If you have school age children, you must learn to juggle 13 weeks school holidays a year. Depending on the age gaps of your children this can go on for more than 20 years! Most people do not have a business they can close completely during school holidays.
How can you cope with school holidays? In particular the long 6 weeks summer holidays can seem never ending.
Here is some advice and tips to help.
Your children will grow up faster than you think!
What I would like to remind anyone reading this is the fact that your children are not going to be young forever!
The time goes by very quickly and before you know it, they won’t want to spend anytime with you during school holidays! I know this because mine are now 25 and 17, one is currently in California and the other is in Spain. I have an empty nest!
Break down the holidays
Work out what is the minimum amount of work time you need per day and per week.
My schedule was a bit like this -
- 830am-10.00am emails and client work.
- Then usually out for the morning or the afternoon or full day.
- Then I would work in the evenings and finish any work that needed doing.
- I used to usually do one full day out a week. Then 1 day at home with a paddling pool or other activity and then a couple of half days out. That might be a picnic in the park, indoor play area, swimming or cinema.
We also used to take one summer holiday during the May half term and the other during the summer holidays.
Take time out of your business.
Take some time out of your business for them. Spend time enjoying fun experiences with your children. Make lots of memories as when they have grown up this is what you will treasure.
What childcare options can you use?
The obvious ones are family and friends. You can also do play dates and swap with other mums. If planned out this could give you some time to work in your business for an afternoon a week or maybe even a day.
If you don’t have the support of family, friends or childminder then holiday clubs and activities can be the answer depending on the age of your child. My children used to love going to sports activities and drama. There are so many things going on. Check with your local sports centre and ask in Facebook groups. Or Google your area and add the term ‘school holiday clubs’.
Planning is the key!
It’s a juggling act! Here are some ideas that I did so I know they work!
My children understood that at the start and end of the day I had some work to do. So they would amuse themselves. We planned out what we were going to do for the week so they had some input on the ideas and had something to look forward to.
In addition sometimes I used to visit an indoor play area and took my laptop. Then I would work for an hour while they played and then spent some time with them.
I always scheduled in the bigger trips to theme parks, zoos and museums at the start of the school holidays. To help with costs I saved my Tesco Club Card vouchers to buy Merlin passes. That way we could even do a half a day at Thorpe Park or Legoland because the pass was already paid for. So on a sunny day I used to surprise my children and say later today we going to a themepark.
Lists and scheduling are vital to make the holidays work around your business.
- Make sure you keep up to date with to do lists.
- Use scheduling tools so schedule social media.
- Send an email to explain to clients you have limited operating hours.
- Leave a voice mail on your phone so people are not expecting immediate call backs.
If you plan the school holidays properly there is no reason why your business cannot continue to run. Proper planning means you and your children will enjoy the school holidays and the time you have together creating precious moments.
The important thing is that your children understand why you work for yourself. That doing this means you can be there for them more than if you worked for an employer. They have to understand this means you do need some time to work but then the rest can be play!