When our son started school, his first school holidays crept up on us and we were in a world of pain. It hadn’t crossed our minds that he would have 2 weeks of needing someone to look after him while we were at work and our daughter was still in child care. We hadn’t even heard of a kids holiday program.
We scrambled our way through by each using up some of our precious annual leave, which we knew we didn’t want to do as an ongoing solution as it would mean we’d have no annual leave left for a family holiday. Since then, aside from managing our work differently during school holidays, here are the key ways we get through school holidays.
Best options for getting outside help to mind the kids during school holidays
- Kids holiday program: these are usually run by specific before and after school care companies or schools themselves. Many private schools run programs that are open to all kids from any school. Most programs start at 7am or 8am and go to 5 or 6pm, which gives most parents enough coverage for the working day.
- Kids holiday program associated with organisations such as the zoo or tennis camps: these are often a few hours shorter than those run at schools, so make sure you check the opening and closing times before you book and pay. There are also specific camps such as Coding Camps which have become very popular, as well as week long camps where the kids can stay for the week. There are usually minimum age limits for these depending on the camp
- Finding out who the other working parents in your kids’ classes are and help each other: It helps if you have the same number of kids, they are similar ages and they get along most of the time. How we make it work for us is that one day the other family drops their kids to our place early. It’s fine if they’re still in their pyjamas and haven’t had breakfast yet. I then have 4 kids to mind for the day until their parents pick them up at the end of the day after I’ve given them dinner. Obviously it’s an exhausting day having double the kids, but it means one less annual leave day for James or me to take. I then drop my kids to their place on another day in the same way and head off to work