As summer begins, the excitement of sleeping in/staying up late, free time, vacations and no homework takes over, often creating a bit of disorder in homes, especially those with younger children. While the school year is packed with activities and seems to fly by, that busy is usually filled with routines and a schedule. While we don’t always realize it, that schedule, even if jam-packed, provides some much-needed consistency for children, and even parents!
If your child is not enrolled in ESY, or even if they are, read below for a few simple tips to create a summer schedule. Putting this in place will allow for the much-needed consistency, yet still allow kids to be kids… and most important, allow for both parents and kids to have a lot of fun!
4 Super Easy Tips To Creating A Summer Schedule
1. Make the Schedule WITH Your Child – Yes, you read that correctly…enlist your child’s help in making the schedule. Make this a fun activity you do together. Brainstorm the “have to do’s” and the “want to do’s” and keep a list. List everything from chores to pool time, to scheduled camps/activities, playing with friends and feeding the family pets. Then, organize it, together, by day. List approximate times and maybe even add a block for “surprise activity” or “free time.” It can be as specific or general as you need, but just a guideline of what needs to be accomplished each day will help provide some consistency. It’s probably a good idea to make it a weekly schedule. You can make this a fun Sunday afternoon or evening family time to make the next weeks schedule together.
2. Make it Visual – After you brainstorm, decide on the best way to make sure everyone in the house knows the schedule. Maybe you get a whiteboard and hang it somewhere in the house, or maybe you make a weekly grid on a poster board and use post-its each week. Or, maybe you do it on the computer and print it out and put it in a special spot where everyone can see it. Whatever works for your family, but just make it visual and make sure it’s in a place everyone has easy access to it. (Hint: Keeping it in a high traffic area of your home increases the likelihood everyone will use it!)
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3. Review it Daily – Sure, it’s great to make the schedule! But, now, perhaps, is the hardest part…using it!! Refer to the schedule each day. It might be helpful to make this a part of the morning routine. While making breakfast, everyone reviews the activities for that day together. This will be extremely helpful in getting chores/less preferred activities complete with minimal fuss because kids will be reminded they need to complete them before it’s actually time to do it. You can also refer the schedule as part of the bedtime routine, so kids go to bed knowing what’s expected the next day.
4. Adjust as Needed – Don’t be afraid to add events, change things or even come up with a different way of displaying the schedule. You need to find the best way to make this work for your family. What works in June, may not in July – and that’s okay! The most important part is that you have a schedule that is functional for your family. Of course, you do not want to add and change things daily as that will not necessarily help with providing consistency and routines, but flexibility is also a great lesson to teach kids. So, if last minute schedule changes need to happen, use that as an opportunity to work with your kids to understand that sometimes this happens, and flexibility is a way to deal with it!
Hopefully, by trying these four simple tricks, you will not only have a fun and learning-filled summer, but you’ll also avoid some of the stress (for kids and parents!) that comes with a lack of routine. As a bonus…. once the start of the school year comes around again, you will have much less work to do in adjusting to a schedule… because you’ll have followed one all summer long.
As a parent what type of tricks do you use to maintain consistency throughout the summer? Please share in the comments below!