Work must go on.
So how do we small business owners, who possibly work from home, cope with still being a good parent, and keep the kids happy and healthy during the holidays?
Some of you may know that I was a school teacher for 5 years in south africa before becoming a personal trainer. I taught PREP at private christian schools (4 years with all boys in Durban and 1 year co-ed in Johannesburg) One of the reasons I have created this life for myself, is so that I can be there for my 3 girls through-out their school life. That includes when they sick, have special school events and during the school holidays.
Now im not going to lie, it takes some simple strategy and planning to make school holidays mutually enjoyable when you trying to keep your business going through school holidays. This was by far the most important thing I had to acknowledge first. Yes, it requires strategy and planning. The second important thing, was realizing that I was fighting a losing battle if I worked against the naturally occurring seasons…. I had to come up with some a survival guide.
I hope this helps you….
My survival Guide:
You will get no-where and achieve nothing if you go with the flow. You will feel frustrated, which will fuel the kids to act out.
Fail to plan, plan to fail
- On a Sunday, Plan your week ahead. I use a gmail calendar on my phone (or computer), so I can print out the week for all of us to see and know where we are at, and where we are going. It gives everyone a road map. My girls have even learnt to schedule their play dates, dancing and events into my calendar. This needs to be done carefully.
- Include the ‘have to do’. Use different colours and include Things like your appointments, and the kids scheduled activities. Make sure there is enough space in between to avoid stress and rushing. Think about the distance and time to travel. Use google maps for this. Make sure you also include the necessary housework and gardening. If you are like me, who gets the children to help with the chores, Again use a different colour for each child and yourself. Chores are evenly distributed in my house and are age appropriate. This is a fantastic life skill to teach your children. Ps. You are not their slave. Just as you help them, they should respect and help you. This teaches love and appreciation.
- Include your breakfast, lunch and dinner meals on the calendar. Again, use 3 different colours. Block out an hour for each. That will give you enough time to prepare, clean up, plus sit and enjoy it with the kids. Itll also make sure that you get in 3 good meals that day. (PS> I have a strict rule! Your kids should eat what you eat! You are their role model, so be a good one! Plus you shouldn’t have to be preparing different meals for each kid. Children need to learn the value of eating good nutritious food for health. We eat for fuel. ) One of my best tips is to PREPARE THEIR LUNCH BOXES even in the holidays. This means they always have food (Youll eliminate the ‘IM HUNGRY’), you ensure they eat a balanced daily diet, you are only in the kitchen to prepare and clean ONCE and YOUR lunch box should be prepared to (Because you and the kids all eat nutritious food) Feeding them sugary, snacky food full of additives and preservatives will only raise their blood sugar levels and create uncontrollable behavior. Choose food that is High in good fats, lean protein and nutrients and avoid white foods, sugar, gluten and dairy, plus of course junk food and lollies.
- Make a grocery list and go shopping. Try to go without the children. Shopping IS NOT an activity for the kids. It will aggravate you, and them, plus cost you unnecessary money as you try to please them, or end up eating takeaway or getting naughty treats. Shop online once a week, or if you can, leave them with someone, or even go late night shopping. Have you thought about a play date swap? You watch mine whilst I go shopping and then ill watch yours when you go. WIN WIN. Planned properly, you should only need to go once a week. If you run out of something, write it on a list, get creative and improvise for the rest of the week, and get it next week. TRUST ME! This will save you time, money and stress!
- Now have a ‘meeting’ with your kids to discuss what they would like to do in the holidays. This includes what YOU would like to do to. Obviously it needs to be within reason, fit into the timetable and your budget. Explain that there are a few ‘have to do’ things for you, but you want them to also get to do what they want to do (within reason) Depending on the time you have left available on your schedule, and how many kids you have, you may want to let each child choose 1 or 2 activities. You may even restrict them by saying 1 outing and 1 no expense activity. Make sure you yourself have decided before you sit down with them, so you are able to direct them. This activity teaches mutual respect for each other. Explain that once the ‘have to do’ are done, plus the chores, every person will get to do what they want. WIN WIN. We use a whiteboard where the children and I tick off our ‘have to do’ activities and the chores, so we can then get to the fun part of holidaying.
- Display your weekly timetable so the children are aware of everyones responsibilities. They wont keep bothering you with “is it time to go to the park yet?” because it will be coloured and clear on the timetable, which includes and considers everyone. If it’s a fighting and frustrating battle to work from home with the kids on holiday, then send them to holiday care or work from the library. At the library, they can use the computers or read, and have to be quiet and not run around.
- Love your children for being children. Remember to praise them and show them gratitude when they mark off their tasks on the whiteboard. This will keep them motivated to happily continue. If they have not done what was clearly asked of them, then DO NOT REWARD THEM NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY MAKE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE! You will only be creating monsters long term. And, as hard as it is, outside of working hours, put your mummy hat back on and give your kids the uninterrupted significance they deserve.
So what did I mean when I said I don’t fight the naturally occurring seasons? Well, I run my 8 week challenges in the school term, so I can focus on my kids in the holidays, and focus on my clients when the kids are back in school. This is good for them to as they are less destracted and they can make time for themselves. Register for our next 8 week challenge HERE. Our Hub is child friendly and we are passionate about helping other parents get their health and fitness back on track so they can be better parents.