Summer is here! For some of us this means more leisure and vacation time. For those of us juggling work and parenting and/or eldercare responsibilities, the warm weather can actually bring increased demands on our time. It is important to find strategies to help balance work and family priorities and to find time for yourself, to ensure that all family members are able to enjoy the summer season – without becoming frazzled!
Planning takes time – something many of us don’t have enough of to spare. But a little advance planning each week can go a long way to making summer easier for everyone. Sit down with the whole family – including older relatives if possible – to talk about the summer schedule and activities that you can all enjoy.
Create a family calendar and share it where it can be easily seen – on the fridge, family notice board, family computer – so that every family member has easy access. Include activities, holidays, camp or childcare details, scheduled chores for older relatives, celebrations and family projects. Add other special dates or plans that are important to your older relatives, so they can be included as well. Seniors can easily become isolated and it can be very beneficial for them to have contact with children and family members.
Wherever possible, involve the entire family in scheduling and sharing chores, so that home life and outside activities or vacations can be enjoyed by all. Be realistic – don’t overbook weekends and spend them driving non-stop from one child’s activity to another. Set up a practical schedule that allows time for you and/or your family alone.
Ensure that your summer schedule allows for downtime when your children can just hang out and relax without having to be somewhere. You’ll feel better and it’s good for children to see your example of keeping a work-life balance.
Build exercise into personal and family schedules so it can be part of the daily and weekly routine. The sun and warmth of typical summer weather makes it a great time to get outdoors to walk, bike, or swim when taking the children outside. Remember the sunscreen; take water for good hydration; and have your children follow best safety rules when in or around water.
In balancing work and family life, many parents don’t get enough sleep. Most of us need more of it. Sleep restores physical and mental health. As much as children like to stay up later and sleep in later during the summer, bedtime as much before midnight is still best for them, and you, to get the most benefits from a good night’s sleep. For more tips and tools on how to keep your cool this summer, contact your Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1 866 833-7690 or visit workhealthlife.com.