WT 057: School's Out for Summer: How Do I Care for My Kids?
Summer will be here before we know it. For many moms, it means the addition of babysitters, your kids helping around the house more, and finding ways to keep them from turning into couch potatoes during those long summer days. If summer is on your mind, this episode is for you!
Question 1: Karen, Did you use babysitters? How many did you keep in your arsenal? What are your overall tips for using babysitters? This is the first summer that I’m not a stay at home mom and am not sure where to start on getting childcare for my kids during the day.
Karen’s Answer: Did I use baby sitters? YES! How many did I keep in my arsenal? Lots! at least 4-5. :)
During the summer I had childcare at my work, which was so great. But, I also hired college age or older ladies to watch my children when Greg and I would go out of town for a long weekend or a trip by ourselves. Summer is hard, if you can find a high school girl, a senior or a college student, hire them for the summer, and let them sort of be your nanny, that always works well. Abby has done for people in the past.
Get outside your comfort zone, but vet the sitters to be sure. Ask your children too how they liked them and what they did the whole time you were gone. My children would always give reports on sitters.
Question 2: What are some ways that you would suggest incentivizing cleaning or chores for kids? When the kids are home for the summer, they have responsibilities each day to help around the house. I know they dread them, but I would like to find a way to at least make it fun or rewarding.
Karen’s Answer: I would say, “Get your chores done by lunch and we will go to the pool after lunch.” I held off the reward until everyone had finished their chores. I didn’t make mine do chores everyday, except for making up their bed and bring down their dirty clothes, but they did have chores for the week.
Figure out what works for your family. You can create a job well done jar and have them pick something out of the jar, when they are finished.
Question 3: Karen, this is the first summer where my oldest daughter is old enough to stay home and babysit her siblings during the day while I’m at work. I’m happy that we don’t have to worry about booking childcare, but now I am worried about them spending 8 hours watching TV all day. Any advice?
Karen’s Answer: This is hard because you aren’t home to monitor it. You can limit TV time, but how will you know if they are watching it or not? You can give them chores to do, books to read, and then ask them questions about their book to make sure they are reading.
I tried not to leave Kelsey with all the kids for the whole summer, because they ended up not getting along. Kelsey would boss the younger ones around, they didn’t like it, so it didn’t work for us. She would watch them, but not for 8 hours and all summer. If I did hire a sitter I would tell her to turn off the TV and make them go play outside.
Question 4: Karen, when did you let you kids start sleepovers? And what boundaries, if any were there? I feel like my daughter is too young, but apparently I am the only mom in her class who feels that way. Also, my daughter gets invited to so many sleepovers during the week in the summer, but it’s not feasible for me to pick her up in the mornings, take her home and then go to work. She is my oldest, so is this a ‘thing’ that is normal and I just have to get used too?
Karen’s Answer: You don’t have to get used to doing anything you don’t want to do. :) If you can’t do sleepovers because of your work schedule, then make that be your rule during the week. It maybe different from other families, but that is okay.
I did let my children do sleepovers, but I limited the amount and my boundaries were that I know the parents, and I felt good about them. If I was unsure, I would host a sleepover to get to know the other child first. I didn’t like sleepovers all the time, my children would get too crabby and that is no fun!
Get to know the parents of your children’s friends. Decide what works for you and stick with it.
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