Can you not pay your 16yo a stipend to mind the others? Or get another student age person in to act as an all day babysitter some of the days to cut costs? I am considering something like that, combined with holiday clubs/annual leave/etc.
Mixture of split leave between DH and me, holiday clubs (probably max 2 weeks spread through the whole year), grandparents come over to stay for a week here and there (they do all live fairly far away). So far we have always managed to holiday as a family for 2 weeks as well. Only 2 DCs so holiday club just about viable if expensive option.
I work part time, dh full time++, we have no family nearby. OVer the holidays dh and I have a couple of weeks each, with only one of those weeks together. Grandparents come to stay for a week. Reciprocal arrangements with my friends and the parents of dd1's friends. THis year the IL's are taking the dc's away for a week.
During the shorter holidays and half terms dh and I split it or grandparents come over to help.
I try to take days off in weeks in which there are bank holidays so I use fewer annual leave days for a week off.
Easier said than done I know. but have you considered working in a school in some capacity so holidays aren't an issue?
It takes military planning but it can be done, certainly for my two NT children. I'm afraid I have no experience of provision for autistic children so can't comment there.
Depending on your kids I don't think at 11/12/15 they need constant holiday clubs - the 12 year old, and maybe the 15 year old, just need some things to break it up a bit and stop them getting bored, and especially if the older ones are home sometimes I wouldn't have a problem leaving them at home without you the rest of the time (assuming your kids are at all responsible). Last summer my kids (12 and 14) had some time at home on their own, some time at activities (different ones as they don't like the same things) and some at home with me or DH. One week of family holiday for all of us.
The problem is the youngest one, can't really comment on that - would holiday clubs work for him or not?
Once they get to secondary age there's not that much available anyway. I live in a big city, but you can't get wall-to-wall childcare for secondary age. It might be, say, an afternoon football club that they have to get a bus to, or a couple of days drama group.
I take a couple of weeks Annual Leave , my husband takes a couple of days and this year I am planning on paying my 14 year old son a little money to supervise the younger ones for a couple of hours max ( I only do part time hours and some nightshifts which means i am in the house sleeping !). I ahve also used holiday clubs and my elderly dad will help for an afternoon every now and again . Would your 18 year old be able to help out, I guess it depends on the child and their willingness.
Currently i'm a stay at home mum who is self employed with a few ''work from home'' businesses. I have five children who's ages range from 18, 16,15,12 and 11. The three youngest are still in secondary school . My husband works between 40- 50 hours a week, including weekends, which means he's gone a lot of the time. I'd like to return to work, and have worked over the years but have always had either myself or my husband as a stay at home parent. But now he is in a job he is progressing well in, he doesn't want to sacrifice this and also, he could earn far more money than i ever could. My question is, what do other parents do with their children in the holidays if you have a job that requires you to work through out??? My youngest son has Autism so i wouldnt feel comfatable with him staying home even with his siblings. Grandparents on my side of the family all still have full time jobs and on my husbands side are a good 500 miles away...Not sure with 3 kids requiring supervision i could afford holiday clubs??? It's a toughie isn't it??