! All of which ends with the girls’ holiday mantra, “Mumma, I’m BORED…”


To help this Mum remain sane and get the kids to spend this extra energy and stretch those limbs, I try encourage the kids to play outdoors as much as possible in the Summer. Although requires some preparation to be a successful Summer pastime.


First and foremost, investing in an array of lotions and potions is paramount for this helicopter mum to ensure the basics in parenting, protecting and preventing is covered.  I have stocked up on mosquito repellent sprays and patches, wrist bands and coils. Both natural alternatives or, as I prefer, DEET extra strength options. (These Asian Tiger Aedes Albopictus Mosquitoes are ferocious!)  And like to apply liberally before venturing out to our local city park or latest Shanghai Fairground Attraction, or even our very own back yard.  This, however, results in many a battle of wills…


“Isabella, Don’t lick your arm!”         

“Mumma is going to do a quick all over spray. Tongue in, eyes closed. Try not breathe for a minute..”

And then, my absolute worst fear,

“Mmmmummm! There is a patch stuck in my hair!”

Sunblock is not much more fun. The best ones, I find, are slimy and sticky, and difficult to apply. They tend to stain clothes and possibly resemble war paints; but at least that means it is usually a once off, maybe a second, application. And looking for the easy option, I quite like that!


I then search for simple, fuss free, outside games and activities allowing our girls to soak in that Vitamin D and revel in that wondrous freedom and innocence of childhood play.

Chalking pavements, driveways and walls is quite a good one and Balls, Bikes, Blades and Scooters are great too, but for our younger kids still require some form of parent participation and supervision.  And the fun generally only lasts for an hour.


Some of our more relaxing independent options, and our family’s favourite is ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf?’ A fantastic game where one child, the ‘wolf’ and the ‘boss’, has their back turned to the other kids . The approaching brood of little piggies yell out, asking what the time is, and the wolf turns around says 2 o’clock, 5, o’clock, etc. allowing the gang to step forward by 2 or 5 paces. But when the wolf turns around and shouts “dinner time, she or he must chase the others, catching the next willing wolf. Squeals of delight as the piggies make a dash for it.  And if there are enough kids, no parents required!


Then there is the classic, “Eye Spy.” Which I assume needs no explanation, albeit maybe only a slight modification in our family.

“ I spy with my little eye something beginning with blue…” Little Isabella perks up so excited that she is going first for a change squints at the sky.

Juliette competitively shouts “Sky!”


“Ummm Dad’s shirt”

“No!” Isa shakes her head

“Mum’s earring?”


And after exhausting every possibility, Juliette exasperates…

“There is nothing else blue…”

Isabella  looks up at the sky again and points “Sky!” Juliette stomps off quite furious.


But the ultimate in outdoor fun and when all else fails… you can always ‘just add water!’

It can be a tea set and jug, a hosepipe and bucket, or even a TaoBao purchased paddling pool.  Pouring, baking, splashing, water and sun will always result in loads of laughs and happy children… And best of all, tired happy children asleep by 7pm so this Mum can get her morsel of me time to survive the summer….