The Christmas holidays are here, and for parents, there’s a good reason it’s called the silly season.
It means the seemingly never-ending chaos of finding care options and activities to keep your children entertained.
While the shorter school holiday breaks throughout the year are generally manageable, the length of the summer holidays – about two months in total – present all sorts of challenges for working parents.
But there are ways to ease the pressure without having to sacrifice your work responsibilities or wear out your welcome with friends and family.
General Manager of Hessel Group, Rohan Feegrade, said the first step was forming a ‘care plan’ to cope with the extended holiday period, and in most cases this would consist of a range of options.
“There’s generally about 6-7 weeks of holiday leave that you’ll be needing to find care for, so it’s likely you’ll need to utilise a mix of options, as sadly annual leave can only stretch so far” he said.
Home based care
At the end of a big year at school, or being juggled between other forms of care, children enjoy nothing more than spending time at home over the Christmas holiday period. It gives them a break from the frantic pace of life at other times.
As one mother reflects “That’s one of the best parts of school holidays. There is no late. There is nothing to get out of bed for unless we all want to. There is no reason to get dressed unless we need to leave the house for more supplies. And by supplies, I mean ingredients for cakes, paper for mad crafting sessions, or DVDs which seem to be get watched in fairly relaxed quantities in school holidays. But that’s it.”
This makes arranging home based care for your children a great option when you return to work. This may take the form of asking grandparents, family or friends to look after your children at your house, or using formal services such as nannying or babysitting offered through businesses like the Hessel Group.
During the Christmas holidays, most schools offer vacation care programs which can provide a good option for working parents. The drawback of this option is it may feel very similar to the work/school/care routine throughout the year, so your children aren’t really getting a break from the frantic pace of life that’s in place during school terms. There may also be age restrictions associated with these programs.
School holiday sports programs
An alternative to vacation care may be a school holiday sports program. While the routine is similar to that of vacation care, the activities and children involved are different and may be refreshing for your children. This option is particularly useful if your children are interested in a particular sport.
There is a range of sports programs offered by a number of providers, from governments to private companies, so it’s best to conduct an Internet search to find an option that’s best suited to you.
What to do during school holidays
With your care options in place, Rohan said the second challenge for parents is finding holiday activities to keep their children entertained and busy.
“While there’s many activities you can do at home, it’s also a good idea to organise some outings where you can experience interesting activities. Hiring a nanny or babysitter for periods during the school holiday period also offers this flexibility,” he said.
Here’s a list of mostly free activities to do with your children this Christmas holiday period in Adelaide:
Adelaide Town Hall Christmas Projections
Adelaide Town Hall, King William Street
Every night until the New Year
See the Adelaide Town Hall light up this festive season, with a magical Christmas and New Year’s projection display.
Friday, 1 December 2017 – Sunday, 28 January 2018
Pinky Flat on the Adelaide Riverbank is transformed into an urban beach with plenty to do for the entire family, from beach cricket and paddle boats to yoga and pilates.
Semaphore Summer Carnival
Saturday, 16 December 2017 – Sunday, 28 January 2018
An old-fashioned carnival atmosphere for the kids, with special events – Carols by the Sea on 17 December 2017 and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
Main Street, Hahndorf
15 – 17 December 2017
A European-style Christmas market based in the German town of Hahndorf.
10 – 30 December 2017
A South Australian Christmas tradition of more than 60 years, a Christmas display that lights up the entire value.
Civic Park Movies
Civic Park, Modbury
Selected dates in January and February
Free latest release family movies in a beautiful outdoor park setting.
Seacliff and Glenelg Foreshores
Friday, 8 December 2017 – Friday, 9 February 2018
Have a family evening out with great food, interesting kids activities and live entertainment, all while watching the sunset over the ocean.
Santos Tour Down Under
Various locations throughout Adelaide/South Australia
13 – 21 January 2018
This week-long event offers the family the opportunity to get out and see professional sport in idyllic South Australian locations. If you want to take our bike, you can participate in the Bupa Family Ride for a small fee.