7 ways to survive the school holidays

We caught up with Harry Judd (yep, from McFly) and his wife, Izzy, on how to keep the kids entertained this summer. No bribery or hair-tearing necessary…
1. Get outside

Harry: ‘After being outside, the kids [Lola, 4 and Kit, 2] always sleep better – and they’re better behaved! They have a lot of energy, so it’s good to burn it off. It’s part of the reason Izzy and I created this free downloadable Soltan Imaginative Play Pack, which is full of fun, simple activities to inspire them to get playing outside.’

2. Always wear sunscreen

Izzy: ‘I get a lot of reassurance knowing the children have got UV protection whatever the weather. I’ve always been particularly nervous about that – it’s why I always apply Soltan Kids Once 8hr Protect & Play SPF50+ Sun Cream Spray (with a 5-star rating) – it’s been an absolute go-to. It works really well for both of them – even Lola, who has very sensitive skin.’

3. Be a calm example

Harry: ‘If I feel grumpy, my patience isn’t as good – so I take some deep breaths. Pre-children, I’d have just lost my temper, whereas having kids makes you not want them to pick up on bad habits. So I try to stay calm, not react – and remind myself they can’t help their behaviour. It’s the biggest challenge as a parent – children can be so unreasonable!’

Izzy: ‘It helps if, as parents, you support each other and work out solutions. For instance, one of the activities in the book is all about blowing bubbles, which is a lovely, calming activity that kids really love.’

4. Unleash your creativity

Harry: ‘The key thing is allowing your imagination to run free, because it gives your kids confidence to do that, too. Lola is constantly wanting to play make-believe, and, sure, as a 34-year-old man it can be pretty boring, but when you really commit to it and go for it, it makes them so happy!’

5. Screen time is fine

Izzy: ‘It’s about balance. If we’ve spent a few hours outdoors doing some creative play together but need time to catch up on our admin, then I think it’s fine to let them watch something on the screen. It’s about managing your wellbeing as well as your children’s. Give yourself a break – doing what you can manage is enough.’

6. Be present

Izzy: ‘I turn my notifications off on my phone because it can be digital-overwhelm. So rather than trying to finish off a message while doing something else with the kids, it’s good to be present. I know when I go to my phone later, it’s in my time and I can focus.’

7. Invent your own fun

Izzy: ‘The amount of times I’ve looked out in the garden and Harry has created some sort of weird obstacle course that he’s enjoying more than the children. He’s got this pole…’

Harry: ‘It was an extension pole for painting, and I put a child on each end. I’m convinced you can make better games with objects that aren’t actually toys. They seem to enjoy them more than the toys you buy – they get bored of them!’

Izzy: ‘He has some genius ideas. One time, he used a cardboard box and made pretend hedge clippers for Kit. And he’s made Lola a massive unicorn, which she then spent the whole afternoon colouring in.’

Harry: ‘Some would say I think inside the box!’