As a working parent the biggest headache in my opinion has to be school holidays. There are so many days to cover if you work full time hours like me. I am lucky in some respects to be self employed, so I can be some what flexible with the time I want to take off to look after my Daughter. However being self employed means that I don’t get holiday pay, so if I don’t work then I don’t get paid!
You can feel pulled between work commitments and making sure your child enjoys the Summer and that you are still doing special things together. So some how you need to find a balance of work and holidays with your children.
So here are my top tips for organising childcare this Summer:
Tip 1 – Consider asking a Grandparent or another close relative if they can help out? However this can be tricky as many people’s family are not living near by. So in my case if my Mum helps out she has to come and stay at our house for a number of weeks.
Tip 2 -What about asking one of your child’s friends parents to organise a fun day out and take your child along too? Then in return you can give them a day off? I do this occasionally with one of Amelia’s friends and it works really well. I can actually get more done round the house if she has a friend over to play.
Tip 3 – Childminders can be a good holiday option. This can work well as some Childminders may have dry periods over the Summer when their usual children are away on holiday. Plus your child gets to be cared for in a more relaxed homely environment.
Tip 4 – Holiday Clubs and Camps are becoming more popular. Some independents Schools offer holiday clubs so check out your local area. What to look out for: staff to child ratio, are meals included or do you need to include a packed lunch, do the pick up and collection times fit into your schedule, what are the late collection charges (they can be very costly if you don’t pick up on time), will your child know anyone? As some children who are not very confident can find it really hard to fit in.
Tip 5 – Check local Gyms and Health Clubs, for example Club V at Virgin Active Gyms run holiday camps.
Tip 6 – Consider working from home, however you may not be very productive!
Tip 7 – Registered at a Nursery for the Summer, but the child must be under 5 years. This can be very expensive, as you may be charged an admin fee.
Tip 8 – Stay and play schemes, for example the Y Active, YMCA West London run holiday fun clubs, the only down side is you can only leave your child there for a couple hours.
Tip 9 – Have you thought about getting an Au Pair to help for the Summer? You can either ask an Agency to assist in finding a suitable candidate (but the placement fee can be high) or you could try using a website such as Au Pair World and finding one yourself. This can be time consuming so be ready to spend a lot of time searching profiles and interviewing potential candidates via Skype. The average pocket money per week for an Au Pair is £80-£100.
Tip 10 – Be organised! Many holiday clubs get booked far in advance. Do your research and sign up with various companies so you are on their email list and they will contact you once they have dates for Summer and half term.
Ideas for Holiday Camps/Clubs:
This blog post was originally written as a guest post for Networking Mummies