My kids are champing at the bit for summer to start! They can’t wait to sleep in, spend their days in the pool, play in the neighborhood creek with friends and stay up late. I love the freedom that comes with summer but too much can wreak havoc for us.
I’ve found my kids do best with a mix of some freedom and some routine. So, while we’ll shift from our school year schedule, I like to give summer its own rhythm that allows for spontaneity but stems the chaos. This includes a summer morning routine but allows for flexibility during the day. Whether you’re a planner or relaxed, here are 5 routines your summer needs.
1. Morning Chores
Morning chores have so many benefits. First, it helps us give our house a clean reset every morning, which is sorely needed with a houseful of kids home during summer. I also have more time to teach my kids new skills like how to iron or clean out the pool filter. Doing chores, making beds and picking up bedrooms helps get our mornings launched so that our day is more productive.
2. Reading Routine
Summer is the perfect time to get your children hooked on reading. Unless my kids are at camp, we have one hour of reading each weekday. This is usually right after lunch, providing all of us a quiet breather in the day or just before bedtime. Set a goal for your kids to read a certain number of books or a certain number of days. Rewards to earn a shaved ice or a privilege make great incentives to help encourage a summer reading routine.
3. Screen Time Rules
Decide up front how much screen time your children will be allowed during the summer and communicate that to your children. You can set an amount per day or per week. In our home, screen time is allowed in the evenings and for a couple of hours on Saturday mornings. Even in summer, when children don’t have homework, I want my kids engaged in creative activities and play. You can also save screen time for rainy days or afternoons that are too hot to play outside and encourage games that sneak in skills like keyboarding, coding, and math.
4. Dinner Routine
Admittedly, this one is hard for me. With days at the pool, weeks of camp and varying work schedules for my older kids, skipping out on a dinner routine for the summer is easy. My goal is to aim for three to four sit-down dinners per week as a family. It keeps us eating healthier, keeps us from spending too much money eating out and helps us stay connected when we have dinners together at home. Make this work for you. If you’re at swim team practice every weekday night, use weekends to carve out time to eat together.
5. Bedtime Routine
I like setting a summer bedtime for my school-aged kids while reserving the right to lift it if we’re on vacation or enjoying an evening of night swimming. I usually set a bedtime that’s later than the school year but also lets me have some alone time in the evening. If my children don’t keep a modest bedtime, they start to sleep in each morning, which makes them less ready for bed that night, creating an unhealthy sleep cycle. Having the same bedtime helps all of them to know what to expect for the evening and be ready for the next day.
What routines do you use over summer?