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Surviving the Summer! – A People at Work Guide for working parents -2024

So here we are already! The 6-week summer holidays! Eagerly anticipated by every school age child, dreaded by many working parents!

Let’s face it unless you have a very flexible job, are a teacher or have an extremely understanding boss the prospect of covering the long summer holidays can be pretty daunting. Not only do you want to ensure your children are safe, fed and cared for but that they have had a fun time and that a few (positive) memories have been made. Also, it isn’t just the 6 week holidays but Easter, Christmas and all those all those half terms and inset days!

If your usual strategy is a combination of annual leave, relying on friends and family, holiday clubs, play dates & paid childcare this blog is NOT going to give you a better solution, but it might give you some tips on how to come out the other end a little more stress free.

Its all in the planning!!

Depending on your job you may be able to take some unpaid leave (if you can afford it) or work shorter or different hours. Some companies have a scheme where you can buy additional leave. You may have been able to accrue some flexitime so that you can work shorter days, but the crucial thing is to talk to your employer way ahead of time. Book your leave as early as you can. If you are on a shift pattern ask if your shifts can be changed to fit around your childcare provision. The website Working Families has lots of information on this.

If you work from home and your job allows, maybe get up super early to put some hours in and then have a quiet time in the afternoon when the kids are allowed TV/ devices so you can get a bit more done.

Snacks! However many snacks you have in you will need more!! FACT!

Share the care.

You will no doubt have friends in the same predicament. Don’t feel guilty about asking for help but maybe start your sentence with (If I have your two on Friday could you have mine on Monday and Tuesday morning) This does mean you will have a houseful of children every now and then but that might not actually be as bad as you expect!

Did you know that grandparents of working age who take care of their grandchildren could qualify for national insurance credits to top up their state pension. See what Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has to say on this.

Let them be bored!

older children don’t need to be constantly entertained. If you can give them a little freedom to do their own thing. It encourages creativity & independence. If they are an only child sometimes having a friend round is actually easier

Forget the housework! This is not the time to be worrying about having an Instagram worthy house. Do the bare minimum, hire a cleaner if you must, or bribe the children to do a few chores in return for treats (that you were going to give them anyway) and if you feel bad about this don’t! you are teaching them valuable life skills!

Regarding Instagram try not to compare yourself to other seemingly perfect parents on social media with beaming children who have spent the summer indulging their children in trips to the theatre, theme parks and expensive all-inclusive breaks. If you can afford this great! but if you can’t it will only make you feel bad about your parenting and you shouldn’t because you are doing great!

Holiday clubs – some children love them, and some do not. If your child is the latter sometimes it helps if they know someone else there. Check with their friends’ parents to see where their children are going. If you are on a low income and your child is entitled to free school meals you should be able to access the governments HAF (holiday activities and food) programme, this will be organised by your local authority. Head to their website and search HAF

Get out of the house once a day. Nothing big! just go to the local park or woods or round to a friend’s garden

Back to school! – I know it’s the last thing you want to think about when they have just broken up but if you can its not a bad idea to get it done early while the shops still have school shoes in the right size. Get the labels on and then sit back and feel smug that you have done this job.

On a side note, perhaps your school has a 2nd hand uniform shop or swap. This is great if you are on a tight budget and kids grow so fast many items have hardly been worn.

When you do get some time with your children try to be present, play with them, sit together, eat together & chat, this time will pass quickly.

If you do want to get out and about then again planning ahead is key as often you can find online deals for booking in advance. You could also look for vouchers use schemes such as Wowcher or Groupon or you could have a look at the Kids Pass app or Day out With the Kids which are both subscription services for discounted days off. Carex Soap are also offering half price entry to some attractions up to March 2024

Don’t forget the snacks!

Talk to a People at Work first responder and find out how we can be part of your wellbeing support.

020 3286 1545

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