Working + School holidays = ???

There are small people in my holidays

They have stolen my pens and printer paper.

They would quite like me to vacate my seat at the computer as well – not so they can play with me, but so’s they can have the PC to themselves.

They bellow at me to provide snacks, even though I am in a different room with the door shut, and their father is standing right next to them.

In the near distance, more small people are roaring.


Welcome to the school holidays.


Last week the news was full of babies in offices, as if that might be the solution to the work/childcare conundrum.

I don’t agree with this at all – I think it’s a bad idea for everyone involved. Looking after a small child is a full time job in itself – to suggest otherwise is an insult to millions of professional child carers and stay at home parents. Plus I looked after my babies for the first year with no childcare whilst also working and it was frickin tough.

But for older children, un-babies if you like, it’s more manageable. And if you work from home, you have to find a way to make it happen. So how does that work in practice?


  • Lay it on the line with the kids
    Listen kidders, this is the deal – I need to be able to get my work done. If I can’t get my work done then you will have to go to Holiday Club. The worst thing about Holiday Club is that it’s held in your actual school. So you can get your own drinks and snacks from now on. I think we have a deal.
  • Don’t ignore the fact that it is actually the holidays
    Allow yourself time off for good behaviour too. Let your children know when you will be able to give them your attention, so they don’t just feel abandoned to go feral. Also lobbing sweets at them sometimes helps.
  • Play games
    I particularly favour: Let’s see who can keep quiet for the longest, Sleeping Zombies and The Cup of Tea competition (winner gets to make me a cup of tea).
  • Get up early
    At times I have packed in the best part of a day’s work before The Offspring have even cranked up the volume on CBBC. The down side of this is that I’m fit to pop by 8pm, when they are just getting revved up.
  • Send them outside to play
    With a winning combination of Swingball, chalks and skateboards, plus a trail of sweets to get them out there.
  • Find a hole to hide in
    The good thing about wifi is that it works even if you’re in the cupboard under the stairs. Do this well enough and by the time they’ve found you, you’ll have got all your work done for the day and be free to play Swingball.

Multiply the above by six weeks and that’s your working from home summer sorted.


  • I must try the idea of working in the cupboard… maybe that’ll do the trick. I’ve tried getting up extra early or working extra late, but either end of the day, you end up pooped. I’ve tried scaling back the work, but then the work just piles up… Any other suggestions up your sleeve?
    I will try the “bored jar” that’s mentioned on the Mad House blog, now that seems like a good idea…. we’ve got the paints out, an extra large pile of puzzles, books for them to read, revision work books so they’re ready for the next school year, some sewing projects, the white stuff for creating that masterpiece out of clay, but then they all want to just make homemade lemonade… so in the end, I give in, and just try and find that eternal compromise… x

  • Thank you LBW – My kids are naturally playing outside a lot more now that the weather’s improved and that makes it easier for me to get on with things, though I’ll be stuffed if it starts raining again.

    What I find helps more than anything is to be clear with them what I’m doing, for how long and what’s coming next. That way they know they’ll get my attention soon and (in theory) won’t keep chewing my leg off to get it now. So this morning I’m working but I’ll take them out this afternoon. Only to the supermarket, but it’s the thought that counts…

  • I’m finding it so hard to work during the school holidays. My ‘office’ is the dining room table, right at the very centre of the house and the kids are unfortunately still a bit too young to be thrown outside unsupervised.

    So I’m relying on a combination of Husband volunteering to take charge, me squashing down the guilt of leaving him to it, and the time to run off to the library for some peace and quiet. This Perfect Storm of work circumstances seems to occur quite rarely… roll on school term time!

  • oh I hear you Julianne, it’s very tough isn’t it? You’ll probably feel like you need a holiday yourself by the end of it.

    But what is this guilt of which you speak? My other half is being great with taking the kids out so I can work, but I don’t feel guilty about that at all. He’s their dad, he’s perfectly capable of looking after them. If anything they should feel guilty cos they’re off having a good time whilst I’m stuck indoors working.