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by Louise Deverell-Smith

Working during the school holidays

With the school holidays around the corner, that dread of entertaining the children whilst working is creeping up on me. So, this year I’m going to be organised, and I thought I’d share my top tips on balancing the school holidays and work.

That work/life balance is always a juggle, but in the holidays, this is when it can start to topple over.


So here are my top tips;

  1. Plan activities ahead – Why not plan out several days’ worth of fun activities in advance? And let the children know the plans. There will be days/ mornings/ afternoons that the children will have to entertain themselves (here’s a confession of mine..I think it’s good that children get bored sometimes!)
  2. Set up playdates – reach out to your parent network and see if you can set up some playdates with them – and share the childcare. It’s a win-win for all involved. Kids are happily playing with their pals, and us parents have some childcare sorted.
  3. Manage everyone’s expectations. This means being open on honest with your employers, your clients and your family. If you have to be in the office, then ask your employer if you can work remotely that day as your children are on holiday. And let your children know when you have important meetings/ deadlines that have to be done.
  4. Set work boundaries and times. I think we can all be a bit guilty of this. Our working hours easily run into our home life (the negatives of having our phone on us all the time). But during the school holidays you need to be strict with your time and turn off from work.
  5. Flex signature – Add a signature to your emails stating you are working, but it’s the children’s hols so you might not reply immediately. If you work flexibly anyway, you need to have this as an email signature. Here is mine;** I’m all about the flex, so I’m sending this message now because it’s when I’m working. Please don’t see it and think you have to read, reply or action it outside of your normal working hours**
  6. Don’t run yourself ragged – the pressure of trying to ‘do it all can really creep up on you if you are not aware of it. Try and limit playdates/ activities to 1 a day and also be aware you will be more ‘in demand’ over the hols so clients and employers should be sympathetic.
  7. Kids clubs – it’s obvious but do book camps. If you are employed, have a look if they offer a voucher scheme to help pay for these.
  8. Put in a flexible working request. If you don’t have a flexible working contract, now could be the time to start applying for one. Here is a link for you to apply for a Flexible working request. 

    If you have had a flexible working request denied, then I’d suggest you look for a new employer – and here’s where Daisy Chain can help!

  9. Join Daisy Chain at for free and see what employers you get matches with – easy peasy.
  10. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. We will all be bombarded with the images of family trips to the zoo, cooking activities for the whole family, and general happiness…but be realistic. I know that that’s a snapshot of happiness, and our days can not be like this all the time.So don’t feel guilty if your days are not going to plan…we are all trying to juggle, and sometimes we drop 1, 2 or 3 balls. (Actually, I might get the kids to learn to juggle in the school holidays…that will entertain them for about 2 minutes!)


Good luck with it all, and if you have any questions about flexible working, you can always drop me a line.




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