Last year I gave my 7-year-old a summer job. She earned a “salary” of a Yes Day at the end of the summer.
This year, we are pursuing another adventure of juggling camps, two parents working from home or hybrid schedules, and trying to keep a tween engaged and thriving. I don’t pretend to know exactly what is going to happen, but I can share tips to ease your summer juggle anxieties.
Decide what is essential
What do you “have” to do this summer. We have an annual family trip each year as one of our “have to do” items. We have a swim pass and will visit on my Friday afternoons off work.
From there, we filled in summer camps. This is a chance for your child to keep learning, explore new disciplines, or expound on talents. Not everyone has a flexible work schedule, so be ready to adapt to what you can do and use that tribe around you. Take advantage of daycare field trips, ask grandparents to help with camps, enlist the help of another parent, or even explore weekend camps.
But remember, none of it HAS to be done. Which leads me to say…
I have never said this in my life. And I’m sure you are tempted to stop reading.
What I mean is just go with the flow. One of the best Des Moines Mom posts of all time is this post about how this Mom wants a 1980s summer for her kids. She started hating her summer in April so she literally ripped up her summer calendar. No plans, no fuss, just zen.
I am trying to take a cue from this and meet somewhere in the middle. Every day will be an adventure with a mix of a bit of direction, and a bit of mystery. I want my oldest to learn more independence while my husband and I work from home. This will encourage a mix of reading, crafting, writing, exploring, and probably some dance parties.
Ask your child what they want to do
One change to the “summer job” I am giving my daughter is her input on the job description. What does she want to learn? What are her goals? What weaknesses does she want to work on or strengths to improve?
I don’t intend to sound so corporate, but the lessons translate easily. She wants to work on her bike riding and her cartwheel. She will continue to improve her reading and writing. Use what your child wants to guide the summer and they may become more invested.
If you still want more tips, check out this post from 2021 by Brittney Rutherford. She explores how to get rid of that mom guilt and make the most of the hours you have!