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Returners' A-Z: Coping with School Holidays - A Guide for Working Parents

School holidays are an exciting time for children, filled with endless possibilities for adventure and relaxation.

However, for working parents, school holidays can be a source of stress and logistical challenges. Juggling work responsibilities while ensuring your children are engaged, safe, and well taken care of can feel overwhelming.

In this blog, we will explore effective strategies and tips to help working parents cope with school holidays and find a balance between work and family.

empty classroom, school closed for holidays

1. Plan and Organize in Advance:

One of the key factors in successfully managing school holidays as a working parent is effective planning. Start by marking the holiday dates on your calendar as soon as they are announced. This will help you anticipate and prepare for any potential clashes with work commitments. Consider creating a schedule that outlines your work hours, childcare arrangements, and activities for your children.

2. Seek Support from Family and Friends:

Reach out to family members, close friends, or trusted neighbors who may help you during the school holidays. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, or older siblings could take on childcare responsibilities for a day or two.

Something that has worked really well for us in the past is arranging playdates with other working parents, where you take turns supervising the children. By sharing the load, you can ease the burden and ensure your child has a fun and fulfilling holiday experience.

3. Explore Holiday Care or Summer Camp Options:

Holiday care programs or summer camps can provide a structured and engaging environment for children during school holidays. Research local options and enroll your child in a program that aligns with their interests. These programs often offer a variety of activities, such as sports, arts and crafts, and educational workshops. Knowing your child is in a safe and stimulating environment can provide peace of mind while you focus on work.

4. Flexible Work Arrangements:

If possible, explore flexible work arrangements with your employer. Discuss the possibility of adjusting your work hours, working remotely, or taking advantage of additional leave options during school holidays. Many employers understand the challenges faced by working parents and may accommodate your needs to maintain a healthy work-life balance. And showing you can make it work over a shortened period could open the door to you working flexibly on a more permanent basis!

5. Engage Your Child in Learning Activities:

While school holidays are a time for relaxation, it's also important to keep your child engaged and mentally stimulated. Encourage them to read books, engage in creative projects, or explore educational websites and apps. Setting aside specific time for learning activities can help maintain a sense of routine and prevent boredom.

Consider involving your child in age-appropriate household chores, teaching them valuable life skills while also lightening your load. A favourite in our house is that give our children a range of ingredients for them to plan the evening meal, and then we cook it together once I've finished work for the day.

birds eye view of beach busy with people

6. Create a Flexible Routine:

Although school holidays allow for more freedom and flexibility, establishing a loose routine can provide structure and stability for both you and your child. Plan activities for specific times of the day, such as outings, meals, and playtime. Having a basic routine can help you manage your time effectively and ensure you fulfill your work obligations while still spending quality time with your child.

7. Take Time Off:

It might seem obvious, but consider using some of your holiday days or taking a short break during the school holidays. This will allow you to dedicate uninterrupted time to your child, creating lasting memories and strengthening your bond. It's essential to prioritize your family's well-being and remember that work can wait while you invest in quality time with your loved ones.

Coping with school holidays as a working parent requires careful planning, support, and flexibility. By utilising these strategies, you can ease stress and ensure your child has a memorable and enjoyable break.

Remember that finding a balance between work and family is an ongoing process, and it's important to be kind to yourself. By adopting a proactive approach and seeking support when needed, you can navigate the school holidays successfully and create a positive experience for all of you.

If you're not sure how to ask your company for flexibility or you are looking for more ways to reduce stress as a working parent, then consider a 60 minute 1:1 coaching session. You can find out more details here:

Lady walking a long and winding path

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