Summer has officially begun! The kids are home yet as a work-at-home-mom you still need to get some things accomplished, the schedule changes drastically with all the extra busy bodies around the house. Summer requires a little extra patience, a lot of extra planning and the extra duty of making sure the kids are happy and occupied throughout the day. The big question, how can you keep it balanced and make it all work?
Here are some ideas to keep all the kids in the family having fun while you keep getting your work accomplished.
Plan ahead – schedule your week so that you leave some extra fun play time to spend with the kids. You can use this time to head to the pool for an hour after lunch on Thursday or play at the park for an hour on Tuesday. Try to work in a few full day activities, but not too many. The trick is to keep the kids occupied with fun things they don’t do all the time, without creating a schedule where the kids come to expect all your time will be focused on them.
Make activities accessible – come up with activity, craft and project ideas that you know the kids will love but that they can manage themselves or with little help from you. Keep these projects low maintenance for yourself such as playing with bubbles or play dough. Try to avoid offering a list of activities that you have to set up and monitor throughout the entire activity time. Once you have your project idea list, create an activity calendar suggesting different activities each day so your kids have a bit of a schedule they can fall back on during those moments of “mom I’m bored”.
Play dates are the best – work out with other stay home and work-at-home parents to have play dates at each others homes. Trade from week to week or even various days throughout the week. The day all the kids are at your house you can plan fun activities that require more of your attention. Then, when the kids are at someone else’s home for a play date you’ll have that extra focus opportunity to accomplish a bit more.
Make meal time adventures – lunch or snack times are a great opportunity for something new and fun. Pack up the standard lunch and help the kids head to the backyard for a picnic in the sun. Or build a tent in the living room and have a snack time adventure right there in the house. You kids can help you plan these journeys. Let them help create the menu, prepare the food and set up the mealtime location. This will give you a little extra work time while your kids plan their activity.
Mix it up, in and out – make sure that you help the kids mix up inside time with outside time, especially for the kids that love the idea of sitting in front of the tv all day. Encourage them to get outside and search for bugs or run through the sprinkler. Making sure they move around will help prevent some of the standard “I’m bored” from all this free time. Start with a simple hide and seek game or plan a big treasure hunt afternoon… encourage your kids to think of activities they’d like to do themselves.
Read Read Read – set up a reading log and encourage the kids to read 15 minutes a day. Even the little ones that aren’t reading just yet, can sit quiet for 15 minutes with a picture book is a great start for building the habit of daily reading. Check with your local library to see if they have any summer reading log challenges you can participate in.
Taking the time to come up with a list of various activities you can rotate through will really help the summer fun continue. Encourage your child to think of new adventures and project ideas they’d like to do and then make a point to help them accomplish these ideas. You’ll find when your kids are happy and busy, you’ll be able to get more done yourself and still enjoy those hot summer days.
Preschoolers are full of imagination and excitement for learning. Allow your children to help with the planning or brainstorming of projects and activities. It will take the pressure off of you to continually entertain and teach them how to find fun themselves.
Check out more summer fun activity ideas