6 Ideas that Will Keep Your Kids Off the Couch

couch potato

My friend, Kellie, remembers the moment last summer when it happened. She returned home just before noon to find her middle-school aged children still in their PJs, sitting like zombies in front of the TV. They were in a couch potato malaise. “I couldn’t take one more second of looking at their greasy, lazy, pajama-wearing selves,” she said.  “It was time to get moving!”

Without some planning, your kids’ summer could descend into the abyss of Netflix binge-watching and junk food. To avoid that, here are 6 ways to prevent summer couch potatoes from sprouting in your house.

1. Maintain normal hours.summer-schedule

If your children stay up until the wee hours, they’re naturally going to want to sleep all morning. Try to keep the family on a reasonable schedule, even when school’s out so that more can be accomplished and enjoyed during the day. This will also make the inevitable transition back to a school schedule easier.

2. Set aside some tasks for the break.

imom chore chart

We all have those things we would get done if we just had the time. Whether it’s cleaning out the kids’ closets or getting all those decorations back into the attic, you have a golden opportunity for getting caught up with family to-dos during the break. Delegate portions of each task to the kids and get some things accomplished!

3. Focus on service.

Giving our time to others in need is difficult during the school week routine. Make plans during the break to participate in volunteer work at a local shelter or non-profit. And remember those closets that you cleaned out in #2? You likely have boxes of gently-used clothing and toys that many of these agencies would love to have. Let your children participate in the process of donating those.

4. Put limits on screen time.

The lure of tablets, phones, and round-the-clock cable programming, the school break can easily become a blur of wasted time in front of screens. Use our screen time tracker and screen time tickets to keep usage of these types of entertainment to a reasonable level and keep kids moving in other directions.

5. Schedule some friend time.

Make plans with fellow moms in advance to have other kids over. It will keep your crew engaged and having fun, and the other parents may reciprocate, giving you some much-needed quiet time!

6. Make a stop at the library.

reading chart

Your local library is a great resource during school breaks and often schedules storytimes and programming for these weeks. Make a trip there to check out a couple of great reads, and hang out for a while to explore—you may be surprised by the variety of options and services available in today’s libraries. Be sure to make summer reading fun with our reading chart and reading logs!


With a little forethought, you can keep your home from turning into a haven for the school-break doldrums, and make great use of today’s most valuable family commodity—time!

Tell us! How do you keep your kids off of the couch?