A Working Parent’s Guide to the Summer Holidays
The school summer holidays can be a difficult time for working parents and carers. We want to make things easier, so we’ve put together a handy guide on what working parents can do during summer…
During the summer holidays, there can be a lot of pressure to fill every day with fun activities for your children, and keep on top of their summer learning. That can be a little difficult if you’re a working parent.
There’s a lot you can do to make the most of the summer break with your child, whether you work full-time or part-time during the summer holidays. So we’ve put together this handy guide to help you plan your summer holidays together.
When are the UK school summer holidays?
The UK school summer holidays exact dates will vary depending on the school your child attends. Although in almost every case your child will be on their summer break from mid-July through to September.
You can check with your child’s school to get specific dates, or you can check on the government website. You’ll need to provide the school’s postcode to find your local council website.
The challenges for working parents and carers
The summer holidays can put a lot of pressure on working parents or carers. As a six week break with only one bank holiday in it, you might feel like you’ll need to be in two places at once.
With your child not being looked after by school during your working hours, you’ll need to look at childcare options while you’re working. You could ask friends and family members, consider daycare services or talk to your employer about flexible working arrangements. It’s a lot to consider, and you’ll likely need to save up your annual leave for the summer holidays.
However, we want to help ease the strain of the summer holidays. We have plenty of summer resources that will help give you ideas to keep your children occupied and learning through the summer holidays.
Holiday rights for working parents
Everyone in full-time or part-time work is entitled to annual leave, and when you take it is usually up to you. As a parent or guardian, you’ll probably want to save up your annual leave days to use during the summer holidays and a few for the Christmas holidays.
Of course, you probably won’t have enough holiday to cover the entire six week summer holiday. You do have some parental rights though, namely unpaid leave. It’s good to save this for emergencies, however, you can use some of your parental leave allowance during the summer holidays if you’re at a loose end for childcare.
You can learn more about unpaid parental leave on the government website.
Tips for working parents on coping with the school holidays
Juggling work and childcare is ticky but it doesn’t have to spoil your (or your child’s) summer. With a bit of preparation, you can ensure you both enjoy your summer break.
Talk to your employer early
Most employers understand that the summer holidays can be a tricky time for working parents. If you speak to them early, you’ll probably find they have some measures in place, like being able to grant flexible working hours so you can work around childcare. Some employers will also offer you the chance to ‘buy’ additional days of annual leave, giving you extra time with your children.
Talk to friends and family about childcare help
Check in with your friends and family if you can. Particularly if you have friends with children, there’s a good chance they might need some help with childcare too. If you have different work schedules, you can look after each other’s children. And the kids will love being able to spend time together too!
Create a routine
Keeping to a routine will help ease a bit of stress on you during the summer holidays. So try setting a bit of a routine for you and your children. That way every day they know what time they’ll be waking up and having breakfast, and do a few chores around the house together to help you out. Maybe plan a walk each day too so you can all get some fresh air and exercise.
Make a rainy day activity pack
Not every day of the summer is going to be bright and sunny, or you might just be a little more busy some days. So it’s good to put together an activity pack for children to do while you’re busy or when they can’t go outside. Crafts are a great way to keep children occupied and it can be as simple as providing some paper and pencils for them. We’ve got some great rainy day crafts you could enjoy together too.
Plan out the days in advance
By making a plan each day your children will have something to look forward to each day, even if it’s just something small like that daily walk. On days when you’re less busy you can plan day trips so they really have something exciting to look forward to! Don’t be afraid to plan something a little quieter too, like a trip to the local library. That way you can ensure your children are keeping up with their reading over summer.
Don’t stress over the little things
Not every day is going to go to plan, and that’s okay. So you slipped on the routine one day or the housework didn’t get done, there’s always tomorrow. If you’ve got a busy day, don’t worry about just sticking on the TV and letting the children keep themselves entertained for a day, you can get back to the routine tomorrow.
And remember, always ensure you and your children are getting enough rest over the summer. Don’t worry about sleeping in on the odd day.
What are the childcare options for working parents during the school holidays?
Sometimes the only option is to rely on childcare services during the summer holidays to ensure your child is looked after.
Summer schools are a great option to ensure your child is not only looked after while you’re working, but they’ll also be able to stay on top of their learning. If you’re worried that your child will miss out on things to learn in summer, then why not look into summer school?
While it’s good to keep on top of your child’s learning, the summer holidays should be about fun. That’s where summer holiday clubs and playschemes come in. These clubs will ensure your child is looked out for while you’re working, and they’ll have a great time making new friends and having fun.
Every year BBC Children In Need provides grants to ensure disadvantaged children are able to enjoy their summer holidays too. Learn more about the BBC’s Holiday Playscheme and find out if there’s a playscheme near you.
Make use of our online learning and in-centre tuition
If you want to set your child up to do their best in the next school year while ensuring that they’re looked after as you work, why not try one of our tuition centres? If you’re able to work from home some days, you can use our online tuition so that your children stay occupied while you focus on your work.
If you’re interested in finding out if Explore Learning’s tuition is for you and your child over the summer, why not try out our tuition for free?