School is out for summer, but not for working parents. Working full-time and being a full-time parent means that you are a master at planning, multitasking, and navigating challenges, but planning out your summer when your child is out of school and you still have to work seems to be a stressful situation for many parents; whether they work from home or go into the office.
So how can working parents strive to plan a fun and productive summer for their kids spend time with them, and bond as a family during the summer?
Summer camps are great ways for kids to go on adventures, make new friends, and learn a new skill, such as swimming, whether they are day camps or sleep-away camps; they have the potential to be the highlight of childhood. Planning for a summer camp usually starts in the fall, not only because summer camps are expensive but because they book quickly and often have a never-ending waitlist. Many middle-class American families may be unable to afford summer camp, but there are ways to budget for this throughout the year.
Aside from cutting luxury expenses such as eating out and online shopping, you can set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account that goes into your “slush” fund: our savings account for summer vacations and summer camps so when it comes time to pay for summer camp, you have the funds. Be sure to inquire about financial aid, Most camps don’t advertise its availability, but if you apply and get even a small discount, it’s worth it. You can choose a camp that operates for a couple of weeks during the summer or for the whole summer. Be sure to mark your calendar when the sign-ups start so you don’t lose your spot. Here is a great database for summer camps across the United States.
Save your PTO for family summer vacations
Summer is a great time to bond with your children and family since the kids are out of school. Although you still have to work, summer can be a great time to use your PTO and plan a vacation or a staycation with your kids so you can spend quality time with them. This could be a fancy vacation, a vacation to visit extended family members, a camping vacation, a road trip, or a staycation.
A summer vacation with your kids does not have to be expensive and can fit most budgets. The goal of taking a summer vacation with your kids is to bond, unwind, unplug, relax, enjoy, and create lasting memories as a family. Studies have shown that kids who have had the opportunity to travel and take summer vacations with their families benefit from enjoying new experiences and bonding with their families. This special time is phenomenal for their development. Summer family vacations allow a change in their routine, which can benefit a child’s sensory system.
Vacations give them experiences to acquire first-hand knowledge through planning and going on new trips. Any trip helps them gain confidence, a better ability to focus, and a boost in creativity. These experiences can stay with them for a long time and will be a topic of conversation within the family for years to come.
Pack their bags and send them to Grandma’s house
Grandparents, aunts and uncles, and close family friends would love to spend time with your kids over the summer. They may be too shy to ask for a visit, so go ahead and reach out to them about having your kids spend time with their extended family. Spending time with extended family can give kids a sense of belonging that can stay with them for the rest of their lives. This time with extended family is important, especially if they live far away. It allows the kids to bond with different people, explore new things without being “directly parented,” improve communication with adult figures, and encourage them to respect their elders.
Even if you have to work during the summer while your kids are out of school, make sure to plan so they are well-taken care and are involved in engaging activities. Make it a point to spend quality time with your kids, whether family dinners outside or vacationing together. This season of life is fleeting, so creating family memories that will last a lifetime with your children is important.
Struggling to find a balance?
If you are like many parents who are still working full-time while their kids are out of school, summer can mean added stress, changing routines, and new challenges. If you are feeling overwhelmed juggling it all, consider taking a break to join our Virtual Family Program on August 26. This is a great opportunity to learn new tools and skill sets for regulating your emotions during moments of high stress while setting clear boundaries. Our Family Program is free to attend.