It’s hard for kids to understand the concept that ‘mommy or daddy has to work,’ especially in the summertime when fun is supposed to rule. Of course you can attempt to get everything done early in the morning or late at night while they sleep, but that doesn’t always work out. I’m often asked how I work from home while caring for my own five children, as well as having extra kids over during the summer. Here are a few of my own ideas for making summer work for everyone!
1. Trade care. My next door neighbor’s kid often knocks at my door to play while his dad is making work telephone calls from his own home. I’m a proofer/writer, so I can be interrupted and don’t need total silence, whereas his dad needs periods of absolute quiet to conduct his business. Believe it or not, tossing his kid into the mix often helps me out because now my kids have someone new to play with! If I take his kid a few days a week, he often reciprocates by watching my kids for a few hours on the weekend. If you have family who enjoys taking your child for a few hours and have a kid who can detach easily, take advantage of this!
2. Keep ‘em occupied. Google ‘indoor activities for kids’ when it’s super hot outside. Here’s one: Let them do a carpet picnic for lunch in front of the TV, and they’ll be happy for an hour! Perler beads are a great distraction, and same for fort-building. And if they are dying to get outside, just go mobile and take your laptop outside so you can supervise their fun while you get something done. It’s also a treat for the kids and work time for you if you take them to an indoor restaurant with a play place!
Keep that Kitchen Stocked! Also keep easy food choices stocked so the kids can fend for themselves for snacks and drinks. Juice pouches rock, as do granola bars, cut-up fruit, nuts, cheese slices and those crustless PB & Js.
3. Wear ‘em out. Get a bunch of work done in the morning, then take them out to the pool, a park, a nature centre, the zoo - anywhere for a few hours. They’ll be nice and tired when they get home and maybe you can even get them to take naps! I’ve never had luck with that, so I turn on a movie or some educational TV and let them watch while I get a nice hour of uninterrupted work time.
4. Teach them. I’m talking about chores here. There’s no reason you should be working a job and doing everything at home when the kids get to live there, eat there, sleep there and benefit in other ways from your income (or maybe you are just working to make ends meet, in which case the kids need to understand that too). Teaching them how to do basic tasks and using a chore chart is going to save you a lot of time. It’s up to you if you want to give them an allowance.
5. Find other WAHPs (Work-at-Home Parents). Find other WAHPs in your area using a safe tool like www.meetup.com and you can do an Adult Working Playdate!
So… did you notice the part where I said to get out of the house and take them somewhere? This means a break for you. You can’t work 16 hours a day, people! It’s not healthy! Set your goal for the day, knock it out and head out, and don’t check that blasted cell phone. This is time for the kids only!
Kerrie is the home-schooling, work-at-home mom of five kidlets and also hunts for time to blog about it at Make Money From Home, www.getpublishedparentingmags.com.
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