Transitioning into summer vacation and creating a summer routine can come as a shock. Many kids simply drop all schedules, and things become a free for all that is hard to manage.
One way to make summertime with kids easier is to build a healthy summer morning routine for kids that allows your family to continue functioning as well as it does in the school year.
Creating a predictable routine for kids is especially important if both parents are still working through the kids’ summer break.
Here’s how to create one that works for your family:
Take the mornings slowly
During the school year, our children have to get up and rush to school every single day.
In the summer, allow the morning to be slow and relaxing rather than try to rush… unless you have something you absolutely need to get done by a specific time, like a morning doctor’s appointment.
Let your child sleep in until they are ready to get up naturally. Especially since summer bedtimes are often later during the longer days, it’s important to make sure kids get adequate sleep.
With the sun rising earlier than during the school year, this is usually still quite early.
And, if you have the opposite problem and your kids wake up TOO early in the bright summer mornings, get this sleep-training alarm clock so that even toddlers can understand when it’s appropriate to get out of bed and when they’ve had enough sleep.
Stick to your school time morning routine
Just like the school year schedule, your child still needs to complete the usual morning hygiene routine, like brush teeth, get dressed, make their bed, etc.
As much as we want to allow our kids to just be lazy in the morning, we need to keep these healthy habits going as part of your daily summer schedule.
If you let these habits go, your morning routine when the school year starts back up will need to have these good habits intact, or your before-school morning routine will be a fight to dive back into.
Building off existing school morning routine habits is the best way to transition into the summer routine without a fight. Your child has already built up these good morning habits, or if you are new to building routines with your child, you will use these morning habits to help them transition back to school in the fall.
Get this printable morning routine chart for kids, which is especially good for younger kids who may need visual picture reminders:
During the hot summer months, the most important thing you can do with your kids in the mornings is to go outside and play for a while each day.
Morning play time allows your child to get time outside before it gets too hot to really enjoy the time they are out.
Keep your kids entertained doing fun summer activities with this free printable summer bucket list:
Later in the day, it will get too hot to really relax and have fun, so the morning is a good time to have outdoor free play and to plan fun things like bike rides and physical exercise.
Even nighttime summer routines allow your child to get more time outside without fighting extreme temperatures or poor air quality if you live in the city.
Snuggle up with a book
Reading is a great way to spend summer days.
When the temperatures start to rise, and your kids are ready to come inside in the late morning, you can have them spend time reading and having a bit of quiet time.
For younger children, you can have them play with play dough or blocks while you read aloud, or play an audiobook while you prepare lunch.
Having your child spend time reading before they get on an electronic device is important to ensure reading and educational activities take place during the lazy days of summer to avoid a learning slip.
Get morning chores over with
While kids would love to put off morning chores, taking advantage of the cooler morning is often the best plan for coping with the chores.
While you can assign different chores for summer, followed by a reward like time for video games for older kids, it’s important to consider which chores are age-appropriate for both young and older children.
Have your child spend time doing things like unloading the dishwasher so breakfast dishes can be loaded and taking out the trash so it doesn’t smell in the heat.
Get a printable chore chart, along with fun activities for your kids (and planning pages and daily routine help for you!) in the Systems to Organize Summer bundle.
How to keep your morning routine going in the summer
Set different points for things that need to be done, like getting dressed, making their beds before breakfast, playing outside, and doing chores before they can have electronic devices.
This can help keep your child on track and motivate them to actually follow through with what you tell them to do.
When left to their own devices, kids tend to do whatever they want without thinking about the consequences. When you have set points like this, not following through has natural consequences, which is such an effective characteristic of good parenting.
Use a visual schedule with your child’s morning routine visible and ready to follow without you prompting them to help take away the fighting to get things done.
This ensures that your child knows what is expected of them, so if they do not follow through, they can only blame themselves for the natural consequences, like a late breakfast or not having time for electronic devices for the day.
Set an example
When your child sees you getting up each day and taking care of your morning routine, they will be more likely to take care of theirs without a fight.
Kids tend to copy what they see rather than follow what we tell them to do. When setting up your child’s summer schedule, set up your ideal morning routine as well.
You may be surprised how much more productive you (and the whole family) can be with the good habit of following a morning routine.
For more tips to create a summer schedule, check out these resources: