If you have children then you already know that summer is right around the corner. With long days, warm nights, beach trips, cookouts, and so much more to enjoy, it can be easy to forget all of the logistics necessary to keep everyone happy. So how do you balance the days when school gets out for the summer? Here are a few strategies to help you survive the transition:
- Plan Some Down Time
Step one is to plan some down time with the kids. Schedule days and events that you all can look forward to. When the girls were younger, one of our favorite things to do was to schedule afternoons at the local pool. I’d pack up my things and we would head to the pool. They were old enough to swim together or with friends while I relaxed or caught up on some reading. If I really needed to, I could even get some work done while still enjoying some sun.
We also enjoyed a few stay-cations to the museum or zoo. Now that they are older, planning an afternoon at the movies or grabbing lunch and doing some shopping is right up their alley and gives all of us something to look forward to.
You will likely need to readjust your schedule around your children now that they will be home during the day. For some, this may mean schedules are adjusted to work during early mornings or late nights. Establishing a schedule for breaks and meals will ensure that you allow time for checking in with the kids and gives you a chance to stretch your legs.
You may also want to create a daily schedule for your family. Define when you are working and be clear about when you need to focus on work, without interruption.
- Set Clear Boundaries
This is a great time to remind your clients and your family of your set business hours. By doing your best to stop working when your scheduled day ends, you reinforce your boundaries with clients while also creating consistency for your family and maintaining your priorities.
Be clear about when you will be working and what to expect for turnaround time on projects. Notify clients and team members of any scheduled time off as soon as you are aware of it. A great way to do this is with a team calendar. We use our Teamwork calendar to alert other team members to any scheduled vacations or out of office times.
For family, especially children, define when it is ok to interrupt. Define emergencies (this may vary depending on age.) and let them know they are free to ask any non-emergency questions during a scheduled break. Putting a sign on your office door can help let others know when you need extra quiet and are not to be interrupted.
- Consider Support
Sometimes it is just not possible to work, uninterrupted, from home with young children. It can be difficult for them to understand the boundaries necessary to be productive when all they want is to play or talk to you endlessly. When this is the case, it can be imperative to seek support. Consider sharing babysitting duties with a friend, alternating days to give you each some free time.
Hiring a mother’s helper or babysitter to watch the children in your own home can be a great way to gain that extra set of hands and give you peace of mind while you work. Summer camps and other programs offered in your town may be another option.
- Go With the Flow.
Sometimes you just have to go with the flow – understand that your children want and need your attention. Many of us went into business to have flexibility and to spend time with our children while they are young. Change your perspective; don’t think of it as an interruption, think of it as an opportunity. Work on strategies to find balance and don’t forget to enjoy your time with them while they are young!
With these strategies, creating a summer that will be both productive and enjoyable will be that much easier. Always remember to find your balance and to be patient while those around you also adjust.
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