During the summer, routines will change with children at home, especially if one or both parents are working from home. Parents must accommodate the children in their workday plans unless other family members or babysitters can look after them. Luckily, there are ways to work smarter and balance family life during the summer when children are out of school and they can’t help but look for things to do.
Here are five tips on successfully managing work and kids at home during the summer.
If possible, set up the workspace and define its boundaries. Whether it’s a desk, a second bedroom, or an apportioned office in the living room, keep all work-related matters in this space.
Boundaries are essential to maintain a good work-life balance. Parents should expect to be distracted more frequently, particularly in the summer, when kids can be easily bored. With a dedicated workspace, kids can be made aware of respecting boundaries. Setting up a specific play area or kids’ office can also keep children entertained and teach them the importance of their own space.
For kids, summertime is free time. Depending on their adolescent age interests, parents can either fill this free time with summer camps, dance lessons, or sports training. However, toddlers will need more time and attention. Sending them away to their grandparents may not be an ideal scenario.
If parents know their schedule ahead of time, it helps to block out chunks of focus time without worrying about the kids. These can be between 4 AM to 6 AM or 10 PM to 12 midnight. Making a to-do list also works, but usually, it can be overwhelming when the list gets too long. Blocking a calendar gives a sense of control as to what can be accomplished with the limited time and forces working parents to prioritize.
Despite all the planning, things can go wrong, and parents will break routines. Parents must set an achievable goal daily where doing one or two items per work day is enough to call it a productive day.
If working parents set their expectations too high, it will only lead to stress, and kids will not be better off. Fewer expectations mean fewer disappointments.
Why is summertime so important? Kids only have a few months of break from school, and summer is an excellent time to enjoy the outdoors and family interactions. Parents who dread summer might feel pressure to do well at work while keeping the kids busy, seeing it as a challenge rather than an opportunity.
Caring for children is a privilege, and having the time to do that is a blessing. Rather than looking forward to the end of summer so kids can go back to school, why not see every summer day as a cherished moment and celebrate milestones? After all, kids remember every summer that they enjoy.
The last tip is also the most important: seek help if needed or be someone who can provide it. Accepting defeat and being humble about parenting challenges while keeping a full-time job should be standard. From a boss’s perspective, being compassionate with employees who are parents of young kids can make a difference.
Working from home with children has become a new skill that parents have equipped themselves with, although not without costs. However, when help is offered, parents should take it with gratitude and understand that it’s only temporary.
Staying healthy and keeping family relationships should be a priority for any household, whether it’s a work environment for adults or a play environment for kids.