These are the four things my kids do every day, well mostly every day in the summer. One of the things I loved about homeschooling our children is they learned to appreciate routine. They now (for the most part) want it and know it doesn’t stifle them but helps them.
The weekend after they got out of school I decided I would go ahead and introduce them to our routine but don’t worry if you’re halfway through your summer and you haven’t gotten into a routine, it’s never too late. Kids thrive on routine, it gives them a sense of security to know what is coming next. Kids do better if they know what to expect from their days. But don’t confuse routine with having to plan out an hour-by-hour summer schedule. HERE’s how we keep it basic and simple when planning out our summer days.
I used to work in an inner city school where most kids the only routine they got was in school. The minute the last bell rang they had no idea if their guardian would be home to greet them, where they would eat dinner or if they would eat dinner, no bed time or curfew… As a first year teacher, I walked into my middle school classroom wanting to set order and structure mostly for myself and not realizing how much the kids would thrive on it. The first week or two, the students fought it but eventually they were on task and thrived in it. I had a co-teacher ask me how I got these kids to follow all of my procedures. I’m not sure what I did but I do know that my routine offered stability and it sent the message that I cared about them. I showed them through my actions and words that I loved them and respected them. Then I would explain the procedures to them, every single day they walked into my room. I modeled the procedures and held them accountable and they had natural consequences if they didn’t follow them. What I learned from this experience is children from all backgrounds long for routine and are willing to follow it even if it’s not what they are used to doing. Why? For the security it gives them.
There’s no reason structure has to be oppressive. Think of it as your friend, offering the little routines and traditions that make life both easier and cozier. Not only will your kids will soak up the security, they’ll internalize the ability to structure their own lives.” ~via Aha! Parenting
What are some things you do every day in the summer?
5 Things My Kids Do Every Day in the Summer
As you can see our routine is not rocket science but it makes a world of a difference for a smooth summer. It’s also simple and not to confining. Above all else, I want my children to find joy in the mundane and simple things about summer. I don’t want them to think that summer magic only happens when we go on a trip or do something extra special. We do have some fun outings planned, but I want them to know that the magic of summer can be found in the every day moments, even in the daily tasks like having a dance party during chores.
Chores – Getting our kids involved in the every day household chores is a great way to start teaching them responsibility. I am of the opinion that there is plenty of time to get chores done so they can play to their hearts content throughout the day. Their chores take them about 30 minutes each day and sometimes less if they are focused. My oldest always comes down with a look of “Yea, I got this.” when he’s done with his chores. I love it! I have them do chores in the morning after breakfast because it works best for us at this time. If we do it later in the day for some reason they seem to be grumpy about it. In the morning, they are on task and for the most part ready to get things done. I’m not sure why they are grumpy in the afternoon, but maybe it’s because they’ve gotten into a groove in their play and feel like they are getting taken away from that when we do chores in the afternoon.
Movement – In the past we had a family running club but this summer we are just getting out every day and walking around the park which is 2 miles sometimes it’s less. Other times I have them do relay races in front of our house. We also do a lot of neighborhood walks and it’s full of hills. I also love the program GoNoodle which has lots of fun movement routines for the kids. My kids love doing this and if it’s too hot to go out in your neck of the woods this maybe a good option for you. I’m also creating some Movement Challenge cards that my boys can pick from a jar and just do these for 10-15 minutes. I share HERE more fitness games and activities our family enjoys. This happens at any time in the day depending on the errands we have to do that day.
Read– Now that they are out of nap stage what I have them do is a “Read or Rest Time”. They can choose to read or rest but no talking or electronics are allowed during this time, not even reading on their Kindle. One of my boys thinks that maybe one day I’ll say, “yes” to him reading his Kindle so he asks, every. single. day. Read or Rest Time usually happens in the afternoons around the time I start noticing they need a break from each other.
Play Outside – It has to be hailing for our boys not to have outside play time. Some days they ask for it, some days they fight it but every day I encourage them to go outdoors. A research group recently put together a video where they share that prisoners get more outdoor time than kids these days. So when they resist going out, then I make them go out and I don’t feel bad about it. Every single time they’ve gone outside they find something fun and creative to do: make forts, explore nature, climb trees or attempt to, balloon fights, home made slip and slides, race tracks in the dirt, hide and seek, lemonade stands, tag… Discovering they can whistle with blade of glass and how far they can climb up a tree. If you live in hot intolerable conditions then find a time for them to go out during the morning or in the evening when it’s cooler.
Pillow Talk – This is the time where my husband and I take turns having one-on-one time to chat with them. The rules are simple. I have two: Share whatever is on your heart or mind without getting in trouble as long as it’s not calling a family member names. For example, if they got mad at their brother earlier they can share about what is going on but they can’t call say, “He’s so stupid. He’s such a fat face.” We do this throughout the school year and my kids love it. Update: Pillow Talk didn’t happen as much as I hoped for since in the summer we stayed up later and by bedtime everyone was ready to hit the sack not talk. But this is something we also carry over to the school year.
Devotional Time – We’ve been using the Gotta Have God series Devotionals they have a series for boys and for girls according to their age. Our boys really like it. My preschooler who is still not reading watches a chapter of The Jesus Storybook Bible but they also his age in the series I mentioned above. I originally thought this would be a good time for me to have my quiet time with them but it’s not. They all finish at different times and when they are done they want to talk to me about it so I just use this time to eat breakfast. At this age my kids don’t put up a fight to do their devotional time. So we aren’t forcing this on them, they want to do it. Update: My middle child really got into doing another devotional half way through the summer so he switched. It’s a book I love called God’s Names by Sally Michael. On Mondays, Wed. and Fri. our boys do their own devotional time in their books and on Tues and Thurs. they take turns teaching their siblings from a very simple and basic devotional book called Bedtime Blessings by John Trent, Ph.D. I usually sit with them and follow along and sometimes help them if they don’t understand the instructions.
When we go on vacation and have out of town guest we do not keep any of our routines. My kids can go with the flow so when we are back to “normal” life we pick up where we left off. My biggest tip for moms is to come up with a routine that works for your family but don’t let it rule you. My kids ask for the routines above on the days we don’t do them. I guess it gives them a sense of security and accomplishment which in turn helps them look forward to those routines, even the tedious ones like house chores.