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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
Are you a single parent with children? How are you feeling about the next six - seven weeks? The long summer school holidays are stretching ahead of you and in all probability your kids will be really looking forward to the break and not having to go to school, but I am wondering if you are feeling anything like the same enthusiasm?
For working single parents who don’t work in an educational environment, school holidays can be an absolute nightmare, you have to juggle your own working life with the needs of your children keeping them safe and appropriately occupied. This can prove not only difficult but also expensive, especially if you are relying on the variety of clubs and children’s activities that are available throughout the school holidays. These can be a real godsend but they do come at a cost, so if you are already on a tight budget you can feel under even more pressure to produce the necessary finances to ensure your children are ok and engaging in something that is fun and productive.
I wish that there was an easy solution to this but there really isn’t; I would suggest you use the internet to try and identify reputable organisations that offer activities over the summer. I have had a look and seen that there are a variety of options in the surrounding area available to book; these can range from a small cost to £200 per week per child. If you are looking for all day care on a weekly basis and have more than one child you are looking at paying out a lot of money – money that you possibly can’t afford.
In an ideal world, family members would step in to help but unfortunately for some families this isn’t possible. If separated parents have a reasonable relationship maybe there’s a chance they can negotiate a way to ensure that the children can have time with both of them during the school holidays so that the onus of keeping the kids happy and occupied doesn’t just fall on the shoulders of one parent.
Sometimes it takes very little money but quite a lot of time and effort to keep children happy, particularly if they are young children; baking, playing with sand and water, using crayons, chalks, paint, playdoh etc. can really excite them. Messy play always goes down well but can be quite challenging for some parents, particularly if they’re feeling tired, stressed and a bit overwhelmed with the single parenting role.
What I am trying to say is please be kind to yourselves, you aren’t a superhero - as much as your children would like you to be. Whatever activities you can arrange for your children over the long holidays try to carve out some space for yourself as well. Don’t think the more money you spend on their activities, the more they will enjoy them, that isn’t the case, often your time is a lot more valuable to them than money spent.