Summertime, and the livin’s easy!
Or something like that?
Summer with kids is equal parts magical and disastrous, am I right?
We have 2 weeks of school left, and then it’s just me and the 3 kiddos all summer long! My oldest, Theo, goes to preschool 5 mornings a week, and my 3-year-old twins stay home with me.
I work from home as a blogger and instagrammer when they’re napping and before they get up in the morning.
While it doesn’t seem on paper like that much will change, our days are suddenly completely open. There is no structure of preschool drop off and pickup. No time with just me and the girls.
Just endless hours for me to entertain them.
I want to have fun with my kids… but I also have work to do!
So I’ve figured out a perfect little plan, that is all about balance.
Our days will be filled with a blend of learning time and fun time; structured activities and free play; a solid schedule that can also be flexible.
Finding a balance is key. Here are my tips!
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1) Identify Your Season
We have different seasons of motherhood, and whatever season you’re in, it’s totally cool.
You just have to be aware of what season you’re in so you can make sure your routine fits into it!
Season of Survival Mode
Survival mode happens for 2 different reasons: you’re at capacity mentally, or you’re at capacity physically! Or possibly both!
Perhaps you’re grieving the loss of someone, you’re going through a divorce, or you have an incredibly busy season as a work at home mom. Any of these reasons can have you completely depleted mentally.
It’s OK if this is your season. Seasons don’t last forever!
If you’re in survival mode because you’re physically tapped out, that could include having a new baby, being very pregnant or on bedrest.
If you’re in survival mode? Extra snacks and screen time. Every mom has been there, and it won’t last forever!
Season of Going and Doing
Maybe your kids are at that perfect age where they can get ready independently and don’t require naps. If this is the case, you can fill your days with endless fun!
If you want to, that is!
In Between Season
I’m guessing that most of us (myself included!) fall into the in-between season. I’m not in survival mode, but I’m not 100% ready to go and do all the things.
Once you’ve figured out what season you’re in, you can set up your daily routine!
Read –> Our 2018 Summer Schedule
2) Set Goals
It’s a great idea to set small goals for your children over the summer. The goals can either be academic or
You can have a family meeting at the beginning of the summer and talk about what the skills are going to be. Depending on the age of your children, you can even let them weigh in on what they think the skills should be.
Ideas for Life Skills
- Wipe their own bottom
- Tie their own shoes
- Ride a bike without training wheels
- Age appropriate household chores (making
bed, emptying dishwasher, dusting, etc)
- Age appropriate cooking tasks
Ideas for Academic Skills
- Learn letters/numbers
- Learn to write their name
- Read every day
- Practice musical instruments
- Practice writing
Products for Academic Skills
Theo’s Summer 2019 Goal (Age 5)
- While Theo excels at reading, he isn’t confident at writing. I plan to have a short writing activity for him to do a few times per week.
- I’m also going to start teaching him very basic piano lessons
- Master making his bed and putting his laundry away (he does it, but not well)
- Master cleaning the windows (again, he does it… but not well)
- Work on folding laundry
- Wipe his own bottom (he still refuses… and Kindergarten starts in the fall!)
Josie and Margo’s Summer 2019 Goals (Age 3)
- Identify all letters and numbers
- Write their names
- Learn to make their beds
- Master dusting the baseboards
- Learn to empty the kid items from the dishwasher
3) Make a Summer Bucket List
This can be part of your family meeting. My girls don’t fully understand a bucket list, and their ideas were pretty cute.
Josie wants to play dinosaurs with mommy.
Margo wants to have a dance party with daddy.
And Theo? Theo wants to go to the beach and eat ice cream every day! Haha! I think we can make that happen, but not every day!
Our Summer Bucket List
- Go to the beach
- Climb a lighthouse
- Eat ice cream
- Make ice cream
- Make popsicles
- Pizza dinner on the beach
- Thursday concerts on the lawn at the library
- See fireworks
- Go to a splash pad
- Go to Thomas Land (the kids haven’t seen this one until we get it planned!)
- Visit the Boston Children’s Museum
- Climb down the cliffs at Beavertail
- Summer pops concert at Roger Williams Park
- Catch fireflies
- Go berry picking
- Visit the Farmer’s Market
- Attend a local baseball game
Our bucket list is pretty doable! It is a combination of longer day trips as well as quick activities.
4) Figure Out How You’re Going to Handle Discipline
For real, you need a solid plan.
We have a daily snack time at 4:00, right after nap. This is a pretty big deal to my kids, because I’m usually against snacking.
However, I wanted to give them something that they can earn with good behavior.
I’m going to keep my focus positive.
I won’t tell them that they will lose the snack if they don’t behave, but that they will earn it with good behavior.
Most importantly, I want them to stay in their beds during nap/rest time. I can’t make them sleep. But I can reward them for staying in their beds quietly!
Related Posts on Discipline…
5) Make a Daily (Flexible) Schedule
We have a schedule and I plan to follow it pretty strictly most days. 1-3 days out of the week we will throw the schedule to the wind and go and do a bigger activity, such as the zoo or the beach.
I also have a daily time for outdoor play or short activities, which include going for a walk, the neighborhood park, or the library for story time.
Tip: Use a visual timer for activities such as learning time and reading time!
6) Include Quiet Time In Your Schedule
If your kids don’t nap anymore, they (and you!) can still benefit from quiet time daily. Unlike the school year when days at home consist of the weekends, it happens every day in the summer.
Here are a few ways you can make sure to have quiet time each day:
- sustained silent reading
- rest time
- screen time
- audio books
Theo is required to stay in bed and rest for an hour. He is then allowed to read or play quietly in his room for 2 hours.
He usually falls asleep, which we will have to work on towards the end of summer since Kindergarten is
Other Posts You Don’t Want to Miss…
7) Plan Ahead
I plan to figure out our activities for the week on Sunday. This way I have adequate time to check the
During breakfast each day, I’ll go over our plan with the kids. That way, they know what’s expected of them!
Tip: For keep certain toys packed away and bring a new one out once a week. It will be like a brand new toy!
8) Balance Structure and Freedom
Kids need time to be bored. They need freedom to explore and play on their own.
Buuuuut, they also need some structured activities. I try to give my kids some free time, with also a few structured activities.
This is our all
Our Summer Schedule
- 5:45 AM: I wake up and get in an hour of work/ get ready for the day before the kids wake up for the day. Read more about my morning routine here!
- 7:30 AM: Everybody wakes up and uses the potty/gets dressed. Once they’re ready, we go downstairs for breakfast.
- 8:30 AM: After breakfast, they play for a little bit while I clean up from breakfast. We then alternate with either sustained silent reading time, or learning time.
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Read –> More about Sustained Silent Reading.
- 9:00-10:30: Independent Play Time. During this time, the kids go into their own rooms with a few toys and… you guessed it, play by themselves. This allows me to get done housework or blog work.
- 10:30: Outside play or indoor activities. The kids go outside and play or we head over to a local park. If it’s bad weather, I have an entire list of indoor activities for them! Sometimes I will just bring out some new toys and give them the freedom to play as they wish.
The Best Toys for Summer Fun
- 12:00: Lunchtime!
- 1:00-4:00: Nap time!
- 4:00-4:30: Snack time together
- 4:30: I start dinner and the kids tidy up the house. I give them each a job… sometimes they have
a roomto tidy up, and sometimes it’s items (one kid gets toys, one gets books, one gets shoes and scattered clothes)
- 5:00: I’m hoping to send the kids outside while I make dinner. If the weather is bad and they haven’t played inside all day, then they’ll play inside. Last resort will be screen time, which I’m hoping to not make a daily occurrence this summer.
- 6:00: Dinner time! On days that Ben works in Boston, he doesn’t get home until 6:30ish, so we start dinner without him.
- 7:00: Start
- 7:30 Lights out for kiddos!
There you have it! I’ll update as we go along with how things go!! I’m sure by the end of summer we’ll have much more t.v. time than starting out… and you know what? That’s fine!
Anyways, happy summer! Here’s to finding the perfect balance of fun/work, relaxing and adventure!