Top Tips for Getting the Most of Your Holiday Childcare
Family holidays are about enjoying time together but also about parents grabbing a spot of ‘me’ or ‘us’ time so that we can be our best selves when we’re with the kids. Whether it’s playing a game of tennis or a taking a sailing lesson, being pampered in the spa or even just taking a nap by the pool, we all need a break – just as our kids need respite from us and the chance to make new friends. These are our tips for ensuring that you and your kids get the most out of holiday crèches or kids’ clubs.
• Put your mind at rest by choosing a holiday firm with, CRB-checked, English-speaking nannies and a good staff:child ratio.
• If you’re still not sure, look at online forums or Tripadvisor reviews to find out how other parents have rated a particular childcare facility, or ask friends and acquaintances for personal recommendations.
• If you feel the slightest twinge of guilt, check out the activities that your children will be doing. Crèches and kids’ clubs at the best family-friendly resorts make the most of the outdoors and the fine weather, so your children won’t be indoors for the majority of the time. And they may even get to try out activities that they might not be able to do with you, such as windsurfing and sailing.
• If you’re new to childcare, consider half-day sessions to break both you and your child in gently.
• If your kids are old enough, talk to them ahead of your holiday about going into childcare and what to expect. Stress what a positive experience it can be – making new friends, learning new sports, games and crafts, and getting a bit of a break from you! (Don’t under-estimate children’s increasing desire for independence).
• If your kids need more reassurance, allow them to take in a favourite toy, but after the first day and as they start to settle in, encourage them to leave it in their bag on their peg.
• Let your kids know that you will be close-by in case of need, but resist the urge to pop in and see how they are doing during a childcare session or if you see them out and about doing activities in the resort, as your sudden appearance might confuse them.
• Think about taking advantage of the kids-only teatime and evening crèche at least once or twice during your holiday – young and older kids alike find it a great treat to meet up with their new mates for an evening activity followed by a movie, leaving you to enjoy a quiet meal as a couple or with your own new friends.
• Go with the flow. It’s everyone’s holiday, and kids have moods and whims just as parents do. If your child really isn’t up for kids’ club one day, and you have nothing set in stone, it may be worth letting them skip a session rather than turning it into an issue. Or agree to let them go in a bit later, or pick them up earlier, to show them that it’s not something you are deciding on their behalf but a mutual decision.
• For similar reasons, if it’s your child’s first time in childcare, it may be better to wait until they are settled in before you book any activities of your own.
These top tip have been put together by family holiday specialist Mark Warner holidays, www.markwarner.co.uk