|Tick-Tock Time Management
May 2017, Issue 10
“Balancing Work, Family and Summer Learning”
by Homeschool.com’s Rebecca Kochenderfer
Juggling family needs with workplace responsibilities is never easy. Just when you think you have the hang of it, summer vacation comes along and shifts everything.
Reframe the ways you consider summer planning. Think about how you approach this task. Have fun with this process and be energized by this season’s magnificent possibilities instead of overwhelmed by perceived inconveniences.
Tackle the logistics first:
- Eliminate unnecessary stress by making summer learning plans early.
- Look at your work schedule. How many hours will your family need childcare?
- Determine the hours someone is available to transport your child to activities and keep this information in a handy spot where everyone can see. This facilitates smoother planning all summer long.
- Take a hard look at your budget. How much money can you spend on summer enrichment programs, camps and childcare?
Now for the fun part: it’s time to think big! You may not be home full time with your child this summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t influence her summer learning plan in wonderful ways.
Consider these points:
- What does your family’s ideal summer look like? Don’t just guess the answer to this question—ask your kids!
- What is your child excited about right now? Seek out fabulous programs online and in your community that support these interests.
- Make a list of things you and your child want to do together and hang it somewhere you can see every day.
- Enjoy the magic found in the early hours of the day and in the evening time as well. Make a plan for this part of the day and stick with it. Since time together is limited, avoid passive activities; make the most of these hours engaged in activities in which both of you talk, laugh and grow.
- Structured activities and time with peers can be great fun for kids. However, like adults, children need a chance to refuel from their activities. If your child’s weekdays are highly structured with camps and play dates, consider planning low-key weekends. Giving your child a chance to structure and manage his own time fuels creativity and fosters independence.
- Chances are good that plenty of parents in your circle of friends are facing the same childcare issues. Help each other!
- Keep things positive. Accept and embrace the slower rhythms of summertime.
- If your child prefers less structured time in a home-based setting, consider hiring an enthusiastic babysitter. Do some research and find community activities and fieldtrip opportunities that your child can enjoy with the babysitter.
If it is an option, bring your child to your workplace. This can be a meaningful experience and your child will remember it for years to come.
For more ideas on how to balance work, family and summer learning, please see Rebecca’s newest book The Summertime Survival Guide for Parents: How to Create a Summer of Wonder, Discovery and Fun!