7 Top Tips for Managing Work and Family Time Over the Summer Break

With the summer holidays imminent, you might be curious as to how you can balance working with enjoying family time in the sunshine. In this article, we’ll uncover some ways to help you manage the juggle between your professional and personal life during this time of year, without having to sacrifice your wellbeing.

  1. Boundaries for Everyone

Working from home can have many benefits. But, at times, it can be difficult to separate boundaries when your workstation and living area are in the same place. And with your child/children soon to be off from school, perhaps you’re worried about this being an issue on the days you work from home and they’re not in childcare or out and about with friends.

However, by setting boundaries for not only yourself but the whole family, you can combat any concerns about becoming distracted. Communicating with your partner (if applicable), child, or other family at home before summer begins can help re-establish any boundaries you already have, as well as introduce any new ones. Some suggestions include:

  • Sharing your meeting schedule with your family so they know when you’re off limits due to meetings.
  • Schedule lunch breaks to coincide with theirs, so that you can spend some quality time together.
  • Discuss and agree on acceptable noise levels during working hours.
  • Prepare an activity box filled with games and toys that your child/children can use independently.
  • Use educational apps. Online classes or virtual playdates to keep children occupied and engaged.

You may also want to create physical boundaries using visual cues such as putting up a “do not disturb” sign on your door, or perhaps you could wear headphones to show that you shouldn’t be interrupted during these times.

  1. Create a Daily Routine

Creating a daily routine can be a highly effective tool in arranging work and family time during the holidays. You most likely already have one, but it’ll need to be updated to account for having children in the house. By time blocking the tasks or activities you know will definitely be happening - or must still be done - you can reduce stress levels and feelings of overwhelm, as well as improve productivity.

First, you may want to consider the parts of your day that are usually consistent, such as daily standing meetings, or having lunch and dinner at specific times. This way, you’ll be able to create a blueprint for what your days and week might look like, adding in any activity clubs your child has on, or evenings when you or your partner are out. You might also want to add dedicated family time to your calendar.

  1. Take Advantage of the Longer Days

The brighter mornings and evenings are a highlight of this season for many – and for good reason! Family time doesn’t have to be reserved for weekends, and there are plenty of activities you can enjoy with your loved ones before or after your workday finishes.

Heading outside for a family bike ride in the morning or doing something that you might only usually do on weekends such as mini golf or bowling are also some fun ideas for you and your child to enjoy after work and to make the most out of the summer.

  1. Use Your Lunch Break

Similarly, your lunch break can be another chance to fit in some quality family time or for you to recharge by yourself, with a potentially busier schedule than usual.

If you work from home, getting out for a walk can be a lovely way to spend lunch with your family, or if the weather isn’t great, why not stay in and enjoy a quick board game? If your time is more limited, a reading session doesn’t have to take long! Just a few minutes of reading each day can help your child develop a wider breadth of vocabulary, increase their comprehension skills, and provide an opportunity to use their imagination.

  1. Delegate Household Chores

With your child having a bit of extra time on their hands, the summer break can be a chance for them to take away some of your (or your partner’s) workload around the house. Plus, asking your child to get involved with chores can be useful in teaching them responsibility, building confidence, and developing their problem-solving skills. Depending on how old your child is, the novelty of housework might even make chore time exciting!

  1. Do Not Disturb

Our phones can be all-consuming at times. Whether you use it mostly for work or scrolling social media, it can be easy to get caught up with the digital world, rather than being present with our loved ones. One survey of 2,000 parents of children aged 5–18 even found that half of respondents have been asked by their child to put their phone away at some point*.

Over the summer holidays, you might find it helpful to set dedicated times/evenings/events to switch your phone to “do not disturb” to silence notifications, bar phone calls for example, in case of an emergency. Why not even challenge everyone in the household to do the same?

  1. Address Priorities

If you’re guilty of frequently working late into the evenings, or “just” checking your work emails on the weekends, before the summer break may be an ideal opportunity to reconsider your work-life balance so that you can best utilise this time.

You could consider communicating with your employer to address managing your work during the working day. They may be able to support you to delegate, change estimations for how long you predict projects will take, or learn to say “no”. 

Remember, the summer holidays are just a few weeks of the year for your child. But within this time, there’s a huge opportunity to make some amazing family memories, even as you continue to work.

* Parents only spend 24 minutes more with their kids than they do their phones (nypost.com)