How to make the best summer schedule for kids so you can enjoy summer without getting overwhelmed by chaos and sunshine.
Summertime is for fun, adventure, and excitement – for the kids. For the stay at home moms, summer can be an overwhelming time.
You can make your very own summer schedule by having a solid daily routine in place, not retting if things don’t go according to plan, having some daily activities in mind at all times, even if you have a lazy summer. Even in the summer months, it’s fine to have a regular schedule. Even if you have a weekly schedule, you can still enjoy a pleasant summer with your family.
Kids are going to have a different schedule over the summer. It’ll be much lighter than normal and they’ll get to spend more time having fun with friends and family.
But, what is the best summer schedule for kids? There are many options out there and it can be difficult to know which one will be the most beneficial.
If you want your child to come out of the summer with new skills, experiences, and knowledge then you need to plan ahead. The programs and activities that your child engages in during this period can set them up for success when school starts again in the fall.
Here is a breakdown of how to make a summer schedule for kids:
Why Do You Need A Summer Schedule
I really believe that people of all ages thrive on routines. Routines help keep us grounded which helps keep our emotions in check.
Children who have routines and schedules throughout the summer have certain expectations day-to-day. These routines help children from feeling overwhelmed and confused which in turn helps tone down the tantrums, sibling rivalry and more behavioral issues you might notice when boredom hits.
As a parent, your daily motherhood duties still need to get completed, especially if you’re working from home also.
Cooking, cleaning, and making things fun can quickly become overwhelming. A schedule can help you not feel so overwhelmed with your to-do list which in turn can help you be a more calm mom when tantrums hit and siblings fight.
So if you’re convinced that you need a summer schedule or even some sort of a routine, please keep reading on how to make your own summer schedule for kids.
Our Summer Schedule
To help you make a summer schedule, I’ll show you what our summer days look like. To put into perspective I have a baby, a 5-year-old and a 8-year-old. My husband is usually at work all day, so most of the time it’s just me handling all the summer fun, and making sure I get that to-do list done and dusted daily.
Our sample summer schedule
- 7:30-8:00 am- Wake Up
- 8:00 – 9:00 am – Breakfast, Clean Up Kitchen, Get Dressed, Brush Teeth
- 10:00 am – Play In The Backyard While The Baby Naps
- 11:30 am – Make Lunch For Everyone, Clean Up Kitchen, Give Kids Inside Time To Relax
- 1:00 -3:00 pm- Play Outside In The Backyard Or Go For A Walk – Movie / Art Activity On Rainy Day
- 3:00 – 4:30 pm – Baby Naps, Kids Play Quietly (I Allow Video Games/ Computer Time / Leap Pad Learning / Reading Time During This Quiet Time)
- 5:00 -6:00 pm -Outdoor Play
- 7:00 pm – Clean The Kitchen, Take A Whole Family Walk Or Bike Ride
- 8:30 pm- Get All Kids Ready For Bed
- 9:00 pm – All Kids Sleeping, Time To Work, Workout Or Relax
I also have to work from home daily so I like to either wake up early or stay up a little bit later to get things done.
My job is writing blog posts just like this one across multiple websites and I get paid through various different channels such as ad networks and affiliate programs. If I miss a day of work due to a busy day with the children, it’s no huge deal because Id prefer my kids to have a great time!
I know many of you don’t have a choice and must work daily no matter how busy your household is, and if this is you, you’re doing such a great job. It’s not easy being a work-from-home mom.
Another thing you’ll notice is that we spend a lot of time outside during the day, even the older kids. I strongly believe that play and fresh air are super important for brain development, so I do my best to get them out. I only allow 45 minutes of screen time per day in my home as per our pediatrician’s suggestion, so in order to fill that time we go outside, usually just in the backyard.
We have a lot of fun things in our backyard to keep the kids busy in their free time.
If you don’t have a backyard to play in, this will be tougher for you, but if you can get outside to play at least once a day, then that’s amazing.
You can also set up play stations and sensory bins on balconies if you have one, or better yet, take your little one to the front yard of your building and let them play there while you sip coffee and watch the fun. This still counts as quality time!
See also: 8 Easy Backyard Games For Kids
The toughest part of my daily summer schedule is coming up with quiet activities for the older children to do while the baby naps. As she is currently still taking 3 naps per day, that’s about 3 hours a day where the older ones need to be fairly quiet.
I don’t mean they have to be silent, I just mean screaming and running wild is out of the question during naps. I also do not allow electronics until the afternoon. I’ve noticed when I allow it in the morning time, attitudes soar into high gear by 5 pm.
Another thing you might notice is that we have some really solid routines n place such as getting ready for the day and for going to bed.
Here is the bedtime routine we use and the kids sleep super quick, and we use the school morning routine for everyone to get ready for the summer day now that my 5 year old can read some words.
I also prefer to make lunch for the kids before noon most days because it just works out with the naps better, but you might enjoy a later lunch with your children, so get flexible and find the time that works best for you.
My summer schedule may not work for you, but hopefully it can spark some ideas on how you can structure your own days.
How You Can Make Your Own Summer Schedule
Here are some of my best tips for you to make your very own summer schedule because we all know that my schedule won’t work for all families. All families are so different and we all have different needs and routines in place already so follow these tips to make the best summer schedule for kids yourself.
Have A Morning Routine
Create a morning routine that your children can easily follow. Simple items on the morning routine to-do list should be getting dressed, picking out breakfast, brushing teeth, and washing your face.
I have a list of breakfast options that the kids can choose from right on the fridge so when they have finished getting dressed, they look at the “menu” and pick something. I put very easy items on the list such as scrambled eggs, waffles with peanut butter, cereal, yogurt and fruit and toast with butter.
I also like to encourage independence by voicing what the children can choose to wear if they like by giving them ideas such as – it’s hot today, shorts and a short-sleeve shirt are perfect for a day like today. I encourage my older child to ask google what the weather is for the day and then make a choice on what to wear based on the answer he hears.
Another part of our morning routine is teeth brushing and face washing, simply because these are good things to do in order to keep up with hygiene.
Print Out Your Summer Schedule And Put It On Display
I don’t know about you, but I love to showcase great summer schedule. My fridge looks like a decorative cork board with so many routines on it, and I love it.
Our breakfast menu, chore ideas and morning after school and bedtime routines live on the fridge. If you have magnets and like to display items on the fridge, I highly suggest making a schedule and putting it on your fridge as well.
If you have another high-traffic area in your home where your kid can refer to a weekly summer schedule, then display it there.
Don’t Fret If Things Go Differently
If things don’t go as planned, it is important to stay calm and adjust to the situation. Do you need to provide extra screen time because the baby is having a hard day with teething and learning new skills?
That’s alright. Give yourself grace when things don’t go as planned. If you do need to extend screen time, make it educational! Here are the best educational youtube channels for kids, and brain food shows on Netflix.
Maybe the weather turned and you don’t have ideas for crafts at home, that’s ok. Jump onto Pinterest and grab an activity if you really need one or let the kids get bored.
Create A Bedtime Routine
Creating a solid bedtime routine will also help you keep your sanity in the summer. A soothing bedtime routine can help your kids fall asleep in minutes, especially after a long day of playing outside in the sunshine.
I like to personally fill the kids up with a bedtime snack, brush their teeth, read a calming story and then hit the lights as our bedtime routine. My children are so tired at the end of the day they are out in minutes.
Schedules Can Be Flexible
I’d want to draw your attention to a few things. Summer is, in my opinion, a more adaptable season. Summer days are my favourite.
I keep in mind that my schedule is designed to benefit me and my family.
I don’t get worked up if we go for a walk and I expect for it to last 30 minutes but it ends up being longer.
I don’t mind if we’re having a lot of fun with the learning activity and it runs over our free play time slot (one of the reasons I placed free play there in the first place–so we could borrow from it if required).
Free play becomes an hour instead of simply 30 minutes if I don’t have anything prepared for learning time.
However, if the kids don’t finish their tasks in time to go for a walk that day, the walk is cancelled. It’s a logical conclusion.
Keep in mind that how often you are flexible with basic schedule components like meals and sleep should be considered. Yes, bedtime can be late on occasion, but rarely for many days in a row.
Summer Schedules Are Very Valuable
Having said that, timetables are still useful to have. Please do not toss them out the window.
Even in the summer, children thrive on regularity. Some children will sleep well on a more erratic schedule, but you may discover that they become emotional wrecks or become highly defiant.
Don’t be concerned about having just “18 summers with your kids.” If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to squeeze in all of the fun if you stick to a schedule, prepare a summer bucket list and refer to it frequently to ensure that you get to accomplish the things you truly want to do.
Summer is only a period of time. It’s not a position that needs to be filled with continual entertainment.
Managing Screen Time In The Summer
Screen time is not a bad thing so don’t go feeling guilty if you give too much of it to your children. When my baby was a newborn, my five-year-old played Minecraft for hours on end and I’m ok with that because we were in a phase of survival. Now that things have evened out and everyone sleeps at night, I trimmed things back to 45 minutes maximum per day.
If you need to cut screen time in your family you will simply have to allow children to get bored. It is within boredom that creativity grows.
There is a song I like on the radio right now that says “when it rains, we grow” and it hits home hard for me because it means that when we are down, we find ways to lift ourselves back up. It’s the same with children.
Once they are bored, they will figure out ways to keep busy. You might be very surprised with what they end up creating and imagining when given the time to be bored.
It’s harder than it sounds, I know how hard it is to cut screen time when screen time has been extreme.
However, if you don’t cut it down, your kids can have serious mental health issues, have trouble sleeping and can develop poor eating habits too.
These are all things that my pediatrician told me, and I cut our 3 hours per day down to 45 minutes the same day we had that chat.
You can help your children through boredom by suggesting activities, but you don’t have to. It’s not your job to keep them entertained, it is your job to keep them safe, fed and loved.
Tips For Keeping Kids Busy In The Summer
While it’s ok for kids to be bored in the summer, here are my favorite activities to suggest to my children if they need a little help coming up with ideas. These are ideas I keep in my cell phone and pull them out when I need inspiration on any day of the week. I just made a note in my google keep app!
- Draw/ Paint Something – Use A Book For Ideas
- Go For A Walk / Play At Playground
- Set Up Railroad
- Do A Learning Activity
- Do 20 Minutes Of Leap Pad Learning
- Play With Kinetic Sand
- Do Creative Play
- Play With Play Doh
- Read A Book
- Ask Mommy To Print Picture To Color
- Have A Dance Party
- Play Hide N Seek
- Play With Water In Bathtub
- Make Bubble Foam And Play With Trucks
- Build A New Fort
- Bake Something
- Build New Thing With Lego
- Do A Chore
- Play Simon Says
- Find Craft Online And Make It
- Play A Board Game
- Do A Science Activity
- Create Obstacle Course – Use string, chairs, tables, paper etc
- Make Puppets – And Put On A Show
- Ask Mommy To Make Scavenger Hunt
- Do Something Thoughtful on thoughtful thursday
- Learn A Handclap Game With Mom
- Get Out Wiggles With Go Noodle
- Race Paper Airplanes
- Pretend Floor Is Lava
- Play With Balloon
- Have A Toy Carwash
- Build Something With Cardboard – Car, Plane, Train..etc.
- Blow Bubbles
- Summer Reading
- Draw Chalk – Play Hopscotch Or Draw Rainbows
- Play Pretend Restaurant or Other Career Of Choice
- Pretend To Be The Easter Bunny etc.
- Build With Magnet Tiles Or Lego
- Go To a Water Park
- Attend Summer Programs
And before you know it, summer will be over and you’ll go back to the hustle and bustle of school life.
To make things easy for yourself, come up with a list of crafts and indoor activities so that all you have to do is reference your list instead of spending an hour on Pinterest coming up with something to do.
Scour your local Facebook groups and magazines for lists of events you can attend.
Create a list of your favorite parks that you want to visit.
This perfect summer schedule doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for the “I’m Bored” statement, and if it happens, let it happen. Children grow their imaginations when they are bored.
You can always utilize summer camp or enjoy a summer vacation alongside these fun activities.
I hope this was inspirational for you to create your own daily summer routine filled with educational activities, independent play time, and a little structure.