Running a business or working from home can prove a challenge at the best of times, but no more so than when the school holidays roll around. We’ve just had half term and trying to work as well as look after the children is quite a test!
Luckily I’ve managed to survive, even though it has felt super stressful at times, but I’ve managed to keep on top of my workload and make use of some local facilities to get work done.
Here are my top suggestions for how to work from home successfully during the school holidays:
Find local childcare
Amazingly the very first nursery Reuben went to as a one year old offers a holiday club. I’d never have thought nurseries offered school children care in the holidays, so it’s worth checking with your local nurseries. This means I can put both Reuben age 2 and Bella age 5 in the same childcare. They’re in separate rooms, but it’s so much easier having them in one place. Reuben is still quite expensive, think nursery charges, as he’s only been two. But Bella is less than half the price and a lot cheaper than the other holiday clubs I’ve seen advertised. This was a great little find and will be so much cheaper once Reuben is school age too.
Use soft plays with WiFi
Most public places offer free WiFi so find activities that will keep your children entertained whilst you can get some valuable work done at the same time. We have a smallish soft play near us which is suitable for both Bella and Reuben and they have reliable WiFi. The children are happy, it gets us out of the house and I can get a bit of work done providing there are no dramas!
Work early and late
Ben goes to work pretty early at 7am so it doesn’t give me much time unless I get up ridiculously early, but if I’m swamped I sometimes get up at 6am to grab one hour of work in peace before Ben leaves and the morning madness ensues! I try not to work late anymore as I used to do it all the time regularly staying up past midnight, but I find it makes me less productive for the next day or two and my most productive time is usually the mornings. But, if it’s necessary then the beauty of working from home is being able to work at any time, so I can work late if need be.
‘Go to work’ when your other half is home
If I have no childcare and it’s impossible to work in the day then I will ‘go’ to work as soon as Ben is home. I’ll go to a café with WiFi and work for a few hours. I usually do this around once per week anyway to get on top of work with no family or house distractions.
Use your gyms crèche
We are lucky to have a David Lloyd less than a five minute drive from our house and it has a crèche. It’s been one of the best things we decided to sign up to last year. Not only do they have a gym, but a large café and business lounge too. The children can go for two hours a day to play and I can use the WiFi in the business lounge to work. I already know it’s going to be a lifesaver in the summer holidays, both for me being able to work and the kids getting some valuable entertainment and other children to play with. The only issue is you can only book ten days in advance so a space isn’t guaranteed, but as some extra care when they do have space it’s well worth the monthly fee.
Mix up work and play
If you’re trying to work on a project and the kids are climbing all over you and won’t leave you alone, then shut the laptop and give them your attention. Play something together for half hour, then find an activity they can play with whilst you work. If you know a project will take one hour, then explain this to your children then promise a trip to the park or a game in one hour. Work for a bit, play for a bit. Provide lots of activities for your children around the home to keep them entertained.
If all else fails, use the TV or iPad!
If all else fails and you desperately need to get some work done then pop a film on or let them play on the iPads. I always feel guilty doing this as we see so much about limiting screen time in the media, but when I was a child I always had electronic games to play, both handheld and consoles, so I really don’t see the difference. This is just the type of games that our children have access to now. It’s no different to me sitting in front of the Sega when I was a child playing games, yet I don’t remember that being so frowned upon.
So long as the children have plenty of entertainment and fun in the half term that’s all that matters. As a work from home parent it can be difficult to find the balance, but hopefully these ideas of what I do will inspire you to find something that works for you too.