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WOHMs - what do your children do in school holidays?

(29 Posts)
FloatingOnTheMed Tue 23-May-06 10:14:54

I’m a single SAHM and wasn’t intending to return to work till dd is settled in school (though I might do sooner because I really am struggling financially. ). I suddenly realized though that I can’t imagine being happy going to work while she is on school holidays. (Though this is prob partly because both my parents were teachers and so had school holidays off themselves.) It just boggles my mind, doesn't make sense!

For those of you who do work through school holidays, what do your children do while you’re working and how do you feel about it? Am I perhaps imagining it’s worse than it is, or is it really worth me looking into doing a term time only (pref school hours) job? I imagine it is quite difficult to find one of those (esp as I really don’t want to work with children!!)

Blu Tue 23-May-06 10:18:58

DP and I are taking our holiday in relays, and he will spend some time oin a holiday playscheme, with his friends, doing all sorts of activities he would never do with me! Will also send him to my Mums for a few days.

FloatingOnTheMed Tue 23-May-06 10:21:02

I am a single mum, and my parents both work & are very busy generally so sending dd to them wouldn't be an option - at least not till they retire. (actually come to think of it that's probably not that far off! )

Blu Tue 23-May-06 10:26:47

Yes, sorry - not at all helpful to talk of hols in relay with dp - and you did say that in your op.

I was really anxious at the thought of ds going to a holiday scheme, but now he is at school and I see how much he thrives on the company of other small children, I realise that he would be bored spending the whole holiday with me - despite my fantasy swallows and amazons nostagia for spending long summer days taking him out and about.

Would a p/t job work for you?

Blu Tue 23-May-06 10:27:09

Or temping, so you could do less in the hols?

Clary Tue 23-May-06 10:31:19

DH and I both work outside the home and basically there’s no one simple answer to this.
Even harder for you floating, as you are a single mum so that sort of halves your options, doesn't it?
Of course we take all our hols during school hols (this is what always stagegrs me about people who take their kids out of school - but anyway, that’s another thread....) and we tend not to be off together tho we are taking two weeks family hol this summer, a rare treat.
Eg DH is off next week for half term.
We both work over 4 days (have different days with the kids of course) so there are only 3 days to cover IYSWIM.
DS2 is still witha childminder, and she can take DD who is only 4, so we sometimes do that and have my mum to look after ds1 (that’s a lot easier for her than having 2/3 of them as she’s in her 70s).
Last year DS1 did a holiday club at the local sports centre with a pal, that worked quite well and we may do it again this year, maybe with DD as well as she will be 5 by then.
Once we have all 3 at school and no pre-school childcare in place at all I think it will become a lot harder tho, and the appeal of a school-based job is suddenly even greater (I want to retrain anyway).
As to how I feel about it, well it’s OK, as I do in fact get quite a bit of hol time with them, eg had most of a week over Easter and will have three big weeks in the summer hols which is half the holiday. But yes, I do wish I was just there the whole time to do loads of great stuff with them, esp in the summer.

Bink Tue 23-May-06 10:41:42

Are you wanting to work in a particular area? Or might availability of the right hours determine what you choose to do? If the second, you might look into local govt admin work, as I've heard that can be a good source of term-time-only jobs. That sort of work isn't impossible to find - my work (lawyer) lets me have holidays off, though it's slightly "in principle" and still involves juggling and organising of safety nets.

Our main safety net is paid childcare - ie, the nanny who looks after them after school while I work in term-time, who'll do extra in the holidays if I can't get away from work.

FloatingOnTheMed Tue 23-May-06 11:48:41

It all sounds so complicated!
Blu, don't worry, i wasn't throwing your post back at you, i was interested to hear what other people did, single or otherwise so thanks.

I wasn't sure what sort of child care for school age children there is in school holidays, that's all. Especially the long summer. And of course there's always the cost of it to consider as well.

Work wise I guess i would be looking for some sort of admin job, perhaps in a school or i will look into local govt jobs too bink, thanks. I have experience in care work but don't want to return to that, and in customer services which i also don't want to return to!! Don't want a stressful job (want to save my energy for dd!) so a nice quiet admin job that's not too dull would do me nicely i think.

Bozza Tue 23-May-06 11:55:05

Well I work 3 days a week and DS who is 5 goes to a CM for before and after school. So then he also goes to her in the holidays if we don't have time off. Obviously I have to pay more. I am considering the idea that I may change my hours when DD goes to school as well but she is only 2 now and goes to a nursery. I was thinking I might still do the same number of hours but spread over 4 days and still have the CM for part of the time so she could have them a bit in the hols.

motherinferior Tue 23-May-06 11:58:51

I will use my younger daughter's childminder for both of them, for the next year or so; after that, though, will start looking into holiday schemes I suspect. We also do a fair bit of pooling resources with other parents and I'd like to increase this.

hulababy Tue 23-May-06 12:00:21

Avout to come across this for first time from September. I am very lucky. I get 11 weeks holiday taken when I want them, and I don;t have to work around anyone else. However this doesn't cover DD's holidays - and she gets more because it isn't state school. I am hoping that PILs will be able to have her in the holidays some of the time (they currently have her one day a aweek) and also my parents occassionally - both have a good number of holidays and have said they'd liek too. So, hoping we can work it so that DH's holidays still are taken at smae time as mine, for family holiday time together.

Marina Tue 23-May-06 12:04:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FloatingOnTheMed Tue 23-May-06 12:10:40

Marina - no she's not in nursery. She will be starting at pre school in Sept, 3 mornings a week to start off with, they are set 2 1/2 hour sessions. If i do return to work before she starts proper school, i would get a childminder to cover the rest of the time. This in itself is complicated i'd imagine as it would have to be one that can pick her up/drop her off at the pre school? And btw the up to what aged children do childminders take on?

Thanks for your suggestions, i will start making a list of all avenues to look at.

scotlou Tue 23-May-06 12:23:58

My mum looks after both ds and dd for 3 days per week - then dd goes to nuresry teh other 2 days and ds will go to the holiday club. It costs around £ 15 per day (8.30 - 6) which I reckon is good value.
We will also be on holiday for 2 weeks of teh school hols so that helps.
I hate it. Holidays are for sleeping late and playing with your pals. Not having to get up early to go to granny's / kids club while mum and dad work!

Marina Tue 23-May-06 12:36:33

Sorry FOTM I missed that you are not currently in paid work.
Plenty of childminders do offer this kind of pick-up, part-day basis - a good way to kick off would be to ask the preschool if they know of any who already do pick-ups and who might have a vacancy. Your council's Children's Information Service might also have a list of registered CMs who specify where they pick up from (this is the case in my borough, you can see at a glance who is registered and picks up from various local nurseries/primaries).

Marina Tue 23-May-06 12:38:31

Should have added that although obviously existing clients take priority, most CMs will take on a child, subject to vacancies occurring, until the age of 8 or so. You don't have to have used them from babyhood.
There are lots of CMs on their own Topic on MN, I am sure they would be very willing to give you some ides and pointers

FloatingOnTheMed Tue 23-May-06 12:42:41

Exactly, scotlou. Although summer holidays did seem to drag on a bit too long when i was a kid, it was a nice mixture of slobbing around at home, meeting up with pals etc, and going on good long holidays with my parents (2-3 weeks camping in france eg and then also another week at the grandparents' as a family too perhaps). Very that i prob won't be able to do that for dd.

Bozza Tue 23-May-06 12:43:45

I think it partially depends where you live - Marina/Blu/MI who recommend holiday schemes all live in London. Where we are in a village in Yorkshire there aren't really any. Oh yes there is a holiday club at the Church from 10.30-3.30 for the 8-11 August. Doesn't really sort it does it? Although I think I will send DS just for the experience. However there are childminders and they generally affiliate to a particular school for pick ups and drop offs. DS's CM is lovely and picks up/drops off at his school and the attached nursery. Of course, it means all the 3 or 4 yos have to trail back to the school at 3.30 but it's only the same as those with older siblings in the school.

Marina Tue 23-May-06 12:45:52

Do you mind my asking if you have asked your parents about having your dd for some of this time? It sounds like you are very fond of them, they are active sorts, and if they are still teaching, they must have a certain amount of flexibility in the long summer hols to help you out a little?
I ask because even the best of grandparents sometimes need a nudge, or don't want to seem to fuss.

Bozza Tue 23-May-06 12:46:16

Agreee with Marina DS's reception teacher knows his CM better than most of the parents. She has been picking up/dropping off in that classroom for ages. And will be next year because she has one in reception.

I got a list of CMs from the Council and then asked my friend who is the sort of person who knows everyone what she thought! He started when he started school because prior to that he was at day nursery.

Marina Tue 23-May-06 12:46:46

<bozza I have looked everywhere for the orange hoodie I said I'd try and find for you, sorry >

FloatingOnTheMed Tue 23-May-06 12:51:24

Marina, my parents aren't teachers any more! I do suffer a lot of guilt over asking for help though, so I'm sure there would be nothing wrong in me asking something. But for example, my mum only works 4 days a week, dd and i visit nearly every week for the 5th day but i couldn't ask her to have dd on her own every week (have considered it to do, eg, a course or something) because she also works from home some of that day, and uses it to do other stuff she may need to do. Plus she sometimes changes her day around. And complains a lot about how busy she is!

And in fact I have talked a bit with my mum about the complications of working/child care and she actually pointed out that some parents are lucky that grandparents are able to look after the children, "but we work", as if she would be happy to if she could...

btw i am in london so that's good.

Norah Tue 23-May-06 12:56:52

Hi Floating, have you considered doing something more flexible than actually going back to full time work ?

There are loads of home based things - like Virgin Vie, Phoenix Cards, Captain Tortue clothes etc that you could do really flexibly to bringa bit more money in - but not get into the whole work scenario ?

I delayed going back to work until my dd was in reception for this very reason - and I am really really lucky in that I have a work place playscheme at my work where she will come for some of the hols !

I'm a civil servant btw - so maybe civil service could be option for you - I know there is a civil service playscheme in Wetsminster that loads of people use and like.

Clary Tue 23-May-06 13:28:54

Floating, thinking about council-run holiday playschemes, here (in Derby) they are run from 9am to 3pm, so roughly school hours which is fair enough as most parents have to work round school hours in term time.
Cost is very good value, IIRC last year it was something like £8 a day for DS1 including swimming every day and sports activity (football, gym etc).
There is also a local after-school club here which does day-care in the hols and I believe is very good. Soemthing like that is a solution for a week or so for a lot of parents.

FloatingOnTheMed Tue 23-May-06 13:45:51

I was thinking only part time work at first, Norah, as long as it was worth it financially.

It would be a bit complicated to do the odd bit of work here & there, like temping, because of having to inform the DSS/Tax Credits etc. It would have to be something regular & stable.

And tbh if i was going to be working i'd rather work out of home to gain all the other benefits of working (social, confidence, break from dd/home etc), rather than fit work in at home around dd. If that makes sense... I guess it doesn't cos we're talking about when dd goes to school!

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