It may seem like the holidays are only just behind us and spring hasn’t even arrived yet, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too early to start thinking about how you’re going to look after your children during the summer break.
Yes, looking after children can prove to be stressful at the best of times, let alone when you have 10 or 11 weeks without school stretching ahead of you, leaving you to juggle work, child care, and trying to carve out some time for yourself when there are still only 24 hours in each day!
This is why we think it is important to be prepared, so you can feel you and your kids are getting the most out of the summer break without leaving you on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
To help you on your way, here are our top tips for how to handle summer break child care:
Traditional summer camps are a great opportunity for your kids to socialise and develop new skills, while giving you some much needed help during the long summer holidays. The downside is, they can often be prohibitively expensive.
However, not all summer camps involve sending your children away for two weeks. “Camps” where you can drop your children off in the morning then pick them up in the afternoon are often cheaper than full blown summer camps, but still give you some much needed help in looking after your kids.
Arrange regular play dates with other parents
Remember that you are far from being the only parent struggling to look after their children during the summer holidays. So why not reach out to the other parents in your children’s class, to see if any of them are in the same boat? If they are, why not band together to organise regular play dates, where you take it in turn to look after each other’s kids for a day. Not only does this free up time for you but it makes sure your kids get to spend time being social and interacting with others their own age.
Rely on friends and relatives
If you are struggling to find care for your kids, why not hit up friends and relatives who owe you a favor and ask them to do some babysitting? Not to generalise, but most grandparents would jump at the chance to spend some quality time with your kids, especially if they don’t see them often. Although this won’t work as a regular thing, it can be a great way to get some help when you have to sort something out on short notice.
Explore flexible work options
Obviously this won’t be an option for everyone, but it may be worth checking with your work to see if you could work from home for some of the summer holidays.
This is especially handy if your children are getting older, and so don’t require as much hands on attention as younger kids tend to, then working from home may give them enough supervision without messing with your schedule.