5 Tips for Balancing Life and Work on Summer Vacation
Tackling everything on your plate during the summer can be difficult as a working parent.
With a little prep, balancing life and work doesn’t have to seem impossible. The date circled in red marker on your calendar is quickly approaching. It’s almost the last day of school. Whether your children are in elementary school or college, balancing life and work with them home fulltime again can be difficult.
From kindergarten through college, 76 million students are about to embark on summer break. That’s a lot of activities and extra meals flooding the schedules of working parents. If you’re one of them, it is possible to tackle your to-do list and still enjoy time with the kids.
Just follow these tips for balancing life and work.
1| Be Proactive
One great advantage summer has over other seasons is that there is no shortage of activities. Create a calendar with all the summer events in your area. Check newsletters, newspapers, visitor websites, and Facebook groups for ideas. These could include, but certainly aren’t limited to, street festivals, movies in the park, and free museum days. Don’t forget to check your local library for activities as well.
Share your finds with friends who might also be looking for ways to keep their clan occupied, and they’ll most likely share their boredom busting ideas with you as well. Use your calendar as motivation. Have the kids earn activities through work around the house while you head off to work knowing the entire family will be spending time together soon.
If your schedule allows for it, try to make the most of the 4th of July holiday. Look for parades and fireworks to take in. This is also a great time to plan a family cookout with extended family members and catch up.
You certainly don’t need to attend every event you come across. But by searching and scheduling activities as far in advance as possible, you’ll never be caught off-guard when given the chance to make a fun family memory. You’ll also be doing your part to prevent a summer spent in front of electronics.
2| Ask for Help
More people in the house adds up to more work. But it doesn’t need to pile up on your plate alone. Even kindergarteners can help with tasks around the house. Make a motivational sticker chart for younger kids and withhold electronics until chores are done for older kids.
If your college-aged kids are home, make sure they know they’re not in a hotel. They should be responsible for their own laundry, preparing some of the weekly meals, and keeping their space clean. You may even find yourself more engaged at work thanks to your free time at home after divvying up chores between the kids.
3|Make Time for You
This might sound impossible but it’s more important than ever to schedule some time for yourself to unwind. Research shows that adults who practice self-care are better parents for their children once they go back on the parenting clock.
This time away from both work and the family doesn’t have to be extravagant. Schedule a nail appointment or relax while watching a movie alone. Just taking a couple hours for yourself can make the art of balancing life and work much more manageable.
4| Set Expectations
The best way to avoid disappointment and conflict in the house during summer break is to set expectations for daily activities and routines. Younger children shouldn’t expect play dates and extravagant activities every day. They should also understand routines and bedtime are still in effect.
Older kids, especially those coming home from the freedom of a dorm room, should have a strong understanding of expectations. They need to know if you’re okay with friends coming over, whether drinking (if they’re of age) is permitted in the home, and if a curfew is in place.
5| Budget Time and Money
Summer is supposed to be a time for families to enjoy the longer days and make memories together. But it goes quickly so spend an afternoon budgeting your limited free time and money while making a few fun plans.
If you have vacation days saved, now is your chance to take them. Take a trip or just enjoy a staycation with a trip to the local zoo. If you need help with planning a vacation, an EAP can do the hard work for you while you have all the fun.
Summer can be tough for the working parent.
But with a proactive mindset and great communication, both you and your family can enjoy a productive and fun break. If you need help balancing life and work during the summer, turn to your EAP for work-life solutions.