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How to Deal With Summer Break (When You Work a 9-to-5)

You've probably already lined up babysitters, summer camps, and sibling "nannies" for your little ones this summer, but how do you save your sanity when your kids are home all day and you're at work? Whether you work from home or from a cube farm, there are ways to feel good about how the next few months are going to turn out.

You’ve probably already lined up babysitters, summer camps, and sibling “nannies” for your little ones this summer, but how do you save your sanity when your kids are home all day and you’re at work? Whether you work from home or from a cube farm, there are ways to feel good about how the next few months are going to turn out.

summer time

(Photo Credit: bengrey/Flickr)

1. Remember That It’s Summer

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You might be a few years away from your last summer break, but back in the day, it was a glorious time that seemed to stretch well past the horizon (not just the 5-10 days you could carve out of the corporate calendar).

Ease up on yourself and try to let things relax a bit, for your own sanity’s sake. Maybe you take an afternoon off to explore a museum with your kids, or perhaps you take advantage of working a revised “summer hours” schedule so you can have that half day or every-other-Friday off for some family time. We all need a break sometimes, and when the weather turns lovely, it’s a great excuse to ditch the cube and head home (or to the beach) for a little relaxation.

2. Don’t Overschedule Yourself (or the Kids)

It’s tempting to fill all those sunny, breezy days with a million activities: to the zoo, then the park, then ice cream, then the museum, then hike a mountain! But you need to perhaps step back and think about savoring this time, instead of overdoing it.

Talk to your kids about what they want to do. Maybe your idea of fun is math worksheets all day long so you don’t “lose pace” with schoolwork, but it might not fit with your tween’s idea of a great summer break. Neither might five different day-camps help with a sense of “summer break.” Instead, you might find yourself stressing over carpools and traffic all summer, with no time for actually enjoying the ride.

It’s just like scheduling too many meetings, and not having enough time to do the work you’ve spent all day planning. Leave time for experimentation and improvisation in your schedule at work, as well as at home, and you’ll find you get through the summer with your sanity intact.

3. Have an Old-Fashioned Summer (Without Screens)

Most of us are guilty of too much “screen time” at home or at work. We might be skimping on sleep because we don’t unplug early enough in the evening. Instead of negotiating with family members about how much is too much, why not take the fight out of the conversation altogether and say “this summer, we’re going screenless.”

There’s nothing wrong with a good, old-fashioned paperback under a tree, or time spent playing board games or solving puzzles to get the old mental juices flowing again. At work, this could mean having an in-person coffee chat instead of a standard email rodeo. Or maybe you have some mellow team-building planned to inspire new conversations and enhanced connections, instead of one more day on the cube-world calendar.

Anyway you choose to go, summer is a magical time of year for all ages. Keep your youthful sense of wonder and you’ll get through it just fine. Now let’s all go get ice cream for dinner! 

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