Most families live on routines. Kids especially are comforted by family routines and rhythms. Today, I am talking about creating summer routines for kids to help your family thrive this summer. Every family’s routine will look different and there is a lot of room for flexibility for your schedule!
Why does my family need a summer routine?
You may be thinking “It’s summer, why do we need a routine”. School is out and there is so much freedom it not having to rush off to school and after school activities . Hopefully your family calendar is a little lighter these next few months. So why now, after almost 9 months of a school routine should you set up a summer routine?
Kids thrive on routines. When they know what to expect of the day or the week, they are less likely to push back on the schedule. Plus, they are not constantly asking you what is next?
When we talk about summer routines for kids, I want to stress that these schedules are FLEXIBLE and CUSTOMIZED to your family. You are creating a summer schedule that works best for your family! It is not about over scheduling your kids, but finding those patterns and routines that work for your day.
I’m sharing a simple approach to creating summer routines for kids!
One //Create a Flexible Schedule
First things first, how do we go about creating summer routines for kids? The first thing you want to do is look at your family’s summer patterns?
Consider these things:
- What time do my kids wake up?
- What set summer activities do we have? (Swim team, baseball, camps, etc)
- How busy do I want the summer to be?
The ages of your kids will also dictate the schedule. Even older kids can follow a summer schedule. You might need to have slightly different schedules for each of your kids. Younger kids might stick to a time schedule more closely. Whereas older kids might just require a list of activities that they can schedule into the day themselves.
Our Summer Schedule
I find that kids and I do a little better when we have a routine going to start our day! We are still fine tuning these ideas. However, I wanted to share what has worked for us in the past and what we plan to do this summer.
In most summers in the past, I have created a daily schedule which included morning routines, times for free play and planned activities. These schedules also help with establishing expectations for chores, snack times, etc.
I keep the schedule basic and realistic because the more complicated I make it the less likely it is that we will do it!
Our typical morning:
Make Bed + One Additional Chore
This might seem like a lot but honestly my kids do all of this in less than an hour! My kids are early risers, so by 9 o’clock they’ve got all of these things done.
As the kids have gotten older, our mornings are often filled with camps and summer swim team. So, this morning schedule has required adjustments here and there. I don’t stress out over the schedule and there are days we are out the door before we get to everything. But for the days we are home, this schedule is perfect. The kids get these things done and then they can ask me about screen time and snacks:)
You will notice that I do not have times next to each of these activities. You may decide to have a time schedule or you might want to leave it open depending on the day.
Two // Pick a Few Daily Activities
While every day in the summer might look a little different, you will want to decide on a few activities that will happen every single day. For our family that includes chores, music practice and a little bit of school work.
Kids Chore Jar Idea
In the summer, I am keep our chore routine super SIMPLE! My kids have been doing some basic daily chores for several years now including making their bed, cleaning their room and helping with one additional chore each day.
We have a very simple method for the extra chore of the day.I used popsicle sticks and wrote down one household chore on each stick.
All the sticks are put in a mason jar and I have another empty mason jar nearby. Each of the kids picks a chore stick for the day. The chores vary in degrees of difficulty, so it is luck of the draw on which chore they get. There are a few “fun” chores like giving hugs and playing wit our pets! When their chore is done, they stick it in the empty mason jar. Each of the kids needs to do at least one chore a day.
We’ve done chore charts in the past with mixed successes. This new process seems a lot easier to me. Also, we are working on an allowance plan but these particular chores are independent from earning money. These chores are just things we need to do every day!
Summer School Work Ideas
I am all for kids having a break from school over the summer. We could all use a rest from homework!! But it doesn’t hurt to stay sharp on our reading and math skills. Most years I’ve taken the kids to the book store to pick out a couple of grade appropriate workbooks.
We rotate through a few different ways to get in a little bit of learning each day:
- Group Science Projects
- Online Learning (ABC Mouse and OutSchool are our favorites)
- Art Projects
The kids have fun picking out their workbooks and they are more likely to want to do the work if it’s something that they have picked out. We’ve used this fun Star Wars books in past years.
Star Wars Workbook (Currently on sale!)
Some days the kids prefer to do a craft or drawing activity instead of the school work. We get out some of our craft kits that have gone unused throughout the year!
Every year we also sign up for our local library’s reading program. Our library offers very fun incentives for reading and my kids are always eager to earn their prizes.
This is my daughter’s current nightstand reads! All of my kids are bookworms, so this is an easy summer activity.
Three // Set Meal and Snack Limits
Does your kitchen seem like a 24 hour diner in the summer? Someone is always in our kitchen.
As my kids have gotten older, they have gotten pretty good about making their own snacks and lunches. But not so great at cleaning up after themselves.
We have enforced set snack and meal times. The snack times are especially important for the little kids because they want to eat all day long!
You could even create summer snack baskets. Each day set out a number of snacks for each of the kids and when the snacks are gone, they need to wait until the next meal to eat.
Four // Create a Summer Fun List
Summer is a time for fun and family. While it is necessary to have some daily routines, there is lot of room for laid back, carefree activities.
There are a million fun things to do in the summer and only so much time to do them all! We always create a summer fun list to keep track of all of the things that we want to do. Each week we try to check 1-2 items off of our list.
My plan this year is to talk with the kids at the beginning of the week about what they want to do during the week. Then, we will put together a rough schedule on WHEN we want to do everything during the week.
We try to do one activity a day even if it’s just a trip to the library or pool. So our week will be a mix of summer fun list items and more low key activities. Some days might even be an afternoon of snuggling on the couch and watching movies!
Five // Allow Kids to Have Their Own Time
I love having my kids all together in the summer and we have a lot of time for family bonding! All of the time together can sometimes lead to sibling arguments, so I try to stay on top of the game and give each of the kids some opportunities for activities without their siblings.
Whether it’s alone time reading a book in their bedroom or taking a trip with dad to Home Depot.
I also crave some alone time after our days together! I still try to wake up before the kids like I do throughout the school year. I find that I am calmer and more organized if I have start the day with a few minutes to myself.
Six // End the Day With a Family Activity
During the school year, most of our weekday evenings are go go go! But in the summer, with the exception of a few summer sports, our evenings are pretty low key.
Lately we have established a bit of a pattern to our evenings which includes some time outside and then watching a show right before bedtime. Some days we take a family walk and sometimes it’s just playing in the yard.
Are you ready to create a summer schedule for your kids? Hopefully, you feel more equipped for creating summer routines for kids and your family!
Looking for more posts on Summer Activities?
Overall, we have a very relaxing and low key summer. Before you know it, summer will be over and we will be back at school. So for now, we are just trying to enjoy (almost) every minute.
What does your summer look like? Do you have any set routines or patterns?