I am imminently to become a parent. I have been given various books on the art of parenting by well-meaning friends, but someone who must know me particularly well gave me a book called “The Idle Parent” (by Tom Hodgkinson, in case this is your kind of self-help book).
The proposition that you can ‘teach’ your children to be independent, imaginative, self-reliant and free of a variety of the trappings of modern consumerism by letting the kids ‘get on with it’ (of course, it’s all slightly tongue-in-cheek), certainly appealed to me.
Even if this all seems a bit irresponsible to you, one self-evident truth is that everyone needs a bit of help on how to be an idle parent when on holiday. Holidays are meant for relaxing, and that includes parents.
Here are my tips on how to achieve the wholesome, childhood-nourishing kind of idleness you need while staying at Treworgey.
1. Book your kids into our kids’ clubs. If you’re staying during a school holidays, these are on 3 times a week (as long as we have a minimum number – rarely a problem). Two hours where someone else entertains your children, while you sip a G&T and watch from the side-lines, chatting about where to go for dinner. Meanwhile the children learn to ride ponies, socialise with other children and all sorts of outdoor skills in Forest School
2. Borrow a ride-on tractor. Every cottage has a private garden, so borrow one of our ride-on tractors, put it in your garden and open the door. Watch from the sofa while your daughters challenge gender stereotypes and develop their imaginations through play.
3. Put them in the pool. They really don’t need your help when it comes to leaping into the pool and splashing other guests (sorry I mean developing their swimming ability and confidence). Obviously, your presence is necessary for this one, but our new pool house is a tranquil space with beautiful views. Open a can of ice-cold elderflower presse from the fridge, and put your feet up. Just be sure to keep one eye on the kids of course!
4. Order food from Coombe Kitchen. Wholesome, home-made food with fresh vegetables, local produce and generally all the ingredients that make a meal guilt-free when you put it in front of your children, as well as yummy. And all you have to do is stick it in the oven.
5. Hang out in the play areas. We positively encourage parents to relax while kids play: we have a comfy sofa, good view and tea, coffee and biscuits, right next to the soft play area. In the playground there are table and chairs and a swinging seat for you to while away the hours, looking out over the Looe river valley with a tumbler of sangria from your cottage (we actually provide plastic tumblers in every cottage for these no-glass kind of areas). Meanwhile your children are problem solving in our sand play area and developing their coordination and physical confidence on the climbing frame. Whoever said holidaying with children was hard work?!