Summer brings significant changes to the lives of stay-at-home parents accustomed to sending kids off to school every day. Don’t let the break ruffle you! Instead, learn how to make a smooth transition with the suggestions offered in this article.
Remember all of those references to the lazy days of summer? More of a fantasy than a reality for stay-at-home parents. The summer brings a new schedule and an even more hectic lifestyle for families heavily involved in sports and travel. Moms and dads of schoolchildren can successfully prepare for the change with a few tips.
One of the easiest ways a stay-at-home parent can grasp a firm handle on the day involves waking up early enough to gather one’s thoughts and getting showered and dressed before the youngsters rise. For some, coffee and exercise suffice. Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep, either. A short nap can perk up an irritated mom or dad in no time.
Summer Schedules for Stay-at-Home Parents
Begin by listing every family member’s activities on a single calendar. My absolute favorite is Sandra Boyton’s Family Calendar. There is a space for mom and four other family members or use one column for the entire family.
Look for opportunities to take turns carpooling with friends or neighbors to recurring events such as sports practices. Schedule regular times for errands, and consolidate trips – such as grocery runs with visits to the library – to save time and fuel.
Most importantly, don’t overbook. Leave time for the kids to enjoy the season. Balancing free time with obligations is critical. Consider limiting each child to two or three activities or lessons at a time.
Try to maintain routines as much as possible – especially bedtime and meal schedules. Don’t let late-night movie sessions and sleeping in late get out of hand. Youngsters thrive on routines because of the security that a predictable schedule delivers.
How Stay-at-Home Parents Make Time for Themselves During Summer
Whether a stay-at-home parent has one child or several school-age children to care for, 24/7 caregivers should always take a few minutes every day to care for themselves too. Self-care is so important! Schedule at least a few minutes each day to enjoy a favorite pastime. Ideas include exercising, listening to music, reading, napping, chatting with friends, praying, meditating, or doing puzzles. Even showering can change your mood!
In addition, seek out regular playdates for young children and take turns playing host with other families. These playdates also allow parents of multiple children to spend one-on-one time with an older or younger child.
Build daily quiet time into the family schedule, even for children who won’t take a nap. Puzzles, games, books, soft music, and educational videos help kids enjoy quiet time without falling asleep.
If the summer calls for a family vacation, plan a balanced getaway that caters to some memorable moments for every family member. Lengthy kid-focused family vacations create memories that last forever, but they can also cause stress—plan high-energy kid-friendly activities as well as relaxation times for parents. Take in a massage, a sea salt scrub, a facial, or a manicure and pedicure.
Making Summertime Simple for Full-Time Parents
When school’s out, at-home meals increase for stay-at-home parents. Plan a week’s worth of meals at a time. Visit the grocery store every few days to restock if a once-a-week trip is too much. Make-ahead meals and convenience foods such as lean deli meats and fruit or vegetable trays can help ease the chore of cooking three meals a day. Use that crockpot to help save time cooking, especially if you will be out and about all day with the kids.
Finally, get help around the house by assigning daily tasks to each child. You can even assign allowance amounts to specific tasks to help older kids earn a bit of spending money. A task chore chart is a great way to keep track of items you need to enlist the help of your kids.
Successful around-the-clock parenting during the summer starts with preparation. Stay-at-home moms and dads can begin by formulating a family schedule that includes routines, quiet time, play dates, and low-stress activities. Parents will get a jump start on each day by waking up first. Preparing simple meals for the family and assigning chores to children also helps stay-at-home parents keep their daily workload manageable.