Whoever said a week was a long time in politics never spent a damp school holiday in the company of children. Here are some activities you and the kids can pretend to enjoy in between panic viewings of Moana.
Popularised by Christopher Robin, a child with literally nothing to do and no one to do it with, this exciting game involves choosing a raindrop on the window and seeing if it drips to the bottom before another raindrop. Christopher Robin named his raindrops James and John (he really was very lonely), but you can call them Peppa and Spongebob if that seems more fun (it isn't). If your house is uninsulated you don't have to wait for rain, as the inside of the windows in the morning will do. Make it more educational by acting as
the TAB and taking your children's bets; they'll learn the house always wins, even if the windows are crying.
If your child prefers the walk-in-floordrobe approach to bedroom decor, you might be able to trick them into cleaning up with a scavenger hunt. Make a list of all the things you suspect are lost in the debris, like their good school jersey and the cat, then set a small prize for finding them all. Best not to recycle the list from Shandrine's bachelorette, unless you think your child has the appropriate fitness level and access to a pole.
Getting to know you
Take this special, intimate and seemingly endless time to get closer to your child. Involve yourself in her latest craze, perhaps by crafting a near-replica JoJo bow to match her school uniform, then look deep into her eyes and ask why she won't wear it out of the house. Realise you prefer it when her eyes are lit up not by your gently suffocating parental adoration but by the cool blue light of an electronic device and leave her to it. The bow looks better on you anyway.
The weather outside is frightful and so are the kids. It's time to leave the iPad at home, hop in the car and discover somewhere new. Point out sheep and horses. Play I Spy. Introduce your children to the joy of madrigals by singing Row Row Row Your Boat as a round. Apologise and put the radio back on. Refuse to buy icecream while mopping up a small puddle of sick from the upholstery. Remember why you hated this so much as a child.
Puzzles! A thousand pieces of scattered family harmony just waiting to be put back together, a bit like you at counselling sessions. Everyone can participate in a puzzle, especially if you force them to. Every correct piece is a little achievement, a little bite taken out of a seemingly impossible whole, like a self-creating metaphor for the few seconds it chipped away from the eternity of the school holidays. Cue up another emergency showing of Moana though, because if you snap, no one knows how far you'll go.