An increasing number of parents are choosing to continue sending their kids to vacation care despite being on leave from work…

A confused mum has taken to Mumsnet to ask whether it is acceptable to continue sending children to vacation care if you have taken leave from work. The mum says that after asking her friends for their opinion on the issue, she was met with conflicting views, and is undecided about what is best for her family.

Sensible or Selfish?

The mum said that her friends had only added to her confusion about what was acceptable, particularly for stay at home parents or parents who work term time only. “Person A thinks putting your children into vacation care for any amount of time is not ok because you don’t need to – that if you’re off work or don’t work, they should be with you,” she wrote. “Person B thinks that if the kids are happy to go, and you can afford it, it’s absolutely fine. Person C thinks if you are a stay at home parent of school age children it’s not ok as you have loads of time off in term time, but if you work… it’s ok because you probably need a couple of days off too.”

It’s Up To You

Comments on the mum’s post emphasised the need for each family to do what is right for them. “People should do whatever is right for their families without worrying about other’s judgement or some imaginary rules,” one wrote. “Loads of children go to these clubs because they want to, they mix with other kids, they keep active and have fun,” said another. Others, however, disagreed. “This probably won’t be popular but I do get miffed when parents who either stay at home full time or have term time jobs take up spaces in vacation care which are so essential to working parents who can’t get the time off.”

While spending time with your kids as much as possible over the holiday period is important, we can also understand the challenge of entertaining them 24/7. We think if they enjoy going to vacation care, even for a day or two during the break, it can give parents some much needed down time and a chance to prepare for the upcoming term.

Do you think it’s wrong to send your kids to vacation care if you are on leave? Let us know in the comments.


  • Each to their own.
    I used to work in a vacation care where majority of stay at home parents would send their kids on the excursion days for the simple fact the kids got to go on fun outings with their friends. On in centre days it was usually a majority of kids who’s parents worked the exception to this was over the long summer break where there was a more even split over the week. Lots of stay at home parents commented they would give their kids the program and let them choose the days they’d like to attend based on what was on offer

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  • Depends on the family & their circumstances. If mum has a doctor’s appt and a day full of chores, then the kids are better off being looked after at the vacation care.

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  • I personally don’t do it but that’s because I want to spend the time with my kids that I woudn’t be normally able to but my SIL still does it as she wants the time to herself

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  • sounds like the old argument of “should a stay at home parent send their child/ren to day care” and the answer is absolutely, not only to the children learn new skills, make new friends and have a load of fun, the parent can actually have a break as well and get some of their own jobs done or simply relax and refresh so they are better parents, less grumpy and tired and more able to enjoy the time they do spend with their children

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  • It is entirely up to a family to decide on what works for them.

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  • If you can afford to, then why not – kids love it, it gives you time to yourself where, lets be honest, you’re probably catching up on washing or cooking or cleaning or grocery shopping or… the list goes on! Even if you’re doing it to have a day to yourself to get your nails done, or catch up over coffee with a friend, that’s your pregrogative!!!

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  • If the kids love to go to vacation care, I would surely send them.

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  • The kids have more fun at vacation centers I have seen and unless going away for holidays then why not

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  • Each to their own. Vacation care have a some really fun activities for the kids

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  • I don’t think there is any harm in it. Parents need a break too. It’s good that kids go to daycare/ vacation care, they need the interaction with children as long as they get quality time both with parents & care then I don’t think it’s a problem at all. Parents are busy people especially single parents!

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  • It’s great to have a day off with your partner without the kids. If you can afford it, why not?

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  • go mums…i would do some time either way

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  • Of course it is not wrong and I dare to say it may be right !
    I agree that you have to do whatever is right for your family without worrying about other’s judgement or rules.
    I’m a stay at home mum, have 2 biological children and 2 foster children under a permanent guardianship order. One has Down syndrome and one has a Reactive Attachment disorder. We’ve had lots of problems with the 9yr old with an Reactive Attachment disorder and this year we started the book her in for after school care 2 afternoons per week to give a bit more structure to her week. She loves after school care and despite money being tight we also booked her in for 2 days of vacation care per week. It is good for her and gives me some space to breath.

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  • We choose two or three days during the holidays when vacation care is offering special activities the kds are particularly interested in. I use those days for things like my own medical appointments. I don’t see any problem with that.


    • BellaB. Yours is a wise decision. You don’t have to take your children to medical appointments with you. You can concentrate on your health situation without interruption or distraction.

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  • I mean if a kid is just going to be home sitting around doing nothing beneficial or just in front of a screen. – then this is fantastic. They are getting active, having fun and mingling with other kids

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