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School holidays

How do you manage the school holidays?

42 replies

aperol10 · 01/04/2022 14:01

We have a 4 yo who will be starting school this year. She currently goes to nursery. We don't have any family nearby, and both work full-time. I'm a bit worried about what to do with her during the school holidays.

What do other parents without family support do? I know there are holiday clubs but surely that's not going to be all day 5 days a week. Do we get a nanny just for the summer?

Thank you!

OP posts:

angelopal · 01/04/2022 14:03

Holiday clubs and taking time off separately. Only off one week together the entire year. More time off together means more holiday club.


aperol10 · 01/04/2022 14:06

Are these holiday clubs 9-5 Monday to Friday? What do they do?

OP posts:

Comedycook · 01/04/2022 14:09

Some near me do 8am-6pm...they are very can also both take it in turns to take annual leave. Get a childminder or use holiday clubs. But yes, it's a nightmare really. 14 weeks holiday every year to cover


ohidoliketobe · 01/04/2022 14:14

A lot of saving and a lot of planning.

I have 2 primary school aged. In a typical half term/ Easter we do 2 days of holiday club, 1 day with a grandparent, 1 day with me (I do a 4 day week) and me and DH alternate with 1 of us using a days leave every other school holiday I.e. q each at Easter, I did October, he did Feb.
Christmas we are off between Christmas and New year, so generally try to save any unused leave and finish around 19th, or it's holiday club for the week before Christmas.
In summer, we take 2 weeks off each, I take 1 week 'solo' with kids, we have 1 week all together, then they'll have a week with DH when he has his solo week. The other 2/ 3 weeks are generally 3 days holiday club , grandparents if possible for 1 day per week, and cobbled together half days, flexi leave, making hours up in evening. Luckily, the local football club do a sports camp at the kids school 9-4:30 and it's "only" £10 a day. They need packed lunch, water bottles and all weather clothing. It's very reasonable (but would still be £100 for my older 2 to 5 days a week).


BookHermitBlack · 01/04/2022 14:15

I saved all my annual leave for the holidays. I have 3dc I used a holiday club open 8-6 for the first 5 years, then my childminder who had them after school started doing school holidays so they went there. I used to take a day or two off most weeks so they rarely went to childcare for a full week. I'm a single parent so didn't have a partner to share the load but friends who did used to split their leave to reduce time in childcare.
Also be aware of the 5 teacher training days often holiday clubs don't open for these as every school is different. Sometimes you'll find parents will do childcare swaps to help cover these but takes a while to build up these relationships. It's a juggling act. When I got the school calendar for the year I'd sit down and work out how to allocate my annual leave, childcare etc and plan as much as I could.


RedskyThisNight · 01/04/2022 14:18

Mix of: holiday clubs; taking opposite holiday to DH (to stretch our a/l as far as possible; child swapping with another parent (so they take your child on Monday and you take theirs on Tuesday, for example).

When they were young school age we found breaking it up (so 2 days holiday club, 1 day with friend, 2 days with parent) worked better. When they were older they often preferred week long activity clubs.

Copious use of a spreadsheet.


likemindedarseholes · 01/04/2022 14:21

Is there an option to buy annual leave at your work?


AHungryCaterpillar · 01/04/2022 14:22

Yes most people use holiday clubs if they don’t have family help


MyDcAreMarvel · 01/04/2022 14:23

Some nursery take up to age 8 or age 11 in the holidays.


AnnaSW1 · 01/04/2022 14:46

We cover it by taking our annual leave separately apart from one week holiday in the summer and each take a week of unpaid leave to cover the amount of school holidays they have.


aperol10 · 01/04/2022 14:50

Wow. This all sounds expensive and sad. Thank you everyone.

OP posts:

Bobbybobbins · 01/04/2022 14:57

I have to have a job where I am off for the school holidays. Two disabled children equals zero holiday clubs available, zero family able to support.


Psuedoshoes · 01/04/2022 15:02

My DD's 12 now, but it was such a hardship when she was younger. I'm a single parent, used to take 2 weeks annual leave, 1 week unpaid and the rest a mix between holiday clubs and family helping on the odd day or 2.


BlueChampagne · 01/04/2022 15:06

Ours generally used to enjoy holiday clubs because they were with other children. Try and find one used by her friends at nursery - the working parents with older children should be able to make some good suggestions. It's the way of the world for working parents.

If she's in nursery year round now it won't make so much difference to her especially if you are positive about it.


Ohmnomnom · 01/04/2022 15:07

Mix of childminder and holiday clubs because our childminder decided to go on holiday in the middle of school holidays! ShockGrin

If you get UC you can claim back most of the cost, or you may qualify for tax free childcare.


BlueChampagne · 01/04/2022 15:08

Some holiday clubs are 8-6; some are 10-3.30. You'll have to do some local research (MN local?) and see what works for you.


Sunnytwobridges · 01/04/2022 15:16

My DD would either be in afterschool care/programs or in day camp during the holidays (this is in US)


HuntingoftheSnark · 01/04/2022 15:17

I was a sole parent with no family support and used holiday clubs which ran from 8am to 6pm every holiday, aside from the weeks I took as annual leave. It was definitely expensive! From secondary age it became much easier and she had friends she would meet up with, and was happy to be alone for some of the time.


Seriouslymole · 01/04/2022 15:17

I married a teacher in preparation. I am in awe, and really feel for everyone that has to manage it like a grown up - it’s crap.


JS87 · 01/04/2022 15:37

We sent them to stay with grandparents for a week at a time and using both sets and several times a year this covered a lot of the holidays. Their grandparents were retired and lived away from us so they enjoyed seeing them.


RedskyThisNight · 01/04/2022 15:40


Wow. This all sounds expensive and sad. Thank you everyone.

Why sad? My DC got to try lots of new things at holiday clubs and made friends with children they wouldn't have otherwise met.

Actually, plenty of parents who don't need to for childcare reasons, book their children into holiday clubs.

Change123today · 01/04/2022 15:40

Saving and planning!! There is a real mixture of available type of holiday care. For my eldest she was happy to just go to the local council run one at the local sport centre - open 8-6 set hours 9-3 and you did have to pay extra wrap around care. It was still not too expensive. When she was a older we tried to do a more fun one (which was a lot more money) the local sailing club did a brilliant holiday club - she loved it outside having fun and learning new skills but we could only afford one week in the summer! My younger one has done code camp, cooking and drama! But they are more expensive so I try to keep it to 1/2 weeks in how summer and use the cheaper one!

Half terms husband and I would try to each take a day of or more and holiday club for a few days. Easter one week holiday club one week with us. Summer break - 2 weeks as a family and I always tried to have a couple of days of when she finished school - just so she could wind down a bit before starting holiday camp.


Miriam101 · 01/04/2022 15:48

One of the many reasons I am desperate to hang on to our nanny for as long as we possibly can!!


HorribleHerstory · 01/04/2022 15:53

A combination of taking the children to work with me and/or working opposites to each other, so one working nights and one days or one working early the other late.

We’d always make sure we got one day off together as a family per fortnight but didn’t really have weekends or time off as we had too many jobs and working hours between us. I would get less done when at work and looking after the dc at the same time so often needed to do more when they were in bed etc. it was hectic. But we never used paid childcare so perhaps the savings was worth it.


shabbalabba · 01/04/2022 16:24

My dc are off from June 22 (I work full time as does dh but dh works from home and has flexi time)we are off weekends
22nd jun- 6th July we are all on holidays abroad.
I'm off until July 8th
Week of July 10th-15th - sports club from 9.30 -2.30 (dh will drop/collect them)
Week of July 17th-21st I am taking parental leave
Week of July 24th-29th- my mum is taking them each day.
Week of Aug 1st- 5th- my mum is taking them each day
Week of Aug 8th-12th I am taking parental leave
Week of Aug 15th -19th dh is taking parental leave.
Week of Aug 22nd-26th my mum will take them but they will do a summer camp too.
Week of 29th- back to school I think

We will both probably take a few days annual leave here and there but we haven't decided yet. My dh will probably start and finish earlier on nice days and I'll meet then at the beach after work then.

Parental leave is unpaid but we are very lucky to have good salaries and v low outgoings. And of course I would be lost without my mum, I must add it is not expected, she offers as she likes to spend time with them. She will take the camping for 2-3 nights at some point in her time with them too.

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