5 Easy ways to Add a Little Structure to your Kids’ Summer!
I just love when seasons change and you have a fresh start! As parents, our number of summer seasons that we have with our kids at home is not that high when you think about it. All the more reason to make the absolute MOST of each summer we have with our kids! These easy ways to add a little structure for your kids in the summer are sure to help!
Why should I try to add some structure to my kids’ days in the summer?
I know it sounds nice to sit back and drink lemonade while your kids go enjoy themselves with a wide open summer schedule! However, if you have ever tried to have no plan or structure for your kids, you know that doesn’t go too well.
No structure usually leads to bored kids (rather quickly:-) and bored kids usually find a way to get into different kinds of trouble!
Or bored kids run to technology and waste their time in front of screens. The last thing kids need more of is screen time!
Plus a little structure is great for most all personalities. Having some structure to the day helps your kids know what to expect and how to THRIVE in the free times because they know when the upcoming structured times are.
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Why is a little structure better than a lot of structure in the summer?
Summer is special in that provides a break from many of the opportunities kids enjoy the other 9 months of the year. Having a time of taking a break from the daily grind of life is very important for children (and parents too!)
So we don’t want to structure the summer up so much that kids don’t feel that needed break and freedom in their schedule.
Therefore providing some structure with summer freedom can prove to be the perfect balance for summer time enjoyment for both kids and parents.
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1st way to add a little structure to your kids’ summer- make summer goals for each child!
Summer goals for your children are so fun to think through! It’s that change of season and fresh start that gives us hope and direction!
To do this, you just write down one or a few goals that you have for each child during the summer. For instance, I have a toddler right now who is not potty-trained. That’s my top summer goal for him!
I also have 2 teenagers and my goals for them are obviously different! I want one of my teenagers to grow in his mastery of his musical instrument. And I want another teenager to earn a certain amount of money and to grow in consistent study of God’s Word.
You see how that works?
If your kids are old enough, it is a wonderful exercise to ask THEM to name any summer goals they have for themselves. Have them think through any things they want to learn more about, or skills they want to improve, etc.
This gives us all something to aim for and it provides all we need for the next step- developing a summer time routine!
2nd way to add a little structure to you kids’ summer- a new summer morning routine!
We all THRIVE when there is some sort of a routine in our lives! Summer lends itself to a different routine than the rest of the year.
So I have found it effective to develop a summer MORNING routine which gives freedom for the rest of the day to be less structured.
The summer morning routine should incorporate the goals you and your children have for their summer. What works for many children is to incorporate these few things in a summer morning routine:
- eating breakfast
- morning devotions together or separate
- physical exercise
- skill development
The more your kids can help make this routine schedule, the better!
After breakfast, I enjoy getting to do a morning devotion with my kids most days because we can take a little more time together than the rest of the year. I usually have goals of us memorizing a certain Bible passage or collection of Proverbs together for the summer.
Exercise is great for all of us and you can either lead your kids in what to do (they can do a workout video with you or walk with you, etc) or they can do their own exercise plan!
Finally, the skill development part is where they can put in just a little time improving a skill or learning something new.
After this routine, it works well to flow into more unstructured time for bit for the rest of the morning!
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3rd way to add a little structure to your kids’ summer- the famous summer bucket list!
If you haven’t made a summer bucket list with your children before, you simply have to do it this year!
I make sure the YEAR is on it and I keep our summer bucket lists in a safe box so we can enjoy looking back at what we did for years to come!
To make a summer bucket list, you just get a large paper such as a poster board. And along the top, you write Summer (2021) Bucket List!
Then you gather your kids and ask them what they want to do as a family this summer! They can dream big and also be realistic! Having it all on there is great!
My boys will list places they want to go swimming and hiking, trips they want to take, camps they want to participate in, etc.
Once it’s complete, we hang it on the fridge or other prominent place. And here’s the fun part: when we have those open free times in our summer days, we can just go to the summer bucket list and pick something!
Kids often like checking them off as they do them throughout the summer!
Sure you might not get it all done in a summer, but it’s fun to have some goals and ideas right there when the opportunity arises!
4th way to add a little structure to your kids’ summer- share a weekly plan so they know what to expect!
This little tip just makes life easier for everyone. What you do is simply take a look at the week ahead on Sunday. Then you note any big things on the calendar that everyone should know about.
You just gather your kids around and say what’s coming this week. You also take a minute and review the summer morning routine that you’ll be implementing.
Once you go over the upcoming week, your kids, for example, now know that they have swim lessons on these days, and that they are going to a birthday party on Wednesday. AND that Monday and Tuesday are days you may be able to do a couple of things from your bucket list.
Your kids also know when you will be home mostly and they can have that less structured time on their radar. It’s just a great idea to share the weekly plan with your kids in the summer so they know what’s coming!
5th way to add a little structure to your kids’ summer- have consistent bedtimes and wake times!
If you let your kids stay up super late and sleep way in as the summer time norm, they actually won’t feel as good and enjoy the summer as much as they would if they get to bed at a decent time and arise to be productive in the mornings.
“Studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity and even depression.” [Read more at hopkinsallchildrens.org]
Therefore, we want to make sure our kids have a healthy and consistent bedtime and wake time routine all summer.
Sure there will be times when they do stay up later than usual depending on what’s going on, but overall providing consistent bed and wake times will benefit your kids greatly!
Concluding thoughts on how to add a little structure for your kids in the summer…
These 5 ways to give some structure to your summer days with kids are easy to implement and they truly help the whole family THRIVE through the summer! Let me know how they work for you!