School’s out for the kids, but work doesn’t stop for me. Our summer schedule is packed full of activities, but they still need things to do while I’m working in the morning.
What’s a Work at Home Mom to Do?
Keeping and following a routine is critical for success in our household. Myself and one child are fortunate enough to have super awesome brainpower (aka ADHD) and require order, lists, and schedules to thrive. In order to not go crazy this year, I’ve made a daily summer schedule of activities. While start time is dependent on when we wake, the schedule is adaptable and flexible and will accommodate our day no matter when we start.
- Stay in Bed Until Mom Wakes– This is probably the most important on the list. I sleep like shit and then I wake up liiiiiittle grumpy. Part of the kids’ daily responsibilities for this summer is to entertain themselves until I sleep in*. I’ll let you know how that one goes… (*Sleep in means sleep until at least 7 am. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to sleep later than that, and their body clock’s don’t seem to adjust to my dream summer schedule.)
- Breakfast- We keep breakfast simple in our house. Always available are: oatmeal packets, instant grits, waffles, pancakes, fruit cups, go-gurt, and apple sauce squeezes. Kids pick one grain and one fruit or dairy.
- Do Something Good– More than being smart, attractive, wealthy, successful, or popular, I want my children to be kind and have it ingrained in them that helping others is just something that you do without thinking about it. To help instill these habits, we’re doing a themed activity each day to help them become good global citizens. Our weekly schedule is as follows:
- Move it Monday- Choose 5 items to donate.
- Trash Tuesday- Go on a neighborhood walk and pick up garbage.
- Worldly Wednesday- Become a good global citizen by learning about issues around the world.
- Thank You Thursday- Write a thank you letter to family, teacher, neighbor, or someone who’s helped you.
- Free Choice Friday- Choose a good deed from our Kindness Jar and work together to carry it out.Looking for more do-good activities? Check out these ways you can give back easily.
- 30 Minutes of Workbooks- I homeschooled my oldest for four years, am an avid thrift store and Dollar store shopper, and a self-proclaimed hoarder, so this one is easy. The kids each have an assortment of workbooks that they can choose to work from for 30 minutes. These include: reading comprehension, math skills, geography, logic puzzles, and writing.
- 15 Minute Break- Break for a snack, sit and play, or anything other than screens.
- 15 Minute Family-Cleanup- This is a quick round of power cleaning. I plan to target a room each day, but it’s kind of hard to predict what area will need help. I set a timer for 15 minutes and the kids actually work quickly as we “race” to complete as much as possible before the timer goes off.
- 15 Minute Family Exercise- During this time we turn to YouTube or the Wii and spend 15 minutes dancing or exercising to help get some wiggles out. Bonus: Watching kids do workout videos is pretty hilarious (as I imagine watching me do them probably is, too).
- Freetime Until Lunch- During this time the kids can do anything of their choice that’s not a screen. Read a book, play a game, use their imagination, I don’t care. The rules are simply: no screens, don’t bother me.
- Lunch- We are also keeping lunch simple this year. With three kids who have distinct food preferences, I HAVE to simplify and only dish up one option. This is a good exercise in compromise on their behalf because I kind of have a lot going on and they can choose make an agreement or starve. Lunch choices include: frozen bean burritos, easy mac, pizza, corn dog, grilled cheese, quesadilla, or leftovers from the night before. As you can see, cheese is the common denominator in our house when it comes to food. Each can pick two sides from our snack basket or refrigerator, which include: Go-gurt, squeeze apple sauce, fresh fruit, mandarin orange fruit cups, string cheese, chips, carrot sticks, baby tomatoes, and avocado during a typical week.
- Quiet Time- The two year old still naps daily and is desperate for sleep by noon, since her sweet big sister wakes her up early every day. During this time, the big kids have to retreat to their rooms for at least 45 minutes. Read or play quietly, no screens. After I get the baby to sleep I use this time to wrap up my work for the day. Even with a less hectic day than during the school year, kids need time to just chill and relax. Quiet time is an important addition to our day and an integral part to the success of our summer schedule.
- Afternoon Outing- Once the toddler is up from her nap, it’s time for our afternoon outing. We have a really awesome summer lined up, including: library programs, the Jacksonville Zoo, Adventure Landing Water Park, playground with friends, and craft classes at Michael’s. Each big kid will have two weeks of camp later in the summer, so to keep costs low, we’re keeping our afternoon activities simple and limiting to things that are free or we have a membership for.
Do You Keep a Summer Schedule or Let the Kids Just Relax?
No matter what you choose, if it works for your family, then it’s perfect for you. I work, freelance, classes, and try to find time to hang out with friends, so it’s important to me that we have a routine so things can run smoothly.
If you work from home and aren’t accustomed to having the kids around all day anymore (that nine month break sure was nice!), then it may work for you to create a family routine. Your kids are likely already acclimated to having a daily schedule in school that they follow. Make a similar one at home and help keep them busy and not constantly asking you, “What can I do?” “What’s next?” all summer.