Summer break is almost here and although we are no strangers to long days and weeks at home with our kiddos, we still tend to be like a deer in headlights when it comes to planning our summers with our kiddos.
So, if you too are wondering what to do with your kids all summer, here are my 10 tips to make summer fun and productive. You will be sure to avoid endless hours of your kid’s screen time, plus you will actually be able to soak up the time off without losing momentum in your business.
Plan your summer to be lived with intention and it just might be the best summer you have had with your kiddos.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
All of us moms are trying to figure out what we are going to do with our kids all summer. Let’s just get to it. We are no strangers to our kids being home constantly while we are trying to get our work done. When we as work-from-home moms have to work during the summer now have to figure out what to do with our kids so we can get our work done.
What I want to talk about today is not just to work your life around your kids, but to actually go into summer with a really good idea and understanding of what this is going to look like. Summer vacation should be a time when your kids are happy, you are happy, your house is well-kept, and you can still have a lot of fun while you are still making progress or maintaining.
Where do you start?
Write down on a piece of paper the first day of summer and the last day of summer. Then look at how many weeks you have between. We are going to go with the standard 8 weeks for this. From there, map out any vacation time. We look at my husband’s vacation time, and then any other major commitments. Our family routine includes shared parenting time so we plan around that as well, then all the other holidays that need to be taken into account. We then looked at when the best time for us to take a vacation would be based on all of our circumstances. Then we mapped out our vacation times and went to the next layer.
We looked at the time available for vacations. When are we plugging in? We wrote out the vacations we wanted to do based on the budget we have and we filled in the trips we wanted to take. From there, go in and look at what weeks are left that are solid work weeks that you aren’t going to go on vacation. Maybe you have 5 or 6 weeks left where you know you are just sitting at home. That is the number we are going with. Then here are your options:
Plan around vacations
Look at what kind of budget you have and what kind of programs are available. We have vacation bible schools, boys and girls clubs, and summer camps, there are so many different things you can get your kids into. My mom was so stellar. She planned this stuff out probably in her little day planner. She would take me to these art programs, day programs, and all these fun things. There are so many options out there. A lot of it will depend on the budget. Hear me out, that is not your only option. Here is the other thing. Look into kid swaps. Contact your friends, people in your community, and people in your church.
Here is what we have done. Look at what resources you have in the summertime. Any family? Friends? If you don’t have those resources, you are going to be the one to come up with the activities. Sit down and ask your husband and kids what they want the summer to look like. For the 6 weeks that no vacations are planned, say the kids just want to hang out and have play dates. Ok, call your friends and pick out the dates and swap weeks for play dates. If they are old enough to choose their activities and when they say hang out, that means screen time, I want you to think of an activity they can do and you are going to set it up for them.
Have something to do every day
Create a summertime draw where there is a basket or a jar and you have things that they have to do. Every morning in your AM block, everyone is home and you draw an activity and everyone does the activity together. That includes you. It’s going to be something fun to do, you can all pitch in ideas of things you want in the jar and enjoy time together. This way, you will have breakfast together, everyone is going to have fun, you will have them clean it up and help you with lunch, eat, the house will go back to looking normal, and then they can go be on their merry way until dinner and you can have your work block.
Theme the weeks to guide you
I would suggest that every single week you know what you will be getting your kids into. Create a theme around it. Maybe the first week is water games, week two is a book theme, week three is the creative theme, then whatever your kids are into. Summertime in Arizona is so hot, my brain doesn’t go to any activities that aren’t indoors unless it’s pool time. You might have fun things you can do outside so you would have a theme for that.
After you have asked your kids what they want to do, you go into the next step where you are applying themes to either the entire week or a theme to each day of the week. Segment your day so each day has something. If you don’t have any resources, I would set a theme for the entire week so your brain doesn’t get exhausted. Being the only person managing every single day and having to go between a theme every day when you don’t have support can be over-exhausting. But that is up to you and what this looks like with your family.
Know how much you need to work
Find fun things in the community to take your kids to do and focus on all these activities in the morning block. The real kicker is you need to know how many hours a week you need to run your business. If you are just operating in this space where you are trying to work in the mom cracks of the day and you are operating off of a list constantly, you are doing a disservice to your potential and to your children. You aren’t really ever going to be present with them. If you don’t know how many hours you need in your business then you need to figure that out. If you need help figuring that out you can join The Systemize Your Life Academy to get the help! I would be more than happy to help you.
If you only need 15 hours a week to run your business, you can do 5-hour work blocks 3 days a week and you can spend the rest of your days focusing on your kids. There are so many different ways you can fill in the framework of what time blocking is for us work-from-home moms. There is no reason why your kids being home for summer should mess with that. You just need to sit down and put on your summertime glasses and look at it a little differently. Build something that works for your family.
“Summer vacation should be a time when your kids are happy, you are happy, your house is well-kept, and you can still have a lot of fun while you are still making progress or maintaining.”
Plan screen time
There is nothing wrong, we use screen time in our house. There are times in my work block the kids will sit with me and do their educational games, coloring, playing the piano, and other fun games that we put on there for them to play and we sit at the table together on our computers. Is that my first choice? No, it’s not but I do realize that my first choice is to be home and to be present with them most days of the week and I am doing that.
So what do you want this to look like? Do you want them to have 2 hours every day where they can have screen time and you set a certain time? Do you want one day or two days to be completely free play and they can have screen time as long as benchmarks have been met, chores have been done, or certain expectations have been met? What do you want this to look like? That is all that is going to matter.
Systemize your summer!
You need to create a system for your summer. I think that you have to begin to understand how to utilize systems in every area of your life. When it feels like there is too much for you to tackle, you can approach it in a systematic way so your brain can thrive and not be overwhelmed. When you start chunking and grouping, look at what you are working with and create that system. I’m sure you have great ideas and know a lot of things that your kids would love to get into for the summer.
There is so much potential. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Being able to have a system for your summer will make you stop and realize you may not have as much time with your kids as you actually want. Now you can flip the script and get excited to spend this time with your kiddos.
I challenge you to come up with your own system and pop it into the Facebook group. I want to see what systems you come up with for the summer because I know they are going to be awesome! Take a screenshot and share it! You can also come to check out The Systemize Your Life Academy to get all the help you need for creating these systems for summertime.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I adjust my schedule to help plan for myself?
I have so many resources for managing your schedule to make your goals a priority! The best place to start is my FREE Time Blocking Workbook. In the Time Blocking workbook, you can learn the basics of time blocking for work-from-home moms, build the right time blocks for your schedule, and practice your first try at time blocking on paper! Stay strong mama, we’re all rooting for you!