How working parents can survive the summer holidays

July 10, 2024 by Natalie Brewer
How working parents can survive the summer holidays

As the summer holidays begin, working parents find themselves faced with the challenge of balancing work commitments with caring for and entertaining children. This is a challenge until the children are old enough to fill their own time, but even teenagers need support and (sometimes) value your company!

Planning for the summer holidays can feel daunting as the six weeks is far longer than the usual annual leave entitlement.  The answer is a balance of activities.

Here are the Hour Hands tips for how you can manage being at work during the long school holidays and still ensure that your children have a restful but fun time.

Plan, plan, plan!

With the fickle British weather, you may not want to book days out too far in advance but having a plan for the holidays can help you work things out.

Map out the full six weeks, colour code when you may be away on holiday – and the number of days this leaves to fill. Talk to your family: is it possible for them to help?  Clearly plot this onto the plan.

Also plot in work deadlines and critical meetings so you can clearly see the times when you have to have cover.

Share the responsibility

If your child has two parents, then ensure that you share the responsibility for planning with the other parent. They may have some great ideas that you haven’t thought about or they may have more flexibility with their work than you do.  Talking things over can make a huge difference in how you choose to fill the holidays and it will relieve the stress of trying to work it all out.

Children swap!

There will be many parents in a similar situation to you so something that worked for us when the children were younger was doing a child swap!  For one, another parent looked after our children and then we returned the favour on a different day.  Yes, it’s a long day but the children helped to entertain each other so even simple ‘at home’ games were more fun with a friend there too!

Holiday clubs

Lots of schools, local councils, churches, sports teams, and private childcare businesses offer summer holiday camps. Find a provision that works for you in terms of location, the activities that they offer and of course, price.  Our children have enjoyed sports camps, woodland days, art classes, multi-activity camps, and even a drama course.

Family time is important

Schedule in some family activities over the holiday, even if they are ‘after work’ activities such as a film night or a weekend trip. Children love to have something to look forward to and it will help you navigate the inevitable parent guilt. 

Flexible working

If your role allows it, discuss with your employer about flexible working during the summer holidays. Maybe you could work from home for a few weeks – a great solution for when your children are older and can manage themselves as it allows you to still be around for them. 

You may even be able to work flexi-time: working in the mornings or evenings rather than during the day when your children need you.

You will have the right to request a change in working arrangements, known as flexible working, is available for all employees with 26 weeks’ service. Talk to HR and your line manager to formalise your request.

Give them some downtime!

Children do not need every minute of every day planned out for them. Downtime is good, rest is good and boredom is good. Many psychologists state that when you are bored, it is your most creative time as you have time to think, to create, to experiment.  So, ensure there are days when nothing is planned.

Give them some tasks!

When you are juggling work and entertaining children, time for household chores may be in short supply.  Get your children involved to help and teach them some valuable skills at the same time. Older children can go to the shops, hang out the washing, iron or do chores outside the house whereas children of all ages can load/unload the dishwasher, vacuum and mop, weed the garden – the list is endless.

Be kind to yourself

Juggling work and school holidays is tough – there is no perfect solution even if you have lots of money to keep your children entertained every day. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do and if at all possible, take at least a few minutes each day to be proud of what you are achieving.

How the flexible Hour Hands EA team can support your business

Hour Hands is made up of experienced Personal Assistants and talented bookkeepers all ready to complete tasks whilst you or your staff take time off during the summer holidays.  We can support you with those urgent and important tasks that still need doing or can tick off a big project that you’ve been meaning to do for a while!

By outsourcing your tasks to us, you can flex when you need support – be it ongoing support or for a one-off project or resolving a particular task. 

To find out more simply call us on 01727 818262. We will ask how we can support you and offer a solution either on an hourly rate or package cost. The choice is yours – we simply want to help.