Parents who were homeschooling during COVID are probably thrilled summer is here!
….Unless summer camps and activities are closed. Now what? If you’re a working parent, working remotely, and have young kids at home like I do you may be wondering how the hell you are going to balance parenting and working during the long hot days of summer. You also want some family fun, but are pressed on time with how to orchestrate that…we’ll I’ve got you covered in this post with my summer top 5 parenting hacks and the ultimate guide to summer family fun!
I remember a couple of months ago while I was adjusting to working at home with kids saying something along the lines to my husband, “She could be watching dildos in space right now on Youtube. I just can’t right now! I’ll check after this client…”
Keeping young kids busy is a serious job. Heck, parenting is a serious job and I will argue much harder than the actual job I do! So parents out there who are surviving (and refraining from having boxed wine on tap) you rock! Seriously, you are awesome!
I’ve got 5 parenting hacks to keep them busy and you sane for Ages 3-10 (because under 3 can’t really do much and I assume 10yr olds can be responsible for themselves in terms of getting simple meals and operating the X-Box) and the ultimate guide to summer family fun.
Here are my top 5 hacks to summer 2020 parenting sanity:
Hack 1=Routine: As a past child & adolescent therapist, I can’t stress this enough. Kids need to know what to expect and the more they can have a routine, the better it is for you and them not to stress and know what to expect. Of course, what we used to know of a normal routine may still not be in the picture, so now it is our job to create a new one. This may include mom or dad’s “quiet time” at the beginning and end of the day. Education with workbooks during the morning, a movie in the afternoon, and iPad time before dinner. Make a plan that works for your family and stick to it! Also, lay down the rules for work calls and boundaries (physical ones too) so they know when they can talk to you and when they need to figure it out on their own or ask an older sibling.
Hack 2=Responsibility: Ages 3-10 are perfectly capable of being responsible (and helping you out!). The other plus to this is the earlier you teach them, the more they feel it’s just part of their day, and the less you have to worry about later on. Here are some examples:
- Ages 3-5: Can make their bed, put dishes in the dishwasher, feed pets, dress self
- Ages 6-8: Help cook with supervision, clean, put laundry away, clean room, water plants
- Ages 8-10: vacuum without supervision, change lightbulbs, take out garbage, monitor their own school work, cook meals.
*Bonus tip: You can use a chart to earn screen time and keep track of what’s done.
Here’s one I recommend for under 6:
Here’s one I recommend over 6:
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Hack 3=Rewards (or bribes, it’s a tough time, use what you can!): But be careful with rewards, especially for things like the responsibilities above because then they may not do anything unless they receive a reward. If you do a reward, try to use non-monetary things like screen time or time with a special toy for example. Things like keeping bedrooms clean, helping with dinner, feeding pets, making the bed, putting away laundry, and personal hygiene are not rewarded in my house, for example, they are expected daily responsibilities. Things beyond that like special projects (cleaning out the fridge, rotating clothing sizes, etc.) are rewarded with money or buying a wanted item because they go beyond what’s expected.
Hack 4=Self-care: Whatever craziness is going on in your house, you still need to take care of yourself! Make sure this is part of your routine whether it’s daily or once a week. Maybe Saturdays are “Mom’s morning” where we leave her alone for an hour somewhere in the house or “Dad’s night” where on Tuesday nights dad gets Xbox time to play his games uninterrupted. Let your kids know it’s happening and get support from whoever is there. It’s not your fault COVID happened, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of your wellbeing. Eating and showering don’t count! Do something fun!
Hack 5: Family Fun: Just because it’s tough right now doesn’t mean we need to take the fun out of summer. Making time to be a family is important for you and your children so you can feel together and find happiness during this unpredictable time.