Whilst more snuggle time is lovely, it doesn't always help you feel better. You and your children need exercise and fresh air to feel energised and time outdoors in daylight is very important for beating winter blues and helping tackle SAD. So how can you fight that urge to hibernate and keep those kids active outdoors instead?
When I found my father using a kitchen tray with an historic local map printed on it to plan the route of our next expedition rather than his car's GPS system, I gave up any illusion that this family holiday could be categorised as slick.
We were financially not well-off in those days, given that I was a University student and my children's young father did not have a highly paid job. But we had something infinitely more precious than cold hard cash, and that was time plus the mindset to enjoy that time with our children.
After emerging from a cold and wet bank holiday weekend, here are some tried and tested suggestions to entertain the kids indoors without breaking the bank. Having a technology free day in favour of some quality time is the best way to take advantage of the rainy conditions.
It was a long car journey, taking nearly two full days with an overnight stop in a fantastic budget hotel in Le Mans en route (see, I can speak French and everything!). We learnt a few things during our trip, so here's my honest guide to driving in France, with some helpful tips and a few MASSIVE generalisations, all served with un petit peu of sarcasm:
The summer holidays are nearing their end, and if you're sat there thinking you wished you did a little more with them, here's some inspiration for next year.
Just thinking about his first day of school makes me wobbly. I'm going to miss him so much. But sometimes - on the days when it's too hot, and we're too tired, and there have been three tantrums by 10am, and that's only counting mine - I do idly fantasise about what I'll do with all that free time.
Today, there is no stereotypical family unit - families come in all shapes and sizes and the family unit is constantly evolving. But one thing that remains unchanged and will remain valid in perpetuity is that time together as a family can bring immense joy, happiness, and fulfilment.
I recently took my seven-week-old to Vevey in Switzerland by train (that's a baby travel blog post to come!). The journey went well (we're still alive) thanks to good preparation (loco2 proved to be an easy-to-use train journey planner) and some key travel essentials...
The little one is 16 Months old. Not a tiny baby anymore, yet not quite a toddler. He's at that precarious in-between stage. Climbing without knowing the consequences, running when he's not yet got enough miles under the belt walking. There are bumps and bruises a plenty. Mainly mine.
I'm conducting a comparative study of children's TV programmes in the eighties and children's TV programmes today. That is to say, I'm trying to decide whether the children's TV I watched was more or less utterly ridiculous than that which The Toddler now watches.
Why was I so scared of my children being bored? What would happen to them? What would happen to me? Am I neglecting them if they don't get to feed five farmyard animals a week, try out every swing and slide in the district and visit six sites of historical interest?
To get our children ready to read, we need all parents to be reading to their children 10 minutes a day. It sounds simple, but a nursery manager I spoke to recently told me how many of her parents just don't realise what a difference this could make. For boys, there's compelling evidence that dads reading to them has an even stronger effect.
Universal fact: Small people come with a lot of crap. Wherever you go, the small people go, and too their crap. But going on holiday? You need a week off just to pack the crap.
If you're after a relaxing holiday with the kids look elsewhere. Switching effortlessly from winter ski Mecca, Morzine buzzes with activities all summer. The town is swarming with mud-spattered mountain bikers, padded up like Robocop as they hurtle down trails.
As an Aussie expat living in the UK with two children under six, the London to Sydney long-haul flight is now about as familiar to me as a manky old pair of slippers. So with the school holidays upon us, I thought I'd pass on a few survival tips for those new to long-haul flying with kids. Here are my top 10 tips.