Summer is in full swing, and likely your sweet kiddos are around a lot more than they were during the school year!
Even if you homeschool like me, summer has way more of a laid-back, restful feel than the hustle of the school year.
I know it can feel totally overwhelming to have to do all of the things for all of the little people all. day. long. I totally get it, and I’m right there in the thick of it with you.
But, my hope and heart for you this summer, mama, is to make it to the end of the summer season having not just survived, but having ENJOYED your time with your kids at home.
I can’t wait to talk about today’s topic, which is how to survive summer break with your kids at home. These are tips that you can take and things you can do to make it easier on yourself, more enjoyable for your kids, and actually be able to get some work done in the process.
Tip # 1: Get into the Right Mindset
If you follow along, you know that I homeschool my children. I’ve been using this tip since we began our homeschool journey, and since I’m with my kids so much during the day.
It’s important you first believe that you can handle this. You have to consistently feed yourself positive mantras on a daily basis. If you don’t believe that you can handle it, you won’t, and things are going to be very difficult for you.
Try using these mantras as examples, and repeat them over and over again:
- I can do hard things.
- I enjoy being around my kids.
- I love being able to spend more time with my kids.
- I can’t wait to see my kids wake up in the morning.
- I can’t wait to snuggle my kids.
- I can’t wait to read to my kids.
- I love my kids.
The more positive affirmations you give your brain, the more your brain will search for evidence to support that. Focus on the positive and the things that you love about your children and the things that you can accomplish.
Tip # 2: Embrace the Suck
We all know there are going to be hard times when you have your kids at home with you; it’s inevitable! But think ahead and brainstorm some potential roadblocks that you may run into. Either think about them before they happen or as soon as they start to happen.
Whatever the roadblock or distraction is, make an actual note of it and write it down. Use tools out there like Asana or Trello to organize your lists and add solutions to that list.
I have a resource that you can download it over at thepurposegathering.com/brainstorm if you need a template to help your kids make lists of things they can do when they feel bored. Direct them to that brainstorm list and let them tell you what they’re going to do from the list. This sheet really empowers your children to take ownership of their boredom.
I have some words of wisdom for you that will help you survive school breaks and that is… DON’T WING IT! Simple I know, but if you just wing it and see what happens, you’re going to be overwhelmed and annoyed. So this leads me to the next tip.
Tip # 3: Create a Flexible Plan and Implement Boundaries
Think about when your work blocks are going to be, your ideal week, and what that looks like to you. If you’re struggling with this, you won’t want to miss next week’s episode where I chat about 3 Simple Steps to Plan Your Week like a CEO. This episode will help map out your availability and categorize your tasks based on focus. In that episode, I also walk you through how to group your days and how to implement time blocks.
It’s important that you have boundaries, especially a wake-up boundary. The wake-up boundary is basically saying your kids can wake up whenever they want to, but they can’t really be reliant on you until a certain time. This will be different for younger kids and babies of course, but for kids two years and older this boundary is crucial.
I have a quiet time boundary since my kids have stopped napping. Even if you haven’t done this in the past, and you have kids that are a little bit older , you can still implement this quiet time or as I call it self-care time. This period of time is the time kids spend in lieu of a nap, so like an hour to an hour and a half. Determine what works for you and your family. You might need to start with smaller, quiet time boundaries and work your way up. I recommend that you also create a quiet time box that has activities, books or coloring books that must only be used during quiet time that will keep your kids entertained.
Also, it’s important to teach your children to ask ‘when would be a good time?’, instead of ‘can I?’ This is one that I hear all the time that’s so annoying with parents. Mommy, can I have a snack? Mommy, can I watch TV? Can I do this? Can I do that? So teach your children to ask when would be a good time, and then have some sort of boundary around that. The star system that I implemented allows my kids to earn screen time only with those stars that they earn by showing respect and responsibility.
Now I do know a lot of parents are more lenient during the summertime, but I would caution you to not be as lenient with those screens because we want our children to be able to battle boredom. And when they turn to screens, that’s not really teaching them effective ways to battle boredom. Episode 39: Battling Screen Addiction with Tessa Stuckey speaks about screen time and screen addiction.
Once you agree on these boundaries with your kids (e.g. wake-up, screen-time, quiet time) post them somewhere in your house so that they’re visible and your children can start to see and recognize them.
Also in making your plan, create themed days and activities for your children to look forward to. For example, we made Wednesdays a ‘pool day’. My kids know they need to get all their stuff done in order for us to go to the pool. Create a flexible plan where your kids know what’s happening, but you can still change and shift things as needed.
Tip # 4: Map Out Your Childcare Plan
I do believe that everyone needs a childcare plan because this is one of the biggest reasons why we struggle having our kids home. All parents need breaks, and when they’re home from school we don’t get a break. So think about some different creative options here for childcare, like a co-working play date. If your kids are older, you can connect with a friend that also has a business and your kids play together while you get some work done. Or perhaps you could invite over friends to play with your kids, and while you get some dedicated work time.
For those of you who have younger kids, you could hire a mother’s helper. This is someone who is younger and maybe is between the ages of nine to 13, and they would just hang out with your kids and play with them. You could also hire one of your older siblings to babysit your younger siblings. This is a great way to teach them responsibility and to help them earn some extra money. You could trade babysitting with a friend or pay a fellow mama in your neighborhood or someone that lives nearby to watch your kids.
The next thing that’s super creative is just taking your kids to somewhere like a splash pad, so you can get some work done. They could play there for an hour and a half, and you can use the local Wi-Fi to get work done. So there are so many different creative ways for you to have childcare, whether you are able to pay for it or not. Remember you have to prioritize your self-care.
So let’s do a quick recap:
- Get in the right mindset and think positively about your situation. Everything will feel so much more manageable.
- Embrace the suck. Brainstorm those potential roadblocks and come up with solutions.
- Create a flexible plan and implement boundaries and actually stick to those boundaries.
- Map out your childcare plan. Figure out how you’re going to have some focused work time during these school breaks.
I hope that you found these tips helpful and that you will take some of them to heart and put them into action.
It is so incredibly possible for you to not only just survive these school breaks, but to actually enjoy them with your children.
And as always mama, I am here rooting for you, and you are not alone on this journey.
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