Do you remember those carefree days of summer vacation? Chances are you have some great memories of days at the beach, hanging out with friends, or summer camp.
As a parent, though? Summer vacation is a little less fun and a lot more work. If your kids are school age, you might be wondering how you’re supposed to get any work done while the kids are home from school!
And, how can you make sure they’re entertained without having to entertain them every second?
Summer is just around the corner, so we’ve put together five tips for juggling work and childcare during summer vacation.
1. Take. Your. Vacation.
The first way to balance childcare and work? Stop working. At least for a little bit.
Way too many people don’t end up taking their vacation days and let them pile up. If you have paid time off, use it to plan a family vacation. Here are a few amazing local(ish) spots for a short getaway:
- Chesapeake Beach (1-hour drive) for some fun in the sun during a beach holiday.
- Assateague Island (3-hour drive). It’s perfect for animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts—great for camping! There are wild ponies on the island plus a ton of other fun nature-related activities.
- Six Flags America (1-hour drive)—get your adrenaline pumping and give your kids a vacation to remember!
It can be a little harder if you work for yourself without PTO, but prioritizing vacation time has a huge payoff. You’ll be able to enjoy summer, spend quality time with the family, and come back refreshed and ready to focus on work.
2. Make a plan.
Set aside some time to come up with a plan for the summer. What will a typical day or week look like? Are you heading out of town? Here are some things to consider:
- Daily routine: Mealtimes, bedtime, and screen time boundaries create structure for your kids. This makes things run smoother and gives you more time for your own schedule. Also, consider your own routine! Building smart habits to fuel a successful day can make all the difference.
- Activities, camps, playdates, and outings: Plan some fun activities for your kids with a babysitter or family member. This sets you up with some child-free days to get work done.
- Out-of-town dates: Mark down the weeks your kids go to camp or you are away together as a family. It helps you plan out your work in preparation for going away.
Once a plan is set, talk it over as a family. Getting a plan in place helps everyone know what to expect and builds structure, making your life way easier!
3. Be flexible.
That schedule you just made in tip #2? Yeah, it’s going to change.
Planning is necessary, but you also need to be flexible. Expect the unexpected and be ready for things to come up. If you already have a flexible mindset, it will be easier to refocus back on work and avoid major stress.
Another way to be flexible is to loosen up technology rules. A little more TV and electronics time won’t impact your kids too much, but it will give you some quiet time to get work done.
You’ll also need to be flexible and realistic with how much work you can do. It’s okay to work at a bit of a lower productivity level or not smash your to-do list every day. Give yourself a bit of a break, adjust your expectations, and do what you can.
4. Check out city programs.
There are tons of great programs, camps, and activities for kids during the summer in Baltimore. Check out some of these options:
- Baltimore City Summer Camps: Eight weeks of activities with three different camp choices.
- SuperKids Camp with Parks and People: A six-week program designed to enrich academic learning by connecting kids with nature.
- Park Camps: Half and full-day camp options for children, with a variety of fun outdoor and indoor activities
Ask around with friends and other parents to see what else is going on around the city. Signing your kids up for day programs can free up time for you to get to work—and give them some amazing summer memories!
5. Call on your community.
It takes a village… Parenting while working and attending to all your responsibilities is tough. There’s a lot to juggle, especially over summer break while the kids are out of school.
Call on your community for support, whether it’s taking the kids for half a day, helping get the house clean, or getting out for a date-night drink at one of the best cocktail bars in Baltimore. Grandparents, friends, relatives, neighbors—they’re all there to help you out!
Some families may also qualify for the Child Care Scholarship Program to help with some daycare expenses. The Maryland Family Network is also a great community resource to find childcare and resources.
It is possible to give your kids a great summer, spend quality time together as a family, and get your own work done. It takes a bit of planning, a lot of flexibility, and a pinch of creativity!
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