Although the school holidays bring so much excitement for children, they can often provide parents with dread and fear due to work schedules. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are now offering more flexibility when it comes to working from home as a means of managing childcare arrangements, but this presents different challenges. Have a look at our top tips for juggling work and the school holidays below:
- Set separate areas: - having different areas for work and family is an important task. Having a home office or a particular area can help you compartmentalise but also help your children know when you are working. Keeping your ‘family time’ and ‘professional time’ separate can also better help your mental health.
- Make a plan:- A plan is important whether you're working from home with the children or needing to organise a form of childcare. If you are organising care for your children, print off a calendar so that you can write down who will be looking after your child on what days or which clubs or activities they will be attending so that nothing will be left to the last minute. If you are working from home and managing childcare, print off a daily schedule and put it somewhere, you and your child can see. Plan activities that your child can manage independently while working, then put in breaks and lunchtime so you can enjoy lunch together. Also, ensure you put the time that you are starting and finishing work.
- No comparisons:- remember that social media is just a glimpse into someone’s life, and it never gives you the whole picture. Do not judge yourself and what you are doing against what you are seeing on someone else’s social media. Just because you aren’t taking your child out to the zoo every day during the holidays does not mean that you are doing a bad job, and it does not mean your child is not having fun.
- Set Boundaries:- Ensure that at the start of the holidays, you are setting boundaries with your children. Why not sit down and make a nice colourful summer holiday rules poster. You and the children can decorate it and think of the rules together. Ensure that children know when they can and cannot distract you from work, etc...
- Set up snack boxes:- At the start of the holidays, get each of your children a snack basket/box. You could buy a small storage basket or box, or they could decorate one that you have at home. This is now their holiday snack box, and with this comes rules. Each morning you put in each of their boxes the snacks they are allowed for the whole day, but once its gone, it's gone. If they get over-excited and eat all their snacks in the morning, they will soon realise that they have nothing in the afternoon and begin pacing themselves out.
- Have a holiday water bottle:- Each morning, children use their bottle/cup for the day, and this is the one they are to keep for the whole day, so you aren’t running around once they are in bed trying to find all the cups. If you want to make life even easier, there are a variety of ways that you can make water/juice available to your children. Put a jug on the table at the start of the day; if worried about spills, then you can buy pump tops to fit bottles so they can pump their desired drink into their cup/bottle.