When I started thinking about what this summer would look for our family this year like I realized that our routine is not going to look all that different from summers past. An explanation and more summer thoughts on schedules, bucket lists and adjusting after a difficult spring in today’s post!
On Reigning It In After a Hard Season
If you’re like me, you probably have guilt about something after these past few months, especially if children are involved. Whether it’s too much screen time, disrespect that you didn’t have the energy to deal with, maybe a learning issue you didn’t have time to tackle because you were trying to work from home and be a teacher with no help.
I remember feeling guilty that my oldest watched so much t.v. when she was a preschooler but I had a child with serious medical needs who needed my full attention. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to survive. And then when and if you can, you reign it in.
You pivot, as they say.
Perhaps this summer is a time when you can adjust things a little. As the manager of our house, you have the power to do that. A change in seasons (like summer!) is the perfect time to do that.
On Goals/Dreams/Bucket Lists
Our family always takes some time to think about what we want to do and accomplish this summer. Fun things and serious things.
This summer needs fun! This is a great family dinner table conversation. Whether you make a list on a legal pad or a fun bucket list (this company can make one with your ideas on a big poster!), get your children involved in how to make this unique summer fun. It may be things like “build a fort” or “learn chess” or “fish in the pond” or “start playing tennis as a family.” Our summer guide has so many fun outdoor games and water toys.
These goals aren’t set in stone, but it’s nice to have a list to reference throughout the summer especially when you need ideas. (Please share your ideas in the comment section!)
Maybe the sassy talk has gotten out of control, maybe your child needs to work on reading or writing or learn to tie their shoes, maybe their manners need brushing up. Focus on 1-2 things and work on them this summer. I don’t tell my young children that I am “working” on these things. I just make a point to do it.
For older children, talk to them about what hobby or skill they’d like to learn or other goals they may have for the summer. (The Girls Goal Planner from Cultivate What Matters might be fun!) This summer I am open to more online or virtual camps for my oldest girls. I signed my older daughter up for an online camp at SMU (7th-12th grade) and my 10 year old is going to do a typing class. Stay tuned for our post on activities for teens this summer- sign up here to get the post when it goes live!
I usually have a list of things I’d like to accomplish around the house as well!
On Structure and Routines
I’ve found my children do well when they know what’s coming but they also need to learn to be flexible because things come up (this is life!). So I run my household with a flexible routine.
For the most part our daily rhythm is the same and things are orderly. Dinner time is generally the same. Bed time is the same. Quiet time is essential in our house – even on the weekends.
Some days we will get off our routine because of an event, unforeseen circumstance or sickness but our goal is to always get back to the routine the next day. And that has been good for our family over the years.
So below I’ve typed out our flexible “summer” routine. Again, it doesn’t look like this everyday, but most days. I love reading what works for other families, maybe a nugget from here will help you manage your home this summer! I realize every family has different needs and rhythms, this is just ours:
Our Summer Routine
5:30-8:00 am: I wake up to work and (maybe!) exercise and have quiet time
7 am – 8:30 am Girls wake up and watch usually watch t.v. (or read but usually watch t.v.!)
I know some people make their children do XYZ before screen time but I feel like it’s summer and, goodness, let them relax a little bit. Admittedly, this is also a little self-serving because I work in the early morning hours. Because Louise sleeps late, if everyone is quiet I can get more work done and then be able to (ideally) be done with the bulk of my work the rest of the day.
New this summer: I want to go on a bike ride or walk/run with one of my girls by themselves. Hoping to do this a few mornings a week before Louise wakes up to get in some one-on-one time with each of my girls (and before it gets too hot!). Going to have to get up earlier to do this but that’s a desire I have for this summer!
8:30 am Eat breakfast
Sometimes the girls will make breakfast sometime and other times I will. All three older ones learned how to make eggs, muffins and a few other things during quarantine. Yay.
9:00-9:30 Morning chores
Each child has a chore they do every day. Empty the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, open the curtains, etc. Plus they all make their beds and tidy up their bathrooms after they brush their teeth and hair. With a household of six it is vitally important for my children to help and feels good to start the day with a tidy kitchen.
9:30-12 Play time/Activity/Outdoors
In the past this might have meant going somewhere (pool, blueperry picking, park, etc.) or just staying at home and letting them play. I have always been a big fan of unstructured play and slowing down during the summer which is why I never signed my children up for a bunch of summer day camps. (After the school year, I needed a break from packing lunches and driving people every which way all day!) But we’ve always had the sweetest summer of rest and rejuvenation where my girls’ imaginations have soared. (So if this type of summer is new for you because of the pandemic, I hope this is encouraging!)
Summer Book Club: The past few years it has provided enriching (and simple!) activity suggestions that help children make connections with the wonderful literature they are reading. Many of the activities are things they can do themselves or I can give them an idea and they run with it. Nothing too complicated, but something that fills the void if you are trying to cut back on screen time and especially if you are going to be at home more.
This summer the books are so wonderful and the activities are tailored to being at home more. Each week there will be five well thought out activity suggestions so you could do one a weekday if that worked for your summer:
- A “get outside” activity that involves being in nature
- An art activity based on a classic piece of art
- A cooking activity
- A (simple) craft
- A “make it” which will be about building or creating something.
This year the book club is tailored to children up to age 10ish and after that I would say the older ones get involved by helping the younger ones. It truly is supposed to be a family experience!
Registration opens Tuesday. Sign up here so you don’t miss it!
1-3ish Naptime/Rest time / Work for Me
Even if you don’t have a napper, you might want to enact a rest time. While Louise is napping, my older girls are going to read a certain number of minutes or listen to an audio book. Once they do that they can have screen time.
3:30-5:30 Play/Outside Time
5:30-6:30 Dinner Prep
I usually ask one girl to help me with dinner (more one-on-one time) and someone else to sit the table. Another I will ask to tidy up den.
6:30 Dinner, Bath Time, Maybe After Dinner Play or Walk
7:30-8 Bedtime for Younger Ones
8 pm: My husband and I Tidy Up Before Bed
I would love to hear from you! Whaat activities are you doing this summer? Do you have resources/ideas on online camps? Fun places in your areas with social distancing? Share below!