Many work from home parents dread the summer holidays. Not only is it the worry about how to effectively juggle your workload and your kids, there’s also the stress around coming up with ideas to keep them occupied. If you read last week’s article, you’ll know that opting for a work-life integration is a great way to solve the worry about juggling workload and personal life.
But you’re still left with the additional stress of having the kids around during a long school holiday. Not only do you need to keep your focus and save your sanity, you also need to keep them occupied!
Here’s my 10 tips for helping you to survive the summer holidays.
#1: Give yourself permission
This is something I am always sharing with the VAs I mentor – give yourself permission to take time away from your work. You started your business so you could be the CEO of your own business, not because you wanted to be an employee in a job. If you’re feeling guilty for ‘playing hooky, you’re in an employee mindset. As the CEO, you can work whatever hours or days you like – it’s YOUR business.
#2: Be clear on your priorities
What do you want to achieve, during these holidays? For many of us, we want to spend time with our kids during the holidays, so our priorities and to-do lists need to reduce to match our reduced working days and hours. Maybe you’re looking to work on a specific project or create a new course? If so, when will you be focusing on it and will you be mixing this in with other work goals and projects? Whatever you want to achieve and however many days or hours a week you want to work, get clear on those priorities.
#3: Share your priorities with your family
It’s important that you let your family know what your working hours are during the summer holidays. If your kids are old enough to understand, let them know when your working days are – as well as what days you’re looking to spend with them.
#4: Find out what your kids want to do
The summer holidays signifies fun to your kids, so make it fun for them! I’m guessing you work from home because you want to spend time with them – and they’re looking to spend time with you. It can be nice to ask your children what they want to do during the holidays, rather than planning everything for them. What do they want to do in your free afternoons? Where do they want to go for day trips? This can be a good task to give them, whilst you’re getting some work done – so why not make it a weekly task for them?
#5: Negotiate with your kids
If you need your kids to be quiet, whilst you get work done, bribery always works, negotiate with them. For example, if they play quietly whilst you’re on a webinar, you’ll take them to the skate park or let them have an hour on the Xbox. (My boys get bribed with IPad time!) They can also complete simple household tasks to help free up your time. Remind them that, if they help you – like unloading the dishwasher and putting on the washing machine, or simply pick up after themselves and tidy their room – it enables you to spend even more time with them.
#6: Have copies of local timetables
Whether it’s for the local swimming pool, the soft play area or the local bus, knowing the running times and opening hours of the things you need, will help save your sanity. Check out what holiday sessions your local community resources are putting on. Libraries, leisure centres, nature centres and even churches, tend to put on crafty activities for kids during the summer. Having the physical timetables for all the facilities available in your area, can come in handy, if you’re looking for inspiration – failing that, bookmark them on your laptop!
#7: Start a boredom jar for the summer holidays
I recently saw this in an article over on The Telegraph’s website and thought it was great! Give your kids lots of small strips of paper to write down ideas of things they can do at home when they’re bored. You then fold the pieces of paper in half and fill a glass jar with them. Next time they say they’re bored, they have to take a piece of paper out of the jar and do whatever is written down. It can be anything, from playing with a certain toy right through to reading a book or tidying their room. The only rule – they have to do that task.
#8: Take it in shifts
Plan how you and your partner can take it in turns to occupy the kids. Not only does this help you each have quality time alone with the kids, it also gives you space to get some work done.
#9: Rope in other family members to help
Grandparents are usually eager to spend some time with the grandchildren, so why not get them to help out? Your kids get to spend quality time with their grandparents, whilst you can have a breather on your own or with your partner.
#10: Holiday clubs
Sports centres and schools tend to have holiday clubs running during the summer. Many will have daily and weekly rates, making it an affordable option for a one-off treat or the odd week. Unfortunately mine absolutely refuse to do holiday clubs and so I make use of the other 9 tips but hey you need just one to make life easier!
Hopefully the above ten tips will help save your sanity during the summer holidays, whilst also helping keep the kids occupied. The key here is to give yourself permission to be a CEO and spend time with them – but to also plan in things to do with the kids, to keep them occupied. If you’re looking for inspiration on activities, check out the 100+ ideas for kids activities, over on the Money Saving Expert website! Or check out my new board on Pinterest all about activities to keep the children entertained while you work.
What coping mechanisms do you use, to get through the summer holidays? Why not share your best tips and advice, in the comments box below.