By now you have had the first part of the season to evaluate your summer strategies for whatever is going on at home while you are at work. Households with children face some real challenges when school is out (I know ours does), and I’m pretty sure you have done your best to make a plan, but is it working?
Now is a good time to ask your kids how they feel about the summer so far and get suggestions for solving some of the problems that have come up. Talk to your caregiver and emergency backup and let them know you appreciate all they do. That stay-at-home neighbor needs to be thanked for being on call, even if you haven’t had to make the call. And don’t forget to thank your kids for acting responsibly even though they should be doing it anyway.
Have a family treat night and brainstorm how to deal with little things before they turn into door-slamming fights. Do you have a system in place for conflict resolution at home? Do you need to create a sign that lists expectations and rules while you are at work? Is the person in charge while you are gone abusing their authority? Are consequences clear and consistent?
Many kids (and adults) find it easier to discuss problems when there’s something to do while you talk. I’m thinking ice cream with all the toppings here, but do what works for your family. There’s something about a regular family time that you know will be happening that makes communication develop.
It’s easy to forget that family life does develop the skills you bring into your career. There are surprising ways family and career overlap and most of it has to do with the strengths we developed at home.