SUMMER SURVIVAL SCHEDULE
Anyone else get part excited, part nervous for the summer when the kiddos are home all day every day? I know I feel both sets of emotions and love the opportunity to have more freedom and quality time with my kiddos, but also worry that I won't be able to get anything done (I see you, unfolded laundry).
The key to not just surviving summer, but thriving through summer is to have a PLAN! I like to make it a flexible plan that still allows for spontaneity, but provides a clear schedule for most days so the kids know what is expected of them and everyone in the family can look forward to fun activities together.
Here are my top 5 tips for making this your best summer yet!
We've created 2 free printables for you - one with my choices for each day's theme and a blank page if you'd like to choose your own themes. This is the thing that gets my kids (and me) jumping-up-and-down-excited for summer. They LOVE the idea of a different activity each day and trying so many new things.
Here's a little explanation of each of the themes I chose to give you some ideas:
Me Monday: When you have more than one kid, I think it's important to give them each moments to shine and be the leader. Each Monday, a different kid will be in charge of choosing the activity for that day. Play date with friends, Chick-fil-A play place ... whatever they decide!
Take a Trip Tuesday: This will be our day to venture out. I'm getting my kids a POGO Pass this summer, which includes admission to the zoo, sporting events, water parks, etc - so we're going to check off as many things from that list as we can! (this specific pass is only available in limited cities, but I've heard of similar passes elsewhere - ask around or search online and you'll likely be able to find something similar)
Water Wednesday: Texas is HOT and really the only way you can be outside is if you're in water. On Wednesdays we'll swim at a friend's pool or use a sprinkler and blow up pool in our backyard. I bought this pool from Amazon and we can't wait to play in it!
Thoughtful Thursday: I think service is one of the most important lessons you can teach your kids. I can't wait to incorporate some sort of service into each week this summer. Whether it be baking cookies for a neighbor, gathering toys/clothes to donate, or writing thank you cards (download free printable thank you cards here), it's always great to see kids understand the joy that comes through service.
Foodie Friday: I love cooking and want my kids to develop that skill as well. I'm not the best at allowing "help" in the kitchen, so having one day where the kids join me and we work together will be a good learning experience for all of us.
Feel free to use my ideas/themes or create your own, but make sure to download our free summer schedule printable to use this summer! We'll take some time every Sunday evening to write-out and decide our activities for the week.
Summer days can be unpredictable, so I think it's critical to get those "need-to-do" things done first thing. It's tempting to just sleep in, let the kids get their own cereal and watch a show while I relax, and spend the morning lounging, but whenever we do that it's 10 or 11 before we know it and everyone is still in their pajamas and we've accomplished nothing.
Chore charts for each of my kids has kept us sane and on track all school year long. I plan to print new summer chore charts for the kids and keep to a similar schedule during the summer. My older kids finish their morning chores before breakfast and you'd be amazed at how quickly they work when there's food waiting at the end.
There's no getting around the fact that despite how much I love being with my kids, I need some alone time to plug away at work, answer emails, or just regain my sanity for a few minutes. During my 2-year-old's naptime each day, we are going to have quiet time. Each child will be in a different room and they can play quietly, read, draw, or nap. I bought some inexpensive clocks from Amazon for each child so they know when quiet time is over and don't have to ask a dozen times. I plan to make this quiet time 1 hour but may adjust to 1 1/2 hours if it goes well.
You've all heard the statistics about how much knowledge kids lose during the summer and how behind they fall. One way I've found to counteract that and keep their brains buzzing is spend time doing workbooks every day. I purchase a workbook for the grade they'll be entering in the fall in order to push them a little. I got the books this year at Costco, but I'm sure they're available all over.
While I love a good schedule, I'm not going to turn down a fun offer from friends to do an activity that doesn't "fit" into what we had planned. It's important for kids to learn how to "roll with the punches" and not be too disappointed when things don't turn out their way. I also think it's critical to know that some of the activities we try will be more successful than others and that's OK. It's the effort and time spent together that will be the most meaningful in the end.
With that, I hope you are a little more excited for summer and get a few new ideas for how to make it manageable and even, dare I say, FUN.