If you’re a working mom (and truly, we all are!), it’s likely that your job doesn’t shut down for the summer in perfect correspondence with your children’s summer vacation from school. To help you through the struggle of keeping kids engaged, uplifted and occupied, here are a few resources that might help. I’d also like your suggestions in the comments for programs or solutions to help keep everyone safe, secure and happy.
Vacation Bible School Programs – Many churches have wonderful, low cost summer programs aimed at both encouraging and providing entertainment for children during the summer. Be cautious and discerning about selecting programs that will compliment your Catholic education of your children, not compete with it. Also, check out the Summer Faith Adventure for a great DIY program you can do in your own home, parish or neighborhood.
Hire a High Schooler – It’s more difficult than ever for today’s high school students to find gainful employment, and many of them are responsible and ready for a good summer job. Consider checking out your local youth group or Catholic high school for recommendations of responsible teens. Another good solution is to check with your local Children’s hospital – many provide babysitting courses and certifications and can direct you to students looking for assignments.
Cooperate – It’s likely that you have friends who are in similar situations. Practice a little creativity if possible and look for ways to trade off weeks of care. Turn the week you are responsible for the kids into a camp type situation and plan fun activities, special meals, outdoor adventures and maybe even a contest or play to culminate the week.
Lessen Your Load – Don’t try to keep as busy a schedule as you normally do during the school year. Enroll in fewer nighttime sports and activities, try to lighten your work duties as much as possible, or consider asking to work a “flex” schedule if possible. Too many moms spend the summer feeling stressed and guilty – don’t lay that load on yourself! Express to your children that you are doing your best and invite them to be a part of the solution.
I also want to point you to this great article by my friend Rachel Balducci, who’s aiming to arm moms with some good responses to those killer summertime words, “Mom, I’m bored”. Find some great come-backs here.
If you’re a working mom (and we all are!) how do you handle the summer season and keep your children cared for and occupied?