How to Cover the Six Week Summer Holidays When You Work

A father and his son on holiday

How to cover the six week summer holidays when you work!

It's nearly that time of the year again, the six-week summer holiday. Argh! As a child, it used to be amazing. Six weeks out of school. Complete bliss. But now, as a working mum, it's a nightmare of constant juggling babysitting, asking friends for favours and holiday clubs. How do you manage to cover the six-week break? If you're new to this it can seem really daunting too. But having done five summer holidays, I feel pretty well places to share some of the things that help us cope with covering child care. 

Here's what we'll be doing this year to ensure my son doesn't sit on his iPad for six weeks.

Actually go on a holiday

Easier said than done though, given the prices of holidays during peak periods. The mark-up on costs just in the UK is absolutely crazy. We've booked a seven-night break at Haven but it's certainly not cheap. And that will be it for holidays this year. Having a break away is excellent because you don't need to worry about work and childcare provisions, but of course, it comes with a price. I'm considering doing a house swap with my sister. We're in the southwest, they're in the southeast, so there's lots of scope to explore a new area with zero accommodation costs.

Holiday clubs

We'll have to use holiday clubs to cover some of the days during the five weeks remaining. My husband and I work full time and as much as our son would be happy to game all day, I'd like him to have opportunities to meet other kids. Our area offers several different clubs, all varying in prices and available times. Be sure to check churches, local sports centres and schools for holiday clubs. I've found some don't advertise as they get booked up so fast - it's worth asking around. 

Some of our friends use childminders through the holidays. It's worth looking into as these can be a bit more flexible if you do shift work or only need half a day covered. 

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Synch up with Friends

If you have friends who also work, try and buddy up to share the caring load. This can work well because the kids get to see each other. And depending on how you fill your day, it can be a really cheap alternative to clubs.

Grandparents

For the last few years, minus Covid years, the grandparents have been able to help with child care. We usually agree on one day per week, which they'll cover for us. By agreeing in advance, we then know what days we'll need to book holiday clubs in. They can get booked up quickly so it's best to plan a few weeks out.

Annual leave

As much as I'd love to save my annual leave for days to myself, I'll definitely need to take ad-hoc time off this summer. I plan to do a day or two every other week and then my husband will do the same. If you have enough leave and can share it with a partner then you can easily cover two weeks. If you can do flexi-time at work, it may be worth accruing hours to take there too.  Even a half-day is helpful for a morning at the park or afternoon at the cinema. 

Another option is to see if you're able to take unpaid leave to cover a set amount of weeks. Not ideal, especially given the current economic climate but if you're really stuck then this could be an option. 

With a little bit of planning, I hope we can cover the weeks reasonably stress-free! Are you all set for the summer holidays?!

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