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For years I always dreaded summer because there was no schedule, nothing to do, the days were looooonnnng, which made the kids go insane and mom go insane. We’re a routine oriented family. And most people are for that matter. So, after school’s out and there’s no homework, swimming or gymnastics practice, what do they do? They turn to the dreaded iPad and become zombies.
Well, two summers ago I decided that there was only one way I was going to win the battle of the iPad without having a daily argument. Set up a routine with a relatively strict schedule. It worked immediately. At first they would ask if they could play iPad and I point to the dry-erase board and say “is it time yet?”
Wasn’t my fault. It was the dry-erase board. Pretty soon they weren’t asking anymore. They were looking at the clock instead.
It worked like a charm. So much so that the kids began to thrive on it. They seem happier having a routine. When they have no boundaries or sense of time for when things happen, it causes anxiety and restlessness. That’s why schools have such strict schedules. It’s the only way.
So, I’ll break it down.
Roll outta bed
I may have a schedule, but we’re not in the army here. We all sleep in during the summer. For me, that’s about 8:00 am. The kids are up around that time, too. Mornings are great. It’s my favorite time of day. I’m a morning person for sure so this is when I do all my chores, workout, etc. and have the most energy. I also love to sit and have a cup of coffee and read the news and catch up on what’s going on in the world.
This is when we’re all doing our own thing, I let the kids play on their iPads and be lazy. They usually stay in their PJ’s and I get them an easy breakfast going.
It’s time to get ourselves together. I have the kids get dressed and clean their rooms/make beds. I’m sad to say, the kids don’t usually get their beds made during the school year since we’re trying to get out the door to school. But, we’re on spot in the summer!
They also have chores over the summer. I try to find things around the house for them to do….empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, fold laundry. It usually takes them about 5 minutes, but they learn good life skills seriously!
I make sure their brains don’t rot. We alternate doing flashcards and reading. I don’t care what they read as long as they read for 20-25 minutes. Then, they switch and we do flash cards. Whatever they’re working on at school. Multiplication or subtraction whatever I think they need to work on. Sometimes I print out math sheets from homeschool.net. This is a great website with free printables.
It’s time to go outside! I don’t care what they do as long as they’re outside. Sometimes they will complain they don’t have anything to do, but after a couple of minutes, they come up with something. Many times we go to the pool at this time. It’s perfect, since this is when the pool opens! We’ll usually stay for several hours, swim, play, burn out some energy.
It always changes, last summer they loved water balloons and crazy sprinkler type toys. Who knows what they’ll wanna do this year!
Free play. Again, I don’t care what they do, just something without a screen!
Okay I have to build in some time for errands. They’re not usually excited about this one, but it has to get done.
They’re pooped by this time, so it’s a good time to veg out and watch tv.
Time with mom! I love this time. It varies what we do. Board games, play outside together. Last summer we tended to play a lot of cards. My daughter finally learned Rummy, so we did that or Go Fish. Reese likes to have picnics and Gavin usually beats me at chess.
Time for me to cook and I finally let them play their iPads again. I put the tv on for myself while I get dinner ready!
Dad’s home from work and we all have dinner. Fun times!
Family time! We will all do something together as a family. It could be watching a movie together or a playing a game.
Time to wind down.
There’s PJ’s. A snack. More reading and bed.
This is the 3rd summer we’ll do this and I’m proud to say we stick to it all summer!
But, all in all this is what works for US! Everybody is different, so your schedule might look different than ours. But, it’s a great sanity saver to have something in place! It makes summer much more fun.