With the school holidays fast approaching, we'd like to share this short article for working parents and carers from our partners at Working Parents Connect.
The school holidays were daunting enough for working parents pre-COVID, however now that most of us are still working from home in some capacity, it pays to be even more prepared!
Firstly, let’s recognise that not every family has the perfect conditions for working from home, and child care, at the same time. However, there are ways to make life easier for yourself.
Here are our top tips:
1. Speak to your manager about expectations – Hopefully most of you will feel comfortable with talking to your manager about working flexibly during the school holidays. Perhaps you can do staggered starts or late finishes – whatever makes your day most productive.
2. PLAN. PLAN. PLAN. – Don’t wait until Day 1 of the holidays to have at least a loose plan. Even if it’s just one day a week that there is a planned activity happening, and something for everyone to look forward to.
3. Book into a holiday program – Take advantage of school holiday programs in your local area. Have a look at your local council website, or the library to look for some free options, as well as the paid programs run by the PCYC or sports groups.
4. Call on your village – If you need to get some focused work time, ask family and/or friends to look after your children, and then reciprocate.
5. Communicate – If you’ve planned what the days might look like, communicate that with your family. Kids do better when they know what’s going to happen. If you’ve got work deadlines to make in the morning, then set the kids up with an activity and then promise to take them out in the afternoon, or vice versa if you’d rather get them out in the morning, and then hang out at home in the afternoon whilst you get on with some work.
6. Stock up – Whether it’s the pantry, freezer or stationary cupboard, stock up before school holidays begin so you’re not caught out at the last minute. I know my kids definitely eat A LOT more when they’re at home as opposed to school, so I always make sure I have a lots of healthy snacks, a few treats and easy to make lunches (lets be honest, chicken nuggets and party pies always make a few appearances) to make life a lot easier.
7. Have a break – it’s OK to not be able to do it all! Take some time to do something that you enjoy – it could be as simple as going outside for a walk or watching a movie.
Good luck to all the working parents just trying to do their best. You’ll smash it!
First published on the Working Parents Connect website