Splashing about at Beaudesert Pool on a hot summer’s day, Ebony Wills was feeling blissful about an extra fortnight of school holidays.
The 7-year-old was looking forward to squeezing in two more weeks of playing outside, swimming at the pool, bike riding and having sleepovers with her cousins.
Her mum Kate, who is a schoolteacher, said while the decision to push the start of the school year back to 7 February would present some challenges, she was grabbing the opportunity to get the kids outdoors more.
State government moves to delay the start of the 2022 school year due to a predicted late January peak in Covid cases understandably has many parents pulling their hair out.
Kate said aside from the obvious challenges of needing to keep the kids occupied and of having to organise someone to look after the kids when going back to work, she was treating it as an opportunity.
“I’ve got the flexibility now of working from home, but you’ve got to juggle a lot more to keep the kids entertained as well as being able to do your job. It’s a lot more multitasking with the kids at home,” she said.
“We just schedule activity for me, activity for them. The idea is to get them out in the morning, run them ragged, then I can work in the afternoon.
“I work as a teacher and that’s tough – I have to find care for my kids, because they won’t be coming back to school until school is officially back. I know for lots of parents working from home it is hard to try and keep the kids entertained.”
She said her household had learned to adapt through previous changes to the schooling calendar.
“I guess we have a better understanding of each other in the household – they now understand I need time to work. It’s all a negotiation, I’ve found, in that I say, ‘this is your time, but I need an hour of my time’,” she said.
“They understand this will be their activity and then when we go home, they’ll have to amuse themselves while I do what I need to do. We’re all getting pretty good at that.”
Kate’s daughter Ebony, 7, was feeling excited about the extra holidays.
“I think it’ll be pretty fun, because we get to do lots of stuff,” she said.
“We’ll go to the movies, have sleepovers with our cousins, go swimming at the pool, visit the park and go bike riding.”