Single Parent FAQs: Summer holidays


Our advice and information team who work on our Lone Parent Helpline, webchat and Ask a Question feature, receive questions from single parents around Scotland every day.

Our new feature – Single Parent FAQs – on our newsletter and blog spotlights Frequently Asked Questions on a different topic each month.

At this time of year we are receiving many enquiries from parent’s about what’s available on a budget for family activities to try over the summer.

Take a look at the FAQ's

I am struggling to find activities to keep my children entertained during the holidays, is there any resources available to help me?

We have put together a resource with some budget family activities to try over the summer. These are simple ideas to help spark a bit of fun with little expense.

OPFS A-Z of Summer 2023

I have a disabled child and find the summer holidays to be a stressful time without a routine and activities, is there any help available?

You are not alone. There are 1.1 million disabled children in the UK and many families struggle to find or fund care in the holidays. A lack of routine is difficult for most families but for disabled parents and carers it can be extremely difficult.

You may be eligible for a grant from Take a Break is Scotland. Their short break grant scheme is open to parent carers (unpaid carers and eligible kinship carers) of disabled children and young people, aged 0-20 who have complex additional support needs.

This aim of the scheme is to improve unpaid carers’ quality of life, health, and wellbeing by providing cash grants to help them access a short break from the day-to-day routine of caring. Take a Break grants can be used flexibly, this is to help meet the interests and circumstances of the carer.

Participating in activities can be more difficult for a child with SEN or a disability. Many activity centres recognise this and run sessions designed for children and carers:

Inflatanation run autism and disability friendly sessions where parent/carers can participate free.

FlipOut Trampoline parks run ASD and disability friendly sessions with dimmed lighting and no music.

The Yard The Yard is a purpose built indoor and outdoor adventure playground for children and young people with disabilities. The Yard offers disabled children and young people, and their siblings, the chance to experience creative, adventurous indoor and outdoor play in a well-supported environment.

Lothian Disability Sports – Has information on accessible Edinburgh disability sports groups for children and adults with various kinds of disabilities.

Gravity Trampoline parks run SEN sessions in Edinburgh and Glasgow. During SEN sessions, the whole park and its facilities are made exclusively available to members of recognised disabled groups and societies and caters for a wide range of disabilities. Carers get in for free during the session.

Dundee Disabled Children’s Association – Are a local independent charity providing activities and support for children and young people with learning and/or physical disabilities and their families.

I am struggling with keeping my teens occupied during the summer, everything seems to be aimed at younger children?

It can be difficult to entertain teens during the summer, especially if you have a mix of ages in your household. Parent Club Scotland have some great ideas to help keep teens entertained. Summer is a great time for teens to practice life skills such as cooking.

You could start to involve them in tasks that require more responsibility, such as shopping, meeting friends on their own and helping around the house? It’s never too early to hone those DIY skills!

Ultimately though, be kind to yourself and your teen. Summer holidays come with so many unrealistic expectations for both parents and children. It is a chance to relax and wind down from routines of school and college and enjoy doing things that make you (and your teen) content!

Days out and activities are expensive, is there anything I can do that isn’t going to cost a fortune?

Days out can be expensive. There are a few things that might help. Taking lunch and drinks with you is one way to cut down on extra expenses. Some places can be strict about you bringing your own food, but many places have areas where you can eat packed lunches and picnics.

Scotrail are running their ‘Kids for a quid’ offer which allows up to 4 kids to travel for £1 return each with an adult ticket purchased.

Museums are a great day out and many are free entry Free Entry Museums Scotland.

Free things to do Dundee

Free attractions in Glasgow

Free attractions Edinburgh

The most important thing to remember is that summer is a stressful time for many parents. Be kind to yourself and recognise that children get more out of quality time spent with their family than any fancy holiday.

Being open and honest with children about their expectations during the summer may help, and you might find that they are just as happy trying out some of our budget friendly summer activities!

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