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How to Set Up the Best Summer Routine For Your Kids

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Summer seems to throw everyone’s schedules for a loop. But whether you’re trying to create a better routine for mom or get the kids on a schedule, it’s time to make a kids’ summer routine!

the best summer routine for kids

While the slow and lazy days of summer are meant to be enjoyed, with all the summer barbecues, holidays, and activities that we schedule, it’s easy to get completely off routine.

But getting off routine, even during summer break, might not be the best idea.

After all, remember those cranky times when your toddler didn’t get his nap? 😫

Kids thrive on routine and knowing what to expect.

Setting up a daily schedule for summer vacation might be just what you need to keep your kids happy (and well-behaved) during the summer months.

Here’s how to make a better summer routine!

Tips for Embracing the Freedom of Summer with Structure

As the warm summer months approach, it’s tempting to let the schedule go and embrace the carefree spirit of the season. However, establishing a structured summer routine for both younger kids and older kids can provide surprising benefits that enhance their overall well-being.

While spontaneity and unstructured play are essential for a child’s development, a balanced approach that incorporates both freedom and routine can help create a harmonious summer experience. A structured summer routine provides children with a sense of security, predictability, and opportunities for growth.

Implementing a daily schedule is an excellent way to teach important life skills such as time management, self-discipline, and responsibility. This structure also allows for the incorporation of enriching activities, educational pursuits, and physical exercise – all of which contribute to a well-rounded summer experience.

Embracing a structured summer routine doesn’t mean sacrificing the joys of the season. In fact, it can enhance a child’s ability to truly savor the freedom and fun that summer offers. 

With a balanced approach, you can have family time to create lasting memories while instilling valuable habits that will serve children long after the summer has ended.

Wake up before your kids

I know, I know. It’s summer! Late nights around a campfire, lazy days when your biggest task is dragging out the sprinkler, and nowhere to go so you actually have a chance to sleep in.

While you may have big plans for sleeping in, chances are that your kids have other plans.

With the longer days of summer, the sun rises even earlier, which means that your kids wake up earlier. Unless you want to wake up to little fingers poking your eyes (ask me how I know that happens), you need to wake up a few minutes before your kids to start the day off right.

Making time for a peaceful cup of coffee or packing your kids’ picnic lunches before they can argue that they no longer eat lunch meat is key to having a day that runs smoothly.

It’s hard to hit the ground running as soon as you roll out of bed, so do yourself a favor and give yourself time to start your morning slowly.

If you’re not a morning person, you may need to evaluate your morning routine. Make Over Your Mornings is a great course. Learn exactly how to use your mornings to set yourself up for a great day.

Set an alarm for an appropriate summer wake time

If your kids know how to tell time, give them a certain time that they’re allowed to get up. If they wake before that time, have them do “quiet time” in their bedroom. Allow them to read quietly in bed, play with dolls, or make a HotWheels racetrack out of their blankets.

The key is that your kids stay in their rooms until an acceptable time.

If your kids don’t know how to tell time, you can still enforce this rule. Have an older sibling tell them when it’s time to get up or get this alarm clock that changes colors when it’s ok to get out of bed.

Even though your kids may stay up later on summer nights, chances are that they’re still waking up early. Having an age-appropriate wake-up time helps to ensure that they’re getting enough sleep.

If your kids aren’t getting enough sleep at night, try putting them down for a nap or at least “quiet time” so they can rest.

Use a chore chart to create a daily routine that works

Whether you pay your kids to do chores or expect them to do certain tasks before they’re allowed to have screen time, a chore chart is a great way to keep your kids focused.

You can also create a basic morning routine for your kids to follow as soon as they wake up. Include tasks like brushing teeth, washing face, and eating breakfast before going outside or playing.

Add your morning routine items onto your chore chart to track them. Give your kids stickers or laminate the chart and let them mark each task once they’ve completed it.

You can also use the chart as a reward system. Once they’ve checked off their tasks for the morning, allow them to earn screen time or do a special activity, like a weekly field trip or a fun daily activity from your summer bucket list.

It also includes a set of printable stickers so you can change your kids’ chores or reward them for a job well done!

Encourage physical activity

Another great way to get on a schedule is by tracking your kids’ activities. My kids have the Garmin VivoFit bands and they love getting “fireworks” when they reach their step goals, activity time, and even rewards.

You’ll be able to assign your kids chores from the app and then give them points when they complete each task.

You can choose from a list of rewards, like slumber party, staying up 5 minutes late, etc., or make your own fun rewards for activities and chores.

Use a summer bucket list to plan fun activities

Stop boredom in its tracks by making a summer bucket list with fun summer activities for your kids. Download the free printable summer bucket lists or make your own list of fun activities based on your child’s interests.

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    Make sure you add some simple activities that your kids can do around the house, like a backyard scavenger hunt, or rainy day activities, like making homemade slime, to keep them entertained even when the weather is bad or you just need a break from running.

    Creating a summer routine to keep your kids busy (and still get them to do their chores) is key to having a great summer.

    Even if you want to have a slow, restful summer that doesn’t involve running your kids all over the countryside, you can still create a basic routine so they’ll be happy without driving you crazy!

    5 Essential Elements of an Effective Summer Routine for Kids

    Establishing an effective summer routine for kids is crucial for their development and well-being. As parents, we must ensure our children make the most of their time off from school. Here are five essential elements to include in your child’s summer routine:

    1. Structured Playtime: Allocate specific time slots for structured play activities that encourage physical activity, problem-solving, and creativity. This could include outdoor games, arts and crafts, or educational STEM projects.

    2. Reading and Learning: Maintain a consistent reading schedule as part of your kids’ daily activities to prevent the “summer slide” and keep your child’s mind engaged. Supplement this with educational activities, science center and museum visits, or hands-on learning experiences.

    3. Chores and Responsibilities: Assign age-appropriate chores and household tasks to instill a sense of responsibility and ownership. This teaches valuable life skills and promotes a strong work ethic.

    4. Downtime and Relaxation: Ensure your child has ample time for unstructured outdoor play, rest, and relaxation. This allows them to recharge and explore their own interests and hobbies.

    5. Consistent Sleep Schedules: Maintain a consistent bedtime and wake-up routine to support your child’s physical and mental well-being. This will help them feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next day.

    By incorporating these five essential elements, you can create a summer routine that is both productive and enjoyable for your child.

    Establishing a Consistent Sleep Schedule to Avoid the Summer Slump

    Summer is a time for fun, adventure, and relaxation, but it can also be a time when our sleep schedules go out the window. Maintaining a consistent sleep routine is crucial, even during the carefree days of summer.

    Whether you’ve got little ones running around or you’re trying to avoid the dreaded “summer slump” yourself, a solid sleep schedule can make all the difference. Kids especially need that structure, so don’t let those late nights and lazy mornings become the norm. Stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time, even on the weekends.

    And hey, adults need their beauty sleep too! Make time for a calming bedtime routine – maybe a warm bath, some light reading, or just unplugging from screens for a while. Your mind and body will thank you when you’re feeling refreshed and energized, rather than sluggish and unmotivated.

    So don’t let summer days sabotage your sleep. With a little planning and discipline, you can keep those Zs on lock and make the most of the sunny season.

    Balancing Screen Time and Outdoor Activities for a Healthy Summer

    We all know how easy it is for the kiddos (and let’s be real, us adults too) to get sucked into endless hours of scrolling, gaming, and binge-watching when the weather is hot. But c’mon, there’s a whole world waiting to be explored beyond that little screen!

    Why not mix it up and get the whole family outside for some good old-fashioned summer adventures? Think scavenger hunts, backyard camping, water balloon tosses – the possibilities are endless! And hey, you might even be able to trick them into learning a thing or two along the way. Shh, don’t tell ’em it’s educational.

    Of course, we all need a little downtime, so don’t be afraid to set some reasonable screen time limits. Maybe an hour or two a day max, with the rest of the time dedicated to unplugged activities or quality time with the family, like playing board games, having an after-dinner ice cream party, or going for bike rides. Trust me, your kids (and your sanity) will thank you. So let’s make this summer the most tech-free, adventure-filled one yet!

    Incorporating Educational Elements to Prevent the Summer Slide

    Summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but it’s also important to keep those young minds active past the end of the school year! The dreaded “summer slide” is real, where kids can lose some of the progress they made during the school year. 

    But don’t worry, there are plenty of different ways to sneak in some learning without feeling like you’re back in the classroom.

    One easy option is to incorporate educational games into your everyday summer activities. Get the kids involved in planning a fun family trip, and have them research the history and culture of your destination. Or challenge them to a math-themed scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. The key is making it feel more like play than work.

    Another great way to prevent the summer slide is to enroll the kiddos in a summer learning program. These can range from week-long STEM camps to reading challenges at the local library. Not only do they keep those brains engaged, but the kids get to have fun and make new friends too.

    The goal is to make learning feel natural and exciting, not like a chore. With a little creativity, you can keep those summer blues away and make sure your little ones are ready to hit the ground running come fall.

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