Working from home is both a gift and a challenge—and summer schedules take WFH to a whole new level! Let’s look at how to plan fun summer activities for your kids to give them a healthy, happy summer while keeping you productive and happy as both a parent and a professional.
Knowing what your job will require from you and what your kids will need will help you to create a fun summer for everyone. Be as proactive as you can with this by getting dates for professional projects, summer school or camp schedules, and family vacation or staycation dates on the calendar by early spring, if possible. Organized summer activities for kids book up fast (and so can PTO schedules from the office).
A calendar with everyone’s schedules on it will be your best friend. It’s wise to color code this so you can glance at a given week or month and see what’s coming up and where everyone will be. Stay flexible and always have a contingency plan in place if possible. You’ll be glad you did.
When planning out the week, start with the basics like laundry (and make sure it’s done in advance). It’s amazing how many pairs of shorts, kids’ T-shirts, and men’s and women’s T-shirts a family may need in a summer week. Always have a spare outfit ready, and make sure footwear is ready to go—a designated spot for kids’ sneakers can simplify your summer and keep your floors cleaner, too.
This one is a great idea and a potential mess‑lol. With a bit of planning, however, you can have arts and crafts projects for your kids that will be fun for them, help them to work on their budding creativity and fine motor skills, and not cover your home in glue, glitter, or paint.
Make sure to designate an area of your home for arts and crafts and be intentional when buying supplies. Depending upon the ages and developmental levels of your little ones, the kitchen table, a kids’ art table, the garage, or the patio or deck are all good candidates. Of course, you will need to make sure that they stay safe while your home does not get destroyed, but with a little effort, you can achieve both while your little artists enjoy creating their masterpieces.
If you can make it work with your schedule, story time can make a great segue from lunch to nap time. If you can take a true lunch break yourself, schedule it well and get hand washing, lunch, and a story all completed and get those little ones down for some much-needed nap time. When possible, try to schedule your most important meetings and project time for that golden hour (or two!) when they’re asleep.
Especially for the little kids, reading can be a cuddly and tactile experience for both of you. For older kids, continue to read out loud to them (or have them read to you). This can be a bonding experience that will hopefully foster a lifelong love of reading.
Not only is it okay to delegate childcare to camp counselors, but it can also be a fun way to get your kids more exercise and social time than they are likely to be able to have on days when you are at home on your computer and trying to find quiet activities for them. Get those kids’ backpacks ready for adventure!
There are numerous specialty options, from art camps to sports camps, in addition to the all-around fun of a neighborhood or park day camp. Think about the opportunities your kids have been exposed to and investigate what is offered in your area. Even if it is just one week out of the summer, a specialty camp can break up the routine and offer fun and educational opportunities. If water play is on the agenda, always double-check their backpacks for kids’ swimsuits, water shoes if needed, and a beach towel.
It may be counterintuitive to have a babysitter or nanny come to your home when you will be there, but this can be a great idea. Despite our best wishes, most of us just don’t multitask effectively—and parenting and working a professional job are two jobs.
Perhaps you could set up certain days or hours during the week when you will have childcare. This can create the best of both worlds—plenty of time with your kids but also focused time for work. For example, on Mondays and Wednesdays, you could have someone come in so you will always know that you can schedule meetings or have uninterrupted work time on those days (regardless of what else is going on). If your childcare provider is an adult with a car, this could even turn into fun “field trip days” with opportunities to do things like visit parks, the library, or museums.
Have a great WFH summer with your kids!