Managing the School Holidays with a Pre-teen

Half Term has just finished and although it was so lovely to be able to spend quality time as a family, there are definitely some challenges that occur whenever my eldest (DB1) is off school.

He is ten, and just like the majority of children his age, he loves to look at screens. He likes to watch TV and play on his tablet and games console. As many parents, I don’t like him spending too much time watching a screen. This undoubtedly has led to many an argument, particularly during school holidays.

Quite a number of years ago, I was fed up with feeling as though I was having to battle to limit screen time. So, I decided to create a School Holiday Routine. This was something I created with DB1, so he was fully aware of what he was expected to do and the benefits of doing this. I have to say Pinterest did give me some ideas when creating this, but over the years we have adapted it to work for us.


DB1’s School Holiday Routine


After waking up and having breakfast you must:

  • Get dressed
  • Brush your teeth
  • Brush your hair
  • Make your bed
  • Tidy up your room


In order to get screen time, you must:

  • Read for 30 minutes
  • Complete Maths work for 30 minutes
  • Do Handwriting/Grammar for 30 minutes
  • Play outside
  • Create something
  • Help a family member
  • Practice the piano/guitar for 30 minutes


This is the outline of our school holiday routine and dependent on what we have planned, it can change. There might be days when he doesn’t manage to do all the activities or any, because we are having a family day out, are away on holiday or DB1 is out with friends. In those circumstances, the routine is adapted to work around what we are doing.

I can’t say this is right for everyone, as every child and parent are different, but this works for us. DB1 responds well to structure and needs routines, which makes sense considering when he’s at school he has such strong daily routines throughout the week.

When we first introduced this, we did have some unhappiness for the first day or so, but once he knew the expectation and understood the reward for doing the tasks, it became much better. Now, whenever it is a school holiday, DB1 knows this is what he will be doing and quite willingly gets on with it. The arguments over the amount of screen time have lessened and I find he is so much more productive, occupied, independent and content. It may not work for everyone, but it definitely beats having to hide the tablet and games console.


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Thank you for your support.


Mrs P x x x

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