Half-term truths only a parent knows

If there was ever a bad time to be off with the kids, it’s the middle of February. While October half term is charged with Halloween and Bonfire excitement and May half term is full of the joys of spring, February’s week off is, well…cold, dreary and difficult.

Are you a parent? See if any of these February half-term truths strike a chord with you:

Enid Blyton-style outdoor pursuits are NOT for February

You can bet on February being wet, grey and cold – but it rarely snows. And this means the Great Outdoors doesn’t offer much at this time of year. Ever tried going on a bike ride or hitting the swings in the cold drizzle? You’ll only do it once.

The house will be carnage by Monday lunchtime

Kids, when they are indoors, want everything out – which means the house starts to resemble something out of Home Alone within hours of half term officially starting. My advice is to surrender and join in. After all, a day or two in their pyjamas surrounded by their favourite things won’t do your kids any harm.

Money is still tight from Christmas

Many families are still feeling the pinch from Christmas in February, which means there won’t be much in the coffers to fund half term. Make sure you check out our vouchers channel for codes and discounts on days out and don’t forget the free public destinations, such as art galleries, museums and libraries. This video will help with some ideas for free days out – as will Clare Walsh’s blog on 10 fun things to do for under a tenner this half term.

If you're feeling the pinch and stuck indoors you could download some apps to keep the kids entertained. If you're on Android, between now and February 27, Amazon is offering a selection of half-price kids' apps, from favourites like Peppa Pig to educational Biff, Chip and Kipper for older kids.

Just be mindful of the dreaded 'bait-apps' - those that are free or really cheap to download but come with extortionate in-app purchases that could leave you severely out of pocket. For more on this and other scams, check my article,  Beware online app-hack scams.

Holiday prices go through the roof

Take your kids out of school to go on holiday during term time and you’ll be whacked with a fine of £60 per pupil (per parent!). And the £60 rises to £120 if you fail to pay within three weeks. That said, take them during the school holidays and you’ll pay around 33% more for the same trip, whether it’s abroad or within the UK.

A recent report from Halifax found more than a third (35%) of parents who took their kids on holiday in term time saved more than £250 per person – but, of course, you’ll need to weigh up what they’ll be missing out on in school.

Half-term birthday parties are easily forgotten

If you’re a kid, having a birthday during the school holidays is something of a double-edged sword. It’s great to always be off school but there’s a much greater chance that some friends will miss your party due to forgetful parents! So make sure you check the calendar for any upcoming parties to save that last-minute rush for a card and present. A party also takes care of an afternoon quite nicely.

Your ‘fun’ efforts are often wasted

Don’t worry about 24/7 entertainment for your kids as, the truth is, they often can’t be bothered doing anything. If they had it their own way, they’d quite happily spend the week watching Frozen on loop and eating Haribo for breakfast.

The school run will resume before you know it

Half term seems to come and go in the blink of an eye – one minute you’re planning the week’s events and the next it’s Sunday night and you’re making packed lunches again. Some planning in advance at half term will save you time and money – but remember to keep some flexibility in your week to just do nothing. These are the golden days after all.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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