Tips for Choosing Holiday Care for School-Aged Children
Updated: Apr 26
Tips for Choosing Holiday Care for School-Aged Children
School summer holidays are one of the most anticipated holidays for schoolchildren. School is out, the sun is shining, and there is more than enough free time to have fun and take a break from school. This is the time to sit back, relax, and revel in the fine weather.
While school holidays, especially summer, are a godsend for school-age children, but they can be a dilemma for parents. Suddenly, you have a child to look after, you need to work some of the holidays, and you realise your daily routine is about to change for 6 weeks.
The best way to ease the stress of the school holidays for you all is to find holiday programs for your child. But how do you find the best fit for your little one, and where do you start? Use our guide to select the right holiday care for your school-age children.
What are the Different Holiday Care Options?
Finding a daycare sitter is one of the first options parents consider when they have a child out of school who is younger and they need to work. A daycare program or a sitter can look after your child and cater to their needs while you are working. The benefits of daycare for your child are that they are normally more homely, which often suits younger children who may still need a nap or a relaxing time during the day. It will often be a childminder who works from home, so they will provide food and snacks for the children they care for.
Holiday camps are a go-to for many parents who have to work over the breaks in the school year. Institutions like the Scouts and YMCA organise recreation programs and creative activities in camps that may last a week, a month, or the whole holidays until school resumes for different age groups of children. Parents can enrol their children in the summer program for the whole time or for specific periods and leave their care to the camp organisers and staff members. The benefits of a camp like this are that the daily activities will be planned and will often be outdoor activities that your son or daughter may have never done before, like making fires, cooking, assault courses, camping, canoeing, rock climbing, and much more. and for this reason, they tend to be suited to older children.
Parents whose children need some learning help in the holidays may consider booking them into a summer school. This allows them to catch up in areas where they need more support when it comes to their learning. However, summer school isn’t all schoolwork and includes a mixture of academics and fun, including sports, crafts, and arts in addition to learning.
Sports camps are a great way to keep your children occupied during the holidays, and they can be for a day, a few days, or weeks at a time. Specialist coaches work with your children to teach them new skills in all types of sports, including, rugby, football, cricket, and much more. They can be for a range of ages but are normally aimed at older school-age children, and they will need to be independent enough to eat a packed lunch and snacks they have taken themselves.
Choosing the Right Holiday Care for Your Child
There are numerous options out there, and using our holiday camp checklist below will help you select the care that caters to all the interests of your child and your care needs:
Establish your needs in advance
If you need childcare for your child in the school holidays, think about what they need, their age, what would suit them, your needs in regards to the hours you need childcare for, and the benefits each option offers your child. Finding a holiday program that matches your child’s interests is important. This allows your kid to be on the same page from the very start and ensures they have fun when they get to the camp, love being there, and want to go back, meaning you don’t have to worry about them or persuade them it's a good idea to go.
Many camps are organised to focus on certain aspects or abilities of school-age kids. For instance, if your child has shown an interest in sports, look for options for a sport that they love, be it football, rugby, cricket, or basketball camp; or have they shown an interest in a sport that they haven't yet tried but would like to? Taking them to a scouting camp or on field trips they aren't interested in will make them feel alienated and miserable and cause you and them a lot of stress. When you have done your research and know what is available, the hours of care provided, the location, and the costs, get them involved and ask them what they would like to do during the holidays. Speak to their friend's parents and see if any of their friends would like to do anything with them, as this often means they will settle in and enjoy it a lot more.
Share childcare with other parents
Talk to your children's friends' parents and see if any of them would like to share the holiday childcare with you. You could do a week each or odd days. Ask family and friends if they could help, and this is a great way to reduce the costs of childcare over the holidays. Always plan what you’re going to do with your children and their friends during the holidays. Plan days at home, making cakes, crafts, get the paddling pool out on sunny days, play games, and also plan some day trips. Day trips don’t always have to cost you money, you can go for walks in the countryside, into towns and cities, or take a trip to the beach.
Consider the quality of the program
When booking your child into a camp, you want the assurance that they’ll leave the program with a new skill or knowledge and most of all will have had fun. The quality and camp environment you choose will go a long way toward determining this. For instance, if it’s a program for increasing sports skills, the organisers should involve professionals in running the camp, if it is a bushcraft-type camp, then the carers need to have the relevant bushcraft skills and experience.
Camps can really nurture your child, expose them to new experiences, and help them learn new skills.
Safety is key when it comes to childcare, so you should always ask about the carer's experience and qualifications, and if they have all attended safeguarding training and passed the relevant safeguarding checks.
Are they familiar with child CPR? Do they all have first aid certification? What is the background of the staff working with the children, and has it been checked? Find out also the ratio of kids to adults in the camp.
Don’t forget to look at the cleanliness of the location where the camp will be held. Does it look healthy for children, and are the grounds spacious enough for kids to play comfortably? What is the program’s health/safety/meal policy?
Ask them for feedback from other parents whose children have attended, and look for reviews online.
Answering these questions will help you understand the level of safety your child will be exposed to during their time there.
Ask about the cost
Different service providers charge different rates to provide holiday care for your child. Ideally, you want to find something that gives you value for money but is within your budget. Sometimes, the price you pay for the program will give you an idea of what you can expect your child to experience.
Most camps will have a schedule, and you should go through it and weigh up if the cost is relevant to the activities they will be doing.
Ask for recommendations
Recommendations are an excellent way of finding holiday care that has been tried and tested. If you have friends or family members that have used holiday care services in the past, you can ask them to point you in the direction of the right service providers.
Given your trust in family/friends, you can expect them to recommend the right care for your child, as they will know them and you. It will also save you some time and effort compared to carrying out due diligence, as explained above.
Look for local nurseries and preschools
Many local nurseries will offer holiday childcare for your school-age child. Contact them and ask them what they offer and their prices, and look at their website to see the activities they do during the holidays to see if they will suit your child. The benefit of using a local nursery is that you know they have all the qualifications, skills, and experience to deal with all ages of children, and they will have all of the safeguarding and health and safety procedures in place.
Holiday Care Summary
Finding the right care for your school-aged child during the holidays shouldn’t be a headache if you plan and prepare in advance. You don’t just have to go with one option; you can select a few, which will give them a variety of different experiences. Using our tips will help you to narrow down your options and increase the chances of finding the perfect holiday care program for your child so you can work without the worry and stress associated with it.
About The Flowers Day Nursery Holiday Care
The Flowers Day Nursery offers full or part-time childcare for children from the age of 3 months through to when they start school. They offer drop-off and pick-up services from the local schools during term times and holiday care for children up to the age of 8 years old.
Our holiday clubs are planned in advance with a varied range of indoor and outdoor age-relevant activities that will keep your child busy and engaged throughout.
During the school holidays, if you are eligible for the Childcare Offer you will be entitled to 30 hours a week of childcare for up to 9 weeks.
You can use the funded childcare hours at any time during holiday weeks, night or day, including at weekends.
You are entitled to the 9 weeks during school holidays until the start of the school term after your child's fourth birthday. This applies even if your child is offered a full-time education place. More information on school holiday funding.
We are a well-established family-run nursery and preschool in Swansea, and we are located near the city centre. We have our own off-road parking, which makes dropping off and picking up both easy and safe for you and your child.
Flowers Day Nursery offers wrap-around care in our beautiful, four-storey Grade II Listed building from 07.30 - 18.30 for children aged 3 months to 8 years, with a before and after school drop off and pick service when they attend a local school, as well as our fun and engaging school holiday care.
Our nursery has been open in Swansea since 2004. and thousands of children have been cared for and nurtured to provide them with all the skills they need both educationally and socially by our experienced team.
Our care gives you the reassurance that they are in a familiar, caring, and relaxed setting, and our holiday care has a fun and varied schedule, meaning the children love coming back to us time and time again.
We have a lot of parents who utilise our holiday clubs even if their child hasn't come to nursery here, and this is a testament to the time and care that goes into planning our care.