Summer break is right around the corner! While I’m completely looking forward to not sending my kids out the door to school every morning and not spending hours each day in the car driving for carpool, I also get a little squirmy thinking about all of us at home together all day, every day.
The fighting, the whining, the sibling rivalry, the messes. Oh, the mess of having three kiddos at home all day. Shudder.
But then there’s also the great stuff too. The beach, the pool, the backyard playtime, the lazy mornings, the park, the splash pad, the zoo, the cottage, the backyard fires, the sunsets, the bare feet, the bike rides, the family time. Summer is incredibly wonderful for so many reasons.
My major goal for this summer is to be intentional with my kids. I’ve been realizing over the past few months how much I have been slacking, and therefore how much my kids are lacking in taking responsibility around our home. We’ve been struggling with our routines as the school year winds down, and I find myself frustrated that I have to stay on top of them for every little thing from leaving their dishes on the table after meals, to dirty clothes littering our living area, to not cleaning up spills.
I want to be able to enjoy our time this summer as much as we can, so I’ve been working on a plan. A plan to be intentional about teaching my kids responsibility around our home, to make things less stressful for me, and to give us more time to do the things we really enjoy. And also to hopefully set in place habits and routines that will lead us into the next school year.
Our Intentional Summer Plan and Routine
Our summer plan will consist of several different parts that will work together to help things run smoothly and give us time to do the things we really enjoy.
Spinning off from my list of chores I strive to do everyday to keep my home under control, I realized I could start teaching them about the tasks and routines so they can help me and we can get them done in less time.
Together we can work through a morning routine of emptying the dishwasher, making our beds, starting a load of laundry, folding and putting away a clean load, and wiping down the bathroom.
Then in the evenings, after dinner, they can help with loading the dishwasher, washing dishes, wiping the counters and table, and sweeping the floor. It will take some teaching on my part because they don’t do all of these things regularly at this point. Then it will take consistency and follow through to keep them in the routine. But the idea of not having to do all of these things by myself this summer is a huge motivator for me!
Activities Before Screen Time
I am already anticipating the struggle over screen time this summer. We are not a screen-free family, but I do want to keep it to a minimum and encourage my kids to explore other activities and hobbies.
So we will have a checklist that my kids will have to complete each day before they will be allowed to have screen time. My hope is that many days they will become so engrossed in these other activities that they will forgo screen time altogether.
Before Screen Time:
- Morning routine chores
- Clean up bedroom/Clean up living area – no screen time while their bedroom or our living area is littered with toys, games, dirty clothes, etc.
- Read for 30 minutes – My oldest can read on her own, but this will also consist of at least 10-15 minutes of individual “reading” time for the younger two, and time for me to read aloud to them.
- Craft/Create for 45 minutes – Anything from coloring/painting to rainbow loom to sewing to building Legos could fall into this category.
- Play outside – Probably for at least 45 minutes, depending on what else we have going on that day, but hopefully it will lead to even more time.
- Ask Mom or Dad how you can help – I really want to start building the habit into my kids of asking others what they can do to help. This is a habit that will serve them well throughout life!
Once they have checked off this list, they will be able to ask for 30 minutes of screen time. This could be watching a show on Netflix or playing on the iPad or computer.
I will be honest that routines are not my cup of tea. As an ENFP, I like to just go with flow and not be tied down to a schedule or routine. I have learned that doesn’t always work so well with my kids though, especially when we are home together day after day during the summer. So I’ve put together a routine to help guide our days.
Obviously this is very flexible for days that we go to a friend’s house to swim, head out to the beach, or have a playdate at the park. All of those are things we hope to do a lot of this summer! This routine is structured to still be able to do those fun things while also making sure that our responsibilities at home are taken care of.
- Mom up – hopefully 1/2 hour to hour before kids
- Kids up – hang out time with mom – my kids don’t like to eat right away when they get up, so this will give us some time to just connect and relax together in the mornings, something I miss during the school year! I may also try to do some kind of devotional or Bible time, but not sure what yet.
- Breakfast – kids help prepare food and clean up
- Morning chores routine
- Dressed/Ready for the day
- Play Time – or playdate or whatever we have planned
- Lunch – kids help prepare food and clean up
- Quiet Time – reading/learning time – Blair naps as needed
- Play Time
- Possible Screen Time
- Chores as needed
- Dinner – kids help prepare food
- Evening chore routine
- Play Time/Family Time
- 15 Minute House Tour – walk around the house/yard and make sure everything is picked up and put away.
- Prepare for tomorrow: clothes picked out, bags packed and ready if we have a playdate scheduled, meal plan
- Reading Time/Sparkle Story
My older two kids are interested in earning money this summer, so I have a list of extra chores they will be able to choose from every day to earn money. These are chores that they don’t do regularly right now, so they will also require some teaching on my part, but that is part of the responsibility I want to be instilling in them this summer.
These chores will be at their own discretion, they are not required to do them. But, chores may also be given as consequences for their behavior if needed.
- Vacuum floors
- Mop/Wash floors
- Wash windows
- Wash walls
- Wipe down cabinets
- Scoop dog poop
- Pull weeds in garden and flower beds
- Organize Play Room
Things to help with our Summer Routine
Music – for morning hang out time/Bible time
- Seeds Family Worship
- other worship music
Teaching/training morning chores
Setting ourselves up for success the night before by choosing clothes, packing any bags we might need, planning meals and snacks.
Involving kids in meal planning, picking meals they enjoy and can help with.
Kids help to prepare their meals and snacks. No whining for mom to make them something to eat while they’re off doing something else. No snacking except for at snack time, to keep from having kids in the kitchen wanting to eat all day long.
Kids sit and stay at the table to eat, even snacks, unless eating outside. No eating in living room unless it’s a special occasion.
Clear their places when finished, put dishes in dishwasher, clear off table, put food away, wash dishes and wipe off the table after meals.
Weekly library visits to keep lots of fresh reading material available for reading times.
Have learning materials on hand and a plan for keeping up with handwriting, reading, and math over the summer.
Doing a house walk through to make sure everything is put away and in order, so there are no surprise messes after the kids go to bed or in the morning.
Use colored baskets for each child to carry around to pick up their stuff and put it away.
Our kids love listening to Sparkle Stories before bed. We’ve been using the Sparkle Stories podcast because it’s free. We don’t listen to them every night, but I’m thinking of subscribing to a few of the different stories this summer because we will use them so much more.
Putting together this plan and routine will help us to be intentional with our time together this summer! I will be able to help my kids learn some new and important skills and they will get the satisfaction of being responsible and helpful around our house. It will help me to be less stressed and overwhelmed with having the kids home all day, every day, and will also help give us the time we need to do the things we really enjoy!
Do you put together a summer plan and routine for your family? What helps your summer days to run smoothly?
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