It’s summer time (summer summer summerTIME)! If you are trying to figure out how you’re going to juggle work and kids at home this summer, this post is for you!
Summer time is one of my FAVORITE seasons of the year because I love lemonade and fireflies and extra daylight and lots of laid-back quality time with family and friends.
However, as a homeschool mom who works from home, I can easily find myself in a bit of a juggling act between managing work tasks, keeping the kids engaged without turning them into screen zombies, and try to be present with my family.
Here are a few steps I’m taking to plan a great summer for our whole family.
Watch the video below, or keep scrolling to read the post.
STEP 1: CREATE A SUMMER BUCKET LIST
Ask yourself this question: what is one thing that would make this summer a good summer for you?
For me, it’s a beach trip. The beach is my HAPPY PLACE! I don’t need a whole week (although I love my week-long trips). A day trip is enough for me.
Now that you have your “one thing,” ask each person in your family the same question–what’s one thing you’d like to do this summer? It could be a one-time thing, like a vacation. It could also be something you can do on a weekly or semi-weekly basis, like a playdate or a trip to the library. Add all your suggestions to your summer bucket list.
If you have a paper planner, I have a bucket list printable that will fit perfectly into your planner. You can download it here.
STEP 2: TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR TIME
Now that we have our summer bucket list, we can decide when we’re going to do all of these amazing things.
What does your work schedule look like? Is it fixed or flexible?
I have a very flexible schedule, so I am able to do most of my work in the morning hours before my kids wake up (and when my brain is most awake) so I can be more present with them during the day. Sometimes I work after my little ones are in bed for the evening.
You can add your work hours into a digital calendar (such as Google calendar or iCal) or write them into your paper planner. I have a weekly schedule printable that will work great for this—download it here.
STEP 3: CREATE YOUR SUMMER RHYTHM
Now that we have your schedule together, let’s sprinkle some fun on it.
What are some things outside of your house that would be nice to do whenever you could fit them in?
There are tons of in-person and virtual camps you can get your kids involved in. If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of other ways to engage your kids. We like to visit the library, the park, and the pool. Those are pretty low-key things we can fit into our week, once a week or so. They are also things I can put on auto-repeat on my calendar to create something of a routine–something to look forward to.
Consider your season and your capacity when creating summer plans.
My summers looked very different when I had a baby, a toddler, and two older kids than they do now with all four kids out of diapers and potty-trained. My capacity was different when I was pregnant during the summer. I had to work with my energy levels. My capacity is different now that I’m working from home.
Maybe you have a chronic illness. Maybe you are taking care of elderly parents. Maybe you are moving. Maybe these crazy gas prices mean you’re spending less time in the car.
All of these things effect your capacity, which is going to effect how you spend your day, so give yourself grace. The key here is to make it work for YOU.
Planning your summer can seem like a gigantic overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be.
You don’t have to plan the entire summer at one time. You definitely could if that works best for you.
However, if you’re more of a “go with the flow” type of person, you could plan for the next 2 to 4 weeks, take a minute to evaluate how things are going, and then change things up if you want to. This is all about what works for you—you set the tone, you get to decide.
Now that we’ve come up with a solid summer plan, here are a couple of ideas around how you can manage two of the biggest issues for those who are working from home with kids at home in the summer time—screen time and boredom.
HOW TO MANAGE SCREEN TIME
If you’re a parent, screen time is probably on your mind somewhere—you probably want to know how to help your kids develop a healthy relationship with screen time.
How do we manage it, how do we set boundaries, how do we keep our precious children from zoning out and their brilliant minds from turning to mush?
Before we get to limits, let’s take a moment to define “screen time.” It seems that, when most people talk about “screen time,” they are referring to TV shows, YouTube videos, video games, and phone games—and it seems that people consider these things to be unproductive and not conducive to learning.
Don’t get me wrong–there is a plethora of mind-numbing content out there. However, technology is also a resource that can be used to learn lots of things. Learning happens all the time and cannot be confined to a particular timeframe or activity.
Before we delve into how to manage screen time for our kids, let’s talk about how we are managing our own screen time because, as parents, it starts with us.
Do you have a healthy relationship with technology? Let me be the first to admit that I have struggled in this area.
Screens are not a good or bad thing. Consider the age we’re living in—with the rapid advancement of technology and abundance of careers using tech, screens are likely in the future for most of our children.
Instead of avoiding screen time altogether—perhaps we could model balance, educate our children and empower them to use technology for good.
Moderation and balance are the name of the game when it comes to screens, and at the end of the day, you know your child.
Screen binging is a thing, and it’s usually about boredom – it’s like the fast food of entertainment – readily available, quick and easy. In a minute, we’ll talk about some ways to handle boredom.
So, in a nutshell, here’s what you can do to manage screen time:
1) Ask yourself–what do we want for our family when it comes to screens? For instance, my husband and I want our kids to spend most of their screen time creating and thinking critically, rather than mindlessly consuming content.
2) Set time-based boundaries by setting screen hours or alloting a screen time “budget.” You can curate the type of content and activities your kids engage in, because it’s your home, and you want to provide a safe space for your kids.
Let me know in the comments–How do you handle screen time at your house?
HOW TO DEAL WITH SUMMER BOREDOM
First off, there’s nothing wrong with a little boredom now and then. Our minds need regular rest.
However, boredom is not something you want to deal with on a constant basis, so here are some ideas to keep your kids engaged:
1) CREATE A BOREDOM BUSTER LIST
Help your kids generate a list of goals, ideas, and projects. Add in some of your own ideas. You can post your list somewhere it will be seen regularly, or you can cut slips of paper and put them a clear jar or a box. Whenever your kids confess boredom, have them choose an item off the list to do.
2) GIVE YOUR KIDS SOME CHORES
You can assign some of the house chores to your kids. Let them share the responsibility of managing your home, and set the expectation that everybody participates in taking care of the home because we’re all grateful for our home and want it to be a nice place to live.
This is something I’m personally working on. It starts with changing my language around housework. For instance, I may have been heard saying “I hate cleaning out the fridge.” But what if I said instead, “I’m making room for the food I’m grateful to have”?
How about I work on that and let you know how it goes. 😉
There is a cultural narrative going that it is all up to Mom, that Mom does all the housework things and Mom takes care of everything—but why? I’m not sure where this came from, but this mentality will set you on the fast track to burnout, and it cripples your children unnecessarily.
Your children—sons and daughters—will one day be renters, homeowners, roommates, and/or spouses. They’re not going to wake up one day and suddenly know how to take care of a home. Ask me how I know!
Help them be a blessing to others by teaching them life skills, all the while modeling gratitude, a sense of community, and consideration for others.
3) LET YOUR KIDS JOB SHADOW YOU
Is there any aspect of your work that your kids can help with?
This is a great opportunity to let them job shadow and learn about what you do. My kids help me film and edit videos, and they are the best at offering moral support. I know that not everyone has a job where this will be easy or even feasible, but I’ve found that when I share my work with my kids instead of trying to keep them out of it, they develop a respect for it. They give me space to focus when I need it, and it’s been a blast to hear some of their ideas too!
So–what are you looking forward to this summer? I’d love to know–leave a comment and let’s talk about it!