School Half-Term Holidays: The Bane Of The Preschooler Parent’s Life

It’s the beginning of June. The sun is shining, there’s not a cloud in the sky and my pasty legs are on show. BUT, there’s a problem. We’re not outside enjoying the weather – instead we’re ‘stuck’ inside watching Peppa bloody Pig. No, we’re not ill and I haven’t misplaced the house keys. Instead, the reason for our entrapment is that it’s the half-term holidays – otherwise known as the bane of the preschooler parent’s life.

I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for over two years now and dread the school holidays. As the parent of a kid not yet in school, the holidays just totally mess up our usual lives. I massively rely on routine to get through the week, so when that routine is disrupted, things change for the worse. Why kids and teachers need to take a break from school, I’ll never understand. The bloody cheek and audacity of it.

Time for a bit of drawing. I love her optimism!

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Let me paint you a picture. When the kids are in school, the world is our oyster. Toddler L and I can go anywhere and do anything without needing to consider other people. It’s a bit like the beginning scenes of 28 Days Later where the fella walks around an empty London. If we head to the park, we’re often the only people there. If we go to the local museum, there’s no fear of it being busy. If we go for a babyccino, there’s always a seat. Life is good.

Then everything changes. Half-term holidays happen and the world gets busy. Our usual haunts are rammed with older kids and their parents. Older kids who use their superior height, weight and strength advantage to take over the place and stop Toddler L doing what she’s become accustomed to. Parents who use their superior planning, know-how and parenting experience to take up the car parking spaces I’ve become accustomed to. It’s all a bit shit really. Shit and unfair.

It gets worse though. Not only has the usually quiet weekday been invaded by a swarm of school-aged kids, but there’s a complete shut down in the toddler classes we have scheduled each week. Selfishly, the people who run these groups either (a) want a break, (b) have school-aged kids they have to look after, and / or (c) are plotting against me. I like routine and find that weekly activities allow me to structure the week better than everything being ad hoc. Taking away the likes of Water Babies and Tumble Tots during the holidays properly screws me over.

So what am I left with? A severe lack of our regular toddler classes and an ‘inability’ to go anywhere public thanks to half-term holidays. Sure, we can do stuff like play in the garden and take the dog for a walk, but it’s not quite the same as the previous week when we basically owned the world. School half-term holidays suck more than Henry The Hoover would if he worked at a brothel.

It’s a sun, sand and water play kind of afternoon. Sorry to everyone currently in an office. You have my sympathies.

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The weird thing though is that in just over a year, I’m going to be one of those parents – and Toddler L is going to be one of those kids – that I despise so much. Next September, she’ll be at school and the only chance we’ll get to do anything is weekends or school holidays. At that point, I’ll probably be complaining about all of the preschoolers and their parents who still decide to go out during half-term holidays when they have term time to themselves. Who made them rulers of the world? Gits.

Do you like half-term holidays? As a preschooler parent, do you find holidays change things for the better or worse? Do you have similar ‘anger issues’ to me? Let me know below!

  • john adams

    Just you wait until L is at school Dave! If you like routine, the long summer holiday will cause you a headache. That said, I do look abck on those pre-school years with a certain sense of fondness. We still hadn’t slipped into the whole academic year thing. it happens though. I don’t buy calendars running Jan – Dec any more, haven’t done for years. These days I buy calendars that go Sept to Aug. My advice: get National Trust membership. Sure, things get busy but at least it’s mostly outside attractions.

  • You will be that parent soon. The parent with no choice but to go when everywhere is busy. Enjoy it while you can.

    • Unconventional Dad

      never to late to homeschool 😀

  • Samantha Broom

    I’m a teacher and the only time I get with my two year old is in half term! We have a whale of a time, going everywhere I can’t take him because we work. Although this week we spent most of it in the garden or walking the dog as the weather wasn’t too bad.

  • Your daughter is lucky to have such dad who can spend all his time with her. And summer is a super chance for that 🙂

  • Anthony – Dada & Monkey

    I think it’s very similar to when we become parents, it’s a big change for ‘us’. Change is a tricky thing for some to deal with but guess what, you mastered it when you had kids. I get that routine is important, of course it is but there are thousands of parents that don’t get the option, very much like @samanthabroom:disqus below, you just get on with it. It’s all good! 😀