It’s okay, breathe – we’re posting an activity a day to help everyone through these dark dark days the two-week break.

The aim is to give us at least 5 minutes ‘me’ time every day so we can do the important stuff (like go to the loo, uninterrupted. Ha! We can dream).  For Day 1, we’re talking about toy rotation.

There’s this tip the Internet loves about rotating your child’s toys to stop them getting bored.  You hide some of his or her toys, then swap new things in to play with each week. Your kid gets something new to play with, you discover what colour your carpets are, and in theory they play happily for at least 5 minutes. I get the psychology behind this. It’s like when you find a top you forgot you had (that still fits) and then you wear it and feel quite excited about it for a day.

On the Internet, the mums have white Pinterest-worthy houses and doves circling their halos. At 5 Minute Fun, we have kid-snot in our hair and more realistic expectations. So here are some real mum tips to make it work:

  • Lucy, mum of Ella (4) and Joe (1): “Ella’s not daft. If I hide toys I’m going to have to manage bat away questions all day about where they’ve gone. But she could help me pack Joe’s stuff away and be a good big sister getting them out for him at the end of the week. She collects marbles for good behavior, so if I bribe her with a few of those that will probably help, too!”
  • Natalie, mum of Alexa (3): “Oh yes I’ve been meaning to do this. Alexa is just about young enough not to remember what she’s got. If I get time I’ll do this today!”
  • Caz, mum of Jonas (3) and Fin (1): “I have a separate box for the “shit”. All the small plastic toys that would be everywhere if I let Jonas take charge of them. He has ultimate recall on every item. Yesterday he asked me where his compass was – free with Swashbuckle magazine LAST YEAR!”
  • Gemma, mum of Arlo (5) and Fyfe (3)” “I do rotate toys and usually do it every month or so. I don’t make a big thing of it, I just notice what they aren’t playing with, replacing them with other toys I’ve packed away. And it does seem to work – things they weren’t interested in a month ago suddenly become interesting when they are ‘new’ once more!”

Please do tell us your top holiday tips on Facebook and Twitter – we’re /5minutefun on both! #5minutefun