Being a working parent can be a struggle at the best of times, but managing during the school summer holidays brings a new set of challenges. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to work while your children are at home for six weeks, especially if you are working from home. As well as having less actually time to do your job, you may find that you have less mental space and clarity to focus on your work while also worrying about your children. Remember that being a parent is a big part of who you are and not something you should cover up at work.
In this guide, we want to provide some ways to make the summer break a little easier and hopefully find ways to enjoy your work and spend time with your children.
Five tips for balancing work and family during the school holidays
Speak to your manager about flexible hours
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to ask your manager about flexi-time. Flexi-time allows workers to complete a set number of hours across a certain period, at the times which best suit them. This can be hugely helpful for parents as it means you can work around your family routine and still spend quality time with the children. Perhaps being home in the afternoon and evening is important to you to all eat dinner together. In that case, you could ask your manager if you could start earlier to finish earlier.
Take some holiday
One really great way to manage the summer holidays is by taking a proper break from work where you can switch off and enjoy spending time with your children. While it can be tempting not to take annual leave during busy periods at work, it’s essential that you rest and enjoying having your children at home. Even if you can’t go abroad this year, or haven’t managed to book a holiday in the UK, take some days off in a row to do activities in your local area. This way, your mind can take a proper break from work.
Explain to your children why you have to work and include them in what you do
Many working parents feel guilty about having to work while their children are at home because they feel like they aren’t paying them enough attention. One way to deal with this is to explain to your children what your work is and why you have to do it. Children must recognise that their parents have to work to help pay for things and contribute to society. This will also help them to feel okay about you working during the holidays. You can include them in what you do by talking to them about your work and explaining to them at which times of the day you need to be left alone.
Don’t commit to too many things
Balancing work and family will keep you busy enough during the summer holidays, don’t make life even harder for yourself by committing to too many extra things. Whether it’s a new project at work or commitments from your child’s school, you don’t have to say yes to everything. Remember, there will be other times when you have more free time and go the extra mile for your friends, family, and colleagues.
Get support from your community
Finally, remember that many people around you are in the same boat and many people around you are willing to help. Reach out to other parents and find out whether you can find a childcare system that works for both of you. Research children’s holiday clubs in the local area and determine whether their school is offering any summer holiday groups for the community. If you are raising children on your own, this time can be even more daunting, but you don’t have to cope on your own.