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Balancing Summer Fun and Productivity with Your Kids


Parents, it may be time for a little pow-pow.  We’re a month into summer and I wonder if you’re dealing with the same things we are in our home. 

Here's the scenario: You gave your kids a break from the rigid schedule of the school year by allowing them to stay up a bit later and then casually wake up with a loose day.  You also found yourself excited about the lack of go-go-go every moment.  It was such a nice break.  Ahhh…

Now that break is turning to chaos.  You get to the end of the day at home with your kids and you don’t feel like you have gotten much of anything accomplished.  The kids have been watching too much television or have played too many video games, and you find yourself being interrupted multiple times during the day to break up sibling arguments.  You end the day feeling more frustrated than relaxed.  Is that you?  Anything similar?

That was how I was feeling lately.  I see patients at my office 3 days per week while the other 2 days I am working from home doing media interviews, blog writing and paperwork – along with managing all the household duties.  During the summer, those 2 days are a bit more challenging for me because I have a lot of work to do, and I also have the kids home with me.  The whole point of having them home and not in childcare those days are so we can all spend some extra time together.  But I also need to get my work done!  I have been falling behind on everything.

I recently went to a leadership conference in Houston and had the opportunity to listen to a Franklin Covey speaker teach us The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity (highly recommend!).  This came as just the right time because I was not feeling productive at all with the kids and me 2 days per week!  It was leaving me feeling very burnt out.  She says that more than ever, adults are going to their doctors because they think they have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) when in fact they do not - it is burn out.  Interestingly, one of her quotes in this session was this: “How can you light someone else’s match when yours is being burnt out?”  Other great quotes from her were “Productivity is not busyness” and “The enemy of the great is the good.”  Wow.  

What I was reminded of was that I must make time to do the things that I value most or else nothing else matters.  You see, I found myself so wrapped up in my work that I was not spending time with my children who mean the world to me.  I also got out of doing my prayer/devotional time, which really centered me for each day ahead of me.  Owning a business comes with it so much pressure that I was putting off the most important people to get the busy work done.  This Franklin Covey session reminded me to be purposeful about my time.    As I sat in that session there in Houston, I scribbled a schedule for me and my kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  At that moment, I made a conscious choice to spend purposeful time with God, my husband and my kids at the first part of the day – have some fun with the kids, our dogs and get outside to enjoy our beautiful neighborhood, walking trails and swimming pools.  I built in times that they can get on their technology, and during that time, I have the opportunity to write, do paperwork and schedule media interviews (And, yes!  I am writing this during one of those times).  There is also some slotted time to run errands and do some home organization.  I snapped a photo of the actual schedule I have posted for us all follow.  It's not fancy, but it does trick:

Summer Schedule

We have been doing this for a couple weeks now, and I cannot tell you how much better we all feel!  My kids are surprisingly delighted with the schedule as well.  Children actually like structure, and they know what to expect next.  We have had so much fun together!  And when it is time for me to hunker down and get business done, they are off playing games with each other nicely.  They got all the extra energy out and they are now calmly enjoying their time together. 

Do you find your summer a bit chaotic?  I encourage you to be a bit more purposeful with your time.  An actual schedule of mine may be too rigid for you and that’s fine.  But do set some expectations for your children and enforce them.  Excessive screen time has many poor side effects including decreasing attention span and promoting overweight.  Summer is supposed to be a time of making family memories.  You can do that and also be productive if you plan it right.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Me and my kiddos

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