With at least four more weeks remaining until the school gates re-open, many parents are looking for creative ways to juggle work and childcare and while keeping their sanity.
Here are few approaches that parents have found useful:
Tandem annual leave
Since it is highly unlikely that anyone is going to be granted six weeks of annual leave during the school holidays. Staggering annual leave so each parent takes two weeks in succession can cover a significant chunk of the school holiday without eating up all you allocated leave. Make use of other relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles and godparents) and family friends to create a sequence of annual leave that covers most dates of the summer holiday. Be aware that if you are exchanging any money for an adult to look after a child in their own premises, they must register as a childminder.
Surviving the summer may require some creative working patterns and shrewd negotiations. Offer to work late over a series for days when you have child care, to accrue extra time off for when you don’t have child care. Volunteer to work on a heart sink project that your boss is struggling to get completed, on the condition that you can do it from home (this works well for policies, guidelines and reports that are due for review). Request a goal based working pattern which allows you work when and where you can, around your child care demands as long as the goal is delivered on time.
Contact teachers and teaching assistants from your child’s school
During the summer holiday there is often an influx of teachers and teaching assistants looking to make a bit of extra money as babysitters. Despite already being background checked for their role as a teacher, and their vast experience with children, many choose to avoid the hassle of registering with an agency and so may be more flexible about their rates and availability AND have the added bonus of already being familiar with your children and their tricks.
Holiday camps/ groups
While most holiday camps cost an arm and leg and are booked up by the preceding Christmas, let organisers know that you are interested in the program and ask to be considered if they have a cancellation.
If you are lucky enough to find an affordable holiday group offering activities that your child can engross themselves in for a week, tackle that opportunity like a rugby player and don’t let it go! The
Family Information Service is a great resource for activities happening in your local area and includes events for children with special needs.
Once you have managed to get the time off, entertaining the children can present another set of difficulties
Setting long term goals for the holiday that culminate in big experience is a great way to occupy children while teaching them valuable lessons on team working and commitment. For example, ask them to create a play, dance routine or magic show that they can put on at family barbeque at the end of the holiday. There are also a series of online courses that teach children a range of skills from Lego creations to drawing that are great at keeping children occupied for a few hours.
About the author
By Dr Tamara Bugumbe. Tamara is a padetrician and the founder of www.helperbees.co.uk