Not Your Typical Summer Routine with the Kids
Have you ever seen other videos on summer routines with kids or posts that have very detailed, mother-of-the-year perfect plans laid out for kids over the summer? I see these, and I think– WOW– this mom has it all together, and her kids must be angels, and so on.
Well, sometimes the best laid plans just don’t work out– at least they certainly don’t work out like that in my family. Kids (mine, definitely!) are so unpredictable. Sometimes they’re excited to do what we have planned, and some days they are so uncooperative that we can’t stick to a plan to save our lives. One day I feel like the perfect mom whose kids are happy and well-behaved, and the next day I’m locking myself in a bathroom for a moment’s peace or crying in the car on the way to a bakery!
If you want to see how I’m mapping out our summer in a way that actually works for us and keeps my sanity, check out the video here:
To come up with something we will realistically stick to most of the time, I had to make it super flexible. Some parts of it really are things we do every day, and some parts are things we can let go of if we’re just not feeling it or if we have other plans for the day. It also has to be flexible enough that if I need a little more sleep, I can let myself sleep in. Things tend to work better if I can get up first, but hey, this is real life, and that doesn’t always happen! I do have a loose timeline, but the actual times aren’t rigid. Here are the basics of our routine:
- Wake up, get dressed, and eat breakfast– This pretty much happens like clockwork, and the kids just naturally do this, so this one is pretty easy.
- Teeth, make beds, room cleanup– This is a wee bit more challenging because my kids, for whatever reason, just don’t like to brush their teeth. However, we’ve been practicing this enough by now that I can say these three things to them, and they (for the most part) follow through, even if it takes them a while some mornings. I want their beds made, and the room cleanup is usually pretty quick because they’ve already picked it up the night before. It’s mostly just moving a few stuffed animals or putting clothes in the hamper. I’m hoping by practicing this over the summer, they’ll stick with the habit during school days when we’re on more of a time crunch– but we’ll see how that goes!
- Lunch– We always eat lunch, and I’m trying to keep structure in this so they’re not snacking all day, but over the summer, I make lunches suuuuuper easy. No real cooking, or anything like that, but we do all sit down and eat so the snacking is kept to a minimum.
4, Schoolwork and Bible time– So I know this sounds a bit crazy, but my kids just love school work. We basically do a mini homeschool routine where they have homeschool lessons that they do. Here is the curriculum we use. It works for us, because we all love it. Most of the time they're excited about doing their school, but every now and then they complain and act like they don't want to do it. However, as a mom, I can tell when my kids really enjoy something and when they actually don't (despite what they might be saying).This is one of those things they really like, so we’re sticking with it as long as it lasts! I also incorporate Bible time/lessons in here because it’s just a logical time to do this as well. If they’re really not into the schoolwork, we’ll make it super short, and they’ll just do one short lesson.
5. Lunch– Of course we always eat lunch daily, and I’m trying to keep structure in this so they’re not snacking all day. I make lunches suuuuuper easy. No real cooking, or anything like that, but we do all sit down and eat so the snacking is kept to a minimum.
6. Chores– This is pretty minimal too because I just don’t want to be doing a ton of chores all day – LOL! We will load or unload the dishwasher, work on laundry, or do a mini-reset or tidy up things we’ve gotten out like couch cushions or toys or whatever. The kids can help with these smaller chores, so it’s something we all pitch in on.
7. Read aloud– I *try* to do this, but it doesn’t always go super well. Sometimes they want to listen, and sometimes they don’t, but I always give it a go anyway. Instead of trying to make them listen, I just announce that I'm going to read XYZ book out loud. I act like I'm just doing it for myself. Then I just sit down on the couch and start reading. 90% they start listening.
8. Quiet time/Room time– To be perfectly honest, this has totally not happened this summer. We’ve done it in the past, and they used to like it, but I haven’t pushed it yet because I’m a bit afraid of how they’ll react…so I guess this is the one thing on my list that is more idealistic than realistic for now. But sometimes you just need a break! And so do the kids, so I’d love to actually start doing this for about an hour a day.
9. Craft and game time– This is when we’ll get out the art supplies and do random little crafts or play games. The kids love art projects, so this is pretty easy, and if we have plans or a playdate in the afternoon, we can easily skip it.
10. Family time/dinner– By this time, my husband is usually home (thank goodness!) so I have help, and I can get a little break if needed, or if it has been a truly rough day, I can hop in the car and head to the nearest bakery!!
We aren’t strict with times AT ALL. In fact, I don’t even tell my kids that we have a routine. My daughter can read REALLY well, so she would look at this list and say, “Mommy, it’s 10:02, and we should be doing this.” And it would drive me crazy. So I just have a loose idea of when we’ll be doing each thing, and we can totally change it up if we need to. I do sometimes make a very short list of things we’re going to do because they like being able to see what’s coming up, too.
Having a rough, flexible plan at least gives the kids (and me!) some desperately needed structure and keeps me on track with how to keep them busy to avoid the boredom monster. Hopefully this helps encourage you if you’re feeling like you need a detailed picture-perfect plan that you just KNOW you will not be able to stick to! It’s all about finding something that you can actually do in real life!
I LOVE this! I am a big believer in routines, but routines that are flexible-ISH are crucial and keeps me from beating myself up if I don’t quite get it right (done) in the exact window of time I had planned. As a classroom teacher, this was hard for me. I had to learn how to cope with all the interruptions (students, admins, counselors, etc.) and surprise school-wide activities announced for the week and often the same day, AFTER my lesson plans were completed and materials prepped for the week.
THIS IS ACTUALLY REALLY GREAT ADVICE WITH LOTS OF ROOM FOR FLEXIBILITY. THANKS FOR SHARING THIS! I’VE NEVER BEEN A SCHEDULE PERSON, BUT WITH 2 UNDER 3 I’VE BEEN TRYING TO IMPLEMENT IT A LITTLE MORE.