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Found half term really hard. Dreading summer hols. Help!

(13 Posts)
WhenCanIWine Sat 04-Jun-11 11:17:12

I have been minding a couple of months and feel a bit pathetic saying this really since I only mind 2 days a week (tho long ones - half 7 to half 5) but Im finding holidays really hard. I have a just turned one baby and a 3 year old charge, and my own 3 year old and 5 and a half year old. normally the 3 year olds do some pre-school and the 5 year old is at school. During school hols Im finding it so hard to manage them when we are indoors in particular (we cant always be out obviously.) They bicker a lot, and the baby kind of gets lost in the melee. My youngest never wants to do anything the others want to do. My eldest and the older charge love playing together but they get so loud and manic. Im actually thinking I have made a real mistake agreeing to do school holidays. Is this every child minders lot or am I not coping sad

Danthe4th Sat 04-Jun-11 12:41:36

Thats why I went to term time only so I could spend time with my children, could you perhaps take on an assistant for the holiday times. You may end up working for nothing but it could make the difference between losing the mindees and your marbles!!!

Do you have a partner that could use holiday to share the load. We are all different and i'm sure youre coping fine its just very difficult to chill in the holidays with your own and work at the same time, it didn't suit me I felt very torn and my own children just wanted to do their own thing.

Could you make yourself available for only 3 or 4 weeks in the summer.

nannynick Sat 04-Jun-11 13:17:43

Half 7 to have 5 - that's not that long... I've had two days this week of 7am-7pm.

I care for children ranging from 6 months old to 6.5 years old. So I feel your pain smile finding activities for them all to do is a bit tricky.

I find that to survive we go out for much of the day. They are often much better out and about rather than being at home, where the older ones seem more able to argue with each other.

There is always one, who doesn't want to do as the others are doing... such is life and they get over it eventually.

Things we have done this week: Legoland (yep I was brave), Strawberry picking (in my mums garden as it so happened as hers needed picking, though could have gone to a farm), wonder around the garden at Loseley House, wonder around the garden at Waddesdon Manor (bit of a long trip that one for us but it's a nice place with good playground). Lots of suncream was needed on our trips, it has been rather hot.

Babies just sort of come along for the ride. They don't generally mind that, they like looking at new things, like smelling new smells, possibly having a new taste.

Finding places to go every day can be a pain but I feel it's good for everyone to get out and about... to local woods, countryside walks, gardens of stately homes, playgrounds, local museums. The more children you have the harder trips out can be but they can often be easier in some ways, as children get to run about and play together in a different environment. They can playing follow the leader, taking it in turns to lead the group through the woods. They can like building dens, hunting for bugs.

You are only doing 2 days... so could you arrange to always have a trip out on those days, with a picnic lunch? I think it will help give the older ones an opportunity to run about and let off excess energy.

nannyl Sat 04-Jun-11 13:42:42

Do you have any CM / mummy friends with similar aged children?

Could you get a few dates into the summer holiday to do nice things with them.

I think 2 adults and 6 children (or 3 + 9) is much easier whan 1 adult and 3 or 4.
Either go out... perhaps plan a few trips to zoo / farm / country park or whatever, but (if you are brave and allowed (I'm assuming CMs are allowed friends and their children round as nannies are)... think of something exciting to do.... we have had fun afternoons with old rolls of wall paper, paint / pens etc and all the children had great fun in the garden drawing round and colouring in themselves..... or you could do pizza making / icing cupcakes etc etc. great fun when there are lots of children (well i think so anyway)
Even planning the day to go to the local recreation ground together, a picnic there and home for a play and pizza making for tea, with another adult around will be very cheap and make the day great fun and fly by for you all.

We also found a few really great playgrounds perhaps a 20min drive away and would drive to them especially. (parks where we wouldnt normally go) Great fun, and a change for everyone and free smile

dmo Sat 04-Jun-11 15:27:01

i work 7.30am till 6pm everyday in the hols i have 7-9 children aged from 9mths to 10yrs but i agree your own children are much harder work

as you only work 2 days could you not get your own children into a hol club, friends or grandparents the the nmost of the day? if they go to friends you could return the favour on the days you do not mind x

WhenCanIWine Sat 04-Jun-11 19:32:23

Oh dear. You lot work longer hours and have more children too. I must be a wuss shock Will have to have a think about whether this really is for me since I really do dread having all 4.

WhenCanIWine Sat 04-Jun-11 19:35:42

Tho in my defence baby will only sleep in the cot (nowhere else, honest!) so we seem tied to the house a lot.

nannynick Sat 04-Jun-11 20:38:24

I care for less children... only 3. Have done more in the past.
You are not a wuss, you just are not used to it yet. It takes time and some of us on here have been doing it for many years and still dislike school holidays.

Babies who only sleep in one place are a bit of a pain. Does limit outings, though something local is possible I would expect.

HSMM Sat 04-Jun-11 21:01:28

I struggled with holidays when I first started minding, now I love them. You could try getting a friend over for your older child on a day you're not working and then you might (if you're lucky) have one child less on a day you are working smile.

We go out to parks, etc most days in the holidays. The children run races in the garden, chalk on the driveway (secure) and play with water in assorted ways. Often the older ones are engrossed in play, so I have time to spend with the little ones. Do you have a tent? They can have hours of fun the the garden with a tent, or an old sheet tied up to a tree.

(I work 0800-1800 5 days a week, with occasional overnights)

RosieGirl Sat 04-Jun-11 22:38:00

Like HSMM, I really struggled with school holidays at first, but as you become more experienced and get to know the children better it does get easier.

I generally throw the rule book out of the window and pretty much go with what the kids want to do (within reason), lots of fun easy fun activities, for the ages you have, lots of music, instruments, dancing around, reading stories, rice/pasta play.

I have worked 7.30-6pm all this week with between 5-8 children varied ages, we have been to Jimmy's farm, parks, walks (live in a rural area), swimming.

It IS really hard work, don't feel that you are pathetic, just give yourself some time to settle.

apotomak Sun 05-Jun-11 01:07:07

I actually prefer holidays. No school runs YAY !!! They take a lot of my energy out. In holidays we like to go out ... especially when the weather is good. Don't spent much time at home if you can .... I found that being out makes them bicker less ;) and then when we return home they are excited about activities and help out with choosing next ones.

looneytune Sun 05-Jun-11 10:12:56

When I first started my ds1 was 2.2 and I very quickly went from just him to 5 children aged 18m - 8y for the long 6 weeks summer holidays (M-F) and I hated it! Some days were ok but my ds found it very hard to adjust and it was just so full on so quickly. This died down a bit as I couldn't continue with some children when my own ds started nursery in the opposite direction to the school I was picking up from. Having less children was certainly better for me at that time as it gave me chance to start again and build myself up a bit. Now (6 years later) I prefer it when I have all 7 children (do most days) and we spent a LOT of time outdoors/on a trip out. I work 7am - 6pm, Monday to Friday and fairly often have overnight stays. Yes it's a full on day but it goes quickly, especially when out for the day or break the day up with a trip to the park etc. This week we have done:

Tuesday - junk modeling, garden play, trip to the park, played games, done puzzles and general play with a picnic lunch in the garden

Wednesday - day trip to an activity centre (soft play, ball pits, trampolines, role play area etc). It was 45 mins away so the kids had some chill time/sleep on the way/way back. We were there about 5 hours and I enjoyed the whole time (on my own with 7 children to watch but honestly, it was good - high vis vests a must though! wink).

Thursday - Picnic at a big park about 20 mins away and lots of playing at the park, in the little wooded area etc. Pretending to make meals out of mud, grass, leaves etc (stiring with sticks), in the big grass area for ball games and a game of 'duck, duck, goose'. Garden play, free play, drawing, more junk modeling, games etc.

Friday - free play, puppet show, garden play, games, couple of hours at park about 10 mins drive away. Ball games, more duck, duck, goose, lots of running in the big field plus playing in the playpark. Playing Sports games on the Wii.

I couldn't have stayed in with them all, would drive me mad and they'd be bored. I had to learn what worked for me/us so I felt confident about taking them all out on my own. It's a lot easier now they're a bit older (more stressful with 4 under 18 months and a couple of big kids so couldn't all of these activities, had to think about what was safe etc.

So I'd say you're not a wuss but are just not used to it. And most definitely, our own children are the hardest work! This half term I have had both my boys (nearly 3 and 8) driving me mad, especially my 8 year old who is starting to struggle with the house full and the fact I only mind girls! He does love it too, just I guess he doesn't want it all the time. Unfortunately I am not in a position to do Term Time only (my husband has been out of work for a year and half and only just got a job offer so we've needed every penny).

If baby has to sleep in a cot, if they have a set time then plan around that so at least part of the day is spent out. Honestly, their behaviour is usually much better when out and about.

looneytune Sun 05-Jun-11 10:14:03

And SNAP apotomak, I also prefer the school holidays and no rushing around to school, nursery and preschool! smile

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