In the run up to Christmas most working parents will have already planned their Christmas leave, but taking time off is the easy part - what isn't so easy is making sure you have enough things planned that make the Christmas holidays fun for the whole family (especially if this year you're having a 'staycation'!)
Yes I know I've been absent without trace for the last 10 days *blows tumble weed off blog* but I've been busy "having fun" (read "breaking up fights") with my kids. This year I vowed to make the most of the 6 week break (rather than wishing it away) and I think I've achieved that. But there are still 7 days to go and quite frankly, we've all come to the end of our fairly short fuses.
Anticipating coffee and a bun on the second morning of the holidays, I was assaulted by the first Back to School display of summer. No sooner have the holidays begun than we're preparing for them to end: hardly had I dragged myself home on that final half day of term, than the postman assured me with a cheeky grin that the break would be 'gone before I knew it.'
Nothing gets people talking more than the subject of children and parenthood however, one angle really got my attention. Jenny Willott, the consumer affairs minister, said holidays 'should not be at the expense of a child's education,' going on to mention the possible negative impact of missing school.
Summer learning loss is a well-known phenomenon in many schools. So much so that from 2015, the government is planning to introduce measures to give every state school the power to set their own term times - a freedom currently available to free schools and academies. The change could see a four week summer holiday introduced in many schools, with a longer gap between other terms.
It's becoming more and more common that teens and young adults head off to travel in peer groups without parental supervision when they're young - particularly before and after university. Many will seek sunshine and relaxation at affordable prices for their first trip away from their parents or guardians.