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Surviving Summer While Working From Home With Kids

It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>

Summer is in full swing and a lot of people have been asking me about my kids daily to do lists and how I keep them motivated around the house every year during the summer so I can get work done. Instead of just me posting, I thought I'd put the question out to get even more feedback.

So, this week I asked our experts….

If you have kids at home —
how do you manage your home
during the summer to actually get work done?

Include schedules, too, if you have them. Thanks!

I hope you find something in this week's post to help make your own summer break a little less stressful.

Tiffany Dow of The Guide to Shiny Object Syndrome says:

I have three kids at home – a college student, one transitioning from middle into high school, and an elementary school student. When they’re home during the summer, I am in Heaven! But like all kids, it can pose a distraction for me when I need to get things done.

I’ve made the mistake of being a night owl and trying to work past the bedtime of my kids, just so I could spend the daylight hours focused on them, but then I found that I was too tired during the day to work or play.

For me personally, during the school years, I end up losing over two hours a day just driving the kids to and from school. When summer comes, I gain two extra hours, which I love.

A typical schedule for me during the summer is like this:

Wake up between 6-8 AM (because after all, what good is summer if we can’t enjoy not living by an alarm clock?).

Go to bed around 9-10 PM.

Everything in between is a lovely combination of work, cooking and playing with my kids. I don’t live by a schedule. I make breakfast, lunch and dinner when we’re hungry. I take the kids swimming for a couple of hours if the weather happens to be nice.

I like to run errands during regular working hours so that stores are not crowded. I technically work from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep, but each day is filled with breaks and cooking with my kids and maybe a TV show or two.

I don’t track time. I live according to what moments my kids need with me and what tasks I have to get done that day. If my daughter says, “Hold me, Mommy!” then I drop the keyboard and hold her.

If I know I need to get something out that day because my subscribers are counting on me, then I tell my kids that morning and they work together to help each other so that they interrupt me less. I’m sure to thank them when I’m done for being so good to me and letting me accomplish my work.

I wish I could provide the perfect “work at home Mom” schedule that’s rigid and foolproof, but I can’t. I don’t even want to. I want to say this: THE biggest perk of this career path is getting to enjoy all of these precious moments with our kids.

So soak it up during the summertime. They’re grown before you know it. Work can wait. Even if you have to set your alarm earlier so that you can get more done, make the effort. You’ll enjoy your summer more when you relax and realize that most tasks can wait.

One thing I’d like to add to this. My subscribers and I recently had a conversation about the noisiness that kids bring. I’ve turned everything (TV, video games, talking) into white noise. When voices become high pitched (like my daughter saying, “STOP IT, SHAWN!”) I instantly tune in and address it.

Carol Amato recommended a great site to help train you for white noise while working. It’s free and it’s called It’s really neat and the key is to put it really low and train your mind to work around noise.

connieConnie Ragen Green of Affiliate Marketing Inside Secrets says:

I do not have kids at home, but I do spend about eight weeks each summer with some or all of my six grandkids. Four of these incredible children live in Finland, so while I am there I get up very early – three or four in the morning – to do my work online. They get up around six or seven and by then I've done as much as I intended to do that day. A couple of times a week it all catches up with me and I simply take a nap that afternoon. The oldest is twelve years old now, so she and I have our own work area when she happens to get up early to see what I'm doing.

When the two stateside grandsons are with me I work around their busy schedules. They are both involved in organized sports, so I attend every practice and game and do not work at all during that time.

Two years ago I started teaching them what I do online, so now we all seem to be working a few hours each day on our businesses. They are homeschooled, and this has been an important part of their education.

I would encourage anyone with children in their life to include them in what you do, as much as possible. As a former classroom teacher I feel strongly about sharing this type of information with kids from an early age.

Felicia Slattery of Signature Speech Secrets says:

My girls (ages 8 and 10) finished school for the summer on May 24. And now I'm stuck trying to figure out what to do with them for the summer. Lucky for me is there's this thing called the Internet :-).

So far, I've found a site that has a cool list of 50 free things to do with kids in the summer, a bunch of kid-friendly recipes, and affordable summer camps for both my girls.

On the days where they won't be occupied outside our house, my schedule will include work time for me from about 7-Noon, with breaks for getting them breakfast and keeping them occupied with various activities from cleaning out their closets, junk drawers, toys in the basement playroom, and more chores. After that, they have lots of self-invented games they like to play including School (I know, go figure), Barbies, and putting on plays that require hours of practice. In the afternoons, I'll take them to the neighborhood pool and let them play with friends outside as much as possible.

June is Effective Communications Month, so I'll be busy offering webinars, teaching classes and creating content for my community. This summer I've scheduled one evening class based on my 21 Ways to Make Money Speaking that will run for 6 weeks. Daddy will be home then to take care of the troops while I work for an hour an evening once a week.

We have a couple of vacations planned and I won't work much (if at all) during those times. We love summer and always have fun, while I always make money!!

Susanne Myers of  Daily Affiliate Tasks says:

Summers are always a challenge for me. My main work time during the rest of the year is while my daughter is in school. There are a few things I’ve figured out over the past few years that made my life a lot easier. Some of them I mentioned in last year’s post including not scheduling any major projects and getting work done ahead of time.

This year I’m aiming to do something that’s worked very well last summer. My goal is to get up at least an hour or two before the rest of my family does. Since they are all late sleepers and years of having to get up early has me waking at the crack of dawn anyway, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. I should be able to get most of my work done before the rest of them are up and had their coffee, leaving me free the rest of the day to go explore, hang out at the beach and the likes.

I’m also looking into some summer programs that will keep my daughter entertained for a few hours a week, while giving me a chance to sneak in a few more hours of concentrated work. It always amazes me how much I can get done when I know that’s the only work time I have.

NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

My kids are 11 and 16 but this is the system that we've been using since they were each toddlers. Why? Because it's the closest thing to sanity that I can arrange here.

We have a daily checklist that the kids must complete before the TV goes on, the computer goes on, or any game systems get turned on. They also must complete their daily list before friends are allowed in the house.

I found that, if I left the time limit open, that the lists wouldn't get done. However, if they know they can work through their tasks faster and be free of my tyranny – they work through it better. 🙂

Here's their list that I posted two years ago. It's pretty much the same today. You can click on it to view it in pdf format.

The other benefits are this…

1. The kids know what the expectations are in advance. They are better equipped to succeed.

2. My husband and I are on the same page, because the rules are in black and white.

3. I'm not chasing the kids around all day saying “Did you brush your teeth?” or “Have you cleaned up the backyard?” I look at their chart and it's right there in front of me.

4. It teaches the kids that habits are important. And, that a family works on routine. All good stuff. 🙂

I print it out weekly and they just check off the days as they go through them. If everything gets done during the week, they earn bonuses.

For instance, my son has a Gamefly account. He keeps it as long as the backyard is cleaned up daily. If there is an issue, he gets downgraded from 2 games/month to 1 and then to zero. It really never becomes an issue. He's really very self-motivated when he knows the rules. My daughter on the other hand… is a bit more of a battle.

My son is also taking some classes through Florida Virtual School to earn more high school credits again this summer which keeps him busy. And, he is doing some work for me in our business, but I'm not utilizing him enough yet.

Also during summer, I try to limit work to 1-2 hours per day – Monday-Friday. Some days, I work 10 minutes – just to quick check email for emergencies. Others are closer to 3 hours Am I letting some things drop? Yes. But, I'm finding that the important things, like getting a pedicure with my daughter – are getting done. And, it really helps me to sit down and FOCUS on projects and tasks that make me money.

Please share your tips. I'd love to hear them. Also, I'm working on a book about working from home. So stay tuned for that soon. 🙂

Nicole Dean

I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • bob marconi

    Keeping the kids motivated and engaged during the summer? Hey, how about figuring out how to motivate me! Please mom do I have to do chores? The other kids don’t…

    Since my daughter is grown up and married I live on my own. I do have a brother but motivating him doesn’t work unless the word ‘MOPAR’ enters the conversation!

    Thanks all – appreciate the tips…

    ps: Just starting my website

  • Tammy

    My kids are grown up now but as an entrepreneur coach I always tell my clients summer is a good test. Yes the kids are underfoot but its a good to be challenged that way because there will ALWAYS be obstacles. Work on performing anyway while they are out of school. Then imagine how dynamite you are going to be when they go back – you can be productive in any setting!


  • Tracy Roberts

    Being able to work with the kids at home is one of the reasons I chose to be a solopreneur.

    I love being able to stop what I’m doing for a cuddle or do something fun. They’re only little for a very short time and I plan to enjoy it!

    Thanks for sharing your chart, Nik. I just might have to steal it! 😉

  • Carrie Medford

    I’ve got five kids home with me, but normally only two of them are in school anyway. The biggest obstacle here is that they get bored during the summer, so trying to keep ahead of the whole ‘What can I dooooooooooooooooo?’ issue is on my priority list.

  • Ruth Clark

    My kids are all grown. I have grandchildren and even great-grands. I do spend a lot of time driving back and forth (150 miles +) to make memories with them in the summer. That’s very important.

    One thing I want to mention. My almost 12 year old granddaughter has written the beginning of a possible series for Kindle. I said to her two weeks ago that if she would write a story, I would get it published.

    In one afternoon she wrote about the adventures that she an I have quilting. She even did the cover art. Now I’m bound by my own words. You never know what’s going to happen until you give these wonderful children a chance.

    Thanks for a great post, Nicole.

  • Edie Dykeman

    Great points! I have a bit of a unique situation because one of my “kids” is 90 years old. I have to stop what I’m doing to fix lunch and dinner, and for anything else he may need.

    The other “kid” is my 6-year-old grandson (with special needs), who is getting out of school next week. I am his main caregiver when Mom and Dad are both working. He also often spends the night. This is when I get the least accomplished in my online work and I get the most frustrated. I have a lot I want to accomplish this summer and am already stressing about the lack of time I’ll have.

    Something one of you said reminded me that neither one of them are going to be around forever and I need to spend time with them while I can. That was a real eye-opener.

  • Clare

    Hello Nicole

    Thanks for this experts brief post. With a 10 year old boy and 8 year old girl I can definitely relate to this.

    However, the great thing for me about working from home is that I can take a break when the kids need something or want to play, and then go back to it later.


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