Summer Doesn't Mean Abandoning Routine

Summer is a great time to catch up on cleaning and refurbishing projects that you don’t have time for during the year.  Children are home from school and within a week or two the excitement has worn off and they are looking for things to do.  Balancing your days between work and play can make the summer days fly by and you have built great memories in the process.  

Here is a list of activities that you might consider:
  • Teach skills in the summer that take too long to teach during the school year: cooking, baking bread, sewing, handicrafts, needlework, cleaning, washing, goal setting, organization, canning, fruit leather, beef jerky, sprouting, washing the car, painting the fence, gardening, yard work.
  • Hold a special activity each day during the hot part of the day for one to two hours:  swimming, sprinkler play, water wiggle, slip and slides or water fights, picnics at the park, outdoor cooking and camping skills, squirt gun tag, water balloon toss, sponge toss, water balloon/towel volleyball.
  • Have a quiet time each day about lunch time—read stories, nap, color or do crafts.
  • Mornings could be reserved for work and free play so that you can accomplish the things you need to do.
  • Check with the recreation department in your community to see what activities are available through them.
  • Use afternoons between 1:00-4:00 for the special activities listed below.
  • Use a weekly work schedule to mark what activities, when you want to hold them and what preparations necessary.
Sample Summer Schedule:  
8:00 - 10:00    dress, breakfast, clean rooms, daily chores
10:00 - 12:00  family projects
12:00 - 1:00    quiet time
1:00 - 4:00      special activities
4:00 - 6:00      free time
6:00 - 7:00      dinner
7:00 - 9:00      personal time
8:00 - 10:00    bedtime

Summer schedules are usually more relaxed than they are in the winter time because there are not as many family commitments or deadlines to meet.  Regardless of when you begin your day, routine is important.  It gives continuity, and when children know what to expect, they are more cooperative.  

Mornings are the best time to clean rooms, do daily chores, and work on family projects.  Work can be fun when you do it together and it involves learning and skill development.  You can even control neighborhood interruptions by placing a sign on your door notifying neighborhood children when your family is available to play.

If you are at home during the lunch hour and not on an outing, reserve this time to take a break from the active morning.  While little ones are napping, older children can read, relax, or work on "summer home work”.  Math, science and language workbooks are available at your local school supply store or school.  

Working a few minutes a day in a workbook will keep the learning process going through the summer and eliminate the educational loss that usually happens.  We used this time to read as a family.  We read the whole Little House on the Prairie series one summer.

Most communities have free programs in the summer—bowling, movies, open gym, etc.  Check your newspaper, recreation guide or internet for available programs in your area and schedule your week accordingly.
  • On the other days of the week, you could alternate water play, biking, hiking, picnicking and special events.  This gives lots of variety to your summer play.  Check out our Adventures at Home manual for ideas to help you plan the whole summer. 
  • Coordinate your afternoon activities with your neighbors.  This way there is plenty of supervision and transportation as well as a companion for you.
  • If your neighbors are not available, let your children invite their friends at least part of the time.  Even if there is a lot of variety in your activity schedule, siblings get tired of being together all the time and contention arises.  
  • If you don’t have a lake, pond, spray park or stream in your area invest in a slip-n-slide, wading pool or a family community pool pass. 

The Prepare for Family Fun manual shows you how to plan for all the activities listed above in advance so you can eliminate the work, time and stress that detour you from having fun with your family.  The Family Adventures at Home manual shows you all kinds of kid-approved activities you can do without even leaving your home.  Many of these activities utilize materials you already have around the house and can keep your kids busy for hours!

As you head into summer, I wish you and your kids lots of fun in less time, with less money, and less stress!

Mary Ann

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Tags: summer fun  planning  organizing  time management 

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