Franklin County News

Parents: Get ready for an ‘Awful April’


OPINION: Parents of school-age children beware: April is going to be an absolute shambles.

Thanks to the alignment of the school holidays and a bunch of public holidays, your kids will be at school for only eight days during April.

If your primary school is anything like ours, there will probably be a strategica­lly placed teachers-only day on the first day of term two too (the day before Anzac Day), which will drop that already very low number down to seven.

Seven days. Out of 30. For working parents, that makes April 2023 the worst month of the year – possibly ever.

How ever will we cope?

You know the parents you see at the school gate most afternoons at pickup, whom you smile at but never get around to introducin­g yourself to? Well, those people are going to become your best friends this month.

Now’s the time to plan play dates, child swaps, and street school holiday drop-offs. Join forces to make life a little bit easier for everyone.

I predict that April will be the return of Zoom meetings featuring partially naked kids in the background, and track pants and slippers being staple homeoffice attire. Tell your boss now that your ability to travel during April will be limited and make sure everyone understand­s you’ll be juggling a few more things than normal during the week.

Setting expectatio­ns now will help minimise your stress levels in the middle of Awful April.

If you’re fortunate enough to have family close by, now’s also the time to call in a favour and ask Granny, Nana, even great-aunt Muriel to help out with childcare.

If they can’t help out during the day, book a night of babysittin­g so you can get a break anyway.

Many schools and community organisati­ons offer holiday programmes. If it fits into your budget, consider booking your kids a spot – even for just a couple of days across the school holidays – so they feel like they’ve done something, and you can have a bit of a breather.

If you’ve got some annual leave up your sleeve, plan a special day with the kids without having meetings and deadlines hovering over you. Let them choose what they’d like to do (within reason and budget constraint­s, of course) and have a fun day out together.

If you’ve got enough leave, you could even plan a pre-winter family holiday.

Finally, April might be all about the kids, but don’t forget to take as many moments as you can for yourself.

A happy, functionin­g family is only as happy and functionin­g as the adults who lead it. Take regular breaks, schedule alone time when you can, be kind to yourself, and enjoy this quality time with your family. It doesn’t happen often.

 ?? ?? Thanks to the alignment of public and school holidays, friends and family members may need to be drafted in to help with childcare during April.
Thanks to the alignment of public and school holidays, friends and family members may need to be drafted in to help with childcare during April.

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