School holidays are less than two weeks away for those of us here in Victoria. Last weekend I spent some time planning and getting ready for them. We aren’t going away this school holidays and while I will be working reduced hours I will still be working and have a number of deadlines to meet. This is definitely so much easier now we only have two kids in school and they are older. When they were all in school and a number of them in primary school it required a lot more thought and coordination – I do still remember those days! I have listed below 10 things you can do now to get ready for the upcoming school holidays incorporating what I used to do when the kids were younger and what I still do now.
Planning a couple of weeks before the school holidays start is something I did when the kids were younger and is something that I still do now. It definitely helps to minimise stress and ensure that you can make the most of your time with the kids at home while still getting some work done. This year planning ahead for me has looked like this:
- Determining my workload over the school holidays and scheduling some of this work to be completed over the next two weeks (front loading the work) so I can work reduced hours
- Talking to the kids about their plans for the school holidays and any activities they would like to do and scheduling that in the calendar, making bookings as needed
When the kids were younger I used to like to work off a plan of having a mix of days home, friends coming over and going out for activities during the school holidays. I would look at my work commitments and make a plan on what needed to be home days and schedule those in.
Coordinate with your partner
In our house, as I work from home in a part-time capacity, I have always taken the lead on getting ready for school holidays. I would ensure that Phil was also factoring school holidays into his schedule. If we weren’t going away, I would still get him to organise at least one day off so he could spend it with the kids and I could have a full day of work. It helps to take time to coordinate with your partner – I found assuming they will factor in the school holidays doesn’t always happen otherwise!
Research school holiday activities
If you aren’t going away this school holidays there are so many fantastic school holiday activities on offer while you are in your home town – ranging from free local events to full-day pricey events. It is always advisable to start booking in now so you can get dates and times that work with your calendar. For Melbourne families, my favourite resource for finding out the best activities is still Tot: Hot or Not. I can highly recommend signing up for their newsletter to have activities delivered straight to your inbox.
If you are after some school holiday activities to do at home these posts can help:
- 10 low cost school holiday activities you can do at home
- More school holiday activities to do at home
- Non technology related school holiday activities for the kids to do at home
Create a budget
It can be easy to spend a lot of money over the school holidays – money for an activity here, lunch out there, etc it all adds up pretty quickly. If you are trying to keep expenses down create a budget for school holidays and stick to it. This can help you avoid overspending and ensure that you can enjoy the holidays without worrying about money. When the kids were younger, we would have a family meeting in the lead-up to the school holidays and each child could suggest one free activity they would like to do and one paid activity. From there we would work out together what we would do, keeping our budget in mind.
Stock up on supplies
Stocking up on supplies before the school holidays start can make the home days run more smoothly. For us, this would mean checking that we had plenty of the popular crafts materials, tires on the bikes were pumped up, as were the balls and I would do a big grocery shop to make sure the pantry was well stocked.
As you would know, I almost always menu plan and continue to do it through school holidays too. Normally I just plan out our dinners but during school holidays I also make sure there I plan for a few lunches a week too – getting items I know the kids like so we can have some fun lunches on the days we are home. If you would like some example menu plans with shopping lists you can check out these posts:
- Weekly food prep and menu plan ideas for April
- Weekly food prep and menu plan ideas for May
- Menu planning ideas and lunch box recipes for March
Organising the house
Not every school holidays but the ones when I know we are going to be spending a lot of time at home, I like to spend some time decluttering and organising things before the holidays start. It definitely helps to feel more relaxed as there is less mess to start with and it is less stressful because the kids can find things easily and know where to put them away.
I realise that not everyone can work at home with the kids around, so arranging child care if you need to so you can work definitely needs to be done in advance.
Schedule time for yourself
Making sure you schedule some time for yourself during the holidays is also important. The younger the kids are the more important I think this is! It allows you to recharge and be more present with the kids when you are there. This is where the advance planning with your partner can help so they can take some time off and you can spend time with friends or do something relaxing that you love.
Working from home does have its challenges in terms of switching off. When the kids were younger I used to do work once they had gone to bed during the school holidays and at times would work very late into the night. This was not a great idea as I was then tired and less patient the next day – not much fun for anyone. Over the years I learnt that I needed to set clear boundaries with my work in terms of what times I would work. I also set boundaries on when I would check email or take work calls during the school holidays. I found setting these boundaries really helped me be more present and enjoy my time off without feeling stressed about work.