Opinion

Are you planning a ‘kids back to school’ blow-out?

Parents are taking a day-off on Monday to celebrate the end of home-schooling

Many children are heading back to school on Monday. It’s been a long time! And for parents it’s been a testing time as half-remembered lessons from when they were at school have had to be dredged up again to help children with their schoolwork.

So, if you are in this particular ‘boat’ do you have any plans to ‘celebrate’ the reopening of schools? It seems that quyite a few have with employers reporteding a spike in last-minute annual leave requests for Monday.

The Government has announced that all schools will be fully reopened as of Monday (March 8), meaning many parents will be getting their first break from homeschooling in months – and some, it seems, are planning to celebrate in style, booking an extra day off work to open a bottle or two to put a few Covid-induced cares behind them.

Protecting.co.uk, a health and safety expert, polled 1,500 parents to find out whether they were planning to celebrate the end of homeschooling – and more than a third said they definitely were.

Are you planning to have a drink to celebrate the end of homeschooling?

Yes – 35%

No – 40%

I wasn’t, but now I think it’s a good idea – 25%

Others seemed inspired by the idea, planning their own farewell to worksheets and supervising Zoom calls.

“My husband is taking the girls to school on Monday – being day-drunk at the school gates wouldn’t be a good look!” laughs Ellie, 34. “So I’m going to have a lie-in, then I’m going to meet my friend for a dog walk and a bottle of wine in the local park. It’s technically in the rules as it’s exercising!” Not sure that’s true, folks.

Brett, 37, agreed. “Honestly, after the past year, I feel like I deserve it. There are a few bottles already in the fridge for a socially-distant walk with a mate and I’m going to really enjoy getting to relax for the day without anyone asking me how to unmute a Zoom call.”

While the Government rules for the current lockdown do allow you to meet one other person from a different household for exercise, it also states that ‘you cannot leave home for recreational or leisure purposes (such as for a picnic or a social meeting)’ – putting parents’ boozy plans at risk of a £200 fine.

Protecting.co.uk has also warned that, while a celebratory glass of wine is perfectly safe, alcohol consumption has been rising during lockdown, with a quarter of UK adults reporting drinking more since the start of the pandemic.

Anna Edwards, a spokesperson for protecting.co.uk, cautioned: “We’ve no doubt parents will want to celebrate making it through the tough homeschooling period in one piece, and, hopefully, within the existing lockdown rules. But binge drinking carries many risks, especially combined with an increased alcohol intake overall, so we would warn parents to be aware of how much they’re quaffing – for men, five drinks over a two-hour period (and four for women) is considered binge drinking.”

Those planning a post-homeschool tipple without the health risks could try alternating between alcoholic drinks and water, spacing their drinks out over a longer period, and opting for lower-alcohol choices like beer or cider over spirits.

Protecting.co.uk has urged those who are concerned about their alcohol intake to contact their GP or call DrinkAware on 0300 123 1110.

Edwards continued: “It’s been a very trying 12 months for lots of people, and especially parents, who’ve had to juggle work, money worries, the isolation of lockdown, and homeschooling their children. We understand the desire to mark a positive step out of this period with a celebratory drink, and we raise a glass to all the parents out there ourselves! But, for those planning to take Monday to have a blowout, we urge you to do so safely – which should help you avoid a hangover during Tuesday’s Teams meetings, too!”

David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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