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How do working parents manage in the school holidays?

(166 Posts)
ADJ1151 Fri 21-Feb-20 08:40:42

Question says it all ^^

I have two Dc. Now my eldest is settled into full time school (she went part time for the first term) I need to start thinking about going back to work...

My husband works and earns a comfortable wage, we do manage quite well on his income but some extra income would be nice.

I’ve been looking at jobs in school hours and also the option of breakfast and after school clubs.

My two children have additional needs which makes it harder I think.

But how do you manage in the school holidays?

My Facebook newsfeed is full of parents asking if others can help out with their children during half term..

The school holidays will me my biggest hurdle. Like I say both my children have additional needs, family either can’t or don’t want to help out. I’ve never expected them to.

My children’s school don’t have a holiday club.

There are two childminders in the area but they are full.. and I would be concerned because they are both fairly new childminders and probably haven’t dealt with children with autism before.

If my husbands hours stayed the same every week I would work around that but they don’t. He is on alternating shift but does overtime etc as well. He tries to book all of his holiday in school holiday time but often with half term he doesn’t always get it off because there’s a lot of other people working there who also want it off..

Aibu to think it’s really bloody hard? With the added difficulty of both my children having autism... making finding childcare harder.

What’s the other options? Working from home? working term time only? (what kind of jobs, don’t want to work in the school)

Help?

AlwaysCheddar Fri 21-Feb-20 08:45:48

Kids clubs. Lots of schools offer them, you don’t have to be at the school to go. Sports camps. Costs a bloody fortune!

Frazzled2207 Fri 21-Feb-20 08:47:48

Will depend on where you live but plenty of holiday clubs round here- that said they do appear to be mostly sporty. Some more arts and crafty ones too.
Tend to cost £15-20 a day.

MrsJoshNavidi Fri 21-Feb-20 08:49:43

You juggle your holidays with DH and take it in turns to have time off

You call on friends who don't work to do you favours and have DCs

You do swapsies with friends who also work and take it in turns to mind DCs

You shop them off to grandparents for the hols

You have grandparents to stay in the hols

You put DCs into holiday clubs

You find a job that doesn't require you to work in hols (in education)

You find an employer who allows you to work term time only

You pay a local teenager to look after the DCs

You employ an au pair

We did all of these options except term time working and working in education.

It's only for a few years until DCs can be left alone during the hols.

BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz Fri 21-Feb-20 08:50:01

Could you look into weekend work? Does your dh have weekends off?

stoptherideiwanttogetoff Fri 21-Feb-20 08:51:27

I have two children with autism and have attempted in the past to get them into holiday clubs and failed..! I've resigned myself to the fact that I have to do the lions share of childcare and work from home when they are at school. In the holidays I get up earlier to work so the day is free to spend with them. It can be draining but it really is my only option. Do you have transferable skills to look at changing what type of job you do? Is it possible to find something that you could adapt to working remotely maybe?

Ihatesundays Fri 21-Feb-20 08:51:38

My experience of kids clubs where i live is they aren’t even a full day. With a commute on top it wasn’t worth it.
I had to stop working as I couldn’t get through the holidays and I work on contract now, I don’t work holidays. DD is 11 and a difficult age now, too old for the kids clubs and too young to be left.

Uppingham Fri 21-Feb-20 08:53:56

Holiday nanny (lots of uni students available)
Au pair
Holiday clubs (doesn’t have to be at your child’s school)
Relatives

KittenVsBox Fri 21-Feb-20 08:56:50

I quit work when my youngest started school. Nursery would take the oldest in the holidays when his brother was there. We were snookered after DS2 started school.
Most of the holiday clubs found here are 9-3 - ie totally useless if you are working.

Puffthemagicdragongoestobed Fri 21-Feb-20 08:57:47

My DS has autism and he used to go to holiday clubs all the time. Key is for him to find a really good holiday club with high number of staff, we’ll structured and good activities. We have also had au pairs, babysitters, swap dues with friends etc

Hoik Fri 21-Feb-20 08:58:52

For me, I had to give up working. Two of my DC are autistic and one in particular did not cope well in childcare back when I was working. I would get phone calls at work asking me to immediately collect him as he was having a meltdown and it was distressing for him as well as upsetting the other children. We went through several providers in a matter of months and I had several more tell me they couldn't take him on as they wouldn't be able to meet his needs.

During term time I have meetings at school, therapy appointments, I get called into school at short notice, etc. None of it is really conductive to holding down a job as I'd be asking for early finishes, shift swaps, short notice leave, etc and employers don't tend to like that. School holidays are always a flashpoint and the change in routine triggers off lots of negative behaviours in both DC which then upsets the other two DC, a lot of the "come collect him" calls from childcare were in the holidays and there would be days where he would refuse to even leave the house and I'd end up having to ring into work for the day off. My previous job was in the NHS and they liked us to book our leave at the start of the year and space it out so they could plan resources accordingly, the ideal was a week somewhere in Jan-March, two weeks somewhere in April-July, a week somewhere between August-November, and a week held in reserve for emergencies and any days available over Christmas/New Year. I was always getting pulled up about my leave sheet with random days here and there for appointments/meetings, more emergency leave than what was reasonable, and no leave planned in advance because I needed to keep it all for potential future emergency leave after in the year.

Added into this is that DH sometimes works away so there would be times I couldn't even pass the responsibility off to DH and I'd be dealing with it solo so it was almost always my career taking the hit. The stress of it all was much too much and we decided I would stay home with the DC.

JosefKeller Fri 21-Feb-20 09:00:05

Family
I can't think of one working family here who doesn't rely on parents/ siblings to take the kids at some point, even when they live far and they "only" have them for a few weeks in the summer

Friends swap

Alternate time off with DH

Kids club + childminder to cover the whole day

Au-Pairs

otherwise, yes of course it's weekend or term-time only (but it means you still need a back-up if the kids get sick during term time as you can't take any time off then really)

Fleaminraging Fri 21-Feb-20 09:00:32

Maybe not the answer but what about doing relief/bank work if your husband's wage is comfortable. Then you can pick and choose when you work with a bit more flexibility. Obviously there are downsides to this like not necessarily having the same amount of work every month and being guaranteed hours.

Sockwomble Fri 21-Feb-20 09:01:45

I don't work because there is no childcare for my child with autism ( as well as the usual appointments, meetings, going to school at short notice etc reasons).

Stompythedinosaur Fri 21-Feb-20 09:01:48

We manage by

1. Taking our annual leave separately to cover more time, unless we are actually on holiday.
2. Have a childminder who has the dc 2 days after school in term time and for full days in holidays.
3. Swapping childcare with other parents (always do favours for other parents when they need them so you can ask for them back).
4. Dm and Dmil help out.
5. We do at least a week of holiday clubs when our childminder is off in the summer.

SoloMummy Fri 21-Feb-20 09:03:18

I have a similar situation, but am a lone parent. I have purposely opted for a working from home part-time role that gives me flexibility with flexible working.
Consequently, I manage to juggle the holidays by using a combination of annual leave, Bank Holidays, flexi. This means for me there is a minimal amount of childcare needed from family.

For me this is about choosing the right role. Either a term time only role, to totally prevent the childcare issue. Or a role that has flexibility over when you do the hours. A home based role is easier to navigate in that though not ideal, you probably could work with the children at home for some of the holidays.

BlueJava Fri 21-Feb-20 09:03:28

We used to take 2 weeks family holiday for all of us in the summer and then split the rest of our leave periods so one or other of us was there. We also used kids clubs (tech camp are great) and other activities. But it's a massive PITA, thankfully ours are now 18 and we don't have that problem anymore!

MrsA2015 Fri 21-Feb-20 09:03:35

So your children have additional needs, you’re comfortable but it would be “nice” for an extra Income?

Then we wonder why schools and care providers are so stretched for funding.

Hoik Fri 21-Feb-20 09:04:28

I can't think of one working family here who doesn't rely on parents/ siblings to take the kids at some point, even when they live far and they "only" have them for a few weeks in the summer

I do childcare for working family members. DB and his wife arrange their annual leave so that between then they can cover eight weeks of the school holidays, her parents have the DC down at their house (Manchester) for a week in the summer, I have them here for two weeks and DB picks them up on his way home from work or I drop them off at SILs office if it's more convenient, DM has them for a week, and my other DB and his wife have them for a week too (DB1 has their three DC for a week in return during one of his weeks off).

InDubiousBattle Fri 21-Feb-20 09:04:33

With 2 dc (presumably one is still pre school age?)with additional needs I don't think working parents do actually manage school holidays. I think they either have loads of family help or one parent doesn't work/works very compromised hours around the dc.

Sockwomble Fri 21-Feb-20 09:06:16

MrsA2015 would you like to explain your comment?

Hoik Fri 21-Feb-20 09:06:38

So your children have additional needs, you’re comfortable but it would be “nice” for an extra Income? Then we wonder why schools and care providers are so stretched for funding.

Unless she works for central government with direct responsibility for the budget, funding is not the OP's fault. Childcare and schools have been chronically underfunded and undervalued by successive governments.

SueEllenMishke Fri 21-Feb-20 09:08:15

Holiday clubs
Sharing childcare with friends
Me and DH planning and taking annual leave
A very flexible job which means I can WFH (and catch up evenings and weekends)

Grasspigeons Fri 21-Feb-20 09:11:36

Obviously autism is a spectrum disorder but my son doesnt have access to any holiday clubs that can cope with his needs. He did used to access a breakfast club and afterschool club but his current school doesnt have one. We havent found a childminder willing to take him on and have been advertising for 18 months for a nanny and had no responses at all. I do manage to work in a school office and do some of the work at home in the evening but my employer has been brilliant and i have in really supportive colleagues.
If you want to work would evenings or saturday work be any good?

RosieBooBoo Fri 21-Feb-20 09:13:14

We have no family that can help so we use holiday clubs - £31 a day but it's open 7.30-6.15. Also buy an extra weeks holiday and take a run of fridays off so DC only go for 4 days most of the hols. It's a private nursery that run the holiday clubs so all very reliable and qualified staff and there is a couple of kids that go that have extra needs, they all have a ball!

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