Sharing The Load These Holidays
Many working parents don't have family to fall back on, and if vacation care is hard to come by in your area, budgets are tight, or your job doesn't allow the flexibility you need then a great alternative can be to share child care responsibilities with other parents.
Quite often children are happy and easier to keep entertained when they have company and many parents are happy to child care swap to alleviate the need for unpaid leave or paid vacation care activities.
It's win-win, as long as you follow some key rules. Here are the seven steps to harmonious vacation care sharing:
- Ensure your children like each other and can get on for long periods of time.
- Try to match up ages and keep numbers even to avoid bickering and odd ones out.
- Set time boundaries in advance with the other parents so you all know how far you can or cannot push the friendship.
- Agree on daily or weekly allowance costs of activities or treats.
- Try to share with parents who have the same parenting style as you and agree on any disciplinary measures.
- Make sure you have adequate booster seats. Sounds obvious, but so easy to forget and you will be liable for prosecution if you're caught making that quick trip to the supermarket with any child without the correct car restraints.
- Have a daily or weekly list of activities or a vague schedule and some emergency 'pull it out of the bag' ideas in times of need.
DIY Holiday Activities
If you find yourself at home with the kids or a house full of kids don't worry about spending a fortune on entertaining them. There are loads of things you can do over the holidays to keep them busy.
Remember all the things you used to do as a kid to occupy your time. The web is a great source of ideas and there are plenty of inspirational books available to keep your creative juices flowing and to keep the kids free from boredom!
Simple activities can be things like:
- Cinema days: at home or at the local cinema
- It's a knockout: run sports day type competitions
- Arts and crafts: making boats, painting, finger knitting, volcanoes, and puppet theatres
- Country themed day: kids have to pick a country to dress as and learn about, bringing some facts about their choice
- Disco day: play music, design your own disco ball and dance
- Dress up days: make your own costume and stage a performance
- Nature trails: great for an all day learning and fun experience in a local nature reserve
- Outdoor pool days: visit the local outdoor pool with goggles and diving toys
- Park and picnic outings: visit a new park and take in the sites
- Rock pool excursions: at the local beach
- Science experiments: try making sherbet or slime
- Treasure hunts: either things you've hidden or simply a list of things to find like a dead bug, a pink flower etc.
Whatever arrangements you decide on for the school holidays try and make them early. Many popular vacation care programs book up early and there is nothing more frustrating than missing out!