Schedule your summer to keep you sane while still having fun!
Summer Break is officially here at my house! Has it started for you as well? Each year over the summer we feel the need to revamp our routine and schedule to better accommodate our needs and summer activities. I mean the whole last month of school for me was spent doing 23489380289 Parent Teacher Group projects/events/activities and sometimes for most of the day. I definitely need some help adjusting to a new routine after all of THAT! How about you?
Honestly, I do not remember having much of a schedule at all when I was a kid in the summer. There were years I did summer school, sure. Mostly I remember riding my bike a lot and playing with my neighborhood friends for hours on end. Of course there were the family car trips in the Ford Taurus station wagon as well. Boy those were some good memories… Even that time we drove with our cat to the mountains in Colorado!
Times have changed
While my family and I actually don’t live too far from the neighborhood where I grew up (seriously down the street a good 6 or so blocks and turn the corner), times have changed. Did I really just say that? Man, I sound old! Still…it’s true, they have.
For so many families, including my own, it just doesn’t work anymore for kids to spend hours away from home unsupervised enjoying summer adventures. Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t like my parents were neglectful…that is the furthest from the case.
Things were so different.
Back in the day, the neighborhood kids would all get together daily and play, all day -sometimes well into the evening. A few dads on the block would send out a whistle into the warm evening air calling us home. Another friend’s father had a distinctly different whistle than my dad’s. Everyone on the block knew the difference. When it was time for dinner, the whistle called us home. For real.
Was your upbringing similar?
While we are blessed with a number of amazing families in our neighborhood now, things ARE different from what my husband and I experienced. Maybe the world has changed too much? Or maybe we just know too much.
In any case, my kids don’t have the freedom to roam quite like we did. I mean, it isn’t like they are suffering. Summer is simply the best. But, in order to keep my sanity in check and help my kids stay focused on being active and actually playing (hopefully peacefully together), I have found that tweaking our routines each year as Summer Break kicks in is just what is needed to keep our family life moving along to a happy beat.
Summer can be a MESS!
Do you feel that the change over from the school year to summer has your family feeling a little unsure about what the rules and expectations are? Are your kids already spending too much time using technology? What about your house? Is it a mess all of the time? Is everyone fighting over this or that?
While I may not have the answers to keep your home spotless and your children blissfully and peacefully playing together day after day (do you have the answer to this mommy dilemma?), I do have a few ideas to share about creating a routine that works for you and helps keep everyone going in the right direction!
Schedule your summer to keep you sane while still having fun!
Two simple ways to introduce structure to your summer routine.
1. Daily Schedule
With the regular school routine tossed aside in favor of later bedtimes and more free time, are you all feeling a little stressed and maybe totally thrown off of your rhythm? Most people, including kids (especially kids) do well with some semblance of a routine/schedule to their life. If you are looking for a little more stability to your summer routine, try creating and introducing a daily schedule. It doesn’t have to be super strict and you don’t have to follow it to a T, but I know I find creating a new routine for the summer really helps my children and ME feel more at peace each day!
Some families may need to have a more formal/written out schedule and others likely will do just fine talking about it and making a plan together.
Here is ours..or at least a loose version.
Wake Up @6:45 – I know…Summer School starts SO early! Why do they do this to me?
Get Dressed – My rule (love it or hate it?) is that we get dressed before going downstairs for breakfast. It just makes getting out the door SO much easier.
No Technology – No iPad or TV time in the morning before summer school or other event going on. The kiddos have to earn time each day with a system we created together, which I plan to share with you more another day!
Brush Teeth/Go to the bathroom – Yes my big kids still need these reminders. 🙂
Go to Summer School
Make Lunch @ 12:00ish
Read/rest/play @ 1:00ish
Dinner -When Daddy gets home from work.
Bedtime @ 8:30ish
What about teens?
Do you think teenagers could benefit from introducing a little summer schedule to their lives?
I think so.
Admittedly, I do not have teens yet. So, who knows how I will feel about this down the road. My teaching years had me interacting with lovely teenagers on a daily basis so I am no stranger to this beast, I mean, individual.
Many teens these days do seem to be really involved in summer camps, training sessions, classes, jobs, and more- all summer long. Maybe you don’t need to map out things for them exactly, depending on how responsible they are. But, they feel the stress of the schedule change too. Teens do still need our help in making sure they know what is expected from them. Each child is so different and certain teens definitely need more guidance than others.
Introducing a little daily schedule for the teen child could also be where a chore chart is worked in. They may not like it. But, you are the parent and it is your job to help them learn, grow, and mature. Right? 🙂
2. Organize your Week
In order to keep my kids from begging to be on their iPad 24/7, I have seriously had to get creative and think outside the box.
So, why not organize each week with a little thematic approach and spice up the weekly planning to keep everyone on their toes? To do this, I got my kids involved and had a great conversation that included a brainstorming session as well. The last thing I want is to find us at the end of summer break and feel as though all of that precious time we could have spent making memories together was wasted on the computer/iPad. Ugh….
So, here is what we came up with…a weekly schedule that would allow us to focus on specific topics or activities throughout the week, kind of like a menu plan, but this time to help us plan our free time fun with a little more purpose.
Make something Monday.
This could be a craft project, something outside, sometime inside, or could even be a food item. It doesn’t have to be a gigantic project and could even be a bigger task that the kids work on over the course of a few weeks. In general, I like the idea that we have some time set aside to create. My kids thought this sounded super fun. Since the day we talked about all of this was a Monday, we got started right away and made our first something. I’ll post about that later.
Seriously you guys, I wasn’t sure how my kids were going to take this one in. I told them that there are so many fun things that we can do: the beach, the zoo, playing in our pool, meeting friend and going to a park, going to a museum, etc. etc. etc. The last thing we want is to spend the afternoon on an iPad when we could be doing one of those things, right? They were like, “YES!” They got it! I was really happy.
Go for a Walk Wednesday.
I think this is self-explanatory. Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t like we don’t walk already. We do. We walk to and from summer school each day and also go on other walks/bike rides, etc. at other times. I want to make sure we are thinking about ways to do more walking and being more conscientious to get an extra stroll in the day here and there. They liked that too!
I love READING Thursday.
Our plan is to try to incorporate even more reading fun on Thursdays. Namely, we plan to try to visit the local library on Thursdays to turn in our reading logs. However, we are open to other themed reading ideas. I don’t know what they are yet, but we will be creative and maybe do some Pinterest searches to see what else we can work into our Thursday schedule to include some extra reading love.
Since we have a long-standing date with some local friends for weekly play-dates on Fridays, this doesn’t exactly seem to be too far of a stretch to call it Fun Friday! We also talked about trying to work in more games on Fridays. They could be yard games, board games, games with sidewalk chalk, and more.
What about the weekends?
Well, we’ve decided that our weekends don’t need any extra structure because we can always stay busy and find fun no matter what weekend it is or what the weather is. Our goal for the weekends is to enjoy family fun!
Will this work for everyone?
You know, I am a pretty optimistic person. I realize that my kids are all rather young right now and mostly open to my ideas. Of course this will not be the case forever, as much as I’d like to think it will be. I also know that every family is different and some children are just not such willing participants to themes or schemes, especially if it means that they don’t get to be doing what they want when they want. There are ways to get creative together and find something that will work for your family and your children! The key is including them in the conversation and listening to their ideas. Their ideas may not work for the whole family, but kids love feeling the sense of ownership too!
It is not too late to start!
If your summer has gotten off to a bit of a shaky start, maybe now is a good time to introduce some structure and organization to your day and week. Of course you don’t have to be super strict about it. There will be days that I know for sure we will throw the schedule out and kick any plans off to the side because something better pops up OR someone gets sick OR someone gets hurt OR whatever else may enter our life that day/week. Ultimately, I do know that I thrive when my life has some structure to it. I am a happier mommy and my kids really like to have a happy mommy. 🙂
Happy start of the summer to you!
If you have any great ideas to share with me about unique ways you have found to work in a little structure to your summer life while still maintaining much-needed down time and opportunities for spontaneity and unplanned fun, please share! I’d love to hear from you!