How to Create a Stress-Free Summer Schedule for WAHM

summer schedule WAHM

Trying to get work done while kids are at home can be challenging not to mention frustrating. In order to make this summer work well for all of us, I’ve developed a summer schedule that is simple and that addresses many of the situations that prevent me from getting work done. Tweak as you will! 

This photo is from Fabian Grohs on Unsplash.

Kids summer schedule

 

How to Create a Stress-Free Summer Schedule for Work-At-Home-Moms

Ah, the joy of summertime. Oy, the challenge of coming up with a summer schedule that allows you to get some real work done!

One of our family friends takes a picture every year on both the first and last day of school. On the first day of school, her kids are all mopey, with frowny faces while she’s jumping up in the air with a big ‘ole smile on her face. On the last day of school, it’s she who has the frowny face while her kids are jumping for joy.

Yes, she is a work-at-home mom.

And yes, I think we all relate to that picture just a little.

I love summer and having my kids home but it’s a challenge to get my work done, get “housekeeping” stuff done, get in a few moments for myself, and spend some quality time with the kids. Add in anything extra like some educational activities or vacations and it can feel a bit overwhelming.

Am I alone here?

This summer I’ve decided to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and come up with some tools that will help my kids know what they need to do and will give me time to do what I need to do. I’ve also reflected on things that tripped us up in the past and tried to develop some proactive ways to prevent that from happening again.

So, to start with I developed a loose summer schedule that is both realistic and simple. I wrote out a simple “book” that I can reference when my kids get antsy. And I made sure to figure out a way to motivate all of us to follow the schedule and get our stuff done.

1 – Create a simple daily schedule using blocks of time

I’ve tried all sorts of cute, crazy organized, and out-of-the-box schedules but none of them were that successful. My kids don’t want to go and do all summer and neither do I. But, at the same time, some structure is needed if I’m going to have blocks of time to work.

Really I just need something that gets everyone on the same page and keeps us all balanced. Everyday won’t look like this but this is a good starting place. So –

  • Mornings we go to the pool or exercise. This way, the kids get a lot of energy out before we head back inside.
  • Afterwards, chores and free time. {Work time opportunity!}
  • Next we’ll read and then have one block of learning time {more about this below}.
  • Noonish we’ll have lunch and then play some type of game or do an activity such as one listed on this Summer Memory Maker list.
  • After that, the kids will work on one block of growing time activities {more below}. {Work time opportunity!}
  • Next, they can have a block of passive technology time IF they have completed all of the above. {Work time opportunity!}
  • After technology, we will have a snack with a reading block. {Work time opportunity if necessary.}

This gives us some structure and variety. It also forces my extroverted kiddo to do some things by himself…a necessary skill that he fights tooth and nail!

2 – Include activities that are interesting and meaningful

If it were up to them, they’d have slumber parties, swim, and play video games all summer. It’s up to me to make sure that doesn’t happen by enthusiastically embracing {aka forcing} a variety of activities. This also prevents them from getting bored as easily as well as from fighting because they are spending too much time together.

Growing activities are one of these things. These activities are basically hobbies the kids want to explore such as sewing, drawing, and gymnastics {daughter} and building computers, gardening, and learning Japanese {son}. While I will need to help them with some of these activities, I can set them up to be more independent if I need to get more work done.

Learning activities are just what they sound like. My son doesn’t need to do much school work so he will get a jump start on his math and work on programming and will be watching/listening to some cool science videos and podcasts. My daughter needs to do spelling and reading work which I will do with her.

My kids used to complain about the fact that I’m making them learn during summer – the horrors!!!! – but I don’t put up with it. After all, they have about 14 hours of free time each day; one hour of learning is totally doable.

Below is a printable I made to help my daughter to stay on track. At the end of the article you can download a blank copy to customize for your kiddos.

summer schedules for kids

3 – Add variety to your weekly and monthly schedule

Schedules can make your days run smoothly but mix it up for some variety and fun…or simply because logistics demand that you do. For instance, some days, we go into Austin for vision therapy so we we’ll try to leave early, do something fun in town, do the therapy, and then come home. We may follow that up with a kid-friendly documentary or a something related to world geography again. This will be a type of field trip day.

On Wednesdays, we are going to have more of a free day with no pool time during the morning and free time until around noon when we go to the library for new books maybe followed by the pool or something fun at home. {BIG work time opportunity!}

There will be other out-of-the-ordinary-events too, like vacation or camp days, summer holiday celebrations, or days that they play with friends.

4 – Proactively solve problems

There will be problems, no doubt. You probably already know what they are, even. Here are my main problems and the solutions I’ve come up with:

My kids ask the same questions over and over when they get bored so I lose my concentration. 

My solution is the, Here is Your Answer Book.

My kids tend to ask the same questions over and over again. When I’m trying to work and they do this, it gets me off track. So I’ve decided to proactively answer their questions in a way that will add a little bit of humor to the situation. It will also mean less nagging on my part. Win-win!

Here is a sample of a few of my pages.

Dear Mom,

I’m bored.

Love,

Your Child

Dear Child,

That’s okay. Everyone is bored sometimes. Sometimes people come up with amazing ideas when they are bored.

Being bored does not mean you should turn on the TV or video games.

Being bored does not mean we should go somewhere.

Being bored does not mean a friend should come over.

Being bored does not mean you bother your sibling.

Being bored means you need to sit with the feeling and then pick something to do…even if you don’t really want to do it.

Or you can just sit.

Or you can come to me and I will put you to work.

I love you,

Mom

Dear Mom,

I want a friend to come over.

Love,

Your Child

Dear Child,

It is so much fun having a friend over. We will have someone over again, but not today.

I still love you and am sure you will figure out what to do.

Love,

Mom

Other situations I’ve addressed include:

  • I am soooo hungry.
  • I don’t feel good.
  • It’s so hot we have to go swimming.
  • I don’t know what to do.
  • Can we go and get ice cream?
  • I’ve eaten healthy all day. Why can’t I have junk food?
  • There is nothing to eat.
  • My brother/sister is annoying me.

As you can see, there is nothing complicated about this book but I’m hoping that it frees up some of my brain space so I can work when needed.

My kids want to eat constantly. 

Yep, I feel like my kids have holes in their stomachs. To curb constant snacking, I’m enacting breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack times. If they are hungry any other time they can easy-to-eat fruit. Plus, this will {hopefully} help curb their desire for snacks over real food.

My kids always ask for screen time. 

First of all, I am letting my kids know that screen time will not start before the afternoon. That way, I curb much of the nagging.

Next, before they can do passive technology, they will need to show me that they’ve spent the earlier part of the day well by doing the basics – exercise, chores, reading, learning, growing, etc. I’m hoping that this strategy to encourage initiative and responsibility helps motivate them to take care of the important things before using technology.

Also, the technology issue is a biggie so it deserves its’ own blog post. Here you go!

My kids want me to play with them. 

If your kids are old enough, you can explain to them that you work from home and this is an important part of your life and the family’s life. I also like to point out when I am playing or spending time with them so that they don’t gloss over all the hours I do spend with them. Before lunch time I may say, “Hey guys, we’re going to spend time together while we eat,” or at the pool I may say, “I’m glad I am here at the pool with you guys.”

I also like to talk about playing with my kids versus spending time with them. Both are important but I explain that the way we mainly play together is through family games or events but we spend time together a lot – during meals or when I read to them, etc.

None of these tools are perfect, but it’s a start.

Look it over, take notes, and tweak it as you will. Good luck and Godspeed all you work-at-home-moms! We can do this!

{If you want the download, you can get it below! – Coming soon!}

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