Hey parents, how’s your summer going? Is it everything you dreamed of or everything you dreaded? If it’s everything you dreaded, or even if you’d just like to kick it up a notch, I’ve got some ideas for you. You’d be surprised at what a summer schedule can do for you and your kids. Perhaps you think, “I already have a summer schedule. Not really going to help.” But have you involved your kids? That could be the secret sauce you’re missing.
#1: Be intentional
Summer will pass you by in a hurry if you let it. You may intend to take your kids on outings, paint the deck, or go visit Grandma. But if you don’t put it on the calendar, it likely won’t get done.
#2: Create a summer schedule
There are two things I want to do with my girls this summer, in addition to the usual beach days and outside time. One is to do a daily Bible time with them. It’s just five minutes of a Bible story, discussion, and prayer. Sounds easy, right? But it didn’t start happening until I put it on the summer schedule. The second is to begin teaching them piano. It’s something we do once per week and they love it! But again, until it was on the schedule, it didn’t get done consistently.
What specific things do you want to do with your kids this summer? Make a summer schedule so it gets done. You’re not held to doing these things at a specific time or on the same day every week, but having a general sense of what’s happening helps it get done.
#3: Get your kids involved in the summer schedule
This is the one that really helped us reset our summer. When summer began, my four-year-old was out of sorts every day, just generally unhappy and not sure what to do with herself. She lived from outing to outing, refusing to play or be happy at home. In my head, I had an idea of what our summer would look like. I planned to take the girls to the library and to the beach once each week, and to try out a new park we hadn’t been to when we could fit it in.
The magical change in my little one happened when the schedule in my head became written on paper and I shared it with her. She saw that there were times each day when she was expected to do free play because Mama had work to do. However, she also understood that there would be plenty of opportunities for outside play and fun outings too. She became much more content with her downtime when she realized that wasn’t all there was to summer.
If you have older kids, sit down with them on the weekend or even on Monday morning to plan out the upcoming week. Make a rough schedule of what you will do each day. What outings are you doing on which days? Will you have a day to stay home and do chores and laundry? Talk about these things and put them on the schedule. Kids of all ages are a lot more complacent when they feel some ownership in how they spend their days.
Our general schedule
We don’t follow it exactly, but just having a schedule on paper makes a positive difference in our week.
1/2 hour TV show
Free play while Mama preps for the day
Mom exercise time
Outing (Try for three special outings each week: library storytime, beach, new park, zoo, museum, etc. One day is a stay home day, we usually do piano that day. One day our “outing” is simply running errands such as grocery shopping.)
1/2 hour TV show
Free play while Mama cooks or does other work
#4: Have a daily quiet time
Daily quiet times are what got me through the day when my boys were little. I’ve been wanting to try it with my girls for a while, but we haven’t been consistent and the results have been spotty at best. Since my four-year-old has seen that it’s part of the summer schedule, she’s been lots more agreeable to playing alone in her room for a short quiet time.
We still haven’t been very consistent, because summer has lots of busy days when we are gone much of the afternoon. But I’m so thankful that we are finally having some success with a quiet time, if only for one of my girls. Her three-year-old sister is getting there, just a little more slowly!
#5: Find some fresh ideas
Need some fresh ideas for activities your kids will enjoy? I’ve combed the internet for the best kids activity sites just for you! For someone like me, who is not naturally creative, this is a game changer. I would never think of some of these ideas on my own, but can benefit from those who are willing to share with me! My favorites are those that involve learning through play, or STEM ideas for a variety of ages. For exclusive access to the list, just fill out the form below. You’ll be glad you did!
Tired of counting to three every time you ask your kids to do something? Check out my Simple Parenting Strategy to Help Your Little One Obey. It’s two simple words that can drastically reduce the counting in your house.
Looking for even more ideas? Check out How to Make the Most of Summer, written by a fellow blogger who included my article and several others offering inspiration and advice for your summer.
Summer can be an amazing time for kids to learn, explore, and experience life in a way they can’t during the busy school year. It can also be a time of boredom, strife, and too much screen time if it isn’t handled properly. Be intentional and reset your summer by involving your kids in creating a summer schedule today!