When do the kids go back?

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In the words of Alice Cooper, school’s out for summer, and doesn’t every parent know about it.

If you have kids, your mood will largely depend on when you are reading this – as the first day and third day of a six-week break tend to provoke very different emotions in most primary carers.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my offspring as much as the next sleep-deprived, permanently harassed, near middle-aged parent, but there are only so many times a bloke can hear the refrain ‘I’m bored’.

Bored kids are nothing new – I spent all of the 1980s bellyaching about having nothing to do, despite having a fully stocked playroom, a colour TV, a video recorder and a Rubik’s Cube.

Despite their protests to the contrary, my parents and their pals also suffered from holiday languor – how else can you explain the acts ginger knocking and scrumping for apples?

As annoying as it is to be told by a 10-year-old iPad owner that they are at a permanent loose end, it is fully understandable as little people are institutionalised. The vast majority of children enjoy the structure of school as being told when to eat, play and learn makes life easier.

Again, an understanding parent would take a step back and realise the academic year takes its toll on young minds, but reasoned thinking goes out of the window when you are a parent trying to juggle work and childcare.

I am lucky as we live in an area where the local authority provides first class holiday activities for a price that isn’t going to necessitate the family living on baked beans on toast until September.

As with most things, summer camps or holiday clubs tend to work out in the end and, if you are lucky, you might even get ‘its alright’ out of the little darlings.

Then there is the family holiday which is a tribulation in itself, given that many parents have to consider an overdraft or even selling a kidney in order to pay for a week away.

The holidays won’t be easy, but I will tell you one thing for certain – we will secretly miss them when they go back to school in September.