Wednesday, 31 October 2012

How to keep your parents occupied on holiday when it rains

It's half term. And it's raining.

After seeing the pictures from New Jersey this morning I get the feeling that things could be a lot worse, but even so, the thought of a day of rain is not exactly going to make most of the holiday makers in the Lake District dance for joy. The key question is, what to do about it?

With it being half term the chances are that a lot of this weeks visitors will be families, and the trouble with families is that one half of them needs to be entertained. It's a perennial problem that affects most children at some point in their young lives - How to keep your parents occupied on holiday when it rains.

You see, parents have the knack of getting depressed when the wet stuff starts to fall from the sky. The reason for this is simply that, because they are on holiday, parents have to "do something different". They are not content with the idea that you can simply fire up the Play Station, or go for a swim, or visit an attraction that has an interactive element to it, or maybe even a Ball Pool to play in. With parents the golden rule is simple; if you can do it at home, then you are not doing it on holiday. End of.

They are oblivious to the fact that most of the "stuff" that people do is done indoors anyway. And they constantly moan about the cost, and having to find somewhere good to eat. Very often there is the constant whingeing about "where to go next". When they are on holiday parents never seem to want to go back to somewhere they have been before. They always want to try to think of somewhere new. And then the bickering starts, as mum wants this and dad wants that, and if there are grandparents on site they take sides and all hell breaks loose.

This disharmony often leads to the very worst scenario of all. They decide, often without consulting the children at all, that they have spent enough money, and that there is nowhere new to go, and so the best thing to do is to go for a drive. And just to compound their children's plight, they decide to take sandwiches so they don't have to find somewhere for lunch.

A clear indication that children are being forcibly driven around in cars in the rain is the growth of traffic on the region's roads during wet weather. Generally speaking, the traffic in the Lake District is always at it's worst during the half term monsoon season. Consequently, even as I write this, there are a lot of bored families who are driving around the Lake District with nowhere to go, and all day to get there.

Of course, all children know that driving around the Lake District in the rain is probably, no definitely, the worst thing you can ever do when on holiday. It is boring, no one can see the scenery, the driver sees little more than the back end of the car in front, (and there will invariably always be a car in front, which will invariably contain more parents who refuse to take their children's advice to stay in the cottage and watch telly) and after a while the hypnotic swish of the windscreen wipers will render everyone into a state of stupour from which it will take at least a day to recover. But will they listen? Of course they won't. They are parents, and they know best.

So what is the answer? When the rain pours down and parents start muttering that "they knew they should have stayed at home" what can children do to rescue the situation? In short, how do they keep their parents entertained on wet days?

(By the way, this next bit is for children only, so if you are a parent stop reading and go do something else.


You'll be pleased to know that there are a number of solutions. Such as having an attraction raffle. What you do is put the names of all the indoor attractions into a hat and then pick one out, and that is the one that you are going to visit and no arguments. Or you can play "pin the parent to the map." Basically, you spend about an hour making a cardboard cut out model of your parents, ( a cereal packet is good for this) and then take it in turns (parents can join in) to wear a blindfold and pin either mum, or dad, or both, to a map of the Lake District. Whoever puts a pin the nearest to an attraction gets a prize and also everyone has to visit that attraction, and no moaning, because that's the law.

By the way, devious children can fiddle this game in their favour by smearing strawberry jam on the part of the map that they want to visit, and then when it comes to their turn all they have to do is find the sticky bit of the map and pin their cardboard effigy of mum or dad to it.

If neither of the above work, then hiding the car keys can be a solution to the "driving around in the rain" issue. It beats telling everyone you feel sick as it avoids having to feign illness. But there is a down side, as you can get seriously told off, however, this may have an up side as some parents will temporarily forget that they are on holiday and decide to ground you, thereby grounding themselves at the same time.

If all else fails, and it might, then you can resort to the oldest trick in the book and get out the colouring books. Parents love their children getting really stuck into to a colouring book, and very often will be happy to join in. Before long you will have two very happy parents sitting at the kitchen table trying very hard to colour in "Winnie the Pooh" without going over the edges whilst you, dear child, can be left alone to get on with playing on whatever computer game you managed to smuggle into your bag.

Have a very happy half term.

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