Parent Guide: Keeping your sanity during Spring Break

As parents, we love every minute we get to spend with our kids. Experiencing all their “firsts,” the funny (and sometimes clumsy) moments, but most of all, making family memories that will last a lifetime.

But when the daily routines of family schedules—and yes, even that much-needed time we have to ourselves when the kids are not around—are interrupted by Spring Break, Summer Break and other holidays celebrated throughout the year, some intermittent chaos may ensue.

Child care centers are closed. Schools are closed. There are no soccer or gymnastics practices. But still, your kids are ready for every waking moment to be packed with activities. So what’s a parent to do?

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad, or if you’re taking time off work to spend time with your family, check out some of these top tips to keep your sanity intact during Spring Break:

  • Stick to your “normal” schedule. While the routine of waking up, getting ready and going to school may not be the same, it’s still a good idea to keep some sort of a schedule during the time off. Stay consistent with breakfast, lunch and dinner times, as well as wake-up times, naptimes and bedtimes (although having a special movie night and letting the kids stay up an extra hour one night could be a special treat). Read more about The Power of Evening Routines.
  • You don’t have to go to Disneyland to have fun. Just because some families travel to the coast to experience Disneyland and enjoy the beach doesn’t mean you have to. With rising travel costs, this can add undue stress and be a financial burden to your family. Check out some of the local staycation deals in your area and take advantage of fun day trips. Staying in town doesn’t have to be boring and there are 16 Hidden Gems in Arizona You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.
  • Do something educational. Go to the zoo. Visit the library and find a new book that interests your child. Build a new jigsaw puzzle your family hasn’t done before. Volunteer with a local nonprofit. If you live in Phoenix, visit one of the Phoenix Public Libraries to check out a Culture Pass. Culture Passes provide free admission for two at 13 participating arts and cultural institutions like the Arizona Science Center, the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Art Museum.
  • Hang out with your neighbors and other families. Some of the best childhood memories can simply be created by spending quality time with others. Arrange playdates for your kids with their friends who are also staying in town or other kids in your neighborhood (everyone loves a fun Slip ‘N Slide day, building a fort or playing dress-up). And don’t forget your own family, too! Flying in an out-of-town cousin that your kids don’t get to see very often is an easy way to create a special experience without spending too much money.
  • Take time for yourself. Take turns with your spouse or significant other during the evening hours when you’re both at home. Have a special “Dad’s Night” with the kids, while mom has a night out with the girls. Or have a fun “Mom’s Night,” while dad heads to catch the NCAA Final Four game with the boys. You could even take turns watching your family friend’s kids one night so they can return the favor and both families get a parents’ night out!

If you’re looking for some more ideas or would like to talk to one of Southwest Human Development’s early childhood specialists, call the Birth to Five Helpline at 877-705-KIDS (5437) or visit

All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care. Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article. You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance. Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.