Summer Schedule: How To Keep Your Kids From Driving You Crazy
School is out! There is no schedule. Yahoo! Everyone gets to sleep in. Thank goodness there are no more early morning meltdowns or endless sport’s activities to attend in the afternoon. Whew!
So what’s next?
Here’s the truth: After a week of sleeping in and no summer schedule, my kids always started fighting and watching too much TV. My patience was thin before noon, and I wanted to yell at them constantly. Hmm…Perhaps teachers do have a reason for structure.
Related: Do You Yell at Your Children?
If you are like me, you may start feeling crazy by about oh, say, June 15th. In fact, that schedule stuff may be looking pretty good after the 10th fight before noon.
My advice is to put your kids on a very loose summer schedule instead of it being a free for all this summer. This is what I did, and it worked! I only did the summer schedule when there was nothing else planned for the day. If my children had a play date, camp, or vacation there was no need for it.
In this post, you will see a sample schedule, and learn how to do your own schedule packed with fun, spiritual growth, creativity, and learning. You will also understand why you should do it and get a few tips to help work out the kinks.
This is a sample summer schedule for my kids when they were the ages of 7 and 11 years old. It worked pretty well even though they were 4 years apart in age. You can adjust the times to your family’s ages and sleep habits.
While eating breakfast, read a short devotional relevant to your kid’s age. Find stories that focus on a character quality. I highly recommend Adventures in Odessey if you want something to listen to instead of reading. (I am NOT an affiliate.)
After the devotional, answer a few discussion questions. You can make them up. I tried to make the questions fun and relevant. You don’t have to be a teacher to do this. Any questions having to do with the story will get a conversation going.
* I did my best not to let them watch TV during meal times. It is a bad habit to get into. Families lose so much time connecting with each other when they sit and eat in front of the TV every meal.
Related: How to Get to Your Child’s Heart
Get dressed, help with dishes or laundry, clean up their room, empty trash, etc.
9:30am -11:30am Play outside/pool/field trip
Swim or go to the park. If you don’t have access to a pool or a park, go on a field trip. Look for kid-friendly places to hang out such as McDonald’s, petting zoo/farm, play gym, airplane museum, zoo, train museum, or whatever local attractions are in your area. Get online and do a little research.
Once a week, go to the library to get books. Attend story time, if they have it. This is a great inside activity when it is hot outside.
If you can’t leave your home, send your kids outside to play. It is important to let them create their own games and have time to imagine.
Get a big cardboard box. This will keep them busy for a long time. Provide a fort, swing set, sandbox, or playhouse, etc. so they have something to start their play. They can take it from there.
11:30am-12:30pm Hobbies/Teach a skill/Lessons
My daughter liked doing crafts, so I had a bunch of paints, colors, pencils, play-doh, etc. There was no Pinterest back then. She just created things. I tried to keep the mess to a minimum.
You can set out a towel or shower curtain liner to keep the paints from getting everywhere. This can be done inside or outside. I preferred outside! Other ideas are to teach needlework/cooking/piano. Whatever is your child’s interest.
Swim team practice/tennis lessons-son
My son loved being outside as much as he could. His hobby was sports. We signed him up for swim team one summer and tennis lessons another summer. Eventually, my daughter did the same thing when she was older.
12:30pm-1pm Lunch/Picnic Outside
Eat lunch at the park, the pool, or make a picnic outside in the backyard. This will make lunch more fun. If you are swimming, it will extend the time outside.
*If a devotional is not good at breakfast, do it at lunchtime (if you are home).
1pm-2pm Free Time
Let the kids watch TV, get on the computer, iPad, etc. This gives everyone a little time to wind down after the morning activities and get ready for room time.
Whatever age and reading level, your kids need to be reading books every day. If they are young, you can read to them. If they are older, they can work on their school reading list or have free reading time.
I let my son read comics for free reading. The older they are, the more time they need to read.
After they are done, they can stay in their room and play with their toys or rest, etc. I started teaching my kids about personal quiet times during this time.
They read the Bible/Bible story the amount of time as their age. 10 yrs old = read 10 minutes.
If they keep trying to leave their room, send them back. You can train them to do this with a few consequences and rewards. Example: Make their room time tied to the screen time. For every minute you stay in your room playing or reading, you earn screen time in the next hour.
3pm-4pm Educational Screen Time
If you have older kids, find math, reading, science and history games for them to play on the computer/iPad. I tried to capitalize on the areas they struggled in the most. Be careful because the computer/iPad is addictive.
There are apps, programs, and so many different things to download now. Make sure they think it is a fun game so it is not a huge power struggle.
*One summer my son and a friend designed a theme park that included different rides and games. It took them most of the summer to finish. It kept them busy for hours.
4pm-5pm Free Time
This is a perfect time to let your kids go back outside or play in the house if it is too hot. Older ones can help in the kitchen with dishes or setting the table.
This allows you time to work on dinner if you have not started. They can also help you with anything around the house like laundry, etc.
5pm-5:30pm Clean Up Time
Everyone helps pick up toys and clean up before dinner.
Eat as a family without the TV. Talk about the day, what they learned in their reading, devotions, etc. Include dad in on the events of the day so he can participate in the discussion.
6:30pm-7: 30pm Play with dad or neighbors.
It is important to have some whole family interaction in the evenings, if possible. Try a board game or game outside.
My kids loved bathtub paints. There are plenty of bath time activities on Pinterest to keep your kids engaged in some fun.
8:00pm-8;45pm Storytime/School Reading
Great time to read story books together or catch up on school reading, if not done during the day.
8:45pm-9pm Prayers/Bathroom/Drink of water
Pray together before bedtime. You can pray for other people you know. Or you can pick someone you don’t know like a missionary or someone you have heard of that needs prayer. This gives your kids the opportunity to care about those outside of themselves.
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Why Should I Try a Schedule?
1. It works!
The biggest reason to do a schedule is that it works. After you settle into a routine, you will see how nice it is to have your day planned out and organized. You will accomplish so much more when you parent with direction and goals.
2. More time
Having a schedule allows more time in your day. If you work at home, you can schedule work hours during room time or screen time. Even if you don’t have a paid job, you still work. You need time to get things accomplished like laundry, dinner, or pay bills. Whatever the task, you have time built in every day to do it.
4. Your Sanity
Once I put a schedule in place, it cut down on the arguing, fighting, and mischief. You will no longer be irritated and angry all day. In fact, you will enjoy the time you spend together with your kids.
5. Character issues.
Having kids home during the summer can be a great thing. It is not only an opportunity to create family memories, but it is also a good time to work on character issues.
When you are with your kids all day, you will notice some things you can work on such as whining, lying, self-control, obedience, attitude, etc.
Tailor your devotionals to hit relevant issues, and use the discussion time to talk about positive ways to do things.
Related: Making Memories as a Family
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How Do I Implement the Schedule?
1. Write out the summer schedule with your kids.
Ask your kids for input on their day. Make it a family affair. They probably will balk at first, so don’t be surprised. Keep moving forward and stay positive. Remember that they would rather watch TV and eat all day instead of being on a schedule. So would I.
2. Post the summer schedule where everyone can see it.
It is so much easier to follow when it is out for everyone to look at it. There are no suprises or confusion about what is expected.
3. Adjust the summer schedule, if needed.
You may find your kids do better playing in the afternoon and sleeping until 11 am. You do what is best for the lifestyle of your family.
4. Choose what is important
We read every day we were home. It was the one thing I didn’t adjust. Sometime during the day, we had a reading/room time. I tried to cram in some math games when possible, as this was their weak spot.
5. Have consequences for the things that are important.
There were a few times one or both of my kids didn’t read when they were supposed to. They had to read during free time.
If they got out of their room during room time, I added more time to room time. There will be times of conflict but, overall, your kids should buy into the whole concept of a schedule if most of the day is fun.
A Few Tips to Help Work Out the Kinks
My kids won’t do it: You are in charge, not your kids! Be firm but loving about the activities you have chosen for the day. Related: Is Your Pre-Schooler In Charge? 9 Ways to Gain Control
Selling it: If you don’t think it is fun, you won’t sell it to your kids as fun. Fine tune your schedule to their talents and needs. Allow your kids to help choose some of the activities so they have ownership in their day. Be excited!
Screen time: I tried to keep the screen time down to about 2-3 hours a day. That may be unreasonable for you. Just keep an eye on the amount of time they watch TV, etc. It is also important you see what your kids are watching whether on TV, video games, iPad, phone, or the computer.
We never allowed a TV or computer in the bedrooms. When your kids do get a Smart Phone, it is important to get blocks on the phone. Pornography is too easy to access.
I hope you have a fun summer with your kids. You can always message me on Facebook if you have questions about the summer schedule. I will be glad to help you make adjustments if you are having a hard time.
Tell me what do your kids do during the summer? Does it work?
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