Summertime and the livin’ is easy… unless you’re working from home. My kids do not go to camp all summer long, so I spend my summers trying to balance my work committments and keeping my kids occupied. To give you an idea of what I’m working with, my kids are 10, 8 and 5 years old. The playground is across the street from our house, and we have a pool in our neighborhood, but our backyard is the size of a postage stamp. I’m fortunate to live in a neighbhorhood where I feel safe letting my kids ride their bikes or scooters on their own, with the big ones keeping an eye on my little guy. Keeping the kids safe while letting them be independent is one of my goals this summer. Here’s my Working Mom’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe This Summer!
When you have consistent guidelines in place and your kids know the rules, it’s much easier to keep them safe when they aren’t under your watchful eye.
Get a Sitter
Are you surprised to see this at the top of the list? My number one reason for getting a sitter this summer is so that my kids can go swimming. This is one activity they cannot do without supervision. Sure, I can bring my computer and phone to the pool but if I do that, I am not really paying attention to the kids in the pool anyway, which is a big safety no-no. You don’t need a sitter all day, every day but you should have one for at least couple of hours a day. My sitter is a very reliable high school student who takes the kids for three hours every morning during the week. She takes them to the pool and to a bigger playground that is a 20 minute walk from our house. If you have a sitter that drives, that gives you more options and flexibility. (Don’t forget–you might be able to write this off as a childcare expense–check with your tax professional!)
Practice Traffic Safety
This is especially important for the younger siblings. Even though the older siblings may be keeping an eye on the younger ones, the younger ones are still responsible for their own safety. Teach them to look both ways before crossing, to always stay within eyesight of adults or older siblings, and to stop at corners of intersections and wait for their siblings to catch up before crossing.
Water, and Lots of It
Push water on your kids like crazy. Get them in the habit of drinking water without prompting. When kids keep themselves hydrated, they can play more comfortably for longer periods of time. Keep water bottles and cups within arms’ reach, and make the water easily accessible by placing a step stool at the sink or by the fridge dispenser.
Lather Them Up
Along with hydration, sunscreen is another must-do. Prevent those sunburns and you won’t have to spend time playing nurse when you could be working. Remember to re-apply sunscreen throughout the door, especially after a swim.
Plan Indoor Activities
I tend to keep my kids indoors during the hottest times of the day– between noon and 2pm. If you keep the kids active for the morning, then this is great timing because by the time noon rolls around, they are ready for lunch and for some downtime. If you limit screen time, this is a good time to use the screen time. If your kids have summer assignments or summer reading, this is the time to do it! You should plan to take a break during this time or work on something that doesn’t require your full concentration. I sometimes take the kids to the library to hang out while I get some work done if I’m on a pressing deadline and can’t take a break.
I’ll be honest with you– I’d love to send my kids to camp all day, every day during the summer but it’s a huge expense and I’m not yet at the place in my business where I can justify spending that money. (#goals, amirite?) Tell me I’m not alone in this! I’d love to know what other tips you have for keeping the kids safe, healthy and happy this summer while you’re working from home.
Nancy Cavillones is an entrepreneur’s best friend and is on a mission to keep bloggers and small business owners sane by handling the minutiae of their online presence. She’s been online in some form or other since 1993, and still has the AOL dial-up tone stuck in her head. As a virtual assistant, Nancy exercises her creative and organizational muscles by writing and scheduling social media copy and sourcing content, as well as performing many other tasks that allow clients to focus on their big-picture projects. She enjoys taking the scenic route, forcing her kids to appreciate nature, and spending time in New York City by herself in an desperate attempt to recapture her college days. Nancy is Mom Life Collective’s content manager. Find her on Facebook.