Ah the summer holidays! Six weeks of bliss, no school, no after school or weekend clubs just six weeks of quality time with the kids! Wonderful… Well, wonderful apart from if you have a job that isn’t term-time only and therefore need to continue working but don’t have any childcare in place…

This isn’t a new problem though, so how do parents do it? There are now approximately 1.62 million self-employed women in the UK and 15.3 million employed women (the highest ever recorded!). Yes, not all of them are mothers with school age children (those statistics were unavailable), but whatever the figure we know that there are millions of parents out there who require childcare during the school holidays. With this in mind I took to social media and asked various parent-based groups ‘How do you work during the school holidays?’ Here are a few ideas from both working mothers and fathers, I hope that something here helps you:

  1. Plan ahead (and then book it in ASAP): Like most things in life to get the availability that you want you need to plan ahead! Book in the holidays at work, book in any existing childcare then speak to alternative childcare providers such as childminders and holiday clubs, get their availability and prices and then see how you could best use them.
  2. Be creative with your childcare: Having asked lots of parents for their childcare solutions the options surprised me; ranging from holiday only childminders, other friends’ nannies, friends (paid), family members (paid), holiday clubs, nursery holiday clubs (who knew there was such a thing?!?). But it also doesn’t have to be paid childcare – take annual leave while your partner works, have your partner take annual leave while you work, ask grandparents, family, friends and even neighbours to help out, set up playdates to cover a few hours where you can, take your child to work, work from home with children around, etc.
  1. Be creative with your time: Start work earlier, work in the evenings when the children are asleep, work from home rather than go into the office if possible. ‘Flexible Working’ is the current buzz word but it really doesn’t come close to the reality for working parents.
  1. Manage employers’ expectations: Speak with your boss and team or, if self-employed, speak with your clients/customers to manage their expectations. I have always made it clear that I have no childcare during school holidays therefore my children are my priority but I can always get online to check emails or answer questions unless physically out of the country.
  1. Manage your own expectations: It probably isn’t going to be pretty, it probably isn’t going to be easy – especially if you have multiple childcare providers set up and have to go to different clubs, people, childcare every day/week but it is only for a short time and it gives you the cover you need so just go with it.
  1. Put your Out of Office on: If you are taking annual leave irrelevant of going away or not, make sure you put your Out of Office on, I made the mistake last summer when abroad and went to take a photo of my family whilst on a walk in the middle of a wood but then saw an email from a client had come in so stopped to read that instead. By the time I had finished the moment had passed and I had an upset family…

And finally, don’t beat yourself up: You work for a reason, or several reasons probably, but one of those reasons is to earn money to live, buy nice things and be able to provide your child with what they need. The summer holidays may feel like forever but before you know it they will be back at school and boasting about a great summer spent with lots of different people doing lots of different things, so just be kind to you – that in itself may feel like a holiday!

For more information please contact Tabitha@themarketingassistant.co.uk or visit www.themarketingassistant.co.uk