Summer Time Routine
“I don’t know about where you are, but summer break is only a few weeks away here. I have to tell you I am both excited and not excited at the same time summer break is weeks on end of: ‘Hey mom, can I have another snack?’ ‘He’s being rude to me mom!’ ‘Mom!’ ‘Moooooooom!’ As much as I love my children and always want to hear what they have to say, it can start to all sound like noise after a while.
So, I decided this summer break we would take a bit of a different approach to things. Now I might sound a little crazy when I say this, but I am going to plan out the entire summer break without actually planning it all out.
What do I mean by that? Well, firstly we have a day-to-day routine we follow and I had to adjust this first. Not completely, however, without the bigger kids going to school, this throws a big change in the time between after breakfast and dinner.
Going through and deciding how the new flow of things will go can seem a little daunting at first, but if we break it down into steps and go over what a realistic day will look like in the summer, we can make a basic schedule to go off of.
So I break it down to the skeleton of the routine. Once we have the basic layout of the day, we can start to build around it. First, I add in chores to the daily routine. This is just where I start because it’s something that will be the same everyday.
Now there are going to be things we want to add in everyday like chores (if you are a family that has the children do chores). The type of chore will depend on the age of the child and their capabilities and will also change over time as they get older and can handle different tasks. My children have very easy chores right now because they are still quite young, and the baby has none, but we will eventually at about 3 years of age add her in. (This is the age we feel is the best to start introducing these responsibilities and may be different with each family.)
During the school year, we had pretty simple ones, however over the summer we will change them to hold a little more responsibility for the older two. Still nothing crazy, but with them being a little older and not having to have their brains focused so hard on learning, this gives us the opportunity to work on life skills a little more.
So just like with the daily schedule, we start by stripping it right down to the skeleton and pick what chores we will be keeping from the chores they already have so we can decide which ones we want to add.
Once we have what we want to keep figured out, we will start picking 2-3 things to add to their chore list – nothing crazy or too hard for them to handle, but something that brings new responsibility over the summer break. For this process, we not only take what we already know they are capable of but we also ask them what they feel they can do or what want to learn how to. American Academy Of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry explains the importance of chores for kids if you’re on the fence about including them in to your child’s daily life.
With this being said, there are things they might pick they would like to do that I will have to do again once they have gone to bed, because as hard as they try, they are kids and it’s a learning process. (For example: Sophia wants to sweep the floor, which I love, but I know I will have to redo it and that’s okay.)
Now that we have the chores figured out for the summer, we need to decide where they will fit into our daily schedule. I put them up into two sections: the chores we do in the morning, like feeding the animals and taking laundry to the right place and chores that happen at the end of the day, like cleaning up and reading.
The day is broken into 4 areas. This allows us to be able to keep things like mealtimes and naptime for baby set for the same time every day. this also makes things easier on not only myself but also the kids because they get into a rhythm of knowing when things are. (It also makes it way easier if we have a sitter and they can see when and what things happen at what times.)
Because the baby has a nap at the same time every morning (give or take dependent on how her sleep was the night before), we will be using this time to play in the day. To take some fun time to be loud, burn off some energy, and enjoy the beautiful summer weather before that mid-day heat comes in. (I will also use this time to set up at the table in the yard and get some of my own work done in the sunshine while the kids play.)
However, no one can say for certain every morning is going to be filled with nice weather, so in this case we will ‘pick a stick.’ So in a cup, there are popsicle sticks with ideas of things to do on them. Something from the Science kit, painting, pillow fort, play dough, just dance, and so on. Just fun things that can pass a good amount of time and be enjoyable, or even be something that’s also educational. We will also be using this when the inevitable, ‘Mom, I’m bored, what can I do?’ gets said. This we will actually start introducing on the weekends before school is out, this way it gives us time to add to the options and/or remove the ones that are exactly things the kids are still interested in doing.
Now that the stick method has been explained, we are also going to use this method with activities for summer break. When my husband and I can’t decide what we should plan with the kids or if it’s a Saturday morning and the kids ask what we are doing today, we don’t really have to think. These won’t be things that take a lot of preplanning, but things that we will be able to do on a whim or a couple of hours of prep. These would be things like a nature walk, picnic, park trip.
Just easy but simple things that can take a Saturday at home with not much to do to a day filled with excitement. This is another thing that will add to and take away from overtime. Using the stick methods also gets the kids to feel like they are also making the choices once in while by letting them take turns picking the sticks. This can make whatever it is that they pulled so much more exciting because they picked it.
Finishing The Schedule
With the morning, afternoon, evening, and bedtime blocks set in place, this helps us build around it and we can fill in the other spaces easier. This makes snack time and the things to do in between easier to find and helps us pick out the times of day we can put our chores, independent play when we should find the time to get outside, and everything else we want to be put into the schedule.
Every routine and daily schedule or to-do list is going to change from household to household. It’s definitely not perfect, and life will cause some days to require adjustments, but having something to base each day off of gives the grounds for stability and an easy go at things. Life moves much easier when we know roughly what and when to expect things. And this can also be a great way to transition from school to home for summer break.
At school our kids know what and when to expect things, and studies show children thrive off routine. The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine goes into great detail about the importance of family routine and schedule in every day life and over summer break to help children development socially and academically. It also talks greatly about how this is good for us as adults as well.
Is it a perfect routine/schedule? No, but nothing in life is and it will take time to adjust and completely fine tune. However, having the foundation set, and building off a pretty well-oiled routine to begin with is the ultimate survival tip for any parent this summer break.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashley Cirka of Canada and originally appeared here. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, her blog, Twitter, and Pinterest. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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