Article by: Jayati Chakraborty (Executive Vice President – Business and Operations at Teleperformance).
Summer vacation, a source of great delight to all school children and looked forward to eagerly by them, poses a challenge to working mothers as they have to organize child care and devise innovative ways of keeping their brood busy and entertained.
Since I have had to wade through dozens of summer breaks with my child whilst working in the fast paced world of business, I regard myself as a near expert in terms of managing these challenges. Here are some tips and tricks that I have accumulated over the last few years to survive summer vacation:
Relatives including generous grandparents are often the best solution to summer childcare – if you are lucky enough to have them live close by. Working moms benefit greatly from the help of hands-on grandparents, as do the children: youngsters get to develop relationships with the older generation and make a fledging leap into independence away from their mothers. Grandparents will save mothers and fathers a lot of hard earned money by babysitting for their children and driving them around.
If there are options available, then it may also be a good idea to have the child spend a few days or weeks with close relatives who may not be co-located. Though this may mean transferring some of your worries to someone else, it can provide an ideal opportunity for your children to spend time with their cousins. However, it is essential to ensure that relatives are made aware of the higher demand on their time during the days of vacation – incidents of relatives complaining during summer breaks undoubtedly escalates!
If relatives aren’t able to provide childcare over the summer vacation, it may be useful to organize a summer nanny. Hiring a nanny for the summer is one of the easiest options for parents that requires the least amount of co-ordination, as they will typically come to you and care for your child in the comfort of your own home. It is advised to organize childcare with a nanny well in advance to ensure they have full availability.
Summer Camp/ Activities
Most working mothers will be concerned that their children are whiling away their summer break watching TV or being hooked on to any smartphone they have access to. It is thus important that the child is given some direction daily on how they can spend their time productively either on studies or any other extracurricular activities like sports, music, dance etc. It is of course advised that the mother regularly monitors the activities of their children-it could be a couple of additional calls made to the child during the day or a chat around the topic once one is back home from work.
It is also a good idea to enroll your child in a summer camp or a club that ensures productive use of their time along with loads of fun filled activities. The choices of summer camps are varied and caters to all possible interests that a child may have. Several schools offer the summer camp facility at their own premises which makes it easier for the children to participate as it is located in a familiar and local location. If the child likes to read, then enrolling them in a library club where they can access books also works well.
Family Vacation/Kids in the Work Place
Going on a family vacation is definitely a great option to spend quality time with your children and to educate them about different cultures and destinations. It is also a great chance to prise your children away from their smartphones and to enjoy the great outdoors. If you are anxious about going abroad with young children, don’t choose a location that’s more than 2-3 hour flight time away- and opt for a country which doesn’t have a large time difference.
In addition, if the organization permits, it is also a good time to take your children to your work place one day so that they know what their mothers do while they are away from home. This can motivate children to work towards doing similar roles when they grow up.
As I have elaborated, it is a challenge (and sometimes a nightmare!) for the moms with the summer vacations around the corner, but a bit of advanced planning is normally sufficient to ensure that the child is able to enjoy the summer breaks having fun and being productive at the same time.