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It’s half term next week. Don’t panic. Workingmums.co.uk has some ideas for what to do if it has crept up on you unexpectedly, given summer term is notoriously short.
Summer term seems to go by in a flash. It might be the bank holidays, but from the Easter holidays to half term is just a hop, skip and a jump. If you’re in Scotland you may already be gearing up for the long summer holiday in around a month’s time. The way the weeks speed past may mean you are underprepared for the holidays and may be left to patching together a holiday plan. Perhaps your school has also helpfully tacked on a couple of inset days as well just to make it that bit more of a challenge. So how can you get through it? Workingmums.co.uk has some advice.
1. Fall back on family, if there are any around. Make links with distant relatives on Facebook, approach second cousins and remember that it takes a village to bring up a child. Everyone counts. In the main, it will probably come down to your partner, if you have one and any other family who live in the vicinity. If you can, divvy up half term between a number of family members to spread the load.
2. 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 understand the challenges, 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 – in the land of working parents it is all about returning favours. For the long term it is a good idea to team up with other parents to cover holidays and emergencies on a regular basis so you don’t have to do the last-minute planning.
3. If you do a job where it is relevant, 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 9-5 hours and may well be age particular meaning, if you have more than one child, you have to put them in different playschemes, meaning you spend quite a large part of the day running a taxi service. Consider it training for the teen years. You may also be able to tailor your day so you have time to take the kids out in the afternoon before you log on again later in the day.
4. Check out your local authority to find out about seasonal 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. National organisations like the FA also run schemes so check their website.
5. Emergency childcare may be necessary if all else fails. Organisations like Yoopies and some childcare providers provide emergency back-up and holiday childcare, but it can be at a cost. My Family Care provides emergency and holiday childcare packages for employers to use.
6. If you are taking time off with the kids there are lots of listings site such as Hoop and Netmums, where you can search according to your location. Moneysavingexpert has news of special offers. Depending on the weather, you can get out and explore the great outdoors or get creative indoors, making dens or organising your own Junior Bake Off competitions. More creative and scientific ideas to counter boredom can be found on the great Unbored site here.