Saturday, September 21, 2013

School holidays and the child care issue

It's school holiday time again ! For the next 2 weeks, most primary and secondary (high) school students will be enjoying the spring break vacation.

School ClosedPersonally, I quite enjoy the school holidays myself. A lot of parents take time off work and whisk the family away on a short holiday. For me that means a leisurely drive to / from work (with much less cars on the road for a change) and less stress at work with lots of people away !

But if you have young children and with both parents working full-time, finding someone to look after your children can be a BIG challenge. This is a common problem in Melbourne (and Australia in general) so make sure you don't get caught out !

A common option is to leave the children with the grandparents but for new migrants to Melbourne, the family support network unfortunately may not be there though. And with finances possibly being stretched by the relocation and settling down, taking extended work leave might be out too.

So here are some quick tips and lessons that I learned through real experience:
  • Some schools offer on-site holiday care programs. Spots tend to be limited as preference so enquire wide and early.
  • There are some organisations that specialise in providing vacation care. Again these programs are very popular. Start doing your planning at least a month before the holiday starts!
  • While this may come as a surprise to international immigrants, it is also quite common to see parents bring their children to their place of work - especially if it is in an office environment !
  • This may not be possible for everyone, but getting permission to work from home on some days can help reduce the number of leave days you have to take. 
Hope you found this blog post particularly useful and I'll leave you with one final important reminder - PLAN EARLY !!  

P.S. If you have other ideas or tips, please comment and share ! :-)


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