That meant watching Dr Phil, The Ricky Lake Show and Judge Judy back to back before the kiddies shows could start on TV. Let me not forget the soap opera reruns that played in the morning while we attempted to tidy the house after my grandmother had left for work.
However, the winter holidays don't have to be all about dramatic talk shows and overused plots about swapped paternity tests. These holidays, why not get creative and help the kids have fun. The children's moods don't have to reflect the gloomy or chilly weather.
1. Lights, camera, action!
The children can unleash their inner Steven Spielberg by producing, directing and acting out their favourite fairytale, fable or original story that they've made up. If your children are older, they could even sit down to write a short script. Once the story line has been decided on, the children make their own costumes out of items in the house or their clothing (make sure to tell them not to cut up any new clothes!) and set dress the area where they'll be acting out their story.
Once the prep is done, it's time to shoot! One of the children can be the cameraman or you can help out by shooting the play! There are lots of apps to help edit videos on your cell phone. Once everything is done, you can screen the home movie for the children.
Also read: Hilarious kids act out 2015 Emmys nominees
2. Crafty corner
Set up a table with bits and bobs, from paint to pipe cleaners, for arts and crafts. For ideas, see what every craft box needs.
Once the children are done, they can hang up their artworks for everyone to see.
Here are some ideas:
3. Soup-erb party
Winter and soup are a match made in heaven. Ask the children to help you make soup by rinsing and scrubbing veg; older kids can help with peeling. That way you can monitor them while you get dinner or lunch ready. You could even make tiny chef hats and give them aprons.
While the pot of soup is bubbling away on the stove, assemble a grilled cheese sarmie station. Pop the sandwiches under the grill when the soup is almost ready so the bread is golden brown and crunchy and the cheese is a gooey delight. OBVIOUSLY don't let small kids anywhere near hot soup/grill/ovens and ensure your older ones know all about burn safety!
Cooking with children can be a fun activity and it gives them a greater appreciation for the food they eat, and it also offers teens the valuable opportunity to develop some skills. Soup is healthy and nutritious and children are more likely to eat something if they've been part of the process of putting the dish together.
Also read: Veg & lentil soup your family will love
4. Indoor treasure hunt
This can be played in teams, or individually. Write down some clues and hide them all over the house for the children to find. These can be themed, for instance Frozen songs (fill in the missing word: "beware the __ heart"... frozen! Check the freezer!). If you've got a bit more time on your hands, you could even create a map of the house so the kids can follow the map to find the hidden treasure. The first team or child to gather all the clues and find the treasure wins!
*Make sure you have consolation prizes for the other teams that did not win.
Also read: How to keep kids entertained on a rainy day
5. Home theatre
Remember that home video that you shot with the kids? Why not make the screening a big deal? Ask the children to make invites and invite their friends for the movie premiere. The kids can even dress up and have a photo booth section to capture the events of the day, just like a real-life Hollywood premiere. Set up a popcorn, slushie and sweets station for the guests arriving (their invite or movie tickets buy them a snack). Once everyone has their snacks, it's time to dim the lights and screen the award-worthy movie.
If the children haven't acted out their own movie, you can screen their favourite movies and still have a brilliant movie night.
Click below for the invite and ticket printables.