Hello summer. We love you so very much. Sleeping in, pool time, beach days, warmth and watermelons, picnics...aaaah bliss.
Unless you're a full time working parent...in that case it's hello summer and here comes the scrambling! So, let's talk about that. Because a mom that's been working since my kids, I've been there, done that. And each summer presents a new challenge, but it always works out.
Here are my tips for managing summer as a full time working parent.
1) Make the Time to Play
Even if all you can manage to do is schedule one day off during the weekday to play, do that. If you are able to schedule more days, even better. You may need to make up the time at night while they sleep or during the weekend. But believe me, you'll feel better as a working parent, being able to give that day of true summer experience to the kids. But be sure to completely unplug while you're with them. Be fully present during this time, because you don't get to do it everyday while you're at work. Make the most of it.
2) Camps are Your Best Friends
Your working days continue during the summer, but kids want to have the experience of a fun summer without the routine of school. Get to know your local summer camps and book those quick, because the good ones fill up quickly! Choose camps that are based on your child's interest and that they can look forward to attend. Better yet, prepare them in advance by having them help you choose the camps they'd like to go to.
3) Gather the Troops
If you're like most working parents, you'll not be able to take the whole summer off, so it's time to gather the troops! Be it a friend, family member or a hired baby sitter, you'll need to find someone loving and fun to care for your child(ren) during the summer break. Ask your co-workers and friends for baby sitter recommendations. Also, check with your local care-provider network, such as care.com to find a reliable, fun baby sitter for the summer.
4) Think Outside the Box
On summer months, I bring one or two of my kids to work with me. And I do so on days that I know I can leave early if I need to (aka they are fighting and my patience has worn thin). But having the ability to bring them to work has saved money, as well as given them variety during the summer months. Talk to your HR department or boss to see if this may be an option for you.
5) Co-Op Time
Is there a stay-at-home parent or another working parent with a flexible schedule that you can trade child-care with? When I've done this, I have the parent watch the kids with her own during the day and on another day, I've provided the same. The children get to enjoy a play day with other kids and you get to enjoy a summer day with yours and their friends! Win-win!
I know the challenges of being a working parents during the summer months. But, you've got this. Use some of these ideas to make the most of summer months and create those fun memories!