More often than not, school spring break sneaks up on parents. By the time, mid-February rolls around we’re just getting our legs underneath us after winter break. Not to mention the smattering of random single day-off holidays at the beginning of the year. People are starting to settle into their routines. A regular, not holiday-centered grocery store trip is back to being the norm. Schedules are generally consistent for multiple weeks in a row. In short, consistency is starting to set back in.

Then you take a quick peek at the calendar and—WHAM—spring break slams into view before you’ve had a chance to think about what to do. Below we’re breaking down some survival tips for school spring break for young families.

kids running excitedly from school

This list isn’t for folks who were ahead of the game and planned an Instagrammable Spring Break vacation over a year in advance—we congratulate you! This post is for the parents who just need to make it through the kid’s week off with a little sense of stability left intact.

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When is Spring Break 2020?

No school spring break is the same. The week-long break can fall as early as February and as late as April depending on the state. Check your own school/school district calendars to confirm the time. Then start planning.

How to Fill a Full Spring Break Week

Coming off the holiday season, taking a full week vacation may not be in the cards for you. Here are a few fun spring break ideas to help you keep the kids’ days varied while also giving you the space to keep your work schedule, mostly in-check.

Day Camps

These will be essential. Places like the YMCA usually offer affordable day camp options that align with the local public school calendars. Also, local businesses that offer kid’s classes like music, dance, cooking, or soccer usually are savvy enough to offer day camp programs that sync with the school schedule as well. It’s an added cost for the camp but it’s certainly cheaper than a full week family vacation.

Pro Tip: Start chatting with the parents of your kids’ friends who will also be on break at home. They might already have some day camps picked out that your kids would love to join. This will also help to take turns doing pick-ups and drop-offs.

kids playing with a gymnastics parachute

Free Museum Days

During the peak Spring break season, most local museums and art institutes offer free or reduced rates for locals during the weekdays. If you’ve been putting off going to the Children’s museum, spring break could be the time that’s worth calling the sitter to take them to during a free admission day.

Playdates

Every school community has a tight-knit group of incredible, hard-working stay-at-home moms and dads. Coordinate playdates with families that will be home during the week. It’s guaranteed they will have activities planned and chances are they’ll welcome adding a school friend for a day or two to the mix. However, it’s important to set structure to the timeframe of the playdates and to make drop-off/pick-up as seamless as possible. Playdates are an activity, not a full care solution. Coordinate your work hours around the set time or hire a sitter who can pick up/drop-off in a timely manner. In exchange for the spring break help, offer to host a dinner during the week or a weekend sleepover. Calling in the community to help is a two-way street.

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Day Trips

The best spring break destinations don’t always have to be a plane ride or 12hr drive away. Try and snag at least one day away from work so that you can relish a day away from school and work for you and the kids. Drive to a state park, visit your closest tourist attraction, go bowling. Basically, plan to do the activity that you’ve been meaning to do but gets pushed aside during a normal weekend.

amy poehler and tina fey from snl singing "it takes a village y'all"

Mix and match some or all of the above and before you know it you’ll have the full week covered. To make a hectic, schedule-bending week like Spring Break work, it’s important to have a good sitter on call to help with new drop-off and pick up times. It’s always good to have an extra set of hands when the routine is a bit out of whack.

Cheers, and remember, spring break at home is merely a summer break dry run. You’ve got this!

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