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What do you do in the school summer hols if you work?

(35 Posts)
wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 23:58:14

DS1 has just started school. I only work 2 days a week from home, so it's not as though I have to do 8am to 6pm five days a week, but I'm beginning to panic a bit about what I am going to do in the summer holidays. This half term has been a real eye opener, luckily I have DH at home at the mo so he has taken DS1 out today so I can work, but it's only just starting to hit me that I'll have 6 weeks of this in the summer. I can't stop working for 6 weeks (am self employed) and I can't rely on family for more than the odd day here and there. DS2 is at nursery on Thurs and Fri so i want something for DS1 on those days too. I will need something official and organised for the summer - I can probably manage ad-hoc for easter. What are holiday clubs like? What do they do? How much do they cost? Can he do 2 days or will it have to be ful time? Do I need to put the child's name down at birth for one or are they fairly easy to get into? If anyone's got any advice I would be really greateful.... thanks.

Frizbe Fri 18-Feb-05 00:28:06


FairyMum Fri 18-Feb-05 07:16:28

I'm afraid it's a nightmare. There are holiday clubs, but I have never tried them. I rely on family and have got quite a good network with friends in the same situation as us, so we cover for eachother a week each in summer. I wish DD's after-school club was open, but it's not......

SueW Fri 18-Feb-05 07:41:03

Our local Champs Sports Camp is very popular with parents, even those whose children don't like sport as they have other activities.

wordsmith Fri 18-Feb-05 11:56:29

Thanks - any other experiences?

titchy Fri 18-Feb-05 12:17:03

Our local leisure centre does playschemes for about £15-18 per day. They're open from 9 till 5.30 and the kids do all sorts of activities from arts and crafts to swimming and ice skating. DD went to one last half term forthe first time and had a great time. They are OFSTED inspected and have plenty of staff and the children are split into grousp according to their age.

Your local council should ahve a list of accredited playschemes. Alternativewly you might find a childminder who only has children in the term time so has some vacancies in holidays.

Otherwise as Fairymum says it's a nightmare. I work 4 days a week. We usually get my parents up for one week, dh's parents for another week, dh takes a week off, I take a week off, we go away for a week and the final week we use a mixture of friends and playschemes (or dd comes into work with me........)

wordsmith Fri 18-Feb-05 12:19:28

Crikey, looks like whatever I do it's going to have to be a feat of organisation or lots of working in the evenings!

Sponge Fri 18-Feb-05 12:28:08

You're lucky you only have 6 weeks wordsmith. DDs school has 10 weeks off in the summer, 18 weeks in total over the year - and I get 5 weeks holiday.
I've given in to the pressure and got a nanny/childminder now who will look after ds full time and dd when we need her to. She also picks dd up from school and looks after her until we get home from work.
I will try to find some clubs and things for her though as she'll get bored being with the nanny all day and would rather be with other kids.

Blu Fri 18-Feb-05 12:29:54

I am panicking about this already.
Things I am considering are: a swap system with local friends / parents - say four sets of parents would each look after 4 kids for a week at a time, to cover 4 weeks, then go on hol for 2.

Persuading DS's ex nanny to find her next job with a teacher so that she is available in school hols to care for her own DS and mine!

That system where people are held in a sort of cold-coma-like storage - hibernate DS for the weeks of half term.

Sponge Fri 18-Feb-05 12:33:19

Fab idea Blu.
Cryogenic suspension for all kids during school holidays other than (or perhaps as well as) when you take them away for the annual summer hols .

Marina Fri 18-Feb-05 12:45:14

The cryogenic solution sounds good to me.
My limited experience is that you can go for part-weeks at holiday clubs but you don't get the piddling discount for 2 days per week over six weeks that you would for a mighty chunk of full-on clubbing for two weeks.
We are dipping a toe in the holiday club pool ourselves this summer as I have decided I have had enough of grovelling to MIL for a tiny bit of help over the summer hols and being made to feel a real nuisance for doing so.

SueW Fri 18-Feb-05 15:27:57

I returned to work last Jan (2004) part-time. I knew at the time holidays might be a problem. I sturggled through half terms and Easter but the summer holidays finished me off.

I took a 30-40% pay cut and a job at DD's school doing admin, working five mornings instead of 3 days. However, I walk to work instead of driving for almost an hour; I don't have the opportunity to hit the shops in my lunch break; I don't buy lunch cos I'm disorganised and I get school holidays therefore am financially and mentally MUCH better off!

Good luck to all those who need good childcare in the holidays though - I really do feel for you.

tamum Fri 18-Feb-05 15:31:30

I have managed without proper holiday clubs so far, but I think I'm going to have to give in this summer. Lots of ones near us won't do part days- they'll do part weeks, but not mornings only, kind of thing. I honestly think that you will have to ask around locally- they vary so much that we'll probably all have different experiences. The ones here are pretty easy to get into, FWIW!

ks Fri 18-Feb-05 16:58:54

Message withdrawn

wordsmith Sat 19-Feb-05 09:46:42

I am getting more and more depressed reading this - and I have quite flexible work arrangements, so it must be really difficult for mums who work full time with inflexible bosses! Ks the childminder idea sounds great but do they take 5 year old schoolkids? I'm going to check out some of the local holiday clubs -can anyone give me an idea of what the general cost per day is?

Thanks for your tips everyone - what would we do without mn.

ks Sat 19-Feb-05 09:48:55

Message withdrawn

wordsmith Sat 19-Feb-05 09:52:24

There's a thought then, I shall check that one out too.

ks Sat 19-Feb-05 09:56:17

Message withdrawn

tigermoth Sat 19-Feb-05 10:48:35

wordsmith, IME it's the cost rather than the lack of childcare options that's the real problem in my area. If you can afford to pay for childcare, you are fine.

I work full time but have flexihours and get enough leave to cover roughly 2/3 of the annual school holidays.

For the remainder I do the following:

Use playclubs - IME they cost about £12 - 15.00 for a 9 - 5 -ish day. You can book odd days at many of them and IME there is no shortage of spaces, even if you book last minute, though you might not get your first choice. The clubs prefer you to book way in advance, obviously so if they tell you places fill up quickly, take this with a pinch of salt. My sons at age 5 onwards really enjoyed them. I find it's the oldest one (age 10) who is less keen now, as the activities seem baby-ish to him.

You have one big advantage - as you work from home, presumably you don't need playcubs that offer extended hours ie 8.00 an to 6.00 pm. This will cut down the cost. One playclub I use charges £25.00 for a whole week (a 10.00 - 4.00 day). If I want 8.00 - 6.00, they charge an extra £25.00.

Go to your council for playclub info, but make sure they give you info for non council run playclubs as well as council run ones. IME the costs are often the same and it's important to know the full choice. Private run clubs will also include drama, dance or sports clubs.

HOwever, these hobby type clubs might not fit your needs at the moment. You may find your ds, at age 5, is still too young for many of them. Also the hours will be less. Typically, a sports session for younger children will last 2 or 3 hours only.

I agree with KS about childminders - again ask the council for a list of registered ones in your area. Many childminders don't work in the school holidays, but some do, and if you work non office hours, they can offer a tailor made form of childcare.


Skribble Fri 25-Feb-05 22:23:37

If considering sports clubs or playschemes have a look at what the age ranges are. I worked on a few and the age ranges can be quite wide. A young 5 can feel a bit lost, if they are more "robust" and used to playing with older kids its not such a worry.

I have suggested it before and I don't know if it would suit you but what about employing a child care student between 1st and 2nd year as a nanny. Try sending an advert to the local colleges that do these courses or phone the course tutors. Try them out during the easter hols before commiting to the summer.

Skribble Fri 25-Feb-05 22:25:38

I forgot some local councils have a list of registered sitters that come to your house. Can be for a few hours or a whole week.

Dahlia Fri 25-Feb-05 22:33:01

Its a nightmare. My dd (9) goes to a school holiday club 3 days a week (I work p/t) and it costs £11 for a half day (5 hours). Not sure of full day rate. They do lots of nice activities, arts and crafts, baking etc, have loads of toys and videos and equipment to use. She tolerates it but doesn't love it.

Skribble Fri 25-Feb-05 22:36:40

I am struggling to find after school care never mind summer, only option is a sitter but not keen on someone in my house.

toomanypushchairs Fri 25-Feb-05 22:42:01

skribble, where you live?

Skribble Fri 25-Feb-05 22:44:31

Scotland why?

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