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I quit teaching when my son was born to stay at home with him. It was bliss–the creating my own schedule, not getting out of pajamas until one, bedhair don’t care–bliss, but the teething and potty training and reflux managing–not so much.
We got used to being home and doing our thing. When my daughter was born, it got a little busier to say the least. And then, one day I took my son to kindergarten and forgot what it was like to entertain two kids 24/7.
I got so used to having him in school that when summertime rolled around, it was like I had a mini heart attack. What in the world was I going to do to keep him busy? How did I used to stay home with him every single day?
While I love my children and we have fun together, I got spoiled by my free time and had to learn to adapt to having the kids at the house all summer long. And let me tell you, especially after your kids start school, winging it isn’t going to cut it. By the end of the summer you’ll be pulling out your hair and they’ll have chipped the paint off all your beautiful walls.
I promise summer doesn’t have to be chaotic.
Here are 8 Reasons Why You Need to Create a Summer Schedule for Your Kids:
1. Routine is a Chaos Killer
Just because school is out doesn’t mean routine needs to fly out the window. In fact, as a rule of thumb–stick to a schedule the best you can even when you don’t have anything going on. As a parent and former teacher, I’ve learned that routine is key.
Have a kid that struggles with behavior issues? Routine, routine, routine. I promise it makes all the difference. Kids like structure and predictability. They like knowing what the rules and boundaries are, even if they try to break them.
Kids test rules. That’s what they do. Stick to the rules, be consistent, have a routine. Your summer will go so much smoother.
2. The Laundry Won’t Do Itself
I have trained my kids to do chores since they could walk. The little ones love to help unload the dryer and stand on a stool to load the washing machine. Don’t leave anyone out! This will pay off big time as they get older because it will be expected.
3. Getting Out of the House Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Agreeing to nagging requests to go somewhere will seem like a way to calm the crazy–until you pay the bills. Make a plan for your outings ahead of time so that you can take advantage of free or cheap things to do. Get creative or use these ideas:
- Movie Monday
- Make Something Monday
- Treat Tuesday
- Trip to the Library Tuesday
- Water Wednesday
- Trip to the Park Thursday
- Friend Friday
- Field Trip Friday
I like to stick to themes because the kids get excited about the upcoming outing.
Once a week, it’s fun to spend some money and explore somewhere new! Go on a field trip to the zoo, museum, botanical garden, aquarium, Chuck E. Cheese, McDonald’s, watch a movie, go to a local event, etc.
Even if you dont have kids–do this! Take an art class, try a yoga class, or try a new restaurant for lunch.
4. Intentional Play is Better Than Irritated Play
I hate when I catch myself saying “Hold on” to the kids for the third time. When I get into a project, I get really distracted by it. Setting a schedule for independent play and group play helps me so much because it mixes up time together and time on our own. The kids know I will give them my undivided attention at certain times in the day.
Remember to put away your phone and focus on the kids during this time. Make it a priority to be fully present.
Stock up at a dollar store for some seasonal crafts and coloring books. Fill a basket and set it out on the table for craft and color time.
My kids enjoy puzzles and build time, and I make this an independent activity. Each kid can choose between puzzles or something to build (Legos, blocks, Lincoln Logs, attribute blocks, etc.) Set these in an area where they can access them on their own. I make a rule that they can do as many as they want, but they have to clean up one before getting out another.
5. Even Big Kids Need to Rest
Now that my kids are older, they don’t nap, but they know every day they will be asked to go to their room and close the door for rest time. They are allowed to come out to go to the bathroom and can play in their room with toys for one hour.
Don’t forget to rest too! With my health issues, I need to take breaks throughout the day. This is my time to lay down and sleep or watch some TV so that I don’t aggravate my body by overdoing it. Health problems or not, this is a great way to recharge or set reset for bad days.
6. Fresh Air Does Everybody Good
Remember staying out all day during your childhood? What did you do? Try to recreate some of these memories with your kids. Not only is getting outside fun, but it’s is beneficial to everyone’s health.
We go outside on scavenger hunts, listen for the ice cream truck, have picnics at the table in the backyard, look for bugs, play sports, and go on bike rides. This year we planted a garden so I fill up a small baby pool with water and they use their watering cans to water all my plants.
7. Practice Reading to Hang onto School Skills
Teachers usually spend the first six weeks reviewing and catching up on last year’s concepts. However, state curriculum requires that they continue on full steam ahead. The easiest way to help your kids not fall too far behind so they can jump right back into learning is to read all summer long. As a former teacher, I could tell which kids had their parents work with them over the summer.
My mom instilled a love of reading in us at an early age because she would take us to the library each week and we each had our own library cards! Library reading programs are amazing and have earned us toys, ice cream and even a family pass to the water park! Make sure to check in with your local library.
8. Don’t Sabotage Your Marriage by Skipping Bedtimes
Invest in your marriage. Make it top priority! The easiest way is to set a bedtime for your kids–yes, even in the summer! The kids aren’t used to going to bed? That’s fine!
Have them get on pjs and brush teeth at the same time each night. Allow them to play as long as their door is shut. Giving them the freedom to play in their room (and telling them lights go off if they come out except for bathroom breaks) has been a GAME CHANGER.
Do any of these areas sound like something you could use some help in?
I’ve included a blank schedule to help you organize your thoughts. Print it below and kick chaos to the curb!
I hope that this list inspires you to take a hold of your summer and run with it instead of worrying what in the world you will do to make it go by faster. So go grab your sunscreen and get out there!