Managing the school holiday juggle as a working parent

School holidays can present a whole new level of difficulty for working parents. As a team of mothers ourselves, we’re all too familiar with the double juggle and admit to even resorting to spreadsheets to help handle the logistics on occasion!

But with a little planning and understanding from your employer, it’s possible to strike the right balance between work and quality time with the family.

If you aren’t taking leave, your first port of call is to have open lines of communication with your employer to ensure a plan is in place that suits everyone in the team. Some of the ways we know our Featured Employers are helping their working parents through the next two weeks include:

  • delaying deadlines where possible
  • only scheduling meetings that are absolutely necessary
  • allowing working parents to take extra leave, even half-days, to allow for a more manageable balance of paid and unpaid work
  • remote working arrangements or reduced office hours


But with holiday programs, play dates, drop offs, pick ups and down time with the family still to be worked around, here’s our tips for managing the juggling act, and more importantly; not coming out the other side exhausted!


Be prepared

Do your research in advance. If you’re planning on using holiday programs or scheduling a few activities, it’s best to book these in early to not only secure a spot before they book out, but also organise your own work schedule around these available hours. It doesn’t hurt to book in catch ups with friends and outings you’ll do together too. Drop everything into a calendar and put it somewhere (like on the fridge) for everyone to see as this helps manage expectations and answer the constant question of ‘What are we doing today?’ and gives the kids something to look forward to.

Use your village

Other working parents can be a great support, particularly if family are not near by to help out. Options that might be of assistance to each family include looking after each other’s children for set days, or sending friends to the same activities so you can share the drop off and pick ups. Reciprocated help will be greatly appreciated and the kids will enjoy having their friends around (and less likely to bother you!).

Set expectations

Talk to your children about what these holidays are going to look like for you as a family to help manage their expectations, and what you might expect from them as well.

Lower some expectations

If you’re working from home during the holidays, relaxing a few routines can do wonders for your head space! Depending on the ages of your children, it’s a great time for them to exercise some independence by doing things themselves like getting a snack or entertaining themselves, and relaxing on how tidy you might normally expect the house to be (within reason!).

Let them into your world of work

If your employer is open to it, bring the kids to work for a day! It’s a great opportunity for them to get a glimpse into the work life of mum and dad, get to know your colleagues, and appreciate that you have a life and purpose away from the home. Schedule a lunch date together, organise a workplace tour and plan a schedule of activities to keep them busy. It will be a day to remember!

If you’re working form home, set up a work station near you and set them a project to work on or craft topic so they have short periods of concentration similar to a school day.


Does your work schedule change during school holidays? Now might be the ideal time to reassess your flexible work requirements with your current employer, or define what this needs to look like so you can start searching for a new role.