As a former homeschooling mom, it took some time for me to adjust to being a work from home mom while the kids were in school. I painstakingly took the time to figure out how to set my own schedule and hold myself accountable and navigated our new routine. Then, summer happened and everything went haywire. Now, as I am heading into my second summer with my kids in public school, I feel a little more prepared for the chaos that is about to ensue. For any fellow mamas who have adapted to a peaceful household without kids, here are 5 tips for how to keep summers simple even with your kids at home with you!
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Screen time rules
Because I work from home and am used to doing in a quiet house, I have absolutely got to set screen time rules. I have never been one of this people who can happily hear my own thoughts when Diseny+ is loudly streaming in the background.
Who invented these Disney shows, BTW? I’m pretty sure the design of most of them was to be as obnoxious as possible while still hooking you into the plot of the story so you can’t look away no matter how much you might want to.
Normally our rules for screen time during the school year is no screens until 4:30. Now that it’s summer the rule is no screens between 10am and 4pm. This gives me guaranteed quiet time for 6 hours and encourages the kids to go out and hang out with friends. Read: Screen Free Road Trip Ideas for Kids
Because one of the biggest things I get asked during the summer months is, “Can I have a snack?” I have gone ahead and come up with a simple snacking system that works!
Each month I buy a variety of snacks and sort them into 3 bins in the pantry:
- Kid no. 1
- Kid no. 2
The kids are able to grab 3 snacks per day whenever they choose. This means they could finish off their 3 snacks before noon if they choose, but after that their only options are apples, carrots, celery or whatever fruit/veggie is available in the fridge.
Having limits for snacks as well as separate bins for each kid and their friends, I am able to avoid snack fights as well as work interruptions.
When my kids were younger, I worked to teach my kids money management by paying them for daily chores using a chore chart on the refrigerator.
Now that my kids are pushing their teen years, we have upgraded our allowance system to be digital using the GreenLight app and debit card. There has been some concern about letting kids have debit cards too soon, however, we have found using the GreenLight app to be a great tool for teaching our children financial literacy that we hope they will carry into adulthood.
Why GreenLight for a minimalist summer?
For me creating a simple, minimalist summer with the kids home from school means not only maintaining my space but also my time and sanity.
Because the GreenLight app is digital my kids can access their chores throughout the day, check them off when they are completed and GreenLight automatically pays my kids every Friday (the day of the week that we selected).
This is so much different than how we used to manage chores which involved me nagging and chore checking all day as well as making trips to the bank to take out cash for their allowance. Having all of this function out of one app has been a game changer, for sure! Click here to get one month of GreenLight free!
“Out of the office” hours
Another thing that I have to do for my sanity (and that I often do even when the kids aren’t home), is work from a coffee shop 1-2 days per week. After we have gotten adjusted to our new summer schedule, I will work to find time to sneak away so that I can get work done with zero interruptions.
This is something I have found helpful even though I work from home alone. I think the extra bodies and business of a coffee shop helps increase my productivity on those days when I’m otherwise dragging my feet.
Same nightly routine
Well, I’m writing this 4 days into our summer routine and it’s a total lie. Now that my kids are older we have gotten a little more lax with our nighttime routine.
Because Tom and I are in bed by 9 most nights, we have allowed the kids to stay up until 10 on their own. Even still, we work to maintain a semi-regular bedtime routine so that their schedule doesn’t become crazy and erratic.
This helps their energy and attitudes maintain throughout the day which is always a nice surprise for everyone.
More to read on kids:
- How I Teach My Kids to Have a Healthy Relationship with Stuff
- 10 New Age Ideas for Kid Entrepreneurs
- Minimalist Mom Reminder: Let Them Be Messy