Share Childcare - If there is a group of friends, why not get together and work out your work rotas so that you can all have the kids on different days. When the older kids were little I belonged to a babysitting circle, where I work get credits for babysitting friends children and then I could use that credit to get someone to look after my kids. It worked so well and it was fair because you could only use the babysitting circle if you actually did some of the work and looked after kids too. These days I ask friends to help out, Luckily I have Kim (my oldest daughter) who looks after Tilly for two days a week and that only leaves one day a week to find someone to help out. So I guess 5 days childcare to find isn't too bad this summer. You will usually find that even if your friends don't work, they will be grateful for you to swap childcare days, so that they get a day off being an adult! I prefer to have a play date here because when I am working from home, someone else is there to occupy Tilly. I am all for an easy life.
Free Days Out - Free days out actually are the best kind of day out because you can take a picnic and just enjoy the day and not spend some money. We spend a lot of time in the summer in London. It costs us £20 to get up there on the train, but then everything we do is usually free. We have written a post about it on our travel blog Tilly's Travelling Telegram about free things to do in London. But there is so much around you that it free to do, Our town has a free out door pool, its like a paddling pool for toddlers but there is nothing to stop you going there with older kids. I go there in the summer and work on the laptop whilst Tilly plays. To have a free place to go like this is fab and I know we are lucky to have it. There are adventures in woods to be had or long country walks. Go Pokemon hunting (Do people even still do that?) There is always something to do for free where you are, even if its just a trip to the library to do the school holiday book challenge that they normally have.
Be Prepared Financially - Last summer was a nightmare for me because I went from weekly wages to monthly wages over the summer holidays. It mean't that I was going from budgeting on a weekly basis to have to cope three weeks without money until I was paid again. Luckily if you get enough warning you can save up a bit and put some cash away every week. But for the times that are hard you can always go for a quick loan to help tide you over. Sometimes life responsibilities get in the way of giving the kids a good and memorable summer holiday. Without a loan, last summer would have been a disaster for me, so I know that I have this option to use if I need it and you have cash in your bank with in a few days. There are also schemes that offer free lunches to families on a budget, these are often food bank led and really do help out families that need a little extra help. It is a well known fact that food banks are busier in the summer holidays because parents don't have the free school meals to help feed them. Keep an eye out on what is available in your area.
Collect Vouchers - I know this is not always easy to do because coupons are far and few between these days. But there are usually Mc Donalds vouchers in newspapers like The Metro to treat your little munchkins to lunch out and it actually saves you from cooking in the evening. The Sun newspaper offers days out vouchers. you only get two vouchers to Merlin attractions but that can save up to £80 and the kids get to go on an adventure. Going to a theme park in the summer holidays is my idea of hell but for many kids, it is their ultimate perfect day out - and it is all about the kids after all. So get cutting those vouchers out. The sun also offers camping for £1 and £15 holidays, always worth looking at.
Take Some Time Off - Sometimes being an adult is hard work and having kids with you 24/7 for 6 weeks is enough to push anyone over the edge. I always joke that I go to work for a break, but its when I get chance to be me. Entertaining kids is exhausting and even though I work from home 4 days a week, I still have Tilly trying to disrupt what I am doing because she is bored to tears. This year as I said at the start of the post, Tilly is going to Brownie pack holiday, I feel confident letting her go because her older sister Kim is one of the brownie leaders. It is important for parents to have time off from their kids and it is important for kids to have time off from their parents. Even if you put them to bed early one night and just have a date night with the hubby, crack open a bottle of wine and get in a take away. It keeps your relationship with him healthy and you get time to be yourself and not just mummy.
** collaberated post