Half-term survival kit

Some tips on how to get through half term.

Is it half term already? Of course, you may be superorganised and have arranged childcare and things to do months ago, but chances are half term has figured fairly low down on your priority list until it somehow crept up on you now. So how can you get through it? Workingmums.co.uk has some advice.

1. Check our your local authority to find out about activities in your area and holiday schemes [this should be on their website under Children and Families]. Your school may also have details of holiday playschemes run by local leisure centres or your school may host some. Organisations like the FA run some schemes.

2. Fall back on family. That means primarily your partner, if you have one, and any other family who may live in the near vicinity. If you can, divvy up half term between a number of family members to spread the load.

3. If family are not available, network with friends. If you haven’t already built up a support network of other parents, particularly working parents who know what the deal is, start doing so as soon as you can, even if you don’t think you have time. It could be a life-saver. Have all their numbers on speed dial on your phone in case of emergencies. If you take a day off you can have their children over and vice versa. Remember the golden rule, though, that if you ask a favour you have to return one. If you break the code, the whole thing could fall apart. The more friends you can involve the better, but try to ensure your children actually like their children. This can often be tricky territory. Hence the need for multiple members of the network in case of sudden fallings out. Children do not have as much invested in the network as parents do.

4. Try to negotiate some homeworking for you and for your partner if you have one. That way you can be around to ferry the kids to holiday playschemes, which often end well inside office hours. You may also be able to tailor your day so you have time for the kids in the afternoon before you log on again later in the day.

5. Emergency childcare may be necessary if all else fails. Organisations like My Family Care or Findababysitter.com provide emergency back-up, but it can be at a cost.

6. If you are off with the kids, check out local museums, parks, etc, to find out what activities they have on offer. Many will be free of charge and getting out and about can make a world of difference to their half term and may help recharge your batteries too. If the weather is awful and depending on the ages of your children, you could try bake off competitions, making dens, changing their room around or putting on a show.

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