Deborah Jackson

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

How to Balance Writing (or any home-based business) with Kid's Summer Vacation

Tip 1: Get up early, especially if the kids are a bit older. They'll sleep while you have two or three glorious hours of writing/work.

Tip 2: Project. Involve your children in a project, something they enjoy like creating artwork or gardening. Have them plant seeds, nurture them and watch them grow. They may not like the weeding, but it's a good lesson on sometimes having to do unpleasant work along with the fun stuff in order to experience the satisfaction of a job well done, along with the wonder of growth and beauty. My son is growing unique plants from seed that I'd never attempted to grow myself. It's amazing what weird and wonderful things we have bursting to life in our garden. He also took it upon himself to create a Monopoly game using local street names and his own imagination: Teleportation Booth instead of Reading Railroad and Nuclear Power Plant for Electric Company.

Tip 3: Excursions. Work in the morning, do an excursion in the afternoon, or vice versa. Promise the kids an outing if they occupy themselves for a few hours while you work. A picnic, a swim, a hike, a museum, a water park.

Tip 4: Job for kids. If they're old enough, get them a job watering the neighbours garden while they're on vacation, or cutting their lawn. They'll make some money and they'll learn responsibility, plus it will keep them busy.

Tip 5: Entrepreneurship. If the area supports it, encourage the kids to set up a lemonade stand or a garage sale. When my daughter was younger, we had a hot summer and construction occurring around our house. She sold iced tea, lemonade and cookies, and made a fortune (for her). Of course this will need to be supervised to some extent, but it can still be done while typing on the computer or ipad.

Tip 6: Pick fruit: strawberries, blueberries (especially the wild kind while on a hike), visit a farm, in the morning when it's cooler. Thoroughly exhaust the young 'uns so they want to rest in the afternoon while you write/work. Of course you may want to rest then, too.

Tip 7: Write on the fly. Take along your notepad, ipad or laptop, and jot down ideas while taking your kids to the park or for a shopping expedition. Never ignore them, though! They don't like that.

Tip 8: Send the kids to a movie on a rainy day. If there's an older child in the neighbourhood to supervise, or if they're old enough to go on their own with friends, it will give you a couple of peaceful, productive hours.

Tip 9: Coffee Break or as they say in Dutch, Koffee Tijd. Take a break while out on excursions and sit down for a coffee or iced tea. The kids will probably want a smoothie. Chatting with your kids can give you great ideas for books, articles or short stories. Sometimes listening to your kids is greater inspiration than all the time spent on "deep thought."

Tip 10: Take a longer vacation. When you're all going a little crazy, take a break, if feasible. A week camping or a trip to relatives. Anything to break up the summer.

Please add tips below, if something worked for you.

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