Last week we talked about making the most of your summer by creating a plan for trips and outings and events. We broke down how to make sure all the fun things as well as the projects that you want to get done over the summer actually get done.
This week we are shifting perspective to creating a daily schedule if you are going to be home with your kids for the summer. This can be fun but also a little overwhelming.
Below you will find tips to schedule your days enough so that you don't get stuck with bored kids or kids tearing through your home since they have nothing set to do. At the same time, you don't want your days too structures to where it feels like school.
We are going for a happy medium. Check out the tips below to create a schedule that works for your family.
Get On the Same Page
The first step in having a summer that makes everyone happy is to get not he same page. Your kids might be expecting an action packed summer of outings and non stop partying. You might have major decluttering and organizing plans.
It's important to know each others expectations and find a middle ground where the projects can get done and summer is still fun-filled and exciting.
Prioritize your projects so that you can make sure that the most important ones get done. read down any major projects into bite-sized tasks. When you start planning out your days you can add these tasks into your days.
Create a Bucket List
Now that you have your priorities, sit down with the kiddos and create a bucket list. This was also a major step in last week's post as well. You want to make sure that everyone gets to do the things they really want to over the course of the summer.
Every day may not be the most unbelievable adventure-filled day, but if everyone gets their must dos in over the course of the summer, then they will look back on their summer as a success.
On our bucket list for the summer is a trip to Sesame Place, a trip to Rye Playland, several barbecues, a trip to the museum, the aquarium, play dates at the house, and numerous beach trips. We also have plans to finish the renovations on the main floor of the house and complete the kids playroom in the basement.
Lastly, the hubs and I have some date nights planned and I plan on a few girls nights as well.
Create a Summer Family Routine
Just because its summer doesn't mean we want the whole house to become a wreck and all skills learned in school to fly out the window. There are certain things we need to be doing on a consistent basis such as practicing reading, practicing writing, cleaning the house, learning and exploring, etc.
Make a plan with your kids to complete the following activities each week day when you aren't traveling or going on day trips. Below are ideas for 6 things for your kids to get done each day. These are things your kids can do in the mornings with the specific activity to be decided based on their age/skill level.
You can set up a reward system for completing these tasks. For example, you can choose a monetary value for each task, say 25 cents. Then each day they can earn up to $1.50 for completing tasks. This adds up to $7.50 a week. You can let them use this money for a big end of summer outing like a trip to a theme park.
Here are the 6 morning activities:
- READING: Read for 20 minutes (some may want to read for longer which is totally fine) This can be story time for kids who are not reading yet.
- WRITING: Write a page in your journal (write about whatever you want, write a story, write about what happened yesterday, or pick a writing idea from a list of writing prompts; younger children can work on learning to write letters) My toddler plays on the Sesame Street letter app on our iPad. My soon to be kindergartener works on writing his letters and short words on lined paper.
- PHYSICAL EXERCISE: Do a physical activity (can be individual or do it as a group – ride bikes or scooters, play tag, go for a walk, play at the playground, jump rope, have a dance party)
- PRACTICING: Work towards one of your summer goals by practicing a skill for 20 minutes (this can include things like piano, dance, guitar, painting, catch, batting – each child should make a list of skills they want to develop over the summer)
- HOME: Do a job from the job list (create a list of 5-10 minute household jobs at the start of the summer that need to be completed each week – i.e. dust the living room, vacuum the stairs, wipe down the counters, match the socks, throw out 5 items you no longer use pending parental approval)
- EXTRA: From the approved list of ideas you brainstorm together with your kids, pick an extra activity to do on your own or with siblings. Examples: do online reading or math games, play a board game with siblings, do extra reading or writing, paint or draw, etc.
Create Themes For Your Afternoons
Once the morning tasks are done and lunch has been had, you still have all afternoon to get through. A fun way to do this is to create themes for each weekday. Here are examples of some fun daily themes:
- Make-it Monday (create building projects with K’nex or Legos or blocks, create craft projects, make art projects, or make something in the kitchen)
- Take a trip Tuesday (the park, a museum, a bike ride, a field trip to a historic place, a factory tour, a picnic, a friend’s house… You can invite other kids or other families along too)
- Wet Wednesday (go to the beach/go to a splash pad/play in the sprinklers, go to the pool, a great time to hang out with neighbors)
- Thinking Thursday (research something from your “wondering list” – a list of things you and your kids are wondering about. This can include things like finding out why it rains, how cars are made, where baby carrots come from, and how to make slime)
- Friend Friday (everyone can have a friend over)
If you have kids who nap as well as older kids who are no longer napping, it's good to have some quiet time activities planned for the older kids during nap time. Quiet time is also the best time for you to get your own things done like pay bills, make phone calls, etc. Since it's a great time to get things done, you may want to implement quiet time even if none of your kids nap.
Brainstorm with your kids a bunch of quiet activities for your older kids to do. This can include watch a TV show everyone agrees on, reading a book, playing computer games, drawing/coloring, doing puzzles, etc. Your kids can pick which quiet time activity they want to do although you may want to limit the time spent watching TV or playing computer/video games.
With this plan, you should be able to schedule out the most of your day with the kids. In the evenings, you can have game nights or movie nights, or just play things by ear. If you want you can extend this daily schedule to the weekends as well. It really depends on what works best for your family.
Do you have tricks to scheduling your days during the summer? Let me know in the comments.