For some parents the school holidays are a respite time with a more relaxed routine. However, it can be a nightmare for others and so requires a lot of planning and management. As parents we learn quickly that when raising children it is important to have as many options and resources as you can possibly gather. Managing childcare over the summer months can be a challenge and early planning is the key.
- Research what summer camps are running in your area. What are their price ranges? Children love to engage with their peers. These interactions help them to develop their confidence and learn new skills. They may need a little support to attend at first.
- Co-ordinate with other parents to find out if any of your child’s friends are attending summer camps. It is always nice to know somebody.
- Can you set up a play date rota with another parent? You could plan your leave with each other. Even if it only works for one week, it can be very helpful.
- It can be lovely for children to have special time with grandparents and build their relationships. Can you stay at grandparents also and commute to work from there? Is your child old enough to leave with a grandparent for the week? Or maybe a grandparent could come and stay. If you can rely on a grandparent, maybe work in a few treats for them during the week to help them feel appreciated.
- Plan with other family members. See if you can support each other during the summer months. Maybe friends would also be open to helping out. Count each week separately. It will most likely be impossible to have one plan to cover the whole summer. If you have friends or family who can help out, try to plan a day out during the summer or have them over for a fun day to thank them.
- Try shortening your week if you are working outside of the home. Can you take a small amount of leave each week to shorten the work week rather than taking blocks of time? Can you take unpaid leave or parental leave? Of course bills still have to be paid and not all employers will offer flexibility so it can be tricky, but if this is a possibility then it can relieve childcare pressures.
- If you and your child’s other parent are sharing parenting, can you coordinate on holidays to develop a routine to share the care over the summer period?
- Is there a minder in your area who will take on children for the summer time? Can you negotiate a good rate with them?
- Children manage change well, once they are kept informed of the plan. Young toddlers can thrive once the routine around sleep and eating times is maintained. As it is a temporary measure children can often enjoy the different experiences and gain from them. It makes the holiday period more interesting when new things are happening.
- Summer time can be expensive, ideally planning for summer time should start months ahead. Setting aside a little each week if you can, can go along way to easing the costs of the summer holidays.
If you are lucky enough to have lots of holidays to use over the summer time, enjoy the time with your child and plan days out. They don’t have to cost money, but spend the time in a different way with your children so you feel the summer was something new and fun.
Coming up next week: 10 Ways to Have Fun This Summer.
This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.
LIVE Facebook Q&A with Geraldine on this topic Monday 22 June from 11am-12pm in our NEW One Family Parenting Group. Join in to post your questions and share your experiences.
Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.