Understanding parent guilt during school holidays

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School holidays might go by unnoticed for some of your staff, but for those with school-aged children it can be a time that is filled with guilt. As an employer it is important to understand these emotions, so you can help to support your staff during this time.

If your staff member has children who are school-aged, here are some thoughts they might be having during the school holidays:

We should be on holidays

Some families whisk their children away to exciting destinations each and every school holiday period but that’s possible or practical for everyone. Even if your staff member has had holidays recently, they’ll still feel guilty if they aren’t able to offer their children an amazing vacation every holiday period.

I don’t want to pick them up late again

Being the last parent to walk through the door of a holiday program is a feeling that fills most parents with dread. Holiday programs usually close at around 6pm and children who are picked up late incur a late charge which is sometimes as much as $1 per minute.

The school holiday staff see more of my children then I do

Quality time is precious and it’s only natural for parents to feel guilty if someone else is doing the child-minding for them. Even if their children are having a ridiculously fun time at their holiday program, parents will still feel guilty about the amount of time they are spending their versus the amount of time they get to spend at home.

This is costing a lot of money

When children are at school there is no or little added burden of paying for additional care costs. Paying for school holiday programs can be expensive, especially if there’s more than one child in care or if it’s needed for every day of the holidays. Feeling guilty about the amount of money that is being spent on care during the holidays is natural.

What if they’re not having fun?

Parents will always worry about whether their children are happy and safe. School holidays are supposed to be a fun time for children and it makes sense that parents will feel some anxiety about the level of fun their child is having. The guilt felt is particularly strong if their child has expressed any of their own anxiety about attending holiday programs.

Understanding that some level of guilt is often associated with the school holidays for some of your staff is important for your organisation. Once you are aware of these issues you can assist to help ease some of this guilt by making extra provisions during school holiday periods.

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