In this busy world of drop-offs, weekend sports, late night homework and a hundred and one other tasks, many parents look forward to a break.

A break from the busy term-time routine to connect with their kids, yet taking the time to connect is often a challenge, and school holidays can often end up as a disappointing ‘disconnect’, say experts.

“We live in the age of ‘connection’ yet many parents feel disconnected from their kids because they are time-poor and school holidays give them a chance to complete other tasks.  All too quickly the holidays draw to a close and we haven’t achieved what we had intended, leaving both children and parents unfulfilled,” says Nicole Pierotti, psychologist.

Nicole says that rather than making grand plans to go on a round of excursions, movies and trips, to plan some ‘down-time’ that allows parents and kids to spend time connecting on real terms.

“Connecting is just about spending meaningful time together.  The time where you really listen or just be together without jumping up to flip the dinner, feed the cat or hang out the washing,” says Nicole.

Nicole says that just ten to fifteen minutes is all we need to connect with our kids.

“That connected fifteen minutes will be the fifteen minutes that they will remember about their day.  They won’t remember the washing, the meals, the tidying but they will remember you sitting down with them and gazing at them and really listening to what they are saying, making or sharing.  Even if you have to work this school holidays and they need to go to vacation care, you can still connect with your children at the end of the day and spend some meaningful time together,” says Nicole.

Here are Nicole’s top tips to connect with your child this school holidays:

1.     Simply sit together and draw.  Whether it be scribbles for two year olds, shapes for three year olds, tracing for 4 year old and colouring in for school kids.

2.     Grab the play doh, add a placemat and get busy having fun.  Try asking your child what it is they want to make and let them take the lead.

3.     Take in some fresh air and play outside: find a ball and kick, throw, bounce and catch, kids of any age love this time.

4.     Pick up a bucket of chalk and find a piece of concrete or pavers and draw.  What to draw? It can be a road to ride their bike on, a shop, their name to trace over, or a picture of them.

5.     You can make car travel your connecting time, spot words on signs, letters on number plates, brands on cars.

What are you planning to do with your kids this school holidays? Share with us below.


  • Wonderful ideas. So many great things for kids to do on school holidays.

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  • Great info on what to do and how to interact with your child. Getting involved is very important.

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  • Some great ideas there. Thanks for sharing. We are currently gardening. The kids love see nature at it’s best. Plant roots and worms that they would not normally see.

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  • Number 4. As teenagers we did that as a group actitivity. There was two groups who went in different directions to the same destination.
    Our school age children love to spend sleepovers with their grandparents, cousins they rarely see because of the distance factor and sports interests.
    We allow them to go for a few days, have a week or two home, before they either go for another sleepover or they have one at home so others can come and stay with us. One of mine likes to spend a couple of nights with a boy he went to school with until the other family moved to another area outside our school zone. We always make sure we have just family time. Sometimes the children make a choice what they do or want to go as a relaxing outing. Often they choose an area with a fenced playground and seats to sit on to have a picnic.

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  • I always spent time connecting with my kids during the holidays. We used to bush walk, build cubbies, have movie marathons, cook up a storm in the kitchen, head to the beach or park. I hope they remember how much time I spent with them

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  • Great ideas – but why wait for school holidays – try to incorporate this into weekends and talk together over the dinner table.

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  • A combination of planned activities and free time for just being.


    • Also making sure the kids come up with ideas.

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  • Yeah, it’s good indeed to sit down with the kids. I used to do a lot of drawing and coloring in with my eldest 2. And also with my third I did a lot of crafts together in the year before she went to school. With my fourth I sit 2 or 3 time sloths per day down for half a hour structured play (she has Down syndrome). And now during the holiday we try to do something nice with the kids daily.

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  • Take them swimming to the beach or pool on the hot days with a skim ball.

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  • Fresh air and sunshine is always a good time.

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