Your home-based business has taken off this year. You love the work-life balance you’ve achieved during the school year.
Then summer hits, and the kids are home for six weeks. They’re spending a lot more time in and out of the house. The constantly banging doors can undoubtedly attest to it. Stay sane working from home with kids this summer with these tips.
1. Develop a summertime plan to work at home with kids
Summer disrupts the time working mums typically have while the young ones are in school. And paying for child care isn’t always an option. It’s essential to have a summertime-specific plan that acknowledges the unique challenges and stress.
Yes, you can work and keep kids of all ages happy at the same time.
2. Set clear priorities to stay sane when you’re working from home with the kids this summer
Mum’s guilt is a natural productivity killer. This constant mental battle makes you feel like there’s less time in the day than there is. And honestly, you will have less time for work and personal life.
Many feel torn between summertime fun activities with mum or getting work done. You want your sweet babies to feel loved and valued. But working makes money and ensures they have a roof over their heads.
When working at home with school-aged kids, work-life balance is vital. When you make time for family and work, everyone benefits. The summer break is an opportunity to spend extra time with them that you don’t have when they’re in school.
As parents, make time to do things together, like:
- Lunch hour
- Cooking dinner
- Engaging in fun activities as a family
- Household chores
- Family vacation
Now, the work-from-home parent can feel guilt-free when dedicating time to work.
3. Establish healthy boundaries
This isn’t something you can learn or teach overnight. But it’s crucial to retain your sanity. If you give to others all the time, you’ll deplete your own resources and ability to provide.
Have boundaries with everyone in your life:
- Little ones
Communicate with your offspring. You will not stop working to settle a sibling dispute or a toy when you’re on the job. And you expect your teenager to respect the screentime boundaries you’ve agreed to. They must work it out (depending on the kid’s age or kids).
The same goes for family time. You will not be pulled back into work when working with a boss or clients, except in extreme situations. And if you’re being asked to put out many fires while off the clock, then it’s time to re-affirm boundaries in your work relationships.
4. Don’t multi-task
For many decades, society told us we could do it all and all at once. Perhaps you’ve bought into this while building a home-based business.
Science doesn’t agree with multi-tasking’s popularity. You may already realize the hours you spend multi-tasking are very unproductive and leave you wondering what you got done today.
To stay sane working from home with kids this summer, you’ll need to:
- Set some boundaries.
- Schedule your time so you can focus on one thing.
- Avoid switching between tasks (including social media feeds) when trying to work.
Of course, this is easier said than done when the kids are out for the summer, which is why your summer work-at-home with kids plan is so important.
5. Teach kids to play creatively
This is one of our favourite tips. It encourages kids to entertain themselves rather than expecting others always to give them something to do.
Playing independently is an important skill, but it looks different at each age.
Babies can enjoy time spent rolling around on a floor mat or play pin next to your kitchen table workspace without you needing to hold them all the time. This works well even if you create your home office in a small space.
Toddlers need lots to play with. Keeping many toys in a dedicated space can free your mind from worrying about what they’re playing with. When they try to show you something, redirect them back to independently entertaining themselves.
Young ones can reach and find things to do when left to their own devices all week. Older kids may stay outside with friends and “see the world”, coming in only for water and food. Talk with them about going into other rooms or outside to stay busy while you finish your work.
6. Buy age-appropriate learning toys
Children who play without guidance a lot can easily find things to do that are free. But some kids need more direction because they don’t creatively gravitate toward kids’ activities.
This can wreak havoc on your work time.
While extra cost is involved, you can plan for summer by purchasing a learning technology game for each child. We hope it’s a quiet one!
This game serves a dual purpose. It keeps them engaged in learning during the school break. Technology can also keep a child playing a quiet time activity for quite a while.
Since you are concerned about screen time, you’ll want to have other none-screen activities, but having a learning technology in your summer working mom toolbox.
As far as your daily schedule goes, make that conference call and video align with nap times and other long periods of quiet when the children stay engaged with their quiet learning technology.
8. Make outdoor play easier with strip curtains, etc.
When encouraging older children to play outside, they’ll undoubtedly come in and out. It’s what they do. They’re opening doors wide—letting all those summertime flies inside to buzz around you while you try to work, not to mention the hot air.
Here are some ideas to make working and living with this less of a stress.
Set up a water station outside and talk to them about getting what they need before going out. When they do need to come in, strip doors effectively reduce the insects that get through the open door.
Some final thoughts
Summertime presents unique challenges for work from home parents. You need a clear plan to survive with your sanity. But with some minor changes, you can stay sane working from home with kids this summer.