July 2, 2024

Surviving the School Summer Holidays as a Working Parent

Blog, Motherhood, Working Mums


As the school year winds down and the long-awaited summer holidays begin, as working parents, we find ourselves with the ultimate challenge….

Balancing work commitments while keeping our children entertained and happy.  

It can be daunting, as there is no magic cure for the impossible equation in which the length of the school break far exceeds the average holiday entitlement from work. 

The disparity in annual leave entitlement compared with the length of the school holidays creates a significant gap for most of us. 

Navigating this mismatch often requires a delicate balance of strategically using vacation days, coordinating with partners or co-parents, and enlisting the help of relatives or childcare services. 

It’s a tricky balancing act that requires meticulous planning and creative solutions to ensure our children are well-cared for and entertained while we meet our work obligations.  Just thinking about it makes my head hurt.

Whilst I can’t magically solve the equation for you, I have created three essential tools to help you navigate the school holidays with more ease:

1. Summer Holiday Planner

The first step to a stress-free summer is organisation. Our Summer Holiday Planner is designed to help you map out the entire holiday period, ensuring you have a clear overview of activities, work commitments, and family time. Here’s how you can make the most of it:

  • Schedule Activities: Fill in the planner with scheduled activities for each week. Include outings, playdates, and special events. This will give you and your children something to look forward to and reduce the daily “what are we doing today?” dilemma.
  • Work Commitments: Mark out your work hours and any critical deadlines. This helps in planning activities around your work schedule and ensures that you can focus on both without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Family Time: Block out dedicated family time. Whether it’s a weekly movie night or a weekend day trip, having these moments set in stone will help navigate the potential of working parent guilt.
  • Flexibility: Leave some days unplanned to accommodate spontaneous fun or simply to relax. Not every day needs to be filled with activities; sometimes, the best memories come from unstructured time.

2. Summer Holiday Packing List

Whether you’re planning a vacation or just a day trip, packing can be a major source of stress. Our Summer Holiday Packing List takes the guesswork out of what to bring so you can focus on enjoying the time with your family. Here’s what it includes:

  • Essentials: From sunscreen and hats to first aid kits and snacks, our list covers all the basics to ensure a smooth outing.
  • Clothing: Suggestions for versatile clothing items suitable for different weather conditions and activities, making it easier to pack light but smart.
  • Entertainment: Ideas for keeping kids entertained during travel, such as books, games, and electronic devices (don’t forget the chargers!).

3. Back to School Checklist

As the summer holidays come to an end, the transition back to school can be hectic. Our Back to School Checklist ensures that you have everything in place for a smooth start to the new academic year:

  • School Supplies: A comprehensive list of all the stationery and supplies your child will need.
  • Uniforms and Clothing: Make sure you have the right uniforms, shoes, and clothing items required for the new term.
  • Important Documents: Keep track of necessary documents like medical records, school forms, and any special authorisations needed.
  • Daily Routine: Tips for re-establishing a school routine, including bedtime schedules and morning routines, to help ease the transition from holiday mode to school mode.

Making the Most of Summer

As my eldest finishes primary school in just a few short weeks,  this summer feels particularly poignant, almost like his last as a child before he transitions to the next stage in his school life. 

The thought of him moving on to secondary school brings a mix of pride and nostalgia, reminding me how quickly time has flown by. 

This year, more than any other, I want to make the most of the summer break.  I want to be as present as I can and create lasting memories. It feels like a precious window of time to enjoy his childhood to the fullest before he steps into a new world of growing independence and new experiences.

So, I will be using these resources to help me prepare and reduce my mental load so I can be more fully present in the moments when I’m parenting.  

I hope these help you do the same.

May your summer holidays bring manageable days and meaningful family time.

Nicky x


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