As a working parent, however organised you are during term time with managing childcare, the school holidays can bring with them extra challenges. Here are some options to consider when arranging childcare during the school holidays.
In many areas of the UK there are special children’s holiday clubs that run, not surprisingly, during the holidays. Some are run by council organisations, childcare groups, leisure centres or other activity centres.
Depending on the type of organisation running the club, a wide variety of activities may be on offer for children to enjoy each day.
Some holiday clubs only run through the long summer holidays, or at Christmas, whilst others are available in any holiday. Interest in clubs is usually high, not all for working parents, but by children, as they can be great fun to go along to.
If you’re interested in using a holiday club, then it’s a good idea to plan ahead as much as possible, finding out well in advance what holiday clubs are available in your area and booking a place for your child in good time. Sessions can book up extremely quickly.
The prices of holiday club attendance do vary, with some insisting that you need to book for a whole week at a time, whilst others allow the odd day here and there.
If you’re not sure that your child will enjoy the club, then it may be better to just book the occasional day first, rather than paying out for a whole week; if they do enjoy it, then you can book a longer period of attendance during the next holiday.
If you normally use a childminder, then they may still offer some childcare opportunities during school holidays. If they don’t personally do school holiday cover, then they may be able to recommend someone else locally who could help you.
It is worth bearing in mind that the fees for childminders may be higher during school holidays. You may also find that some childminders don’t offer a full day childminding service all day every day, so you may need to make alternative arrangements for some of the time if you’re working full time.
Another childcare option worth considering during school holidays, especially if you like the idea of your children being able to stay at home some of the time, is to hire an au pair.
A lot of young au pairs from abroad typically tend to head to the UK during the summer months, to get work as an au pair, learn English and spend time working before heading back to their studies.
This therefore means that it’s often easier to find an au pair during the summer holidays, which can work out very well for families needing childcare support at this time of year.
Au pairs often live in, which means they can work from your home, which can be really good for your children.
Of course, they can take your children out for days and to do activities, but they also get the benefit of being able to play with their own toys and relax at home for longer than they would if they were out being looked after with childminders or at holiday clubs.
Whatever childcare option you choose, be prepared to start researching the options in good time and make sure you have something sorted out before the start of the holiday arrives.