School’s Out!

by 1st VA on July 1, 2009

by Donna Toothaker

Kids:        YEAAAAAAAAH!!!
Me:        NOOOOOOOO!!!

Working at home with kids is always a balancing act.  When school lets out for summer, however, it can feel more like a full-fledged three-ring circus for a couple of months!  If your child isn’t heading for overnight camp, if you can’t cut work hours or take a month off, how do you find the time and space to focus on your work, while avoiding a looped chorus of “Mom, I’m bored?”

Here are a few tips I’ve discovered over the past several summers:

1.    Plan ahead. Block out your daily schedule the night before.  Make it an end-of-workday priority.  Build your home/family activities into your calendar, just as you would any other task/event/appointment.  Although you will rarely find you can stick to your schedule 100%, at least you have a road map to follow.
2.    Take advantage of sleepy mornings. Since you’re not rushing around trying to get your kids out the door for the school bus, you may as well let them sleep in a bit, and use that quiet morning time to get a head start!
3.    Stay mobile.  Maybe it’s time for WiFi if you don’t already have it.  Let the kids play in the yard while you work on your laptop or make calls.
4.    Keep them busy. Even younger kids can earn allowance by helping you get your work done more quickly – stuffing envelopes, sticking stamps…older, computer savvy kids can do simple data entry, filing, or generating simple customer letters (this is a good learning opportunity for them, too!).  For play, you might want to have a few simple, but time consuming, projects up your sleeve to occupy them for an hour or two.
5.    Swap play dates with other parents. If your child has a favorite friend, try to make a point once a week or more to alternate play dates at each others houses, giving you, and the other parent, a little break, and giving your child lots of “friend time!”

6.    Consider childcare. Chances are there is at least one responsible young person in your neighborhood looking for a summer job.  Why not hire him/her to come to your house and play with the kids for a few hours a week?  You’ll be at home in case of emergency, and they won’t be bored!

Whatever you do, make sure to devote some time every day to enjoying these warm summer days with your kid(s).  When in doubt, remember:  work can wait.  Childhood can’t.

Donna Toothaker is CEO and founder of 1st VA the highly sought-after online marketing and consulting company. 1st VA specializes in providing online marketing support and services to entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who wish to effectively build or improve their online presence. To discover how 1st VA can help your business – visit

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