Because I don’t work full time, out of the office (because I do feel like I’m working full-time as in all the time!) I don’t like to pay for the Twofer to be in camp all day, every day. It’s expensive and I don’t need that much coverage. I have found a few part-time or half day camps and they will go there a few weeks this summer but not 5-days a week. Therefore I try to come up with a plan for the days they are at home and I’m at home trying to get work done. Here is what I have found to be helpful:
1. Join a poolThere will be days they just hang around in front of the TV for the morning. If the TV is the sitter for the day I will feel less guilty knowing we can go to the pool in the afternoon where they will get exercise and fresh air. Plus, my pool has Wi-Fi so I can bring my laptop and check email during adult-swim when the kids are not allowed in the pool
2. Start now scheduling weekly play datesI'm already talking to friends in the neighborhood to see if we can trade-off having each other's kids on Thursdays. I'm going to talk to another friend about swapping afternoons where one of us can take all the kids to the pool for a few hours. On the days the play dates are at my house I may not a lot done, but my kids will be worn out and will play quietly after that. And I’ll know ahead of time the day I’ll have NO kids at my house and so I can schedule important calls and meetings on those dates.
3. Develop a scheduleThe day is easier to handle when I know ahead of time when I plan to be working. I schedule it out the day before if not a week ahead.
Usually I do something like this:
12-3pm break for lunch and play or pool time
5-8 dinner and bed routine
This is just a rough schedule I have so the kids know when I’ll be done and I set limits and make time for fun.
4. Break the day up into chucksThe best way to get work done with kids around you is to break the day up into smaller chunks of time. It’s much easier to come up with several activities that are each about an hour, than it is to look at 5-8 hours of time. I like to look at the day as morning, late morning, lunch, break, late afternoon, evening.
For example, my girls are still young and enjoy the 'homework' they get from school. I purchased a few work books and activity books with word games, math games, mazes, etc. that will keep them occupied for at least an hour each morning. Next I’ll suggest a board game they haven’t seen in a while. Then I’ll send them to the basement to explore their dolls and jump on the moonbounce. Finally I’ll have them come up and work on a craft that hopefully doesn’t require too much parental assistance. Last, but not least, the TV will go on for a half hour before lunch if I need it. I like to save the TV for the late afternoon whining or fighting that always happens when everyone is just a little too tired.
5. Utilize places with free Wi-FiThe best thing is to schedule at least an hour outside of the house with the kids just for a change of scenery. So many places offer free wi-fi and our local library is my first choice. My kids love books so they will spend hours going through the shelves and playing with the puzzles. Other areas near me like downtown Rockville and Silver Spring have included a Wi-Fi signal in their redevelopment. And there’s always snuggling up in a booth at Panera Bread – me with my laptop, the girls with their coloring books.
What are you doing to survive and even enjoy the summer with your kids?