The thought of having your kids home all day every day for two to three months during the summer may be overwhelming, especially if they won't be attending a summer camp. It's a time of the year that we tend to spend more money on places to go and things to do to keep our kids busy while learning and having fun.
My secret to a successful summer vacation when working from home with two kids is to start it off and stay ORGANIZED. These are my tips for those days or weeks that we are on a "Staycation".
Menu and Meal Prep
Just like with the school year I plan my daughter's lunch with her ahead of time. Together we create a menu for the week. Then I prep as much as I can in advance. During the summer she usually puts together what she eats for breakfast on her own since she tends to always go for something simple. Her lunch is placed in a Bento box or some type of container the night before so when lunch time comes around the next day all she has to do is pull it out of the refrigerator to heat up or just eat. As for the snacks, I sort and store them where she can just treat them as a grab and go without wasting time and making a mess.
Summer Camp-like Schedule
Both schools and summer camps alike follow a curriculum and schedule. My strategy is to set the tone for that type of structure while taking it easy on my daughter throughout the summer. She wakes up and goes to bed when she wants as long as she takes care of the responsibilities she has each day. Whether those duties come from her school with the summer assignments or from myself she knows that while the summer is a time to play it's also a time to continuing learning and being productive. Time blocks or rotations work well throughout the day. It's a great way to teach time management and balance between work and play.
Activities from Home
Pinterest is my go to when it comes to brainstorming things to do from home. Since my daughter is an artsy girl I stock up on art supplies to have everything she needs in order to create her masterpieces. There's so many activities like watching movies and making crafts that are all great ways to keep kids entertained. They key is in making something so simple special. For movies, take it up a notch and create a picnic with their favorite snacks. Get creative and choose a theme for crafts much like a school spirit week.
Activities in your City
Research online for any kid or family friendly activities that your city or surrounding cities have lined up for the summer time. I also like to use the phone app LOCAL. Local allows you to discover what's going on nearby so you never miss out on an event you may be interested in. The events are categorized so you can filter and find anything ranging from Crafts, Food, Theater, etc.
Going with the Flow
No matter how organized you are there's always room for LIFE to just happen. If there's something I've learned about plans is that they don't always go accordingly. The best way to have a good day is to just go with it. There are days that I don't have them planned out to the best of my ability or at all, that's okay too. Be spontaneous and go wherever your day takes you.
Remember, the goal is to create memories that will last our children a lifetime. We want them to continue learning throughout the summer and have fun doing it too. It's easy to sit them in front of a TV or hand them a tablet to entertain themselves for hours but if you take the time to create a plan, on a weekly basis, you'll be amazed with all the the things you can come up with for them to do. My favorite part of each day is when I get to clock out which is when the kids take over and decide how we should spend the rest of the evening and of course when the weekend comes around so we can enjoy a day out without keeping track of time.