Summer can be intimidating for moms. The comforts of routine suddenly evaporate and life becomes unpredictable. It’s like when the raptors are set lose in Jurassic World. Okay, I have five boys so my analogies might be a little intense. Either way, things can get crazy.
But there is hope.
Summer doesn’t have to mean NO routine – it just means a different routine. Little ones aren’t good at managing their time. Total freedom for them still can’t mean…well, total freedom. They need boundaries to manage their freedom well.
So how can you get the most out of this summer and make it fun and relaxing for you AND your kids? Here’s a summary of my summer routine.
1. Sleep late, stay up late. We extend bedtime in the summer to let them play outside longer. They sleep in a little, but not much. They get their own cereal in the morning and then play quietly in their rooms. I get up with the baby, which is usually between 6:30-7am.
2. Coffee Time. My husband and I started doing this months ago and we’ve carried it over into our summer routine. Immediately after breakfast we send the kids to their rooms to play and we sit on the couch with our coffee until he leaves for work. This took some practice for the kids in the beginning, but now they are used to it. As soon as they see us sit down with our coffee they head to their rooms without being told. This is a special time for my husband and I to get on the same page for the day. It’s also good for the kids to see us prioritize our marriage in this way.
3. Outside Time. We spend most of the day outside. It’s so good for the kids to soak up the simple pleasures of exploring their own yard.
They bird-watch, hunt, and have squirt gun battles. These huge squirt guns are amazing.
I send them out with bowls of fruit and a couple swim towels and tell them to stay outside until I call them back in. This is when I do housework and meal prep. Since this takes the place of when I would normally be teaching them during the school year, this is also when I work on bigger writing projects.
4. Outings. Our boys are ages 7 and under so we keep our summer outings to a minimum. We usually plan our outings between 10am-12pm. We go out a couple times a week.
We go to swim lessons, the park, the lake, and the library.
Our kids are doing the summer reading program at the library, which they absolutely love.
5. Room time. The kids have “Room Time” right after lunch. This is when they listen to books on CD or play with their favorite toys.
Right now their toys of choice are Legos, Play Mobile knights, pot holder looms, Kinex, and Brain Flakes (pictured). This is when I have a quiet lunch, answer emails, and check Facebook. If they start to wrestle or play rough they forfeit their quiet play time and it turns into nap time. Mean Mommy.
6. Workbook Time. Our summer school schedule is very different from our regular school schedule. I call the kids together in the afternoon, usually around 2pm, and we have “Workbook Time.”
I keep this very flexible. Sometimes I use a stack of workbooks from the dollar store. Other times we work on a special project like birthday cards or Father’s Day cards. We are also learning The Lord’s Prayer this summer, so we work on a new section every couple days and they use it for cursive practice. I’ve realized it’s so important for us to have this time to reconvene and touch base with each other. It helps reset their hearts and minds. It also makes them feel productive which helps them enjoy their playtime so much more. They grumble about it sometimes, but overall it greatly increases their thankfulness.
7. Screen time. They are back outside again until right before dinner. Then they play on the iPad. They play Clever Dragons or other games we’ve downloaded. This is when I make dinner and listen to The Briefing. After dinner they are back outside until bedtime.
And that’s it! Simple, flexible, but structured enough to help me keep my sanity. This structure allows us to take impromptu camping trips or throw together a spur of the moment garage sale. And several times a week Daddy throws everyone in the Bronco for some off-roading.
Too much structure would make me feel like we didn’t get a break, but not enough structure creates even more work for Mama. What about you? What’s your summer schedule?
Make the most of YOUR summer by grabbing a copy of “The Gospel-Centered Mom” – a MUST-READ for moms in the trenches! This study is so much fun to do with a friend.