The much anticipated first half term of the year is almost here.
It is my particular favourite as it is the first in the new school year, autumn season and usually around Halloween/Diwali, end of daylight savings and a real game changer in routines.
I remember when my son started school, I was petrified of how I would handle the ‘1- week- every- 6 weeks-routine’. Of course, not everyone can afford to get time off work for all school holidays, given that the average number of school days is only 190 days a year!
With a little forward planning and networking (yes what you use in your day job) it need not be stressful!
Of course what I am writing below is not any new information and common sense really, but you could use it as a quick checklist.
- Start early – schools publish their calendars and teacher training days well in advance so make sure it is on your fridge door or somewhere easily visible
- Ask for help – your partner, family member, grandparent could pitch in 1 day of the week – it could be just what they need to (re)connect with your child(ren)
- Holiday clubs – An all-time favourite of mine –there is no dearth of providers, check your local school, council, Net mums website for what is on – most providers even have early bird discounts so the point about starting early helps – if your child’s best friend is also planning to go to the same club, check with his/her parent to make sure you book the same day(s) and your child will be extra happy! Use your childcare vouchers and it’s easy on the wallet too!
- Offer to agree on pick up or drop arrangements with your friends/neighbours as most clubs are only 10am – 4 pm or check if the club has an early drop/late pick up arrangement (usually for an additional fee)
- If your employer is flexible and the nature of your job permits, try to get 1 day in the half term to work from home or a similar flexible arrangement
- Plan plan plan ahead – Book early and use the half term week to get these done for yourself and/or your children – eye check-up/dental check-ups, shop for new shoes http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/lamictal/ (scuffed already?!!)
- Take a day off – Yes why not?! Most employers will appreciate that you are not just taking the whole week off – spend the day relaxing with your children, it need not be planned to the minute detail or become an expensive day out at a theme park – my favourite is going to the local park to pick up autumn leaves, conkers and a picnic lunch or tea – weather permitting or a ‘day in’ in pyjamas, doing Halloween, Diwali activity sheets, some baking etc. It might even be a day for ‘trick or treating’. Get some art supplies and stickers from the pound store and you should be sorted!
- Arrange play dates or even better – team up with a friend/colleague so that you have 2 days sorted this way with each of you having to take off only 1 day each – the wider your social circle – the better! Have a cuppa with your friend when you pick up and unwind!
- Keep a journal – Encourage your child(ren) to keep a half term journal/scrap book or an autumn bucket list – let them put in those leaves, conkers etc and write about them – you have just made half term learning fun and improve their handwriting along the way
- Have a movie and popcorn night on the last day of half term – what more could you ask for?! Kids get to choose the movie
- Print out that all important certificate – Kids love reward recognition (and stickers!) – there are free printables on the web, even Microsoft Word has a template – get one printed in colour and you have just made their half term – THE BEST HALF TERM EVER.