Many candidates often tell us that the summer holiday period is a massive barrier when returning to work after having a break to raise children. Yet plenty of parents manage to work around the six-week holiday period.
Naturally, the cost of childcare can be an issue, but there are a few ways to ‘cheat’ at summer childcare. Here’s how:
1. Plan ahead
Do you have a partner who can help share the childcare with you? Chances are, they will be working as well and be owed holiday time. Work out how much you have between you and what you can do as a couple to save on childcare fees.
2. Take your summer holiday
If you book off a two-week family holiday, this effectively leaves you with four weeks where you need to think about childcare. That should already feel like a more manageable amount in your head.
3. Share with a friend
Could you have a friend’s children on your day off? And could that friend do the same in return for you on another of the days? For example, say you work a four-day week, this would leave you with three days to manage. If you work five days and take annual leave one day each week, this could still work in your favour.
4. Ask a relative to help
It’s a tough reality these days that many working parents simply couldn’t manage without the help of granny and/or grandad. If you’re fortunate to have this option, now is a good time to ask for their help.
5. Summer camps
These are all-day camps and if you’re returning to work after a break, you may need to budget ahead to pay for these. They’re a great way for your kids to make new friends and learn new skills. But they’re not cheap over six weeks. Another good reason to book your holiday for August.
6. Ask for greater flexibility
Employers are often very understanding of working parents, and we always say, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Could you approach your boss and ask for a change in working patterns for the summer period? For example, if you work five short days normally, could you ask to work three long days instead?
7. Talk to your colleagues
Have you considered whether you could work with a colleague to cover your August hours? You never know, there may be someone in the office who never takes summer holidays and could take on greater workload so you can do less, assuming you return the favour at another time.
Getting summer childcare sorted
If you haven’t considered your childcare by June, it’s time to turn your thoughts to the August holiday. The good thing is with babies not a lot changes in terms of childcare, as they usually stay at the same provider regardless of the holiday period. For older children, however, there’s usually more logistics involved. And of course, the more children you have, the more you need to manage – you might even need a spreadsheet!
Don’t be too daunted however, it is possible to organise your children’s holidays around the working day. In addition, don’t forget to apply for childcare vouchers if your employer operates a scheme – this is due to close to new registrants later this year, so check it out now before it’s too late.
Good luck with the summer juggle and have a great holiday if you’ve got one booked!