Will Lodge: Holidays are no mean feat of organisation

The Lodge family, Mitchell, Gemma, Mila, Seth, Will and Finley.

The Lodge family, Mitchell, Gemma, Mila, Seth, Will and Finley. - Credit: Su Anderson

Parenting columnist Will Lodge talks about school holidays and keeping youngest to eldest happy.

With the arrival of the Easter holidays, meaning our house is full all of the time, we once again encounter the problem faced by parents everywhere – what to do with the kids in the school break.

If you have one or two children, or your offspring are close in age, it is perhaps not so difficult to achieve.

But we have an age range of nine months to almost 12 years, which can make it hard to find activities everyone will enjoy.

It is perhaps not quite the problem now as it will be in a year’s time. At the moment baby is pretty much too young to do anything except sit and take in the surroundings, while the eldest – in only his first year at secondary school – has not quite yet reached complete teenager and so will generally be happy with what his younger brothers (aged nearly six and seven) want to do.

Art and craft activities which will keep the younger ones amused for hours do not hold the same draw for the eldest, while more physical outdoor activities must be catered for legs long and short – as well as the three wheels of the pram.

It does mean we have to think carefully about the practical arrangements, and appreciate attractions with a whole new eye.

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For example as I write we are planning a family trip to a theme park – I won’t name it, but it is a bigger one than our usual jaunt down to Southend sea front.

It has been carefully chosen venue in family terms, with bigger and more thrilling rides for the older ones (myself included), smaller rides and a zoo for the littler children, and even some rides which we hope are suitable for baby when held by us.

There is also supposed to be a queuing system which means my wife and I can wait at the front and take turns holding baby and accompanying children without having to queue twice, which is an immense relief.

I will let you know how it goes.

For the trip down we have swapped our rear-facing car seat for a forward-facing one as baby grows ever-bigger, along with changing the carriage part of our pram.

It is a lot more fun, and means you can see baby in the rear-view mirror.

But when my mum visited and commented “she looks so different from the last time I saw her” after an absence of around ten days, the penny dropped for me about the pace of change.

Of course I realised that we just don’t notice the physical changes as we see her every day, but I didn’t think it would be noticeable after such a short time away.

It made me realise that those relatives who we cannot see so regularly must really marvel at how baby has changed since our last visit.