Phil MeekinView Profile
There have been news reports recently documenting comparisons of popular holiday companies whereby prices more or less double from term time to holiday time
The school summer holidays are quickly approaching and this often causes lots of problems for parents, but it doesn’t have too.
The main problem is finding suitable childcare for your children during the holiday period. Not everybody is lucky enough to have a family member or friend to help out during this time.
- Try to overcome this additional worry by firstly explaining your situation to your employer and discuss taking annual leave to cover some of the holiday period.
- For other days when you need help and support, there is a large number of play schemes and child care available in your local area. After a very quick google search I was able to find a list on Netmums.com with venues mostly existing in schools and community centres within your local area. The majority of child care seems to operate during normal working hours and can cost from as little as £20 per day which would normally less than a daily wage.
- You can also contact your local council for a list of registered child minders in your area.
On the days you have time with your child you don’t need to spend a fortune on a day trip to a theme park with them.
- If the weather is nice, take a picnic and go to a local park / farm with a few other parents. Make the most of a catch up with your friends and let your children play together. It is surprising how much fun children can have with the smallest of things like a football.
- I found a website called daysoutwithkids.co.uk they have a top 25 of local attractions listed. If you click on a certain venue it gives the name of venue, address along with reviews, suitable age group, admission prices, facilities etc so you can get prepared for the day trip. Once you have decided on a venue for the day trip, do a quick google search for any money off vouchers to help with the cost a little more. Some of the attractions are free.
- A lot of child friendly venues will allow you to bring food in but double check as this would be an extra expense. Running to the cost of an ice cream seems ok but a meal, drinks, cake and an ice cream soon gets expensive.
- Just having a walk in the woods or nature trail is nice and enjoying the fresh air.
Rainy days – ok we know our summer isn’t full of sunshine so this section may be in use more.
- Why not have a visit to the library, ok that does sound a little boring but I was surprised to see what my local library offered – activities for kids, craft days, story times. Of course you have the advantage of letting your child choose some books, DVDs or computer games to take home. The DVDs and games normally have a rental fee but are usually cheaper than the rental shops.
- Indoor play areas / soft play areas. Take another parent with you, you can have a cuppa and watch the children tire themselves out. These places are great, reasonably cheap and generally cater for an age range from new born to 10 years old. The play centre I attend also has a cafe, face painter, glitter tattoos and “make a bear” centre so huge variety for everyone.
- The internet is full of free printable activities to do with children which include the majority of children’s favourite characters like Minnie Mouse, Peppa pig etc.
- Children’s baking / cooking is a great way to entertain them. Making pizzas with smiley faces made out of vegetable pieces and fairy buns with extra sprinkles.
- Arts and crafts – children love glue, glitter and mess so this is a great activity for any weather.
- Making a den or a treasure hunt.
- If you are anything like me you willlove to take advantage of the rain, get your wellies on and jump in the puddles, obviously with your child.
Going away during school holidays
Obviously most people are aware that you are encouraged not to take your children out of school during term time. There has been the introduction of implementing fines per parent at a lot of schools so you need to try and bag a bargain holiday during the holidays.
There have been many news reports recently documenting comparisons of popular holiday companies whereby prices more or less double from term time to holiday time. Which is not fair of them to take advantage of us during this time.
If you are wanting to go abroad the best thing is to try and book as early as possible to take advantage of free child places and offers available. A lot of travel companies offer a low deposit option now where you can reserve your holiday for as little as £200 and have up to 10/12 weeks to pay the balance off. Paying in monthly instalments or pay whatever is left at the end of the month makes a big difference, you don’t realise how much you are slicing off the total amount due.
Children need a new wardrobe every year, luckily you can grab yourselves some bargains at times. I always look for the next size up in the end of summer sales and then I only have to buy a few bits and bobs just before the holidays. There are a lot of supermarkets that sell cheaper, essential clothing now such as Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s and always keep an eye out for online vouchers or in store additional discount.