Balancing Work and the Kids When Schools Have Winter Break

Ten Things to Do When Henry County, Spalding County, and Butts County Have Winter Break Next Week

By Jennifer Sheran, publisher Macaroni Kid McDonough, Stockbridge, Hampton, Locust Grove February 16, 2022

The week of February 21 brings winter break for students in Henry, Butts, and Spalding county schools. This means some schedule rearranging is needed for many of us who have dual income families or are single parents. While breaks like these provide students and teachers with more time off of academics, they require parents to figure out how to balance work and taking care of the kids. This school calendar structure results in shorter summers and more frequent schedule interruptions for families and also has significant financial implications. Taking time off to be with the kids, or taking on fewer projects in a month with a long school break to be able to focus on the kids, mean less money coming in. There may also be added expenses for childcare and activities to keep the kids busy during these breaks.

I work from home so when my kids (11 and 13) are off school for a week I can expect a lot more noise and distractions. At even given moment, one or both children will be hungry, bored, mad at the other sibling, or have something "urgent" to show me and tell me all day long for all five days. You know what I am saying!

Fortunately, I am an entrepreneur so I have more control over my schedule than if I worked a 9-to-5 for someone else. I am the publisher for Macaroni KID McDonough and the owner of Sheran Communications providing marketing communications, copywriting, and public relations services to clients who have needs and deadlines even when school breaks come. This is my first year in a school system with these extra breaks and shorter summers. During fall break, I intended to take time off and spend it with the kids but was unable to arrange it. My stress and anxiety level rose as I tried to meet deadlines while feeling guilty that I wasn't paying attention to the kids and making their break fun. 

There are so many two parent working households and single working parents who have an even more difficult time managing weeklong breaks throughout the year beyond the times when companies typically would expect parents to take time away or have built in holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not everyone can plan vacation weeks around this many breaks (a week off every other month in the school year). I asked some local moms how they handle balancing work and the kids for the breaks. One shared a meme of a person working on a computer at home with the house on fire around her with the words "I'm fine." Enough said. 

Some parents plan time off, some take the younger kids to daycares that are open and have programs, and some send kids to local camps for the break, while others try to balance it all. As it is so often in parenting, we do what we can, with what we have, where we are.

For our family, I plan to balance work and together time during this winter break by working mornings and taking afternoons to do something with the kids. My two younger children are  a tween and a young teen, so they need less constant attention and structure. However, my youngest, who has Down syndrome, does need constant supervision and thrives much better when he has planned activities. If he sits in front of the TV, he will eat all day long. 

I researched some options for the things to do on winter break and learned it takes some effort and a lot of digging to find local businesses and community centers that are offering Winter Break camps or discounts. We will take advantage of discounts and enjoy an active indoor play center one afternoon

Ten Things to Do During Winter Break

  • Enroll the kids in a Winter Break Camp. Henry County Parks and Recreation has a day camp for $125 residents and $150 nonresidents. Registration is open now at You can find more information by calling 770-288-7300. I was unable to find a camp in Butts or Spalding County. Check your local church for camps as well.  
  • Spark Creativity. Party-By-Design is offering painting M-F from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm for $35 per day and sells kits to do at home. We are excited to do our at-home paint kits. Several local libraries also have several craft kits you can pick up or create at the library. Handprint Love Gnome to Go Craft - Locust Grove, Teen Drop in Make and Take Crafts - Locust Grove
  • Visit an Indoor Play Center. Starlight Family Fun Center has skate and play specials all week long (see below). Pin Strikes Stockbridge is a great family fun center with bowling, an arcade, VR, and Laser tag.
  • Get some Fresh Air. Noah's Ark is open and it can be a fun break to visit the animals and our local parks offer a couple hours of fun and exercise.
  • Catch some Air. Take the kids for a play session at Sky Zone or Urban Air. They can get out some extra energy and they offer free WIFI for those who need to get some work done.
  • Plan At Home Activities. Check out these indoor boredom busters for ideas to keep boredom at bay. (BONUS! This article has ten more activities!)
  • Take Advantage of Attraction Memberships. We have a membership to Zoo Atlanta so if the weather is good we will head into the city on one day.
  • Go on a Hike. Guided Hike at Panola Mountain
  • Take the kids ice skating. Ice Days Outdoor Skating Rink in Covington and Ice Days Outdoor Skating Rink in Conyers every day.
  • Clean out the book shelves. Have the kids sort out the books they've outgrown and donate them to the Literacy Book Drive Feb. 9-22 with several local drop off locations.