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Working Around A Holiday

By Mike Cook

School holidays are nearly upon us again and thanks to the Ministry of Education we get four terms instead of three!

For those of you with pre-school children you will notice the increase of activity in shopping malls and playgrounds, but for those of us with school children, hours of planning are involved not only with juggling work time but organising childminding and activities to stop the dreadful “I’m bored”.

I am fortunate enough to take Dominic, my seven year old son, to work with me and can change my part time hours to give me days off during the week.

Over the last few years as a house father I have built up a support network of other fathers who I can rely on to help me out and vice versa during these times.

The holidays can be a trying time where patience is strained and nerves are stretched to the limit, but with lots of planning we can survive and even enjoy that quality time with our kids.

Summer is a great time to hit the beach but don’t forget to take the suntan lotion and umbrella with you. Another alternative is Hagley Park, the playground and pool is fantastic and if you pack a lunch or feed them first it keeps the cost down.

For the energetic there are plenty of walks, short and long, around Christchurch and up on the hill. Make sure you end the walk at a kiosk, ice-creams all round.

For those of you not so keen there are plenty of organised holiday activities that tend to cost but the kids will be well looked after and you can have a break.

For example, the council runs KidsPlay and there are sports and games run by YMCA.

The movies are a distraction but not always. I tend to go towards a video for the kids and coffee for the fathers at home, where you can have a chat and a breather.

I have quite often gone to Chipmunks with friends and their kids and that has been most enjoyable, especially on a rainy day. They have a cafe there and the food is not expensive, membership is available with cheaper rates, and at a small cost they will mind your child for a short time.

The play equipment is excellent and they also have computers, but sorry Dad is not on the internet.

Well these are a few of the options and ideas that I use to have quality time and give my boy a good holiday while trying to stay employed.

Most jobs don’t allow for time off in the holidays and as a working house father I am lucky to get that time. But I also ask my son what he wants to do with his time and he appreciates the independence in choosing and feels a part of the decision making process.

Best of luck, relax and if all else fails go to McDonalds.

Next: From A Wife’s Perspective

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