iCare Community Magazine
How To Build A Summer Schedule To Entertain Kids - by Crystal Lynn
Summer has arrived and while school has just ended our kids have been home for weeks. I can already tell based on the memes that are being shared there are a lot of moms who are just turning on Netflix for their kids right now.
I’m not judging, I’ve had my days where playing 4 seasons of Sarah and Duck in a day was the way to go. As with pretty much anything related to motherhood goes though, Netflix and screen time does bring on feelings of guilt. No worries, I’m here to help you out with a schedule that can help keep your kids off the screens, but also keep them busy so you can have mommy time.
What To Add To A Summer Schedule For Kids
When you are building your summer schedule it takes a balance between the vacation fun time and still handling responsibilities. As parents we have to help our children grow into responsible adults. So it’s a delicate balance of letting them enjoy their childhood as much as possible while still giving them structure and responsibilities.
The way I set up our summer schedule is to give our son responsibility while also allowing plenty of play time.
Every summer schedule for kids should have reading goals. For young children keep it to 3-4 books at their reading level, for older children have it be 2-3 books.
Let your kids pick the books they want to read for the summer. Encourage them to read at night before bed or if they like reading let them read as much as they want. Setting a reading goal helps your kid to accomplish while also getting them into spending time expanding their imagination or learning.
Add household responsibilities to your daily schedule. These can be cleaning their room, chores, or other responsibilities around the house. These should be done before anything fun. It’s a great way to teach your kids how to get the hard stuff and the boring stuff done and out of the way so the rest of the day is theirs.
I have a young son so instead of giving him chores he’s not familiar with or doesn’t want to do, I let him decide what household chores he wants to help with. He likes to help fold laundry, he fills the cat food bowl, and he likes to put the soap in the dishwasher and turn it on.
Crafting time helps to increase dexterity, fine motor skills, and improve hand-eye coordination. Setting time aside for craft activities is a great way to make sure you are expanding those skills.
It’s also fun for your kids. Kids of all ages love to draw and paint, young kids should practice using scissors and gluing paper – obviously with supervision.
Depending on the type of craft you have your kid do, it may provide you with a bit of quiet time. That quiet time can be used for your own work, your own self care, or so you can complete other tasks.
Allow Screen Time
I’m lucky enough that my son limits his own screen time pretty well. He rarely spends more than an hour on his tablet in a day and will often go days without even picking it up. I realize, however, that I’m lucky in that.
The Fire Tablet for Kids allows you to set time limits and educational limits. Meaning you can control when and for how long your child uses their tablet for fun. You can also require them to meet educational limits before using the tablet for fun time.
Screen time can also mean TV time, gaming time, or movie time. These are all great when it’s raining outside or they can’t go outside and play.
Outdoor time is a little hard these days with social distancing, this doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t go outside. It just means you have to be careful about how you go about it.
Outside toys for the backyard, chalk for the driveway, and maybe even a jungle gym can provide your kids with hours of entertainment right in their own backyard.
If your kids are missing social activities arrange a social distancing scavenger hunt with the parents of all the friends that can be done digitally. As a team the kids all have to figure out clues set for them in their own yards and homes.
Outside time is good to let your kids get vitamin D from the sun. This helps to improve their mood drastically. Additionally, getting outside for a couple of hours a day will help to physically tire them out.
Building A Summer Schedule
My method for building a good summer schedule is leaving room for flexibility. If the weather is nice and finances allow it, going to the zoo or a museum is a great way to spend the day. Likewise a hot and humid day might be a great day to spend running through sprinklers or going to the pool.
I like to have chores done early, then fun educational activities, then I allow for screen time after lunch, after screen time we can do crafting or outdoor play if it’s not too hot.
Depending on where you live you may want to start the day with outdoor time before it gets too hot, then go for chores, and fun educational activities.
Schedule educational and not so fun activities in between fun time activities. It gives your kid something to motivate them to move through the more serious activities and it gives them a break where they can have fun.
Also, let your kid have days without structure. Sometimes when you do this you’ll actually be surprised by the choices they make for entertainment.
Reading is a great way to wind down the day. So after bath time and before bed, schedule some reading time for your kid. They will reach their reading goals and it gives you about an hour of calm time before bed.
Example Schedule To Try
Below is an example of how a typical summer day would go in our house.
1. Wake up and eat breakfast.
2. Spend 30 minutes to an hour cleaning up the house and doing
3. Outside time before it gets too hot.
4. Eat Lunch
5. Educational activities for about 2 hours
6. Screen time for about one hour, maybe two hours if I need it.
7. Crafting for one hour in the afternoon before dinner.
8. Dinner Time.
9. Bath Time and clean up toys time.
10. Reading Time for 1 hour.
11. Bed Time.
This keeps my kid active through the day, while still affording me time to get my work done. Schedules are beneficial to kids, it provides structure and stability in their lives. While some variety is still a good thing because it helps your kid adapt to change easier, the schedule helps to normalize their lives.
It doesn’t matter if you are for or against doing summer schooling at home, having a schedule is a great way to build in structure through the day. Remember, keep your schedule flexible to allow for fun activities, trips, and vacations.
It’s also helpful if you allow for days off from the schedule from time to time. For your sanity and for your kids, it’s good to have a day every so often that’s decided completely by what your kid wants to do.