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Organising Childcare for Christmas

Whilst the Christmas festive season is supposed to be a time of celebration and family time it can also be an extremely demanding period, particularly for busy families where parents work long hours.

At the exact point where you will need to be tying up loose ends and finishing up work projects before the extended break, you may also be juggling extra meal planning, present buying and desperately trying to summons up a little Christmas spirit for socialising.   Lo and behold just as you thought you couldn’t be stretched any further you realise that your children’s nanny has a planned vacation and the kids are about to finish school until the New Year!

How are you supposed to deal with increasingly excitable children on top of everything else?

By planning ahead, that’s how!   Here are a few ideas on how to circumnavigate stress in the run up to Christmas.

Holiday clubs/Nurseries

Many schools and local authorities hold Children’s Holiday Clubs for exactly this reason. They know that parents work but still have children who need to be entertained and cared for as usual. There are three great advantages to holiday clubs:

  1. Your kids will make lots of new friends.
  2. They get to play wonderful seasonal games in an organised and safe place leaving you free to deal with everything else.
  3. They will arrive home exhausted and hopefully less excited and overwhelmed by Santa’s impending visit.

You will need to check out availability in your area, find out their opening times and then book, well in advance. As you can imagine, places are at a premium and disappear fast.

Childcare Co-op

If you find out that childcare placements are few and far between why not form a childcare co-op with your close friends. Split up the time equally between families and take turns caring for all of the children together. If a schedule is worked out in advance this can work to everyone’s advantage:

  1. All the involved families will know that their children are happy and being entertained whilst they work.
  2. You all get to have the occasional fun day with the kids doing cool stuff whilst keeping on top of the workload on the other days.

Nanny Share

If you are working parents, the chances are that you probably already know other working parents, each with their own nanny or au pair. Why not share the available childcare between two or three families. There are clear advantages to joining forces:

  1. The children will have extra playmates which should keep them more occupied than usual.
  2. Each individual nanny can take turns which ensures that they will have plenty of free time in between their scheduled work periods.
  3. It’s holiday time so the kids can enjoy a more relaxed schedule with games and movies rather than school work or activities and the nannies will have fun too.

And just for good measure, here are two other top ways to deal with the extra Christmas stress:

  • Do your present buying online this year because dragging your exhausted self around the overcrowded shops will be sheer torture if you are already under pressure. Make a list, grab a glass of something relaxing and dive in. Online shopping can be every bit as festive as facing the hordes. Your loved ones will still get thoughtful gifts but you will save a sleigh full of stress.
  • Plan your entertaining and socialising in advance and try and spread it out a little. There is nothing festive or fun about forcing yourself to be scintillating night after night.   It’s far better to limit the events but absolutely enjoy each one.

Maximise your enjoyment of your family time this festive season by getting your diary and shopping well organised in advance!

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