19/10/2009 08:58 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

How To Organise Your Time During Half Term

The first half of this Autumn term seems to have been one long stream of notes and demands from my children's schools: Harvest fair! Parents' night! PTA! School trip! We want your spare kidney! (Only joking about the last one, though I wouldn't put it past them)

And after demanding all that commitment from parents, now the school is shirking on their part of the bargain and sending the little blighters home for a week. I'm sure we didn't have half term in my day. So how to fill the half term break without feeling that you need a holiday at the end of it?

Here are some ideas:

  • Don't peak too soon
    Seriously, if you start the week with a scavenger hunt in the park, a trip to the swimming pool and a sleepover in the evening, you're setting the bar too high and making the rest of us look bad. Start by providing too much entertainment and they'll be expecting you to take them to Disneyland by Friday.
  • Allow your kids plenty of down time
    They've just had a busy half term at school and are probably mentally and physically exhausted. We often start the week with a pyjama day - just what you need after weeks of rushing out to school on time.
  • Let them get a bit bored
    This is when imagination kicks in. Yes you will have to put up with a few moans of "Muu-uum, I'm boo-ooored", but if you refuse to provide any more entertainment, it won't be long before they start providing their own.
  • Make time to see friends outside school
    This is a great time to see friends or relatives you don't normally see. Make a day of it with a trip out on the bus or train, or host a sleepover at home.
  • Do a childcare swap
    If a school age child has a friend round, it occupies them really well, and with luck, they'll be invited back. If you're a work at home parent, you might have no choice. More tips here for work at home parents in half term.
  • Think of activities for all weather
    It could be pouring with rain or crisp and bright, so think of both indoor and outdoor activities
  • If your mind's a blank, try one of these:
    Swimming, baking and cooking, an art trail in London, walk in the woods, carving pumpkins, arts and crafts, go to the cinema, play a board game, take a trip to the coast, visit the library, make a den (inside or outside), trip to the park, cycling, DVD afternoon - the possibilities are endless

What will you be doing with your time this half term?