I’ve always lived in places that had cheap holiday placements for school-aged kids, but they were still problematic, in that they often didn’t start till 9.30, even though most people start work at 9 or 9.30. I had to rearrange my schedule and take a cut in pay, take vacation time, or arrange for her to stay at a friend’s or her Nan’s who would then be able to drop her off at the holiday club, if they weren’t able to/didn’t want to spend the day with her.
Christmas is the real problem period. One Christmas I had a huge rota of friends who took it in turns to look after my daughter - there were three sets of people in one day! This required me running like mad every breaktime to swap her over between sitters. It was also unsettling for my daughter, but OK because it was just for a few days. It was better than not going in to work, because that meant not getting paid.
On a couple of other jobs, I took her with me. Depending on your work, your employer might be OK with this on the odd occasion. Don’t everyone jump on me now! I know lots of people don’t like having their co-workers’ kids around, and that’s understandable; if it’s going to inconvenience your co-workers in the slightest, then it’s an absolute last resort.
TBh, it never occurred to me for ages that it would be OK at all, but I was surprised by how open employers were to the idea.
Could you work from home at all? Even if it’s just one day a week over the school holidays, it could help the rest of the week be easier.
If there are any other parents in your company, they might have suggestions too.
Oh, and always have a plan B - and plan C, D and E - for if your scheduled childcare falls through. You probably know that, but it’s still worth remembering, since the plan B (etc) doesn’t have to be as good as plan A. Like, for example, your kid might suffer from being left long-term with Aunt Mildred who does nothing but watch TV and smoke all day, but as one-off it’s bearable.