Summer holidays are finally here. School is finished, work is over for now and we get to say goodbye to structure and routine for a while.  We have no travel plans, no outside commitments, just time together as a family. Now what?

With one year about to finish and the next about to begin this time of year needs to be a circuit-breaker. We need the opportunity to replenish and refresh so that we can return to our regular life commitments with energy and enthusiasm. It is important that we ALL enjoy the break and get what we need from this precious time-out. Each of us needs time to ourselves and time to regroup as a family, and we need to make sure that all bases are covered.

The gift that comes with a holiday at home is uninterrupted space and time. As with most gifts this one also starts out being shiny and novel at the beginning of the holidays but becomes old and uninspiring by the end. Free time for building cubby houses, watching movies and completing art projects can quickly decline into boredom and squabbling.

So whilst you don’t need to leave home to have a great holiday you do need to put a few things in place first.


  1. Get the house in order.  Not completely, just enough. It is important that the house is in a state that is not a constant reminder of jobs that need to be done. This is not the time to catch up on all the things that weren’t completed during the year. No. This is a superficial tidy up so that you can relax in your own space. At the start of the holidays everyone is excited about time off and time together. Don’t squander it on cleaning or clearing out cupboards.
  2. Start with a family discussion where everyone gets some time to reflect on what a good holiday means to them. Consider what you need to feel in order to enjoy your time.
  3. Try my 3 minute exercise to make sure everyone’s holiday dreams come true. Everyone gets a piece of paper, a pencil and 3 minutes to list 10 things (minimum) that they want to do over the holidays. Good prompts are – somewhere you have always wanted to go, people you want to see, something you think is fun, something you would find fulfilling, something you want to get, an outing you wished you had gone on…..
  4. Create your schedule around this list to make your time fun, fresh and fulfilling. Staying home makes it too easy to do the same old things (comfort zone alert!) and part of shifting out of the groundhog’s-day routine is being open to new experiences, as I have discussed extensively over here.
  5. Schedule in rest breaks and down time as well as activities so that all needs are met.

In case you need some inspiration for your own list here were a few collective highlights from ours-

  • Make a public art work together
  • Have a family sleepover (this is a family tradition where we all camp out on the lounge room floor)
  • Go rock climbing
  • Bike ride into the city
  • Eat at a new restaurant
  • Play a game of family Masterchef
  • Picnic at the beach
  • Visit a new market
  • Visit a gallery
  • Share a meal with someone new
  • Hold a garage sale
  • See the fireworks on New Year’s Eve
  • Get a new dishwasher
  • Visit Outer Space or Greenland!!

Please add to the comments below and help to keep the inspiration flowing. Let me know about the highlights from your list.

Have a beautiful holiday.