School lets out and it feels like everyone can breathe out in relief. It’s time to relax and enjoy the great weather and play. Then Monday morning rolls around and the kids are itching to be directed. Having a daily summer schedule for kids will help alleviate some of the stress of figuring out how to entertain your kids all summer long.
Balance is the key to coming up with some kind of schedule during the Summer. You want your kids to get the chance to relax from the rules of a classroom. However, the freedom can be daunting for young kids who are so used to a routine in their day. Not to mention getting nap time in there if you have a baby or toddler who still needs some ZZZs during the day.
Here are some things to consider when making your own Summer schedule.
Stick to a routine
Even if you don’t need to get up early to get to school, keeping a morning and bedtime routine can help kids. The exact time they are happening doesn’t have to be the same every day in the Summer, but if the routine is the same, one day flows easily into the next.
If during the school year kids are expected to wake up, make their bed, brush their teeth and hair, and come downstairs it should be the same during the Summer. If bedtime means they shower, brush their teeth, read a book, then turn out lights, keep that the same.
Make exceptions for big fun stuff, like fireworks or movie nights
Schedule in blocks of time
Planning your days down to the minute is stressful! Instead, use blocks of time like “Morning, Afternoon, Night”. If you have a napper, use the typical nap times as “blocks” and work around them.
If your kids get hangry (Hungry + Angry) schedule your blocks around meal and snack times. Fill in the times in between with ideas and activities instead of trying to fit meals in around a loaded schedule. If they are cranky, they can’t enjoy themselves anyway!
Get the kids involved
When you’re making your plans, let the kids offer ideas for things to do. Give them “one-time” options like going to a water park or putt-putt golf, occasional options, like going to the movies, and weekly options, like the park and library.
They might not get to do everything they want, but they can get excited if they get to help choose the things that DO happen. Letting them help brainstorm activities and work together to choose when to do them is also great cooperation and time management practice!
Plan for time at home, too.
It can be exhausting to be out of the house every single day during the summer, even if it’s for a short trip to the library or grocery store. Plan some at-home activities the kids will enjoy in the “one-time” and “occasional” fun categories.
Water balloons might be an occasional fun activity for the kids on hot days. Setting up a projector and showing a movie on the side of the house would be a fun “one-time” activity that keeps everyone in their PJs! You don’t have to leave home all the time to enjoy your Summer!
Make time for the necessary
Life isn’t all fun. You have chores, cleaning, grocery shopping, and yard work to get done. Make sure that you have time in your schedule to get those things done.
Put the things the kids can help out with on the schedule. There is no reason not to pitch in a little more if they are home more! And make sure you have free time in the schedule so they know they can and SHOULD be playing independently while you have time to do the stuff they can’t help with.
Feel free to change it up
You might not land on the right schedule right away. If you’ve given a particular schedule a little bit to adjust to and it just isn’t working, work on something else. Was it too rigid, too open? Reflect and improve!
Your kids are different than mine, who are different than your neighbors’ kids. Sometimes finding one routine that works for all the kids in just your family can be a challenge. Keep these things in mind and you’ll have a much smoother time until the kids are back in school.
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