A single parent’s guide to the summer holidays
Summer can be a difficult time for families as parents are put under pressure of having to manage their jobs and childcare while their children are home for six weeks. This pressure can be particularly difficult for single parents, so the question is: what do single parents do during summer?
We want to help make sure you get a chance to enjoy the summer holiday as much as your children do. That’s why, along with our free learning resources, we’ve put together this guide to help single parents with the summer holidays.
The challenges for single parents and carers
The summer presents a bit of a challenge for working parents, but for single parents and carers the summer holidays can feel particularly overwhelming.
Particularly if you work full time it can be tricky to keep on top of childcare, while also ensuring they keep on top of any summer learning. There are some childcare options available to you though, and it’s worth looking into those options early on in the year so you can plan your summer.
What do single parents do during the summer holidays?
Whether you go for a family holiday or stay local this summer, there are ways you can make the summer break a little more manageable for yourself this summer.
- Involve your kids in coming up with summer ideas: this not only gives your children some independence in deciding on their own interests, but it also gives them something to learn in summer: planning and problem-solving! Sit down together and think about what you’d all like to do together this summer, and what you realistically can do.
- Find organisations that can help with childcare: on days when you’re busy or working, it can’t hurt to get some help. For low-income families, the UK government can provide some relief for childcare costs.
- Consider tuition centres: if you want to help children keep on top of their learning this summer, you could look into a day here or there in a tuition centre, so you have a moment to focus on yourself and what you need to get done.
- Try to work at home or flexibly: if you can talk to your employer early on about working remotely or flexibly during the summer break, so you can work around your children’s childcare needs.
- Let your children entertain themselves: with everything else you need to keep on top of, it’s absolutely okay to let your children spend a day in front of the TV every now and again. There are plenty of educational children’s shows that can keep them entertained and learning, so you don’t have to be under quite as much pressure.
Childcare during the school holidays
Finding childcare options during the summer holidays can be a little tricky, and being available for a full six weeks just isn’t an option for many single parents or carers. Here are some options to ensure your child is cared for over the summer.
This is going to be the first option for a lot of parents, so you’ll want to talk to book your annual leave early in the year. As for what to do with your annual leave with your children, we have plenty of ideas in our summer resources.
While going on holiday with your child as a single parent or carer may seem daunting, it’s certainly doable with specialist companies that can help single parents/carers:
- Acorn Adventures – Single Parent Holidays
- Care for the Family
- Single With Kids
- Single Parents on Holiday
Work from home and flexible working
A lot of employers will be able to let you work from home or work flexibly around childcare during the summer holidays. Talk to your employer earlier in the year and see what can be worked out – they’ll likely be happier to keep you in the job working at hours that better suit you than having to find a replacement.
Sharing childcare with friends
Don’t be afraid to ask for a little bit of help from your friends if you can, especially if they’re parents too. The kids will probably love an opportunity to play together for the day, so talk to your friends and see if they wouldn’t mind helping from time to time over summer (and of course, return the favour if you can!).
Nursery and summer school
Many nurseries will stay open over the summer holidays, so be sure to check with your local nursery to see if they can still provide childcare over the summer. It might also be worth looking into summer schools, particularly if you’re worried about summer learning loss for your child.
Holiday clubs and playschemes
A lot of childcare services like holiday clubs and playschemes run especially for this time of year when single parents and carers need an extra helping hand. You can check your local area on the government website to find out if there are any holiday clubs nearby. Be sure to check in advance if you can, as they tend to fill up fast.
Thrive this summer – tips for single parents
It’s one thing to survive the summer holidays, but we want to make sure you’re enjoying them! So here are some of our tips to help you thrive this summer.
Plan each day
Coming up with a rough idea of each day can really help, so you’re never stuck for something to do. Plan out which day’s you’re taking for annual leave, which days you’ll be working, and talk to your children about what they’d like to do on the days you do have free time. It’s great to get your children involved in planning as we mentioned earlier, so they feel more involved and invested in what you end up doing together.
Try to stick to a routine
Routines are important to ensure your days run smoothly, so try to come up with something and stick to it as best you can (but don’t worry if the occasional day slides!). Your routine can be as simple as getting out of bed at the same time every day, setting a lunchtime for you and your children, and trying to involve some learning for them from time to time.
Make a summer activity pack
Try to always have some kind of activity ready to go for days when you might not be able to stick to your original plans. Summer activities can be as simple as going for a walk in the park or getting some summer reading done. We’ve also got plenty of summer activities that can be done both in and out of the house, like our nature wordsearch – see if your children can find the words they discover in the wordsearch out in nature!
- Nature Wordsearch
- Animal Crossword
- Design an epic way to travel
- Code Breaker
- Mindfulness Colouring Sheet
- Make your own secret message
Get your children to help around the house
When you already have so much to think about over the school holidays, keeping on top of the housework can seem like an impossible task. So get your children involved and teach them about responsibility with simple tasks like cleaning up after themselves, making sure they put all their toys away and trying to avoid making too much of a mess in the first place! It’s good to start early when it comes to teaching children about responsibilities and cleanliness, and it gives you a little time to focus on other things.
Put yourself first (it’s okay!)
Look after yourself as best you can. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the summer break, but remember to keep on top of your own wellbeing. We’ve got some great wellbeing tips for families if you need some help. Even with all the summer plans and activities in place, and all the summer learning you want your children to do, sometimes it’s okay to just have a quiet day to relax. Don’t let yourself stress about not doing something for a day, there’s always tomorrow.
Try in-centre tuition and online learning
One way to keep your children busy and learning for an hour or two every few days over the summer is online tutoring. Children can learn at their own pace, in their own homes – it’s a fantastic way to encourage independent learning and ensure they don’t lose their skills in maths and English over the summer.
You can also consider in-centre tuition if you want to give your child some extra support with their learning this summer. Our expert tutors will get to know your child and work with them on their learning needs, so they’re ready for the next school year and you get a little bit of time to focus on yourself.
Why not see if online or in-centre tuition could help you and your child this summer?