Parenting

Ep 68. Surviving School Breaks with Kids at Home

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I can’t wait to talk about today’s topic, which is how to survive school breaks 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.  But before we jump right into it, I wanted to take a minute and re-introduce myself in case you are a brand new visitor to the blog.

 My name is Ashley Freehan, and I am the founder of The Purpose Gathering. And I love coaching mama business owners through motherhood and growing their business and doing so without sacrificing their sanity or their family. I have a weekly podcast that airs each and every Wednesday that you can check out. I offer one-on-one coaching for mamas who need a little bit of extra support, accountability and hand-holding and mapping out specifics and finding clarity on their next steps. I am getting ready to launch a brand new group coaching program, specifically designed for mom photographers. So if you want to be the first to know when this launch is head over to thepurposegathering.com/photo, and that’ll add you to my list. You’ll also get specific photography content straight to your email as well.

So, let’s jump right into  today’s topic!

Tip # 1: Get into the Right Mindset

If you follow along, you’ll know I recently decided to homeschool my children. This has been an interesting end of the school year because it’s also the beginning of our homeschool journey. I’ve been using this tip for the past five days since my kids have been out of school.

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.

To help you stay in this mindset, regularly remind your kids what’s expected of them. Put in place a system that actually encourages your children to take ownership of their own behavior.

I did a podcast episode a while back, Episode 61 entitled  “My Incredibly Accidental Yet Effective Discipline Hack”. This episode explains the star system I use to encourage my children to take ownership of their behavior.

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 Trello to organize your lists and add solutions to that list.  

If you know your children are going to be bored, check out Episode 20: Teach your Kids how to Battle Boredom + Get Along.  This is the number one annoyance about having your kids home for the summer – they always claim to be bored. So you will be constantly hearing your kids say mommy, what do I do? I am bored! What do I do? I have to constantly remind them that being bored is not a bad thing, it’s actually good and it allows you to use your creativity and imagination.

I also 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, please check out Episode 50Plan 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 wakeup 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 off 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 Wednesday’s 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 would 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:

  1. Get in the right mindset and think positively about your situation. Everything will feel so much more manageable.
  2. Embrace the suck. Brainstorm those potential roadblocks and come up with solutions.
  3. Create a flexible plan and implement boundaries and actually stick to those boundaries.
  4. 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 today, 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.  If you enjoyed today’s post, share it with other mamas and tag me @thepurposegathering.

And as always mama, I am here rooting for you, and you are not alone on this journey.

Resources

Complementary Episodes

  • Episode 20: Teach your Kids how to Battle Boredom + Get Along
  • Episode 39: Battling Screen Addiction with Tessa Stuckey
  • Episode 50: Plan your Week like a CEO
  • Episode 61: My Incredibly Accidental Yet Effective Discipline Hack

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mams experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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