what we risk without Realising

Christmas is over once again. My how time flys... Or does it because I keep saying it without even realising. Hmmm note to self; this year I will work on not saying 'time flys'.

Now the festivities may be over but the school holidays are around for a few more weeks. My kids are older now so I'm not affected by the holidays anymore unless I head to the shops or the local park. For me I always use to say YAY when it was school holidays, but I understand not all parents feel this way. Life gets a little more hectic, kids get bored, they often argue with siblings and entertainment isn't always cheap.

No matter what was happening in my life the school holidays were something I always looked forward too as my kids and I would spend as much time as we could chatting, laughing and playing board games. Board games are such a fun way of connecting and just hanging out together, not just in the holidays but on weekends as well. In my family sometimes our games would last for days, we loved them, we always have and although they are living away from home now, I believe we always will.

Games have always been a part of our family entertainment. My earliest memories of playing games are with my grandparents. With a piece of paper and a pencil we would play for hours a game we (they) simply called 'boy-girl' (A word game that my sister and I have for longest time thought about putting into production for others to play and enjoy, note to self; must still do that).

So Games for us have wonderful memories. Many hours of fun, sitting around the table playing anything from boggle, scrabble, boy/girl, cards, charades, and monopoly to the newer DVD trivia games. I like to add a new game under the Christmas tree every year, for us all to enjoy.

But one particular game we use to play always gets me thinking when ever the school holidays come around; It's the Lord of the Rings board game called RISK.

It's one we played a number of times when the boys were younger and although fun as we each gained our territory's, built our forces and challenged each other to conquer new territories (It can be very competitive!) the word RISK always stands out in my mind. RISK has positive and negative connotations depending on how you apply it and the meaning you place on it.  But in this case being games, school holidays and spending time with our kids it poses thoughts of what we risk missing out on. As adults our lives can be so busy. Sometimes we're just exhausted, way too busy, shrug things of as not that important or a waste of time or we’re simply so consumed with pressing important issues over work, bills, relationships and other matters. We can even without realising and with the best intention say 'later' which many times sadly never comes.

So this post is simply an encouragement to make the most of our time and create memorable moments with our kids, especially during the holidays. Time passes so quickly, my kids are now 26 & 20 (but we still play games as often as we can when they come to visit).

They grow up so fast and it's time we can never get back. So I encourage you all to see the school holidays as a magical time you get to spend bonus hours with your kids. No matter what age they are there's something fun you can do together, without spending a fortune.

Below is a list of some of the things my kids and I did (and a couple we still do) over the holidays.

  • Board games (obviously)
  • Card games 
  • Pull out all the Lego on a big sheet on the lounge room floor - with a goal before the holidays are over to build 'something' using every piece they own
  • Build cubby houses inside and out
  • Play hide n seek
  • When you’re really tired take them to the video store (although there's not to many of them left these days) pick out a movie and popcorn, then snuggle up on the lounge
  • Build a camp fire in your backyard (if you can) grab some marshmallows and tell stories, or play movie charades. 
  • Play Mr Squiggle. For those of you old enough to remember Mr Squiggle used to transform a squiggle into an animal, a person or thing. We would draw a simple or crazy squiggle and take turns seeing what we could make out of it. 
  • The dictionary game. Just pull out the dictionary; someone plucks out a word from the page they randomly open at - and the next person has to say what they think it means
  • Bake cookies, a cake or make tacos together and set up a picnic on your lounge room floor
  • Read a story or make up our own crazy adventure. I remember one night the boys and I re wrote our own lyrics to a Harry Potter song, it was so much fun.
  • Go to the park, just play or make up a sequence course on the equipment for each person to complete (we’d time each other for fun and just quietly on the school holidays often found ourselves at the park late at night to play on the swings and just hang out) 
  • We'd go window shopping, looking at what they might like for upcoming birthdays and Christmas's then have a coffee (or hot chocolate) together, to just chat.
  • Driving lessons were always fun, we would pick a cafe and off we'd head. It doesn’t have to be a stressful event. I can’t tell you how many hours we’ve enjoyed just in a local deserted car park reversing and learning gears. This is one particular memory my kids mention often. It even came up when my sons girlfriends got her learners permit, he volunteered me. So once again of we'd go with late night drives to cafe's, with a few practise parks, a coffee and we'd head back home again (ofcourse that was after a number of trips to the deserted car park while she built up confidence.

Our kids are a beautiful gift to us and we are their greatest teachers. They watch, they listen, they learn and time spent with them is the greatest gift we can give them.

Create moments and memories to treasure. That's what you'll remember at the end of your life. Our children will also remember the time you spent together (or didn't) too.

Feel free to share your favourite magic memorable moments or family traditions. You just may inspire another to try the same.

Happy Holidays!

› What we risk without realising