School holidays, two words that put the fear into any freelancer.

Many people who work for themselves did so to have the freedom and flexibility to spend that extra time with kids. But there is such a thing as too much time with your kids!

So how do you balance work with parenting in those long school hols?
How do you manage the mummy guilt?
And how do you meet those pressing deadlines?

In this post nine members of our Clever Copywriting School community share their school holiday childcare secrets.

Tip 1: Spend on childcare

“This is one occasion where throwing money at a problem really does solve the problem. My kids go to a great holiday program and they do the best stuff (I’m always a bit jealous of the cool things they’ve done).”
Kate Merryweather

Tip 2: It takes a village

“With so many people now juggling work-at-home freelance life with the ongoing joys of parenthood, the school holidays provide a unique opportunity for village-style collaboration. Band together with other working parents and kid swap for four-hour chunks at a time so you can work in relative peace.

This will also provide you with valuable writing time. And when you need to return the favour, you’ll often find the more kids the merrier. Organise some activities – preferably outdoor – and if you’re lucky, they’ll entertain themselves, leaving you to at least get some admin out of the way.”
Hedgie Gundry

Tip 3: Mornings work / afternoons fun

“Most days I wake up early, from 5:30am, and go straight into the office and get started. I finish no later than 11 or 12 and then we have lunch together. In the afternoon we do something fun. If I have extra work to do, I’ll fit in an hour or so early evening, or if all else fails, when the kids are in bed.

While I’m working in the mornings, the kids have the option of doing “jobs” to earn extra money such as $2 for a small bucket of weeds, playing or watching a movie.”
Sandy Forbes Taylor

Tip 4: Reduce your capacity

“I tend to just service retainer clients and maybe one larger project through the school holidays. As for the kids, we have the odd pyjama day with back-to-back screens, but usually I try at least a morning or afternoon activity for the younger one and the older one arranges his own fun.

We also have a pool and a trampoline, basketball net, cricket bats, balls, skipping ropes etc. so there is loads of stuff to keep them busy.”
Nicole Leedham

Tip 5: Pay kids for housework

“I work fewer hours during holiday time and schedule work-free days.
I’m a morning person, so I tend to get up a bit earlier to work during holiday time. My brain is at its best then, so I can get a few hours of good, solid work done, and then be free for the afternoon.
If they’re not still sleeping, my kids usually watch a movie, play on their iPads, or play a board game during their e-free time. I also I pay them to do the housework. That way, all the work gets done, we all earn a bit of money, and we all have time to go and enjoy spending that money!”

Nerissa Bentley

Tip 6: Give yourself a break

“If the children watch a bit more TV than usual during the holidays, it’s not the end of the world. Parents with jobs outside the home don’t know what their kids are doing 100% of the time at daycare or in a holiday program.

Also, just like us adults, sometimes our kids are worn out by the time holidays come around. Some lazy days watching TV, reading books and hanging out quietly at home can be just what they need.”

Being entertained 24/7 can be exhausting for everyone.”
Liz Green

 

Tip 7: Use TV, bribery and invite over other kids

“Usually in the school holidays my winning formula is a few days of activities (we like taekwondo camp and art class) combined with more TV and bribery.

‘Hey kids, this morning we are going out to do x, and then this afternoon, I need you guys to amuse yourselves while mummy does a bit of work.’

(I find it works better with my kids if I do the thing with them first, rather than the activity/outing being an afternoon reward after letting me work.)

I also think books and Lego as Christmas presents are a godsend for those long weeks of January!

Having other kids over is also a winner – they tend to all just entertain each other more then, leaving me free to get on with whatever I need to do. I also recommend having lots of food available that the kids can just help themselves to.”
Angela Denly

Tip 8: Become a vampire

  1. Stock up on coffee and wine
  2. Plan activities to exhaust little darlings
  3. Fight little darlings into bed
  4. Assume vampire status (to clarify this means working early in the morning or late at night)

Heather Woods

Tip 9: Vacation care

“This holidays I’ve got my girls booked for three days vacation care each week – and my mum can take them the other two days if need be.

Having the girls in vacation care actually gives me more hours in the day to work so I try to pack more in on those days so that we can enjoy a day off together during the holidays too.”
Alison Strachan

How do you cope?

Do you have any extra tips you can share with your fellow copywriters? Do you have any wise advice of juggling work load and small humans?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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