As a busy parent, where each week is full of an exhausting work schedule, home and gardens to maintain, family and friends to visit, not to mention your children’s schooling and social events to remember, the mere thought of knowing you have a holiday booked in, even if at the end of the year, is enough to keep your sanity through all your weekly chaos.

There are 365 days in the year and almost 200 of them our children must attend school. In NSW, Parents are required to provide an explanation of any absence from school, typically on the day, but certainly within seven days and overall, appear to be tightening up on the importance of school attendance.

So, when we know our children should be at school, is it ever okay to pull the kids out of school, and off to the beach? Off to the Ski Fields perhaps for a long weekend of snow and hot chocolate? Is it more acceptable to do this, when the kids are younger and more likely to have play and sports time at school rather than algebra and economics in high school?

Family holidays are really something special for the entire family to look forward to. They bring us together and often remind us what is really important in life. Spending quality time together in a new environment, away from the stresses of daily life, and creating wonderful memories.

The truth of the matter is our kids today are growing up and maturing at a much faster rate than previous generations. Combine that with the fact that parents are busier than ever, and the window of opportunity where your children are going to really enjoy holidaying with their parents, and the simple things in life, get smaller and smaller as the teenage years approach. And believe me, those years go by fast!

Technologies and social media, mean children are exposed to seeing more of the world than ever before but learning through a screen (and sitting in a classroom) is a far different experience than any hands-on experience you can get. The taste of new foods, discovery of new places, trying something new, meeting new people, and being exposed to different cultures is living and learning.

For most of us, wanting a holiday and taking a holiday, isn’t quite that simple. For parents, it’s something that they work hard to be able to afford but then there are the dreaded school holidays to contend with.

Typically, our kids get two weeks off during autumn, spring, and winter and an extended holiday over the summer period before a new year of schooling begins.

So why is going on a holiday during school holidays not just unfavorable but simply not an option for many families?

Outside of school holidays, accommodations typically allow a minimum 1-night or 2-night stay. The prices are reasonable because they are classed as non-peak periods and availability allows more flexibility to work around your schedule.

During school holidays, minimum stays are often pushed out to 5 nights, meaning for families who can only afford a couple of nights away, this just isn’t an option. If you can however extend the budget, you will need to book far in advance or you just have to get the dates left that are available and pay the peak period prices. Not to mention, that accommodation that is booked out, means that the relaxing lagoon pool you have been looking forward to swimming in all year looks and sounds more like a busy children’s pool party!  Wanting to go on that new ride in your favourite theme park? It’s school holidays, so be prepared to wait!

Another common issue that parents face when going away on holidays is having their pets minded. We all love our fur and feathered friends and during school holidays, availability is restricted and demand drives up the prices. Outside of those peak periods, it’s a different story.

Parents get it, school isn’t an option, it’s mandatory.  Most schools request special exemptions for time off to be discussed with the school principal prior to taking any extended time off. So, in times when you are faced with only being able to take a holiday outside of school holidays, should it be accepted? Are the benefits of a holiday with your family worth the days spent away from your child’s education?

Let me know your thoughts!