Every month, I write to you with tips and guidance on bankruptcy and improving your financial path. But this month, just a couple weeks into official summer, I come to you with a different topic–making the most of your family and work time in the summer. The other day, I saw a meme on social media that said, “ You only have 18 summers with your kids…” Right then and there, it struck me how I need to make the most of this time with my family even if it means continually searching for the right balance during the tougher times like summer.
Summer creates this carefree and whimsical feeling. The world abounds with talks of time spent at the pool or beach. All the while, summer may have arrived but so has the steady stream of work at the office. Summer can also be expensive, adding extra costs with kids home more. They seem to always be hungry or enrolled in different programs to keep them occupied while you are working. It is important to budget for summer as it approaches and be creative with entertainment and food budgeting, so that your financial path does not go too far off track.
Here are some recommendations I have for keeping the kids occupied and your sanity and budget intact:
I encourage you to take time in the spring to map out your summer. Determine camps, trips and how much extra money will be needed. By thinking ahead, you can determine how much will be spent on daycare, camps and extra food so that trips and special treats can be determined. Once you have planned it all out, you can communicate it to your kids to amp up their excitement and expectation for the summer.
Sometimes quality time at home is the most meaningful time a family can have. Take one day off at the end or beginning of the week to extend the weekend. You can spend this time focusing on family time like playing games, cooking out, hooking up the sprinkler in the yard, movies in the living room at night on Netflix. If the kids are busy with camps and daycare during the week, just having your full attention for a set amount of time can be the perfect answer to summer vacation. It is far easier to take one day off from work than a large chunk of time. You can plan out a few staycations with different themes.
Camp Auntie or Grandma’s House
Summer can be a great time to catch up with family that might not live close. You can alleviate many levels of your guilt (not seeing the family enough, working etc) by either working remotely from an extended family member’s house while the kids are entertained by the family. Or you can drop the kids off to the family’s house for a period of time while you return home to work in peace. You can market it as a special trip to the kids and quality time with your kids to the family member.
Other options for a Great Summer
For most of us, the key is to provide a great summer to our family while still maintaining our businesses. It can be a challenge, no doubt. However, with some creativity and planning, it can be done. One thing for me that is always a challenge is the longer days. I have little ones (toddlers), so it is hard to fill those extra hours of daylight. We try to make special trips for ice cream or to the park and it is those simple things that bring so much joy. Our society fools us into thinking we need long trips to the coast or up in the mountains to satisfy our family time. Those trips might be great for your social media feeds, but the most meaningful thing to your kids are the hours you spend with them. They will probably always remember that you worked and that is okay. But I am sure they will remember more clearly the staycations, time with family and simple summertime treats like ice cream and dare I say, time at the park past 7 pm.