I am a solopreneur, just like you. However, I am not a parent, and I can only imagine the additional challenges you will face as summer approaches. It is one thing to be a working parent working from home during the school year. It is quite another, though, to be working from home while your kids’ summer vacation is in full swing.
Recently, I’ve been wondering how a sole proprietor might manage the logistics if they work from home while their kids are on summer vacation. As a former teacher, I have listened to parents as they get ready for the summer. Additionally, I have friends who had to plan their kids’ summer vacation while holding down a full-time job. After reflection and additional reading, I discovered some tips to help solopreneurs during the summer months. Not everyone’s circumstances are the same. However, perhaps there are one or two that will assist you as you anticipate a successful summer with your kids.
2 Tips for Parents Working from Home in the Summer
As a solopreneur with kids, it’s essential to plan and prepare for summer well in advance. This will help you ensure that you have everything in place before summer arrives, allowing you to focus on your work and your family without feeling overwhelmed.
Tip 1: Plan in Advance
Planning in advance is step one. If you wait until the last minute, you will only add stress to your life and theirs. Essentially, planning in advance means taking the time to evaluate the following:
a. Needs and Wants of Each Member of the Family
The first thing you will want to do is consider what you, your children, and your family need or want over the summer break. This will look different depending on the season of life you are in with your children.
If you have toddlers and younger children, your summer schedule may not look too much different than the rest of the year. More than likely, they can stay in daycare or child care. A family vacation can then be arranged when the daycare or childcare takes a break. However, if your children are older, you will definitely have to consider the various options available to you.
b. Help and Support Available to You
The second item you will want to evaluate is the availability of help and support. There is nothing wrong with tapping into family and friends for help and support. First, do you have a home team? Perhaps one of your children has the capability and capacity to help care for their siblings. You could hire them as a babysitter for a couple of hours each day. Grandparents are also a great resource, and more often than not, they would love to help out occasionally.
If you cannot rely on family for some reason, friends are often willing to be a resource. Consider “a childcare collective with others in your neighborhood. Switch off who has the kids each day so you have some full days to devote to work every week.” Being open to asking for help and looking for creative solutions is all part of the planning stage.
Tip 2: Prepare in Advance
Once you have evaluated your unique situation, you can begin step 2, preparing. There are numerous ideas as to how to prepare, depending on your unique situation. However, the following suggestions are fairly all-inclusive.
Ia. Create a Weekly Schedule with Your Family
Creating a schedule is crucial when you’re a solopreneur and have kids at home during the summer. Take the time in advance to sit down with your family and produce a weekly schedule. This will involve both generating a regular routine that includes specific times for work and breaks as well as including activities for your children. Be sure that you have realistic expectations for your work schedule. It will likely look a little different given that it is summer.
It’s important to set a routine so you can better manage your time. It will ensure that you’re giving both your work and your family the attention they need. Plus, having a routine can help your kids feel more secure and settled.
Creating a schedule with your family also ensures that everyone’s ideas are considered for the summer. No one should feel excluded.
Ib. Make the Schedule Accessible to All
Be sure that the schedule is placed somewhere visible to all. Another option is to have it accessible on a shared calendar app so everyone can see it on the go. “A visible schedule makes it easy to see what fun activities are coming up and gives your kids something to look forward to. Don’t forget to include your daily work hours. This makes sure the entire household is aware of when you are unavailable.”
So, take the time to produce a schedule that works for you and your family, and be prepared to adjust it as needed throughout the summer.
II. Create a Separate Designated Work Space
Hopefully, you have been able to set up a separate work space for yourself while working at home. However, if you have had the freedom to work anywhere in your home, setting up a designated workspace is a crucial step with kids at home during the summer.
Find a spot in your home where you can create a dedicated workspace that is separate from the rest of the house. Set up a desk or table, and make sure you have everything you need to work efficiently.
Once you have your workspace set up, make sure your kids understand that when you’re in your workspace, you’re working and cannot be disturbed. This will help you stay focused and productive while also minimizing distractions. By creating a designated workspace, you can establish a clear boundary between work and family time and ensure that you’re giving both the attention they deserve.
III. Consider Summer Camps and Classes
Summer camps and classes are great for both you and your children. They will enjoy the benefits of being with other children as well as being outdoors. You will benefit from having time to focus on work.
Look for camps that align with your kids’ interests and fit within your budget and schedule. There are a wide variety of camps offered: daily, weekly, and even overnight.
You can also consider other activities, such as sports leagues, art classes, or music lessons, that your kids can participate in to keep them engaged and entertained.
When you have a list of potential camps and activities, sit down with your kids and discuss their preferences. This can help you narrow down your options and ensure that your kids are excited about the activities they’ll be participating in. By finding the right summer camps and activities, you can keep your kids busy and happy, which can help you stay focused and productive while you’re working from home.
IV. Consider the Library
The library can be an excellent resource for solopreneurs with kids at home during the summer. Most libraries offer a range of programs and activities for children of all ages. These help keep them engaged and occupied while you’re working from home. Perhaps you can even find a cozy spot at the library to work while your children are participating in an activity.
Ways the Library Can Help You
- Summer Reading Programs
Many libraries offer summer reading programs for kids, which can encourage them to read and improve their literacy skills. This can be a great way to keep your kids engaged and occupied while you’re working.
- Story Time
Libraries often have story-time sessions for younger children, which can be a fun and educational activity for them. These sessions can help your kids learn new words and develop their listening skills.
- Workshops and Classes
Libraries may offer workshops and classes for kids on topics such as art, music, and science. These activities can help keep your kids engaged and entertained while also providing them with new skills and knowledge.
Overall, the library can be an invaluable resource for solopreneurs with kids at home during the summer.
V. Consider Use of TV and Tablet
More than likely, you want your children to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible in the summer. Yet, let’s face it, the weather may not always cooperate. That is one instance where technology can help.
Like many of you, I think there is a danger for kids, and adults for that matter, to spend too much time in front of a screen. Yet, with guidance and a good example set, there can be a place for technology. In fact, you can be thankful for it! While it is important to limit screen time, technology can be a useful tool for kids at home during the summer.
There is nothing wrong with watching a favorite show or a really good movie. We all need some downtime. You can also use these tools by selecting educational programs, games, or apps that can help your kids. Most likely, if what is selected is fun, your children won’t mind.
Using technology wisely will give you an opportunity to get work done. By setting aside specific times for screen time, you can create a routine that your kids will be able to follow, which can help you manage your work and family responsibilities more effectively.
VI. Create an Activity Resource Center
You know your kids better than anyone; you know their likes and dislikes. Before summer arrives, consider purchasing some activities that your children will enjoy doing with friends or on their own. This might involve getting some new board games or games for the outdoors, like a badminton net or croquet set.
It may also involve purchasing items for their favorite hobby, like painting, coloring, puzzling, or putting together Lego. You can even bring some good books home from your library visit. Whatever the case, have these in an area of the home your children can access when they are looking for something to do.
VII. Consider Family Time
Here are some ways to incorporate family time:
Let’s face it, no one should work 24/7. Even you need to take some time away from work to enjoy the summer. While there is no doubt that it is beneficial to fit in some alone time for R&R, it is also important to build relationships with your family. Summer is a great time to do this.
There are several ways to incorporate family time into your summer. Don’t get me wrong, I realize it is difficult to unplug as a solopreneur. But family and well-being are important. In the long run, it will provide you and your family with rewards.
a. Plan a Summer Get-a-Way
If at all possible, plan a family getaway this summer. It could be a week, 10 days, or simply a long weekend. Whatever you choose, depending on the type of business you run, family time is beneficial to you all.
To plan a get-away, there are several things you will want to do ahead of time, such as:
- Inform your staff (should you have any).
- Inform your clients and suppliers.
- Automate as much as possible.
- Work Ahead
b. Plan a Staycation
For some solopreneurs, it is just impossible to plan a getaway in the summer. However, a family staycation is an option. Plan for some day trips with the family to some nearby attractions like a zoo, waterpark, or city park on days when your work load is lighter. Dedicate a weekend to doing some fun activities at home or closer to home with the kids. You may want and need to implement the previous four bullet points. On the other hand, you might be able to set aside some time earlier or later in the day to answer emails and phone calls.
c. Plan Meal Times Together
If it is simply impossible to take time away in the summer, plan as much as possible to have a meal together. Plan for picnics or BBQs. Invite friends over for supper together. Some of the best conversation can happen around the dinner table. Following a meal, take a walk or bike ride. Go for ice cream together.
By starting your planning and preparation early, you can minimize stress. You will ensure that you have everything in place for a successful summer working from home while your kids are off for the summer.