Forget the thrills, just laze about

Hyperactive holidays are the rage, but kids may prefer indolence, says Adrian Mourby

When I was young, school holidays were about being a slob in my bedroom. At the end of term, I retired with my Airfix kits and Action Man and only emerged when my mother called me down for meals.

This was a world of torpor and of imagination broken only by my father pointing out from time to time that the strange smell outside was fresh air, should I be interested in sticking my nose out for a sniff. Rarely did I venture out, but by the end of the holiday I had surfeited on indolence and was keen to get back to school and to be doing things again.

Nowadays, school holidays are as hyperactive as children's television. Everything has to be cheers and thrills. Here in Cardiff, local authorities have laid on playcare schemes where your child can run egg-races, paint Easter eggs, build an Easter Bunny hutch with Uncle Mike and make shapeless things out of coloured cardboard.

We'll also be having street theatre, tree-planting and face-painting, plus fire-eaters and jugglers and a man walking around on stilts shaking hands with the kiddies. The local arts centre is running courses in making shapeless things out of coloured cardboard .

We've got two Fun Factories, where in between the courses and the street entertainment, your children can roll over and over inside a brightly coloured cage doing unspeakable things to each other with bits of padded foam rubber.

If you go into the library for a quiet sit-down, a man in clown costume is likely to jump out at you and shout "Hi kids! Aren't books fun!"

The fact of the matter is, it is all too much. Last half-term, my seven- year-old daughter was ferried from event to event the way film stars are hustled around when promoting a new release. By the end of the holiday, Miranda was dreadfully over-excited and within two days of going back to school, she was off with a temperature.

All of this has set me wondering, as Easter approaches, if there is anything we can do to rein in this bacchanalia. Whatever happened to the good, old-fashioned "God, I'm bored" holidays of my youth?

The answer is, of course, that working parents is what happened. My mother was always at home when I was young, so there was no need to fix me up with compulsory raffia classes. There was no need to arrange a relay team of hard-pressed mums and dads to deliver piles of children to fun-time events all around the city.

In our house, it's particularly difficult. Katherine and I work from home, so we really can't have our children treating the place as if they live here, except after six and at weekends. Sadly, we not untypical.

My suggestion is that instead of trying to cram the 12 most exciting events your child can possibly imagine into one hyperactive holiday, working parents should get together and nominate one house for multiple child occupation each day. In this one kitchen, children can moon around and ask if there's anything to eat. In this bedroom, they can lock themselves away and refuse to come down when it's lunch time. They can even sit in the front room gazing out the window and complain from time to time about having nothing to do.

There would be, of course, a different venue each day to allow each set of parents to get on with their lives.

Try it this Easter. See if it works.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

Arts and Entertainment
music
News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Year 3 Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 Teachers - Chelm...

KS1 Teacher

£21500 - £31500 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work...

year 4/5/6

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you looking for a full...

Year 4 Teacher

£20000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wo...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes