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Summer is coming, and if you have kids, then it probably means a change in your schedule. If your kids go to public or private school out of the house, then it means more kids at home. Even if you have younger kids in preschool, they are probably home more in the summer. And if you have young kids who are usually home and then add older kids into the mix, it definitely means a change in dynamics!
Summer is a time to relax and refresh, but kids thrive on some kind of structure, which means parents thrive, too! It doesn’t have to be a boot camp scenario, but just making a few decisions and plans at the beginning of the summer can really help the summer go well. Here are my best summer routine ideas for kids, and I’d love to hear your ideas also!
Summer Routine Ideas for Kids
The most important thing to do first is to name what is important to you. It’s different for everyone. I have a friend who is a teacher, and so to her it’s important to have time to do things she can’t do during the school year. For other moms who stay home, maybe it’s important that older kids help around the house more than they’re able to during the school year. Most of us are probably looking for ways to keep kids off screens for part of each day, too! So before you think about what a great summer routine would look like, think about what matters to you. What will you look back on at the end of the summer and wish had happened\
When you hear the word schedule or routine, you might be thinking of a day scheduled out in 15 minute increments. I would recommend even if you write something out, don’t put times on it! Just put an order that things will happen most days. Or you can do more of a block schedule—divide the day into blocks (morning, rest time, dinner time, evening) and put certain activities or tasks in there. That gives you lots of room to be flexible!
With more people home, the house will be messier, so having everyone work together to keep the house clean will make everyone more happy! Assign age-appropriate tasks and offer money for “above-and-beyond” chores. Making a chore chart can help, too. The summer is also a great time to teach new skills like washing dishes or doing laundry, when there are fewer time constraints. Here are 9 chores kids can do to earn money.
Discuss summer options together
Sit down as a family and talk about what you’d all like to do this summer. Are there any places you’d like to go? Things you’d like to learn? Family projects? Books to read? New recipes to try? Let everyone come up with a list and then take a few ideas from each person’s list to make a master list.
Come up with theme days
One helpful thing for the summer can be to have theme days. I’m not saying every day is a different kind of party—don’t worry. Rather that each day has a focus. Maybe a few days a week are “Pool Day.” We like to have one day a week to be an “At-Home” day where we can work on keeping the house clean. Another day might need to be errand day. Or hopefully, if you live close, “Beach Day”!
Value rest time even if you don’t have toddlers
We’ve had toddlers and babies who take naps for many years, but even when they outgrew naps, we had rest time. This is time when kids can listen to audiobooks, read, or do quiet activities. This is usually an important time to mom to have a break, too!
Have ideas for hard times in your back pocket
I think it’s good for kids to be bored sometimes. But there are other times, especially as the summer drags on, when it’s nice to have some ideas on hand. Here are some of my favorite ideas: summer boredom busters, 75 things to do outside, and Amazon boredom busters.
Make it a summer of learning and serving
One thing I’m hoping to do this summer is to choose something our family can do each week to bless others, and make sure the kids are involved. Maybe we’re going to write notes to some of the older people at our church. Maybe we’re going to bake something for someone going through a hard time. Another thing I want to do, even though we don’t have any schoolwork, is to always be learning. That might mean doing our library’s summer reading program, learning a new skill, or continuing to practice a skill the child has been working on (like continuing to practice the piano).
One last note
The great thing about summer is that plans can change and there is more room to be spontaneous. I’ve definitely fallen off the wrong side of the track and tried to add too much structure. Enjoy your kids and find ways to connect with them!