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‘School holidays’ – two words that strike fear into the hearts of working parents everywhere. But does the juggle need to be so hard? 

Whether you’re a house manager, a career mum, a part-timer or a business operator, the school holidays pretty much guarantee chaos (or a healthy dose of mum guilt).

Here are seven top tips for balancing work and the school holidays – courtesy of the working parents that bring you haven magazine!

Be a scheduling superstar

Can’t keep track of who’s coming and going? Write. It. Down. Diarise everything that’s going to be happening throughout the school holidays so that you (and everyone else in your family) know exactly what’s happening, and when. This will also help you spot potential logistical issues where you may need to call on reinforcements (in the form of parent friends, relatives or babysitters).

Schedule the fun

The school holidays are no time for spontaneity if you’re a working parent. Even if you work from home or for yourself, taking time off work at the last minute can leave you feeling guilty or distracted while you’re supposed to be having fun. On the flip side, spending the entire school holidays working will also leave you feeling guilty and distracted. Schedule in ‘fun sessions’ ahead of time so that you know when you’ll be able to have fun with your kids. This could be a specific time each day, a certain morning/afternoon or a whole day.

When in doubt, swap them out

Your kids love hanging with their friends just as much as you love having them out of the house – sending them off to a friend’s house is a win-win scenario! Just make sure you return the favour and host their kids during the school holidays, too. Maybe you could even get a group text of working parents going?

Beat vacay envy

Does it seem like everyone is either sipping Bintangs in Bali or Aperols on the Amalfi Coast? If your schedule or budget didn’t allow you to escape Aussie winter this year, satisfy your vacay cravings with a long weekend getaway. Book a farm stay, a beach house (head north to beat the chill!) or a hinterland adventure. There are so many amazing destinations to explore locally.

Work on the go

Sometimes the planets don’t align and you need to work and parent at the same time. For those unfortunate occasions, make sure you have your work bag with you so that you can clock some hours on the go. While the kids are hanging out happily at the park, cinema or on the beach, you can pull out your laptop and get to work at the same time.

Remember: if it’s not urgent, it can wait

Working during the school holidays is all about prioritisation – if it’s not urgent, it can wait. Leave non-essential tasks for the week the kids go back to school (when most of the workforce is also playing catch up!) and focus on the ‘low hanging fruit’ during the holidays. You’ve got enough on your plate already.

Treat yourself

Juggling two to three weeks of work and parenting is no mean feat, so when you get through it, treat yourself! Plan something nice for the first week back at school, whether it’s a spa session, a meditative walk, a girls’ lunch… you name it. We’ve got plenty of ideas right here.

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haven  

haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.