Half term tips

Looking for some last-minute childcare help to get you through half-term? workingdads.co.uk has some suggestions.

Half term


Half term in the summer can be a much needed pause if you can afford to take time off as a family. Otherwise  it can be a logistical challenge as you try to cobble together a childcare plan. Polls by our sister site workingmums.co.uk consistently show that many parents leave half term cover until the last minute – mainly because of the cost and availability of any childcare schemes and the fact that they may have different children of different ages which some of the schemes available don’t cater to. So how do you manage if you can’t take the week off? Here are some suggestions:

1. Check our your local authority to find out about activities in your area and holiday schemes [this should be on their website under Children and Families or the Family Information Service]. Your school may also have details of holiday playschemes run by local leisure centres or your school may host some. Other organisations may also offer schemes, like the YMCA. If you are struggling financially, visit Child Poverty Action Group who will be able to signpost you to support.  Turn2us also has information on any benefits and other support you may be entitled to. You may be able to use Universal Credit to cover childcare if the scheme is Ofsted-registered.

2. Fall back on family and friends – whether nearby or further away. If you can, divvy up half term between a number of family members to spread the load. If family are not available, network with friends. If you haven’t already built up a support network of other parents, particularly working parents who know what the deal is, start doing so as soon as you can, even if it’s too late for this half term. It could be a life-saver in the future.

3. Try to negotiate some homeworking for you and for your partner if you have one or have a job that enables homeworking. That way you can be around to ferry the kids to holiday playschemes, which often end well inside office hours and tend to be helpfully aimed at different age groups and interests – something that often becomes problematic if you have more than one child. You may also be able to tailor your day so you have time for the kids in the afternoon before you log on again later in the day.

4. Parental leave – if you are unable to cover the holidays you could take unpaid parental leave.  After completing one year’s continuous service with an employer, an employee is entitled to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave for each child born or adopted. You have to give notice so it will be too late for this half term, but it is worth bearing in mind for the next holidays.

5. Emergency childcare may be necessary if all else fails. Organisations like My Family CareBubble or Yoopies provide emergency back-up, but it can be at a cost.

6. If you are off with the kids, check out local museums, parks, etc, to find out what activities they have on offer. Many will be free of charge and getting out and about can make a world of difference to their half term and may help recharge your batteries too. The Woodland Trust runs free forest trails. Also check out the National Trust and English Heritage sites. The Money Advice Expert website has details of money-saving holiday ideas. 


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