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If you are looking for some school holiday survival tips for working mums, you’ve come to the right place!

Clearly it’s amazing to be able to get to spend more time with our kids, but it can also be a lot to juggle.

So I’ve put together a list of 14 really useful survival tips for mums who are juggling work with spending time with their kids over the school summer holidays.

11 school survival tips for working mums, how to juggle working and parenting

As a new mum, did you ever have that brief moment of fantasy where you thought…

“I just need to worry about childcare until my darling offspring start school?”

Yes, it’s very easy to think that school will be the answer.

The reality is very different.


The school holidays!!!

There are LOTS of them.

Not least the long, long school summer break.

For some parents, the school summer holidays can be a chance to kick back, step away from routine and really enjoy spending quality time with the kids.

Not so much if you’re a working mum.


For mothers juggling working and parenting, the school holidays can often be the fly in the ointment of a well-balanced work/parenting routine.

The reality for working mums is that the early starts and working day routine doesn’t change.

What does change is the need to make sure the kids are being looked after, entertained and cared for.

This could be a mix of grandparents helping out, paid-for childcare, holiday clubs, reciprocal playdates, the occasional wing, and a prayer!

So how best to deal with the annual joy of the long summer holidays?


Well, the answer is simple…


Of course, the reality is that a working mum’s brain bandwidth is often at max capacity, so I thought I’d list some simple survival hacks to help frazzled working mums get ahead for the summer holidays.

Not least because my Survival Tips for Working Mothers is one of the most popular posts on Mums Make Lists, so I know this stuff helps.

Of course, it isn’t just the long school summer holiday. It’s all the other school holidays.

Which is one of the reasons it’s so hard to take time off in the summer.

For us, M has a grand total of 17 weeks of school holiday every year. That’s around 1/3 of the year spent away from school.

So, here’s a quick list of 11 school holiday survival tips for working mums to help you manage your children’s school holidays without giving yourself an aneurysm.



I can’t tell you how much easier life is to manage with a shared online calendar.

So, if you don’t have one already, set up a shared online calendar which all adults – and older kids – can access.

You can do this on Apple and Google, so you don’t need to download any extra apps.

Make sure every event goes into it at the time of booking. Plus addresses, phone numbers, email addresses etc.

It makes life so much easier, particularly its colour-coding for each family member.


If you have a partner, sit down and work out who will take time off and when.

If you’re planning a family holiday, make sure as early as possible that you can coordinate dates.


Get your holiday request in early.

Literally, at the earliest point it is possible to do so each year.

You will likely be up against other working parents in the office who will also want time off during the summer.

Get in first, and you will be more likely to get the days you want.

It’s dreadful we have to pit ourselves against each other, but it’s reality, so get ahead.

Get your leave dates in your work calendar or diary and plan your workload and meetings around your days off so there are as few surprises as possible for demands on your time.


Whilst the school holidays are a chance to step back from the routine of school runs and making packed lunches, it is a good idea not to kiss goodbye to routine altogether, especially if you are a working parent negotiating work around the school summer break.

One way to tackle the challenge head-on is to create a summer schedule for kids.

Read my guide to setting up a foolproof summer schedule for kids that will make sure the kids get to have a brilliant summer break filled with fun and memory-making moments, coupled with quieter downtime days. Most importantly, it will ensure that parents get through the summer with their sanity intact.

Summer schedule for kids, kids summer schedule, how to plan summer for kids, kids summer school break, summer schedule ideas,


One of the other benefits of booking time off early and having it confirmed is that you can then plan in the big things you want to do with the kids – and your other half if you have one – during the summer holidays.

Things like going on  a family holiday, visiting family, and big fun days out like LegoLand (ok, fun for the kids 😉 )

This also gives you the opportunity to book early, look for discount codes and make some savings – which can go towards childcare costs.


If you’re going to need supplementary childcare, make sure to organise it early.

Firstly, it will give you peace of mind.

Secondly, get in with first dibs, and you’re more likely to get the childcare you want rather than having to take what’s available.

Gather a list of holiday clubs and make a note in your calendar or diary to book them at the first opportunity.

If you have shy children, find out which other kids might be around to do the club as well. It’s so much easier to drop off kids who are happy and excited about a holiday club than kids who are reticent. Free yourself of Mum’s Guilt!

Putting in early requests with family, with as much notice as possible, will put you in the good books and could also help them with planning their holidays around your childcare needs!!

Work out which of your friends and your kids’ friends’ parents could be up for doing reciprocal playdates.


Much as the school run is a pain in the butt, at least you know where you’re going each day.

One of the added pressures of juggling school holidays with work is the logistics of getting the kids from A to B and then getting yourself from B to work.

Plan in advance, and look at if there’s a different route you could take to work that would save you time from wherever you’ve dropped the kids off for the day.


Aside from going away for a family holiday, you may well also have a week or so at home with your children.

You will no doubt be exhausted.

Your kids will be super excited to have you around.

So make it easy on yourself by having some planned activities up your sleeve.

I’m not talking about big days out.

I’m talking about fun things to keep the kids occupied and amused.

So you stand a little chance of using your annual leave to recharge your batteries.

And so that you can relax and enjoy hanging out with your kids without having to rack your brains for ideas for things to do.

Buy in craft supplies.

Make sure there’s a stack of books – or plan in a trip to the local library for day one.

If you’re in the UK, you will likely have to deal with at least one rainy day!

So make sure to have some rainy-day activities up your sleeve.

One easy way to do this is to visit the brilliant Rainy Day Mum blog.


Get a handle on lots of stuff going on locally by signing up to local Facebook events and parenting groups.


Working mum tips for surviving the school holidays with your kids. A simple list of tips and hacks for stress-free summer school holidays, with simple planning ideas for childcare, annual leave, activities, meal-planning and more. #WorkingMum #WorkingMom #WorkingMomLife #WorkingMomProblems #momlife #mumlife #mumlife #momlife #motherhood #organization #TimeManagement #Schoolholiday #School #FamilyOrganisation #FamilyLife

And I mean schedule.

Get an idea of your friends’ diaries over the summer.

One brilliant way to keep parents and kids happy is to have a brilliant play date with great friends.

The only thing is, everyone is away at different times.

So maybe start a WhatsApp group for you and your friends so you can schedule in play dates that combine kids playing with adults having a great gossip over coffee or wine!


I’m calling this ‘food planning’ rather than ‘meal planning for a reason.

Because kids can eat their own body weight in food during the school holidays.

Long summer days mean snacks galore.

Plus, packed lunches for holiday clubs and days out.


Have a look at your current grocery shopping routine and see if you can improve on it.

Could you be better served by having a supermarket delivery through the summer holidays?

I’ve been using Ocado for getting on for 9 years, and I couldn’t live without it.

I usually have one delivery per week during term times, but during the school holidays, I find it better to have a couple of smaller deliveries per week.


Could you stretch to using a recipe box delivery service like HelloFresh?

We’re big fans of HelloFresh, I love how much it frees up both my time and my brain bandwidth.

Just what is needed at the end of a long day of juggling.

You sign up, choose how many family meals you want to cook each week, and then HelloFresh sends all the ingredients with a step-by-step recipe card.

All of the meals are well-balanced, and all of them are tasty and interesting.

So you get to side-step having to grocery shop, panic raids the fridge or use the last vestiges of your energy to come up with a supper idea.


I’d also suggest you plan ahead for snacks.

It’s amazing how locust-like kids are to the food cupboards and fridge when they’re on holiday from school.


Working mum tips for surviving the school holidays with your kids. A simple list of tips and hacks for stress-free summer school holidays, with simple planning ideas for childcare, annual leave, activities, meal-planning and more. #WorkingMum #WorkingMom #WorkingMomLife #WorkingMomProblems #momlife #mumlife #mumlife #momlife #motherhood #organization #TimeManagement #Schoolholiday #School #FamilyOrganisation #FamilyLife

I know.


But it’s a fact of life for mothers with kids at school.

It. Has. To. Be. Done.

So best do it in a timely, well-managed way than in a last-minute, stressed-out panic.

The last thing any of us needs is a panic session of school uniforms and school supply buying.

Get a date into the diary now to do the back-to-school stuff.

Draw up a checklist.

Then you have one less thing to feel overwhelmed about during the school holiday juggle.


Sometimes you just gotta go into survival mode when it comes to housework.

The school holidays – and the long summer break in particular – certainly call for survival mode tactics.

I’ve got a post on a Survival cleaning routine that will see you through.

You can thank me later 😉

I really do hope you find these tips useful, I’d love for us all to have our shoulders an inch or so lower during the school summer holidays.

11 SCHOOL HOLIDAY SURVIVAL TIPS FOR WORKING MUMS - eleven clever but simple tips that busy working mums can use to help plan and organise their way through the big school summer holiday / school summer break so that they can enjoy spending time with their children but also not worry about work and getting it all done. Use these tips to make your life just that bit more simple through the long school summer break.


Sunday 21st of May 2023


This is literally on my mind all the time. I think of some cool new ways in order to live more cheaply and still be happy too. I live in a small market town in England. We do like to fit in a leisure visit to our nearest library once a fortnight in addition. I then try to find out about family events as well. That really does help. Best of luck. Be smart as far as possible. Pick up free leaflets and brochures. You can get more information that way for sure. I would try it. It cannot hurt seriously.

I always tend to make some brief summary notes on event options here and so on. Whenever it is possible I love to borrow free games from relatives and friends. I also prefer to take everyone including Milo our family dog out into the woods or spend quality time at parks. We attend so many open air movie nights. A lot of the time I know that you can go to nice events at main tourist attractions. Take a look at their websites, ring them up or email for further details.

Appear very confident. You literally have nothing to lose at all. Start off on their own websites firstly. Then either give them a friendly phone call. Or write them a polite email asking for additional key details. Make brief summary notes to read later on. Dig deep. Never use verbal threats however. If something does not work try out different methods.

Alternatively you can plan your own event at home instead. Consider doing themed events on top of that. For example for Halloween use black and orange as a central party theme on top of that. You can certainly dress up in a black and orange outfit and have spooky music and decorations galore. Include creepy films and hand out the party food on trays. Try it. All you need to do is to stay calm and make good decisions.

You could do a quiz based on movies to generate more interest overall. Other activities for Halloween include a fancy dress competition and a pumpkin decoration game. Additionally you could have a story writing element. And you can therefore have a creepy music contest and a pin the nose on the witch game. The options are endless. I’ve written a mini essay wow.