Holidays in term time..? Surely it’s a parents right to enjoy their kids, from Jackie Heffer-Cooke

It’s coming up to the holiday season and our Inconsistent Earth Mother, Jackie Heffer-Cooke, has been getting something off her chest in her latest column for the Norwich Evening News…..

It’s a parents right to enjoy their kids!

So, in the frenzy leading up to the election I am waiting to hear if anyone is changing policy on what I believe to be a direct infringement of human (parent) rights. As a reminder, the definition of Human Rights is ‘the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world’. I believe, as parents, we have the right to enjoy our children, and our children have the right to enjoy us, and therefore we should be allowed to take them out of school on holiday if we need to. Without being punished i.e fined.

Get your beach body ready with MLDNow before some of you get cross at my irresponsibility, I am being sensible about this. There need to be simple rules:

  1. No more than 10 days a year
  2. Not just before important landmarks like SATS
  3. Not in GCSE years and
  4. We are aware of what schooling our kids are missing and do our best to fill in the gap.


If the above is agreed, like ‘grown-ups’, then surely how can you take away such an amazing experience as a holiday aboard with your parents.  Your mum and dad who, when on holiday, are usually at their best: chilled, relaxed, able to give unadulterated one-on-one time, inspired and inspiring.  All the characteristics we all strain ourselves to be as ‘good parents’ and sometimes (often?) punish ourselves that because of the busy-ness of life, work and domesticity, we don’t behave like this anywhere near as much as we would like.  Well on holiday we do! On holiday our kids get the brilliant, fun loving, laughter, life loving, positive us! (Well mostly) How can it not be good for our kids to bank that in the all-important file of ‘I had a great childhood’ – the foundation to a positive start to adult life.  After all, Mr Government Rules, we are rearing the next productive workforce for our country, are we not?

The Inconsistent Earth MotherWe save so hard, so that every two years we can take our kids to another world.  A world we love – Thailand.  It doesn’t cost as much as you think, if you do it how we do – in wooden huts, no phones, no X-box, no Ipads.  It is a time when we and our kids connect.  It is a time when they smell the difference of culture around them, they lap it up with eager eyes, learning that life is not all about what they know, that there are billions of people in the world, like us, but not like us, that our tapestry of humankind comes in many different shapes, and colours and forms.  They don’t wear shoes for two weeks as they don’t leave the beach, and they spend their time making up imaginative games, sometimes with other kids from around the world.

Of course this is just one aspect. What about my sister who, as a really hard-working single mum of three, would never have been able to get her week in Greece or Spain if she had to pay the rip-off prices of the summer break?  Is it fair that she can’t afford to get away from the monotony of her difficult life, to indulge herself in the best of her kids, and the best of being a parent?  That’s aside from people in the forces, or those who just cannot take time off in school holidays.  All of us real people, who get fined for taking their children on holiday!  A farce, as the fine costs less than the amount to take the kids away in the summer holidays.  So people are just doing it anyway, teaching their kids to break the institutions rules, teaching them that sometimes the love of a family break is worth getting into trouble. What is this? It’s craziness.

Let’s hope Mr Government Rules comes to his senses soon, or I can’t be responsible for what I may inadvertently teach my kids…

Jackie Heffer-Cooke is a Co-Diretor of The Orange Grove Clinic and teaches BeCalm HypnoBirthing, YogaBumps Pregnancy Yoga & YogaBubs Baby Yoga and specialises in pregnancy massage.