We have 2 boys who are finishing 2nd and 5th grades pretty soon and we will be transitioning to summer break mode. Over the past few years I have figured out what works for our family and today I’m sharing our daily summer schedule for kids with you all in the hopes that it might help some other families develop a routine that works.
So obviously the caveat of all of this is that every family is different and what works for us for a daily summer schedule for kids might not work for you. But I share not because I think everyone should do what we do but because I know that I have gotten great ideas for my family from other moms who have shared. My hope is that you might get an idea or two that might help your family. Even if you try something and it doesn’t work then it will help you along in the process of figuring out what will work for your family.
Yes, I wake my kids up in the summer. Well, I wake up my 11 year old. The 8 year old doesn’t sleep in. I do let my 11 year old sleep in an hour past our normal wake up time for the school year, so he is getting to sleep in a little. However, I do cut it off at that one hour mark, so unless he wakes up on his own he’s up at 8 every morning. This is what we do on weekends during the school year.
We are big believers in children (and adults really!) needing enough sleep and a regular sleep schedule in order to be healthy and happy. We loved the advice in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child when our boys were babies and this philosophy of the importance of sleep has really served us well. We do allow our kids to stay up late and then sleep in more than usual for special days but generally in our everyday life we try to protect a healthy sleep routine.
We enjoy a leisurely breakfast together shortly after waking up.
Right after breakfast my boys get to work. Each day I make them a little list of jobs that I write on a post-it note. They take their little note around and like checking off their jobs as they get them done. They love checking off their to-do list just like their mom. I typically just give them 3 jobs on their list so this doesn’t take too long.
- Getting Ready for the Day- This item includes getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and making their bed.
- Laundry- Each day there are different laundry jobs. Monday might be bringing down their dirty clothes and starting the laundry, Tuesday might be bringing down their sheets to wash, Wednesday might be bringing down their towels to wash, Thursday might be clothes again, etc. They also help put the laundry away later in the day when it’s done.
- One Other Job- This just depends on what needs to be done. Typical jobs include dusting a room, picking up toys in the playroom, straightening their own room, cleaning their bathroom, etc.
I absolutely make my children do homework in the summer. Summer slide is real and as a teacher I know that it can be avoided with just a little bit of schoolwork each day. This is not a huge chunk of time and has changed over the years as they have gotten older. Each summer I think about what each of my boys could use help with and we work on those areas.
I have often found it helpful to get a workbook for the grade that they just finished and we work on something from the workbook each day. Typically I have my boys do like 1-2 pages of a workbook, spend about 1 minute on flashcards for math, and read for 15 minutes. In total it’s never more than 20-25 minutes of work total. My boys often do additional reading for fun after lunch but we do this reading every morning.
We typically do not complete the workbooks fully. I just pull out pages that have relevant skills and activities for what my boys are working on.
Some of our favorite workbooks from the past include these 3 and others from these brands:
We take a walk together once all of that is done. I like getting this done before it gets too hot. Sometimes the boys scooter or bike instead of walking.
We spend the rest of the morning outside until lunch. This can be us playing outside in our own yard or heading to a local park. At home we play basketball or throw around footballs. The boys love to take our soccer balls to the park and play on the big fields sometimes or go on a hike. I try to get us out and to a variety of places so that it’s fun and exciting. A few times a summer we will head to a local pool to swim instead of to a park or hanging at home.
I keep it simple for lunch. We eat a lot of fresh salads and what we call snack plates. Snack plates are typically just saw raw veggies, fruits, crackers, and cheese or something similar.
After lunch I like to get out of the sun and heat for a while and so we typically hang out inside or sometimes pick up groceries or run another errand. The boys play with legos, read, play video games, etc. Sometimes we sit down and watch a movie together.
Typically about 2-3 we head back outside. This is just more unstructured play time for them. Sometimes they choose to read in the hammock or do water play with the slip and slide.
The school year is always so busy so I rarely have the boys help me with dinner because typically they are working on homework while I cook. In the summer I like to get them into the kitchen with me to work on their cooking skills and just to spend that time together since it’s all less rushed.
We live in Ohio so when the weather is nice like in the summer we try to be outside as much as possible. After dinner we all head back out to spend time together.
Prepare for Bed
Since in the summer the kids are able to sleep in an hour we move bedtime an hour later as well. After a busy day they head in to shower and get ready for bed. Typically when everyone is clean we have a family devotional together and then it’s time for the younger one to head to bed. My older one stays up a little bit more and then heads to bed too.
So this is what works for our family. We have basically used this daily summer schedule for kids the past 3 summers and it works for us. Hopefully it will give you some ideas to try for your family. They might not work for your family but I always find it helpful to hear what others do because sometimes it gives you something to try with your own. And trying different things helps us figure out what does work for us.