It’s that time again: school’s out, the kids are off, but you’re not. The summer juggle can be a very real struggle for parents. The steady routine of school is over and the endless weeks of summer stretch out ahead.
When my kids were young, I worked from home and I taught a class at the local community college in the evening. During the day, I traded babysitting with my neighbor. I would watch her kids while she worked and vice versa. This was a great solution for both of us and the kids as well, because the kids enjoyed their playtime together. If you can’t trade hours with a neighbor or a friend, another solution is to hire a high school or college student in your home. You may be able to find flexible daycare options with local centers or caregivers.
If you work from home, another creative option is to allow your kid/s to work with you. Every day, assign your kid/s some work tasks that they can complete on their own. This is also great for chores around the house--your kid/s can do their work while you do yours.
Summer is a great time for children to spend time with grandparents and other extended family members. Arrange for a day, a weekend visit or longer. When my kids were older, they truly enjoyed spending time at the lake house with my parents. They also spent weekends with my husband’s parents. This gave the two of us precious time together and helped our marriage.
Of course, it's all too easy to book up the summer with sports, camps, and all kinds of lessons. Keep in mind, a busy schedule can create stress, despite the intention to alleviate boredom by keeping kids occupied. It's perfectly okay for kids to have unstructured time. This encourages creativity and problem solving skills.
A wonderful way to connect and spend time with your child/ren is to do something fun together. Create new art. Try an activity you've never done before. Attend a community event. Volunteer for a non-profit organization. Learn a new skill together.
There's a shift of energy that comes with summer. It's a great time to slow down and create memories as a family. Cherish the down time of summer--because you only get 18 of them to spend together before they officially become adults!