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April 04, 2024

If you are anything like me then school holidays are a constant balance.

Balancing acts like:

  • Making things fun for the kids – while getting my normal workload done
  • Giving the kids some downtime – without too much screentime

I find if I try and split my focus too much during holidays I just get frazzled, the kids get frustrated and the whole day falls in a heap.

And …. every kid is different, and every parent’s workload is different so there is no one size fits all solution to these juggles. We all have to find what works for us.

Here are some of my favourite school holiday juggling tools, but I would LOVE to hear from you about any tricks you use to get stuff done during the school holidays …. So please comment below with your tips too.


1. Batch stuff before the holidays

If you are already in the middle of holidays, or in the last few days leading up to holidays this one might not help.

Right now – 7+ days out for holidays starting – I am madly drafting extra emails that can be delivered while the holidays are on. I am also making sure I have a few extra social media posts in draft that I can use over the holidays. That is 2 regular day to day work tasks that I won’t have to spend as much time on when the kids are home.

If you are a more capable cook than I am, batching a few meals to pull out of days where the juggle gets away from you and you just need that extra hour in the day might be another goody too.


2. Know your flow

Came across this AWESOME concept from Craig Grieschel a number of years ago that is about Energy Management rather than Time Management!! It was work-life-changing!

The basic idea is knowing your flow. When do you have the most energy for certain tasks. What tasks are best at the beginning of the day, and what works better later in the day etc.

In terms of school holidays I have noted over the years what work does NOT work well when the kids are around (think days when I have tried to get focused work done and it has turned into a nightmare/meltdown/ pile of frustration for me and the kids), and what stuff I can do when my attention is split.

Things I find I can do when the kids are around doing an activity that only needs a little supervision (note, I may be interrupted regularly by kids or need to keep an close eye on what is happening, but they don’t need my attention all the time):

  • Finding receipts for my accountant and ticking them off her list
  • Shooting b-roll for reels
  • Brainstorming content ideas
  • Scrolling Instagram to find new content creators to work with
  • Drafting blog ideas and point down on Notes on my phone
  • Mood boarding future campaigns and emails
  • In person meetings with other people with kids

Things I do NOT do with kids around:

  • In-depth spreadsheets – think sales analysis and forward planning inventory for future months with data from a variety of sources
  • Copywriting
  • Building out complex campaigns across multiple social media and email platforms
  • Zoom calls

Anything that needs focused attention, things that I get cranky about being interrupted from, and things I don’t do on days I have kids at home. I stick to the first list, and make sure I don’t have any serious deadlines for those things. Then I schedule other time – like when kids are having playdates away from the house, or when hubby is giving them his focused attention, our if all esle fails, during device time – to do anything urgent and important that needs my focused attention.

3. Playdates and kid swaps

A girlfriend of mine set me up for a win by introducing me to kid swaps. Plan a day when you can have a friends kids, and then another day when they can have yours. As I only have 2, I find I pick a day and kid swap kids to different friends of theirs so I get a whole day free. Then other days I don’t mind having other kids here.

Having one of one time with friends in school holidays is both fun and great for healthy relationship building. Often time at school, friendships happen in a bigger group dynamic of a class of year-group. So by having time one of one with a friend in the holidays is a great way for them to build a stronger bond with individual friends in a simpler, more comfortable environment.

Some days my kids are happily elsewhere with friends so I can get work done. Otherdays my kids are happy and entertained at home with a friend and need less entertaining from me and I can do my less focused tasks. Other days I can take a bunch of kids to do something fun.
It's a win win win. The kids are living their best life, my mum guilt is reduced, and I get some pockets of time to work.


4. Plan – lists for the WIN!!

Plan Activities – Plan Playdates – Plan Worktime - Plan Device time

Planning is a little like Batching – it means less mental load goes into any given day. Sometimes I plan out things day by day – particular when family holidays or activities are happening, or when I have organized play dates – and other times I write lists that we can pick from. Like a fun menu.

The kind of lists I like include:

• A list of activities we can do - written in consultation with the kids at the beginning of the holidays – almost like a bucketlist of fun ideas
• A list of boredom busters – once again with their input – these are things each kid enjoys doing and can do relatively unsupervised as the solution to their own problem when they come to me saying every parents favourite phrase - “I’m, bored”
• A list of chores they could do to earn rewards (and learn from)
• A list of friends they want to spend time with


5. Get the most out of device time

I hold my kids off devices as long as possible in the day. I often try for 0 device time before lunch. This normally means they are forced to find something to do for themselves, or we are motivated to do an activity in the morning. That way when they have device time I feel less mumma-guilt because they have done something active first. And then the temptation to let device time bleed longer into the day because I got focused on work stuff is limited too.

Planning a block of device time is great for any focused, urgent work jobs that need to be done. Mornings device time might work better for you, but I love saving mine for arvos and evenings.

So they are some of my ideas. What are some of yours? What do you batch? Do you have lists? What is on them? What activities do you find you need focused time for that HAVE to be done during the holidays for work, and what are things that don’t need as much attention that you can do with kids around?
Can’t wait for your ideas.

Oh, by the way, if you are a small business owner, especially one with a product based business and you’d love some more insight around how I juggle kids and business, specifics around content creation, email marketing, socials etc. you can sign up for my bizcoaching email in the Let’s Stay Connect form on my website or follow me on socials.


Happy holidays tribe!!

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