How to Balance Summer Break and Working at Home

Today is the first day of summer break and I am so excited for lazy afternoons by the pool, entire weekends spent soaking up the sun at the beach, grilling on the patio with friends, and a couple of fun road trips along the way.

However, when  you work at home it can be tough to balance the time when the kids are home with getting work done! Since Eben is older we have put together some guidelines to help this summer run smoothly. The goal is to allow me to get my work done without being being distracted and for Eben to have some lazy unplanned summer days – you know like we all had when we were kids. However, While Eben already has plans with friends, and may do a summer camp here and there, I don’t want him to spend all of the time that he is home on the computer or watching television. Read on for a peek at the guidelines that we have put together.

#1: Office Hours Only
On the days when Eben will be home, I still have to work and I plan to do so quietly in my office. I get up hours before he does (literally 4-5 hours!), which will allow me to get a ton done before he even sees the light of day. However, when he gets up, if my office door is closed, he isn’t allowed to come in. Period. The only exception is if there is a life threatening emergency. I will catch up with him when I take my morning break and then again when I am finished with work for the afternoon.

#2:  What Am I Suppose To Do? 
We made a chart of items that Eben is expected to do before I get off work each morning that he is home. He marks them off as he goes – these “chores” aren’t major, mostly items that he needs to do regardless with a few helpful household responsibilities mixed it. Interested in what is on the list? Here is a look:

  • Take Noodles (our Pug) out for a morning walk and potty break.
  • Make your bed. 
  • Clean your bedroom. 
  • Make and eat your breakfast. 
  • Unload the clean dishes and load the dirty ones. 
  • Fold any laundry in the dryer and start a new load in the washer. 
  • Walk throughout the house and pick up and put away anything that belongs to you. 
  • Take out the garbage. 
  • Take a shower and get dressed.
  • Brush your teeth and hair.
  • Tidy up your bathroom. 
  • Feed Noodles. 
  • Take Noodles out for another potty break and a nice long walk. 

The idea is for him to use the time that I am working to get all of his work done so we can spend a fun, work-free afternoon and evening together each day.

#3: Now What? 
The “chores” that Eben needs to complete for the day don’t take a long time. To prevent him from coming into my office and asking, “Now what?” We also came up with a list of projects and activities that he could work on to prevent him from getting bored. And since we have a strict screen-time rule at our home I wanted him to have a list of things to do that don’t require any media. Here is a look:

  • Cozy up on the patio to read a book. 
  • Work on building your models – anyone’s child into War Hammer like mine?
  • Work on an art project (draw, paint, sketch etc;)
  • Play with Noodles. 
  • Create claymation creatures and film a movie. 
  • Call a long-distant friend or cousin. 
  • Make a snack. 
  • Ride your bike. 
  • Draw a comic book. 
  • Go fishing (I can see the pond from my office).

We gave it a run this morning and it worked out perfectly! He had finished up all of his chores and when I finished work the house was very tidy, and he was reading a book on the sofa with Noodles. Win-win!

Now, it’s time to decide whether we will spend the afternoon at the pool or the beach. Do you have guidelines for your child’s summer break? 

P.S. When we were kids, both of my parents worked full-time so my sister, brother and I were left home every summer alone. I remember spending a ton of time playing boardgames, telling ghost stories (especially on gloomy, rainy days), making Kool-Aid slushies in the blender, jumping on the trampoline and building forts in the living room. It was some of the best times of my life!

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