6 Secrets to Job Hunting When Your Kids Are On Summer Break
School’s out, and if you’re unemployed right now you have the rare opportunity to embrace an old-fashioned summer with your kids. As much as you love spending time with them, though, finding the time and energy to juggle a job search while your kids are around 24/7 can be a challenge, but don’t worry, it’s doable!
Start with a rough outline of your day to balance downtime with your family with the daily hours you need to spend on the job hunt. Civilization breaks down when kids feel lost or bored. Your kids will feel more comfortable if they have a routine. A basic plan also helps you feel secure, knowing that you will get what you need to keep your job search the high priority it should be.
Level with your kids about your job search and invite their support. Let them know that you need them on your team and that their self-sufficient behavior during your work hours directly benefits the family. Kids take pride in being a part of their family’s big picture planning. They appreciate being trusted with the real low-down, and they want to help. Ask them for what you need, work it into your plan, and then praise them when they come through for you.
Be clear with them about specific expectations; for example, when the phone rings and you shut the door, you are fielding an important call and you need to do so undisturbed. While explaining this, use professional language for children over the age of 7. When it comes to younger children, imagine how their teacher speaks and try to mirror that. Either way, aim to sound polished and poised. When children understand the gravity of a situation–when you speak to their maturity–they rise to the occasion. At the same time you also want to set yourself up for success, so save the more involved phone calls for when you have the house to yourself.
This summer, your search is your part-time job, and it deserves to be respected and supported as such. Your family can be a great team backing you up, so give them the chance to impress.
The library is your ally. Many public libraries offer free summer reading programs that give school-age children perks for the books they read and incentivize them to keep reading all season long. Sign your kids up ASAP, and make the library run a part of your weekly routine. Libraries usually have other free and enticing offerings for older children and teens such as writing workshops, crafting classes and book clubs. Plus you will find a host of programs for younger children including reading hours, Lego Clubs and Barbie Clubs. There are plenty of opportunities for you to get some job searching done at a quiet place with all the necessary tools while your kids are happily engaged. The library is doubly beneficial—captivating programming and engrossing take-aways.
Find other parents who have part-time jobs or who are stay-at-home parents or fellow job seekers. Summer is a great time for hosting easy play dates. You can round up the kids and hit the beach, hiking trails, playground or pool. This way, the onus isn’t on you to entertain or to clean up. When the other parents reciprocate, you have a block of time to focus on your search, and you can work from home in a quiet environment. This is also helpful when you secure an interview and need some kid-free hours to impress your future employers.
Identify locations for special outings where you know you can work, the kids can have a good time and you know they will be supervised. Check out fun locations like splash pads or indoor play areas for younger children and trampoline parks, open gyms or climbing walls for older kids. While you may have to pay an entrance fee, that fee covers the cost of the supervision, and as a special treat for all of you, it is money well spent!
This is a flexible era in which to be a job seeker, so take your show on the road as much as you can. Certainly there are elements of your search that require a quiet space, but there are other parts of the search that can be done on the bleachers or in a deck chair, so relish that freedom.
While it can be expensive to hire professional childcare, there are scores of non-professionals who would be thrilled to have a summer job. Tutoring jobs and babysitting jobs for teens are much more affordable. While you won’t have a certified professional, you can pay a neighbor $10 an hour in some locations to come and play outside with your kids while you work. Contact local high schools and churches to see if you can interview some students.
Also, if you have teenagers, this may be a good time for them to try their hand at entering the workforce. Getting their professional start by helping out a parent who is working from home is a great way to begin a career as a caregiver. It gives them a chance to learn the ropes in a lucrative industry where work is readily available.
Having the chance to spend the summer with your kids is a wonderful perk of the unexpected situation in which you’ve found yourself. This can be a truly memorable summer for you and your family, an opportunity to learn and grow together, and maybe by the fall you will all find yourselves preparing for a new adventure.