School holidays are a much needed and welcome break for kids to recharge their batteries. As much as children benefit from this time off from the school routine, it can be a bit of a juggling act for parents.
These tips will help you manage your childcare in the school holidays
It’s all about the community
It can be a bit of struggle to think of what to do with children in the school holidays. A good place to start is to make use of the free resources in your area. Keep an eye out for events being organised by your local library or church. They’ll often be craft sessions and other sessions that will keep the kids entertained at a minimal cost to you. Take a look at your community centre notice board and have a browse through ‘what’s on’ websites for your area. Depending where you live, there may be some free events running in local museums and art centres to take advantage. The beauty with low cost activities is there’s no harm in popping in and out and not overdoing it all in one day.
Make a plan
The longer school holidays in particular might require a hefty amount of forward planning. You might be lucky enough to be going on a family holiday - make life easier by putting some time aside before and after for packing/unpacking and the mountains of washing. Try to space out planned activities and trips. You don’t want to bunch all the exciting things together, this could end up with very tired and grumpy children at one end and bored and irritable ones at the other!
A great way to keep kids entertained in the holidays is to have some sets of games, craft boxes and puzzles on hand to keep them busy and focussed. From mini cricket for the garden to snakes and ladders - mix it up so it keeps them entertained for hours. Children are very resourceful - you can encourage their creativity by suggesting they make up their own games. With some basic materials and a bit of time (they’ll be plenty of that!) their imaginations can run wild.
Share the love
Friends and family can be a huge support for parents in the school holidays. A trip to the grandparents can break up the period if you’re lucky enough to have willing parents who’re able to help out. If you’ve got willing but not so able grandparents, you could think about booking some half day holidays, or working from home for half days (depending on how flexible your work is). If your job and working environment is flexible, you could rearrange your hours, so some long days will compensate for some shorter/half days to avoid eating into your annual leave. It’s always good to compromise! Why not also arrange a bit of play-date bartering? See if you can share some childcare with other parents - or group together to source a minder? You’ll be surprised, especially in the shorter breaks, how far this can get you!
Send in the professionals!
There are some fantastic clubs and activity camps in the U.K. School holiday camps provide kids with a huge range of activities, so whatever their interests they’ll be sure to have a blast. This kind of thing can really break up the school holidays, whether you choose a couple of days peppered around or full week blocks, kids can really benefit from these sessions and pick up new skills and interests along the way. Some activity day camps, such as Barracudas, also offer Early and Late Clubs for even more flexibility for parents. Children get the chance to meet new friends as they’re organised by age group and they get to do the things that appeal to them. Barracudas offers over 80 different activities from arts and crafts to go-karting and even Quidditch!
So there you have it, lots of tips to help parents manage the school holidays. Why not get prepared for Summer and take a look at what our camps have to offer?