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SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER
By now, you’ve probably learned that routine is helpful for your kids during these past few months at home. I’ve gotta be honest though, I am looking forward to the end of the school year when there are no more requirements during the week.
However, as a seasoned mom and former teacher, I know the power of creating a routine for your kids. Schedules are meant to be your friend, not your foe. Here are 8 reasons why you need to keep a summer schedule for your kids (and for your own sanity!)
8 REASONS YOU NEED A SUMMER SCHEDULE
1. TO HELP WITH BEHAVIOR ISSUES
Have a child that gets easily bored? Is anxious? Is destructive? Struggles with behavior issues? Routine, routine, routine. I promise it makes all the difference. Kids need structure and predictability. They like knowing what’s coming up next, and feel security in the repetition.
2. TO TEACH KIDS RESPONSIBILITY
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. TO CREATE MEMORIES AS A FAMILY
Agreeing 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:
- Make Something MONDAY (arts and crafts)
- Treat TUESDAY (cook, bake, ice cream)
- Water WEDNESDAY (sprinkler, pool, water guns)
- Thoughtful THURSDAY (call, Face Time, letter to someone)
- Field Trip FRIDAY (virtual field trips are great too!)
- Simple SATURDAY (games with family, no technology)
- Spiritual SUNDAY (Bible lesson)
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 don’t have kids–do this! Take an art class, try a yoga class, or try a new restaurant for lunch.
**Sidenote: During this quarantine, look for virtual field trips! There are a TON online right now.
4. TO BE MORE PRESENT WITH YOUR KIDS
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 summer schedule that includes 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 time to build and do puzzles, and I make this an independent activity. Each kid can choose a puzzle or something to build (Legos, building 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. TO LEARN 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 only allowed to go to the bathroom and play in their room 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. TO GET OUTSIDE MORE
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 beneficial to everyone’s health.
Use your summer schedule to 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. TO PRACTICE SCHOOL SKILLS
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. TO HELP YOUR MARRIAGE
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.
PRINT YOUR OWN SUMMER SCHEDULE
I’ve included a blank summer schedule to help you organize your thoughts. Here’s a sample schedule to help you brainstorm:
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Here’s to a better summer!