We’ve been having a couple of really hot days around here lately. It broke 100 degrees F here yesterday. My daughter was quick to ask after school if she could stay inside rather than be sent out to play. That got me thinking about how I’m going to be coping with the kids this summer.
It helps to plan in advance.

Much as this kind of heat is miserable to deal with, it was a great reminder that I need to get ready to deal with summer. Bored kids, high heat, and probable water regulations to cope with the drought in our area. There are two areas to consider. What are you doing, and what are the kids doing?

What Are You Doing?

When will you work when the kids are off school? Your current schedule may or may not be right for the summer.

Many work at home parents end up needing to cut back when summer hits because they need the family time more. It’s a part of why you’re at home, after all.

However, it’s always good to remember that you are not and should not be your children’s sole source of entertainment. If you need more time to work, encourage them to play on their own.

If you need more work time than comes easily, consider hiring a mother’s helper or trading times with a fellow at home parent. I’ve had a great deal of luck with sending my kids to play with friends, and taking their friends in to play at our house in return.

Make sure you also plan for family outings. They don’t have to be anything fancy, but heading out to a beach, lake or park gives you a nice break from working and is likely to be fun for all concerned.

What Are the Kids Doing?

Summer is a great time for enrolling the kids in classes, but don’t overdo it. Mine will absolutely have swimming lessons, for example, just for their safety at the various pools they sometimes have access to.

I’m no fan of overscheduling kids, no matter the time of year, so I am certainly not recommending you fill their days too full. Kids of all ages need time to be kids and to do their own thing.

Take them to the library too. If there’s assigned reading from school, make sure that gets done, but otherwise let your kids go by their own interests. I truly believe that it doesn’t matter so much what a child reads, so long as he or she reads. Some exceptions for inappropriate material, of course.

If your children are old enough, encourage them to help you with your business or try endeavors of their own. It can be as simple as the traditional lemonade stand or a more challenging project you work on together. Entrepreneurship is a great skill to encourage!

Of course, you have to be prepared for the arguments, especially if you have more than one child. They’ll argue because they’re bored. Because they don’t want to share. Because one doesn’t want to play with another. Because they’re siblings. Because they don’t need any reason at all to argue sometimes.

I like to keep a balance between letting my kids hash it out themselves and helping them get along better. Sometimes parents need to put a stop to things for their own sanity or the ability to get some work done without a pounding headache.

Make sure you get the kids involved with chores around the house. They’re home more, they can help more. If you have a regular schedule, work their assistance into it, even when having the kids help means it takes longer to get things done. Add in the occasional fun chore such as baking or making popsicles or ice cream.

If you’re used to your kids being at school during the day, yes it is much harder to get work done during the summer. The more you plan ahead, however, the better off you will probably be.