Summer Holidays: The Kids Are Home … Now What Do I Do?!
Summer has arrived and with it, the end of the school year. Working from home is a bittersweet experience for most – you have the opportunity to create your own schedule which allows for more flexibility and offers the family unit more quality time together. The thing is, one of the greatest obstacles to work-from-home parents is that you have to create your own schedule, be flexible and make the effort to schedule quality time with family. See where I’m going with this?
Throw in the wrench of kids being home for their summer holidays and THEN WHAT?! I personally love when my kids are home for summer holidays – I enjoy not having to pack lunches, snacks and books every day and I love the more relaxed pace of the summer season and all the fun we get to have together in and outside. I also despise leaving my home in the dead of winter, so summer is a win-win for me … usually.
Now I have to balance working from home and caring for and enjoying my children – something quite new to me as I’ve always either stayed home with them or worked out of the home. This whole work-from-home thing is new to me and having the kids home while I try to knock tasks off my to-do list is a whole other ballgame.
So today I share with you some tips – particularly ones from work-at-home moms (since that’s where my research took me) but many of these tips can apply to any parent who works from home and is struggling to find balance between at-home work and summertime fun with family.
Short of laughing at me when I posed the question “How do you organize/balance your work/family time in the summer months?”, the moms in my online work-from-home support group had a variety of great ideas to share:
- Hire a babysitter to come once or twice a week to entertain kids while you work and subsequently free up your evenings a bit (because, let’s face it, most work-at-home-parents get most of their work done after the kids are in bed!).
- Schedule your days and do your best to stick to the plan (which includes scheduling down time with the kids as well as “escape time” to allow yourself time to recharge).
- Design an “outdoor office” that can allow you to get work done in the backyard while your kids play outside.
- Purchase a mobile internet connection (like a Rocket Stick) to allow you to frequent various parks, splash pads, playgrounds and stay connected online and get your work done.
- Sign your kids up for various summer camp programs throughout the summer months to help them keep happy and engaged and also give you some focused work time.
Other ideas I stumbled upon in my online travels included:
- Get the kids involved – if your at-home business is one that requires simple tasks like sorting, licking/stamping envelopes, and other simple tasks, including your children can be a great way to spend time together and show them the unique work-from-home lifestyle.
- Swapping childcare with another work-from-home parent – they work one day while you watch all the kids, you work one day while they watch all the kids – a win-win for everyone!
- Create a “Busy Basket” full of quick-grab crafts and activities for your kids when your work demands your attention.
- Create a “they work while you work” time slot in your schedule for summertime independent schooling activities. Everyone works on their stuff at the same time. (workbooks, reading, writing, etc.)
Honestly, networking with other work-from-home parents has been the best thing for me while I adjust to this new lifestyle. Sharing survival tips and experiences helps us all vent and shape our approach to how we balance work/family. I know this will forever be a work-in-progress as long as I choose to continue working from home, which relieves and frustrates me at the same time!
What tips/tricks do you have for dealing with kids at home over the summer months?
How do you still get all your work done with them around? How do you organize/balance your time?