Summer break just started but are your kids already complaining of boredom? Here’s a summer schedule for kids that will keep them busy and entertained.
I don’t know about you but my kids thrive with routine. They like to know what to expect in their day and having a set schedule each day keeps them grounded and happy.
Now every family is different, and of course, what works for us may not actually work well for you. That’s ok! I share this summer schedule for kids with you as an inspiration spring board, if you will. Feel free to take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.
First I’ll go ahead and list out a typical summer day at our house. Then I’ll go into detail about how we move through our routine.
715am: Breakfast and devotions
745/8: Chores and brush teeth
830-1115: Free time/errands
12pm: Chores and free time
1pm3pm: nap time/quiet time
3-4: free time
4-530pm: reset the house/prep for dinner
6: chores and get ready for bed
7-830: bedtime for littles, family read aloud time, family tv time
A note on schedules, routines and anchors
You will notice that I use ‘schedule’ and ‘routine’ interchangeably. I’m not so rigid that I follow a specific time schedule but I’m also not so free that I don’t have specific times that I try to keep. So the times listed above are general; we may be an half hour early or later than what I wrote down but even when I don’t watch the clock, we naturally follow this schedule.
Meal times are typically the “anchors” of our day. This might also be described as block scheduling. The anchors are set times each day where the whole family comes together and signals the start of a particular block. The important part of these anchors are what happens before and after the actual anchor. For us, we have natural morning, afternoon and evening ‘blocks’ where specific things only happen in those specific blocks. More on that below…
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I’ve trained my children that when they wake up in the morning the first thing they are supposed to do is get dressed and make their beds. Then they are allowed to play quietly in their room until we call them down for breakfast. To ensure they have done what they know they should do, instead of asking specifically if they have gotten dressed and made their beds (I’m all about teaching responsibility and self-discipline) I simply ask if they are ready for breakfast. That’s their cue to mentally check off (or go complete) what needs to be done and then come down for breakfast.
Pretty much at every meal time I am reading something to the kids. I have found that when hands are busy and mouths are full, the time is ripe for reading 😉 So for breakfast we start our day with a family devotional. This summer we are reading through How Great is Our God by Louie Giglio. It has been a fun and interesting read about God and science.
When everyone has finished eating, I excuse the kids to “get ready for the day.” This is their verbal cue to complete their household chores and then go brush their teeth and start on their checklists. Again, re-enforcing responsibility and self-discipline. I don’t want to continually ask my kids throughout the day if they’ve done A, B, and C.
We have a chore chart and each of my three boys have a job to do in the kitchen, dining room, living room and bathroom. The kitchen and dining room jobs happen after every meal, and the living room and bathroom jobs happen once a day as part of their checklist. After they’ve completed their chores, they have time to work on their checklists. Read more about that here.
Lunch begins the second block of our day. I’ll read a story book to them or fun little short stories as we all enjoy our meal together. Then once everyone has finished eating, I’ll excuse the kids and they get started on their kitchen and dining room chores.
At 1pm, my one year old (and sometimes 3 year old) go down for an afternoon nap. Between the hours of 1 and 3pm is “quiet time.” The kids usually save some of their checklist work for quiet time such as reading or journaling. They are pretty much free to do what they please as long as it’s quiet. Sometimes I will even read to them from our current family read aloud. We read ALOT around here 😉
When naps are over, they like to play in their room for awhile. Or go outside, or create… they really have the freedom to decide here. Sometimes they will even make money doing jobs about the house. But as this block comes to a close, the cue that we’re starting our evening block is the re-setting of the house. Their room needs to be picked up, the living room tidied and just a general clean up of the house in preparation for dinner and our evening routine.
Dinner is at 5:30pm everyday. The checklists should be done and just to confirm, I’ll occasionally ask what they wrote for their journal prompt or what God taught them in their personal quiet times. I don’t do this all the time because usually I know just by casual observation through the day. However, I like to keep them on their toes (and accountable) plus, mostly I’m just truly curious. We save dinner time for chatting and connecting as a family. We have a conversation jar full of questions that we take turns answering while we eat. Occasionally I’ll read some more from our family read aloud but usually I save that (and my voice) for our evening family activity.
After dinner it’s time to clean up and “get ready for bed.” Another verbal cue for the kids to 1: finish their kitchen and dining room chores 2: get in pjs 3: brush their teeth and 4: pick out their clothes for the next day. By the time they’ve done all that, it’s 7 o’clock. Bedtime for the little ones. Then the big kids get to stay up and and enjoy the family evening activity until bed. Most often they listen to me read. We are currently finishing up the Green Ember series by S. D. Smith. Occasionally we will just chat and tell family stories or let the kids watch a show or we will all pick a movie.
And that’s really it! This is a pretty basic summer schedule for kids. Now of course not every single day is like this. During the summer we have a summer bucket list of things we come up with as a family that we would like to do together during the summer. Trips to the pool or special outings or activities from our bucket list typically happen during the morning block. We may eat out for lunch or do an activity after nap and eat out for dinner. It’s up to the kids to budget their time to fit in their check list activities around these excursions.
I hope our summer schedule has helped you or inspired you to create your own summer schedule for kids that fits with your family dynamic. Truly, children do so much better when they have structure to their day. It doesn’t have to be super rigid but having something simple and straightforward to help guide their day is like an anchor for their souls. When they know what to expect, they then have the freedom to explore, imagine and create as every kid should.