Having a flexible summer schedule helps keep us happy and productive, while still leaving plenty of time for fun. Read on to see what our summer routine looks like.
Summer is a time of fun and freedom and relaxation. But I’ve also learned that my little family does much better when we have some sort of a routine to go off of–especially when we’re all home together more hours in the day.
Without a routine, we have way more tears, tantrums, meltdowns, and sibling fights. Having a routine helps everyone know what to expect and when, and keeps things running smoothly.
My kids actually love having a routine to help them make sure they have time for all the things they like and need to do in a day–chores, reading, Legos, friends, piano practice, playtime, watching a show, etc. They think they don’t like it at first, then usually end up thanking me for setting one up for them!
Here is what my kids’ summer routine looks like:
Kids’ Summer Routine
- Get ready & Breakfast & Chores
- One-on-one time with Mom
- Music/Hobby practice
- Snack & Read with Mom
- Reading & Learning
- Activity with Mom
- Free play
- Snack & Game with mom
- Free Time
- Dinner & Clean-up
- Time with Dad
- Ready for bed
- Scriptures and picture books
My kids have a chore chart, so they know exactly what is expected of them for chores each day and can do it independently. This took some training, but now they run on autopilot.
One-on-one Time with Mom
Usually this means coloring, puzzles, or memory with my daughter, then talking, extra reading time, or a game with my son. I just barely added this to our routine and I can already feel the shift in our home! Setting aside that time to focus on each child individually helps them feel important and seen and helps me feel more connected to them.
This is also on my kids’ charts, so they know exactly what to do. For my son, this includes piano practice and cursive practice (he has a goal to improve his cursive). For my daughter, it’s singing and speech (she’s a little speech delayed, so she spends 10 minutes on a speech app for that).
Snack and Read Aloud
This is when I read chapter books to the kids. I’m often doing two at a time–one that my son picks and one that my daughter picks. It’s a little exhausting, but they like it this way, so I’m running with it! I like reading during snack time because it keeps their hands and mouths busy, so they’re better able to listen and focus on the book.
Reading and Learning
Each kid does independent reading, a page in their workbook, and a few minutes on an approved learning app. Plus, I spend some time with my youngest (she’s going into kindergarten in the fall) working on reading and writing.
Since my daughter isn’t reading on her own yet, she does her reading on the Epic app. Epic is basically the Netflix of books for kids and has plenty of options of books that will read aloud to your child while they follow along with the pictures and pages. For beginning readers, you can also have it highlight each word as it reads it aloud so they can improve their word and sound association. She loves it!
My son sometimes reads books on Epic as well. They have picture books, early readers, chapter books, read to mes, and audiobooks and a wide variety of both fiction and nonfiction titles. You can learn more and try Epic for a month for free HERE then it’s $7.99/month.
For more ideas on summer reading, check out Encouraging Summer Reading and How to Make Summer Reading Fun.
For workbooks, we use and love the Summer Bridge workbooks. They bridge the gap from one grade to the next and start with Pre-K to Kindergarten and go all the way up to 7th-8th grade. You can see them HERE. They’re the best I’ve found and the kids like them!
During independent learning time, my son usually uses Prodigy. We just use the free version. My daughter uses ABC Mouse. You can try a month of ABC Mouse for free HERE, then it’s $9.99/month.
Activity with Mom
We do a little craft, cook or bake something, try an experiment, get some extra reading time in, grab a treat, swim, do an act of service, or whatever the kids want to do! I usually have a little something in mind so we don’t waste time arguing about what to do.
This means they can do anything they want that doesn’t involve screens. They can catch up on the above list if they got behind. Or they can play anything they want–Legos, play-doh, outside play, puzzles, games, toys, coloring, crafts, Barbies, imaginative play, anything they want!
Snack & Game
I like to play a game with them in the middle of my work block to check-in on them and spend some time connecting with them. We all look forward to this little break in the day!
This is where they’re allowed to watch tv or a movie, or play video games. They have to ask special permission for video game time though because it’s more limited. My kids are cranky if they spend too much time on video games! They rarely choose video games and usually spend their free time playing, or maybe each watch an episode of a show.
Dinner & Clean-Up
After dinner, they help straighten up the house so it’s all cleaned up for the next morning. I don’t particularly love cleaning, but I love that this helps us start with a fresh slate the next day!
Time with Dad & Night Routine
My husband spends some time playing with the kids. Sometimes I join them and sometimes I sneak in some more cleaning or work. He often takes them outside to swim for a little bit to wear them out before bed. Then he helps them get ready for bed, we have some family time reading scriptures and picture books, and they go to bed.
My Summer Routine
Here’s what I do in conjunction with their routine.
- Self-Care (scripture study, workout, journaling, write, etc.)
- Get ready for the day
- One-on-one time with each kid
- Post to Instagram
- Feed kids a snack and read aloud to them
- Work on to-do list
- Work on reading and writing with Roxy
- Fun activity with the kids
- Feed kids a snack and play a game with them
- Dinner (cook & eat)
- Straighten/clean or join in on the kids’ time with dad
- Plan the next day
- Scriptures and picture books with kids
- Time with my husband
- Free time
How It’s Working
We’re loving the routine. The kids love that they have structure, but still feel like they have a lot of independence. I like that I have time to get stuff done, but still spend a lot of time connecting with the kids and prioritizing what matters most.
That being said, that routine up there looks pretty glamorous on paper. The real thing hardly ever looks exactly that way because life is ever-changing. My kids have more needs on some days than other days. I’m more tired some days and more energized on others. Routines aren’t meant to be followed 100%. They just help keep things running smoother than they would otherwise.
We have our fair share of sibling fights, complaining about chores, and mom-losing-her-mind moments over here! But this routine definitely helps us have happier days.
If you want some tips on creating your own summer routine, check out my post Creating A Flexible Summer Schedule.
Do you prefer to have a routine in the summer? Or more go with the flow?