For many working parents the school holiday period can be a challenge, particularly if they have younger children and are struggling to take a break from work.
Being a team of parents ourselves (at Parentrepreneurs Club) we know this juggle very well and we asked our community to share with us their best tips for surviving the juggle during the holidays. Here's what they had to say...
1. Get organised – this may sound obvious and is always easier said than done, but a couple of weeks can get filled up fast! So, book in those play dates, childcare arrangements and community activities. An ‘extra special day’ planned for the end of the school holidays can work well too. But don’t forget to schedule in some lazy all-day-in-the-PJ’s days and know that as it goes with children – it won’t always go to plan – and that’s ok!
2. Team Tag – Gather your team – grandparents, school friends, extended family or perhaps neighbours. If you have to work, or just need some time out for self-care, do you have a trusted person who can look after your children for a day? You can then babysit for them or perhaps cook them a favourite meal or two.
3. Community offering – Most communities have an abundance of offerings in the school holidays. The local library is always a great place to start and is usually free. Sports clubs, art workshops, school holiday programs, YMCA, swim schools, and local museums are also great fun. A good tip is to try and space out spending – i.e. try not to have all the expensive things first up.
4. Set expectations – Talk to your children about how it might be in the holidays and what you might expect from them. This could be especially important if you need to continue to work. For example, you can watch a film of your choice at 2pm. Or you can play on your device from 3-4pm.
5. Look after yourself – Although it’s beneficial to practice mindfulness and being in the moment as much as you can during the holidays with your kids, it is really important to make sure that your tank is full – to help you be the best parent you can be. Make sure you have time out for a gym session, see a movie with a friend, read a magazine at a café or even just have a long bath with a glass of wine and a good book!
6. Lower the bar – School holidays can be a tricky time and although you might be busy with activities, it can be a helpful to relax on the routine a little! The kids might always be hungry (tip – a snack station or fruit platter in the fridge can help) and it might feel like the house is always a mess. It’s ok to be like Elsa and ‘LET IT GO!’ Let them get creative and turn the lounge room into a den! Less stress is better for everyone.
7. Ease off on the entertainment expectations – Experts suggest that it’s not ideal for kids to be constantly entertained. Sure, some monitored screen time and structured activities are great, but so is being bored occasionally – it incites imagination! We really like these 150 tips from the Dorky Mum’s blog for ideas
8. Create a children’s ‘workstation’ – If you have to work from home during the holidays, set up your own work station in a nice and light area, maybe the kitchen, and make one up for your kids too! You could give them their own assignment or set it up with craft items such as paper, text as and paint. It can work best if you work in shorter bouts. For example, work for 40 minutes and break and play and then start again. Other places to get some work done (albeit noisy) is to take your laptop to an Indoor Play Centre where you can still supervise your children.
“GO EASY ON YOURSELF, YOU’RE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN”