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COMMENT: Parents had a Battle Royale this summer

Monday, 27th August, 2018 7:59am

Story by Tony McCullagh
COMMENT: Parents had a Battle Royale this summer

Was this a familiar scene in your house during the summer? PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

COMMENT: Parents had a Battle Royale this summer

Was this a familiar scene in your house during the summer? PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

AS WE return to the back-to-school treadmill this week, we can at least reflect on what has been a glorious summer.

For once, our foreign visitors were able to see Ireland at its best without having to run the risk of catching hypothermia in the Wicklow Hills or at the Cliffs of Moher. Some of us really lost the run of ourselves, dining out the back garden for most of June and July. Even as the heatwave started to wane during August, it was still pleasant enough to venture outdoors most days.

Beer gardens were packed and it was almost impossible to get a seat outside cafes and restaurants. And despite the looming threat of water shortages, we somehow managed to dodge that bullet through hosepipe bans and the ever-present fear of your neighbour snitching on you for washing your car. In our house, a four-minute shower diktat was rigidly enforced.

There were endless options available to parents, with kids’ camps for everything ranging from soccer and Gaelic to watersports. If you wanted to eschew this often-costly route, you could always spend the day in one of Dublin’s beautiful parks or enjoy a swim (yes, an actual swim!) at the beach.

The biggest problem faced by parents this summer was not the lack of activities for their kids, but trying to extract them from their game consoles. The word ‘Fortnite’ will send shivers down many spines as mams and dads recall how the on-screen conflict would often spill over into real life. Children barricaded themselves into darkened living rooms while, outside, Ireland was finally basking in a summer to remember.

In our house, we estimate that 99.9 percent of arguments were over ‘game time’ or sibling console equality (that’s officially a thing now). Desperate measures were sometimes required: the nuclear option was turning off the wi-fi but you needed to brace yourself for open warfare before pressing that button.

There were less friends calling to the door this summer. Sure why would they need to – they were all speaking to each other on a headset.

I suspect I’m not the only parent who’s somewhat relieved to see a return to the school routine this week. At least it will get the kids out of the house.

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