For many moms, school is over or about to end. As a work-at-home mom, I’ve been thinking about how to handle working at home this summer with 5 kids around. It won’t be easy balancing work and play. I do know that having certain tools in my Mom’s toolbox will help us have a fun summer.
1. Have a weekly routine.
You and your kids are used to a routine during the school year. Use the power of regular routine during the summer to keep everyone happy. If the kids eat breakfast and lunch at certain times during the school year, try to stick to those times during the summer. I promise you’ll get fewer requests for snacks between meals!
Write out on a piece of paper all your family’s weekly commitments for the summer. This helps you to see which days may be busy, and which days may be perfect for a trip to the pool or the library. Decide when everyone will do their chores.
2. Everyone helps with chores.
The saying in my home – “Family helps family.” My kids do chores during the school year, and they do chores during the summer. Summer break does not equal no chores. In fact, with all 5 kids home, the house is dirtier. We go through dishes faster. We need to do a few extra loads of laundry each week because of day trips, the pool, and playing outside and getting sweaty.
I don’t assign every single chore. Whenever I need something done, I do grab the nearest responsible kid and give them the chore. I also do chore buddies for jobs like emptying the dishwasher. The younger kids stack the dishes and cups on the table while the older, taller kids put them away in the cabinet.
3. Build quiet time into your routine.
Sundays are my personal day off from blogging. Sure, I check Facebook in the morning to see how my friends are doing. Otherwise, I head out the door for a long run in the morning, and relax in the afternoon.
Whenever we take a day trip, I leave the next day’s schedule open. I catch up on laundry. I have one of the kids make lunch. Depending on how cranky the kids are, we may do a slow start for the day or a movie afternoon.
Other families like to have a scheduled down time in the afternoon, even if it’s just 15 minutes of everyone being quiet. Find what works for your family and spend a week establishing the habit.
4. Menu Plan
Don’t forget to get the kids in the kitchen, especially if you have elementary school kids. They can help with the food preparation for dinner plus learn how to make simple dishes.
5. Say No to a lot of commitments.
Yes, I know the calendar seems so open for the next few months. I promise you it’s not once your family gets into the summer rhythm. In our neighborhood, I know my kids will be outside playing with their friends a lot of the time. Sure, there’s some great free programs at the local library. We just can’t do everything.
It’s really okay to say no.