Helping kids have broader life experiences – trip to Blenheim Palace

I’ve said it before, if N could stay on the farm all the time helping out he would. He’d be quite happy trailing his dad around, or his uncle.  And apart from wanting to go on holidays, he would happily forego any days out with me.  Obviously this makes me sad.  I don’t get to spend much time with him as it is being at work and with school, so weekends are precious.  But more than that I want him to know that there’s more to life than the farm.  To have the broader life experiences that we were given as children and know what’s normal family life.

But it’s hard work.  And probably more hard work than it would be if he wasn’t a farmer’s son.  Talking to friends, they have similar with some (if not all) of their children loving being out on the farm all hours.

Obviously N needs to spend time with his dad as well.  The OH is going through a phase of picking N up from after school club so often spends evenings with N before they actually turn up at home.  So my theory is that doing one day on the farm at weekends and one day out with me somewhere is a good and fair plan.  Sometimes he might do more on the farm, other times he’ll do less depending on what farm work is going on. Dangerous jobs, or boring jobs like ploughing, he’ll stay in.  Quite often it turns out that I think he’s out with his dad, when actually he’s playing at his cousin’s house, or out doing shepherding with his uncle.  It’s great he’s close to them, but it means less time with his dad or me.

N also doesn’t get many playdates because of being at after school club and me working.  So weekends are sometimes an option for arranging to meet friends.  The farm is there every weekend, so a few hours playing with friends his own age is a no-brainer to me. The only opportunity to do that is me organising them, because the OH won’t take time off the farm to transport N to other places.

But actually getting N off the farm can prove difficult.  I don’t want to fight with him, but sometimes he needs to learn, he can’t always go out all weekend on the farm.  When he’s out from 7.30 in the morning to 5 with only a lunch break, that’s a lot for a 6 year old who’s been at school all week. The OH then points out that N’s too tired to do his homework, and that I shouldn’t drag him round the countryside for days out or seeing friends.  But we’re only go out for a few hours and he gets time off sitting at home around that, plus journey chill out time to catch up on sleep or whatever else.

This weekend we had tears.  A lot of tears.  After swimming on Saturday N didn’t want to go food shopping so I dropped him at the farm with his dad.  After lunch he came back in because his dad was doing boring jobs.  There was then a meltdown because his dad didn’t come and pick him up when he was back working at the farm. It didn’t matter that it was nearly teatime, N was distraught that he’d not been fetched.

The agreement had been that as he was going out on Saturday on the farm, that we’d go somewhere on Sunday.  But it didn’t work like that as off he went at 7.30 after breakfast to go shepherding. 2 hours later I had to call and find out when he was coming back.  He was brought back by his dad saying N didn’t want to go with me.

Broader life experiences and a day trip to Blenheim Palace - Bubbablue and me

Cue the strops and crying when his dad left him, and he refused to remove his overalls and wellies.  10 minutes later I managed to discuss a couple of places we could go with him.  The fact that he wanted to be back after lunch to help move sheep didn’t help things when we were only leaving the house at 10.30.

Finally a trip to Blenheim Palace was agreed. Once in the car N was perfectly happy and apart from some red eyes, you’d never have known he’d been crying. Of course as soon as we were on the way, he’d forgotten the stress out and was planning what order we would do things in.

Blenheim Palace

There was an event on that I’d not realised so we were parked on random grassland. Thankfully we had the scooter in the car so N couldn’t moan about missing the train up to the Pleasure Gardens. It never takes long to scoot (and walk for me) and we stopped to investigate the hollow trees.

Scooting at Blenheim palace

hollow trees at blenheim

inside a hollow tree at blenheim

While we were later than usual to Blenheim, it wasn’t too busy.  N wanted to do the maze first so we managed that fairly quickly.  I’m not a particular fan of mazes because I’d rather do them logically, but N just wants to randomly run one way to the next so you never really know where you are. But thankfully it didn’t take us the 25 minutes they suggest it takes.

choosing what to do at pleasure gardens blenheim

miniature street at blenheim

which way in the maze at blenheim

centre of the marlborough maze

Then it was time for lunch. Typically I’d forgotten that getting pizza works out cheaper (I never take a picnic out because I prefer to travel light), so ended up spending a pretty steep amount on lunch.  What is really annoying is that they set out all the pick and mix kids food but they don’t do a lunchbox offer (and most don’t have prices on). So about £6 later, N had 1 ham roll, 1 pack of Pom bears, a juice carton and a treatsize pack of Animals.  Added to that a sandwich, crisps and a juice for me, and even with a £2.50 discount from my annual pass, I was nearly £14 worse off.  People think National Trust is expensive food wise, but N would usually have a lunch box with more food in, and a drink, sandwich, crisps and cake for me for around £12-13.  Maybe I should rethink doing packed lunch when we’re out and about. Or at least when we go to Blenheim.

It was just about warm enough to sit outside to eat which is always nice, and afterwards N was primed and ready for some adventure playground play.  I love to see him so excited and raring to go on play equipment where before he would have been more wary.

rope bridge at Blenheim palace

fun down the slide at Blenheim palace

Our visit was shorter than usual because we had to get home so we were soon squashing onto the train back to the palace and the car.  I’m hoping to be back at Blenheim soon because they’ve a fashion exhibition on but I’ll choose a time when N’s busy elsewhere.

magnolia flower and brick wall

pretty flowers on a walk at blenheim

I love spending days out with N and getting him off the farm.  The farm is a great life for a child, but I don’t want N growing up thinking that the farm is the be all and end all.  I want him to experience the kind of places we saw as kids, meet other people, and just get the chance to explore and question and challenge what he sees.  Thankfully he does cheer up once we leave the house, but sometimes it is hard and I wonder if I’m doing the right thing.  But I know I am when I see him enjoying a day out.

Top tips

“Ensure you explain your feelings as well as the factual reasons of why they should do some things they don’t want to”

Do you have similar struggles in getting your children to do something?  How do you explain to them the reasoning behind it?

Dear Bear and BeanyCountry Kids

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29 thoughts on “Helping kids have broader life experiences – trip to Blenheim Palace

  1. I think it is lovely that he wants to spend time on the farm 🙂 it must be so tough getting that balance right and you seem to be doing a great job. Blenheim palace looks a lovely day out, even if the lunch is expensive. #Countrykids

  2. I can imagine it must be hard having to drag him away from the farm but it’s great that he loves being out and about so much and helping his dad. I think getting the balance right is important and it sounds like you’re doing a great job of that, even if it’s not the easiest to do. So lovely that N is much more confident in the playground now too. Sounds like it was a lovely day out 🙂 #countrykids
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) recently posted…Simple craft stick parrotsMy Profile

    1. It is handy for holiday times. So far this holiday he’s been out from 7.30 to 5 with just lunch and a morning break in between. Mostly with his uncle though, because he prefers helping with the sheep than being on the tractor whihc gets boring

  3. It sounds like a really tough dilemma! I don’t have quite the same problem, although sometimes it can be difficult to persuade my daughter to go anywhere else than the park. She is usually happy to come with me to places. Difficult really – I can see why you would want to persist with this so he has wider experiences in life! Just keep at it! #countrykids
    Wave to Mummy recently posted…What to put in a non-chocolate Easter basket for a three year old?My Profile

  4. We have the same thing with play dates as Monkey is in school club until 6. I always worry he’s missing out. We visited here when we had friends that lived in Oxford and loved it. Thinking of planning a weekend away at the end of the month so may add this to our list! #CountryKids
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…The Weaning Diaries – UpdateMy Profile

    1. Luckily N is now going to tennis and another sports club after school so he makes friends there, but it definitely is hard with normal school friends. He’s not bothered, but I worry about it, especially as lots of the mums are really friendly with each other, and I only get to chat to them briefly on Fridays.

  5. Thankfully I never had a problem getting my girls to go on a day out. Holly is too young and Alice loves to go out and about. I love Blenheim, reading this reminds me we need to go again soon. We’ve had some lovely days out. I done picnic’s in the past, so not tried the cafe. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Review: EZ-Fort…Fairy Tale CastleMy Profile

  6. It’s so hard getting a child to understand the need for a happy balance between work/school and fun. We need a break as much as they do. I’ve been trying to get my children to understand that they are very lucky compared to a lot of children because I only work 2 short days a week and can spend most of the school holidays and weekends taking them out and doing fun stuff but they just don’t appreciate it.

    Blenheim Palace looks beautiful and it’s on my bucket list.

    #countrykids
    Heidi @him_me_three recently posted…Sip ‘n’ Sound Straws *review*My Profile

  7. We love Blenheim there is such a lot to do there. Your son is having a great time at the playground, Spring is here! #countrykids

  8. It looks like you had a great time exploring Blenheim Palace, even if it was a struggle to get him there in the first place. My lot are all too cool to be spending time with mum, they will come for walks around the village with me on sunnier days though. I’m sure over the holidays you’ll have lots of time to do both farm fun and days out.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

    1. I’m clinging on to him coming with me. Come secondary school it’s going to be a lost cause, as he’s so like his cousin who spends every non-school hour possible out working

      N has 4 days on the farm this week while I’m still working, and he’s keen to go away for a few days, so hopefully I’ll get organised and book somewhere to go

  9. I suppose there could be worse things to drag him away from like a games console or a tablet. He’s very lucky to have access to a farm but it must get frustrating when you want to broaden his horizons a bit. Sounds like you had a good couple of hours though. Great piccys x #CountryKids x

    1. I always said it would be easier to have a girl then we’d have less pressure and expectation that a girl would be out on the farm (of course if we’d had one, she’d have bound to have been a tomboy wanting to still go out). So I’m trying to push against is subtly as much as possible, encouraging a wider view of the world and how that could then help him to farm in future.

  10. I’m having this with Max a bit at the moment, except he never wants to go anywhere! He’d rather just stay at home, or in the garden. Luckily he’s still young enough that I can put my foot down (although picking him up and dragging him out of the front door is getting trickier!) Last time I tried to go to Blenheim we turned up on a day it was shut – very disappointing as it’s not close to us! It looks like you had a good time once you were there though, which is the main thing – although I’m taking on board your comment about the food for when we finally try to go again! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
    Katy – Hot Pink Wellingtons recently posted…The Pregnancy Diaries: Week 30My Profile

  11. It is so difficult to know what to do when the children are adamant they want to do another thing but I have always been honest and a firm believer in talking to them, my 6 year old I talk to all the time about why we do things, even ‘boring’ things and back it up with the times that she gets to do what she wants to, it seems like a compromise then and no-one’s feelings are hurt x #sharingthebloglove
    Laura @ Little Ladies Big World recently posted…Living Arrows #4 {2017}My Profile

    1. Yes, that’s exactly what I point out too. He gets his own way a lot of the time, and he’s always moaning I get to choose, but if I ask him he never has ideas, and often won’t answer if I give him a choice of 2. Once he understands the reminder of what he’s had, he gets it. It’s just that first stage isn’t it!

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