How to juggle work & school holidays while staying sane

young mum working from home with child, school holidays

With the holiday season around the corner, there is dread creeping up for the working parents who are still trying to get over the experience of lockdown and home schooling. 

In this piece, Louise Deverell-Smith, founder of Daisy Chain, offers her tips for juggling kids at home when you may be working.

Plan activities ahead

Why not plan out several days worth of fun activities in advance! Let the children know the plans so they can get excited. There will be times that the children will have to entertain themselves (here’s a confession of mine – I think it’s good that children get bored sometimes! Life is not constant excitement and planned activities.)

Set up playdates

Reach out to your parent network, set up playdates and share the childcare. It’s a win-win for all involved. Kids are happily playing with their pals, and we have childcare sorted.

Manage everyone’s expectations

Have an open dialogue with your employer, your clients and family. If you have to be in the office, ask your employer if you can work remotely that day as your children are on holiday. Let your children know when you have important meetings and deadlines. With a little context, everyone – even kids – are much more understanding.

Set work boundaries

We are all guilty of our working hours running into our home life. During the holidays, be strict with your time and turn off work. Try the Pomodoro Technique for efficiency – write your to do list. Set a timer for 25 minutes, focusing on the first task only with all other distractions turned off. Take a 5 minute break and tackle the next.

Flex signature

Add a signature to your emails stating you’re working, but it’s the children’s hols so you might not reply immediately. If you work flexibly anyways, you should consider this signature permanently anyway. Here’s mine to help inspire yours:

**I’m all about the flex so I’m sending this message now because it’s when I’m working. Please don’t see it and think you have to read, reply or action it outside of your normal working hours**

Put in a flexible working request

Now could be the time to start applying for one. Here is a link to guide you on applying: https://www.acas.org.uk/acas-code-of-practice-on-flexible-working-requests/html

If you’ve had a flexible working request denied, then I’d suggest you look for a new employer (and here’s where Daisy Chain can help!). We are a platform for parents to match and connect with flexible employers who recognise the importance of work-life balance. You can join for free at https://daisy-chain.com/ and see what employers you get matched with.

Don’t compare

We have such a tendency to compare our life with others. We will all be bombarded with the images of family trips and general happiness…but be realistic. These are lovely snapshots of happy moments but we also know no one’s days are like this all the time.

Louise Deverell-SmithAbout the author

Louise Deverell-Smith – a former recruiter, and through her lens as a mother, founded Daisy Chain; a platform connecting talent with flex-friendly business (used by the likes of Xero, The Ivy and over 10,000 skilled employees.) Louise recognised the need to support both working parents struggling to find organisations supportive of flexible work and organisations looking to expand their talents pool and increase diversity in the workplace.

True to the ‘Flex For All’ mission driving Daisy Chain, the platform has seen an influx of candidates outside of the working mother, based on the new frontier of an overall desire for more work/life balance. Louise has been named in the top 100 inspirational businesses led by a woman in the UK by f entrepreneur, has been named a woman in tech to watch by TechRound and awarded a RESI award in 2019 for the Daisy Chain’s contribution to innovation in the property market.

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