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Get a daily summer schedule for kids that’s simple, doable, and will create the simple summer you’ve always dreamed of.

Whether you love summer or hate it, one thing is for sure…

when the daily routine meets a sudden a dramatic shift (like when school is out), everyone feels just a little crazy.

(Or a lot crazy, maybe.)

That’s ok.

Look, finding something to keep everyone occupied doesn’t have to take a lot of brain power from a tired parent. And you don’t have to scour Pinterest for every creative craft, elaborate bucket list, or new trip idea to have the best summer ever.

All you need is the right, REALLY GOOD ideas. (Check below.) And a routine that’s just the right mix of predictable but flexible.

Ready to start?

Here’s Your New Kids Summer Schedule

How can you both challenge the family, but not overwhelm them?

How do we make sure YOU don’t get burned out…that you also have a pleasant summer?

When August comes, what will you be most excited to say you did this summer?

Start With RIGHT Now (This Is Easy)

Take a minute to really THINK about what’s already working.

The House

What does your house look like now?

How do you handle chores? Do the kids help?

Are you happy with the number of jobs they do? Are jobs getting done? (Here’s some help getting cooperation from kids on chores.)

The house might not be perfect, but is it livable? Or is it a mess that makes everyone a screaming ball of anxiety?

If thinking about the state of your house raises your blood pressure, you really MUST try this free course that will baby step you right through the task of organizing your house.

Remember that if your kid can operate a remote or a smart phone, they can help you with housework. So divvy up those baby steps!

Give each job to the youngest kid that can handle that particular job, and make it part of your daily schedule.

But if you’re pretty happy with how the chores are flowing, hooray! Just plot out the time of day your family tackles chores and insert that into your schedule.

How’s That Screen Time Going?

Once chores are figured out, there’s an automatic second thought. You know it; I know it. We’re all thinking about screen time.

How much is too much? What can you do to end the constant battles over screens?

If you dream of a summer with less fighting (I’m not promising NO fighting!), one that ends with your family just a little nicer to one another, keep reading. Yes, even if you think this is stupid and unrealistic.

Unpopular truth alert: all that screen time is making your kids rage-y.

Deep down, we all know it’s true.

The right amount of screen time for kids is probably zero.

BUT I totally understand that that’s not realistic for most of us. Kids only seem to relate to one another through screens these days, and you don’t want your child to be friendless.

Plus, it’s stinking hard to resist free babysitting.

Still, the funny thing I find is that when I set the expectation that video games and internet are a winter sport, certainly NOT something we’ll be doing every day this summer, something magical happens.

They stop begging for it.

Slowly, oh so slowly, they remember how to be a kid.

Now, I have a replacement idea that you might feel resistant to, but hear me out (side note…do your kids say that constantly, too?).

Instead of screen time, listen to audiobooks together. Actually slog through it, even if the kids don’t seem to be listening or insist that it’s boooooring.

It’s incredible how much they hear, even if they are hanging upside down from the couch while building Legos during book time.

Warning: this won’t work if you’re listening to Captain Underpants (sorry). The weird key to this working is that Mom also has to enjoy the story. If you are bored or annoyed by the story, the kids will be, too.

So maybe try Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Mr. Tucket, Narnia books, Adventures with Waffles, The Green Ember, The Phantom Tollbooth, or whatever tickles your fancy.

You would be amazed at all of the research that shows the power of reading together, not only for boosting test scores, but also for building relationships. Do NOT overlook this!

book storage on a cart
book storage on a cart

I absolutely adore Read Aloud Revival for book suggestions and guidance. Sarah has a Fairy Tale Summer program, and I’m not even an affiliate, but I can’t keep it to myself! 😉

Pick A Project

Everybody needs a goal.

For one thing, free time is only really fun when it contrasts with the rest of the day.

So you’ve assigned chores to divvy up the housework. And you’re spending quality time with the kids while reading books.

Now it’s time to send each child of a reasonable age (you decide) off to tackle a project.

The kids that are self motivated already know what this is. I’ve got a daughter who spend every spare moment writing or editing books. Project selected.

But isn’t there always at least one kid who has no hobbies?

Of course there is!

If you’ve got a teenager, maybe their project is getting a job.

Or applying for scholarships.

Or building skills in a trade. (Because this “college isn’t for everyone” mantra is fantastic, but you simply MUST understand that a trade isn’t something you can stumble into with no experience.)

Kids of any age can take on a house project of varying degrees. Some suggestions?

  • Gardening (flowers, veggies, herbs)
  • Rearrange a room
  • Decorate inside or outside
  • Paint
  • Sort piles of stuff
  • Make a meal or dessert

Even kids who complain about being assigned a project will feel a burst of pride when

  • A) they understand that you trust them to do it and
  • B) they see the finished product

(For the reluctant kid, start with a quick win like straightening one bookshelf or cleaning up a corner of a room.)

Worried about getting cooperation? Here’s my advice.

Get Up And Go Outside!

If you just need a quick win that gets kids outside and ready to have fun, grab this pack of Summertime Scavenger Hunts For Kids!

Just do it!

Take a hike, bird watch, look at the stars, catch fireflies, build a campfire, sleep in a tent, garden, raise animals, spot some clouds, feel the grass, just do it already.

You’ll never break the screen habit if you don’t replace it with true and honest wonder.

Find beauty again. Look for it…it’s everywhere.

Fun Times, Happy Days

This is the part where I tend to get bogged down.

After a week of staying home every day, I feel guilty. We’re missing it! There’s only 18 summers before your kid turns into a newt (or something) and you never get to see them again!

(By the way, I have a 19 and 20 year old that I’m still seeing pretty regularly. I’ll check their ears, but I’m pretty sure they’re still human shaped. Reject the guilt.)

Phooey on it all!

There’s no rule saying you have to check off the entire bucket list or you’re a FAILURE AS A MOM!!

What does your family consider fun?

Most of the time, my kids just want to have a friend or two over. It’s what makes them happy.

I always want to go see something we haven’t seen before, so I make sure we do that once or twice a summer. (This is usually a day trip, not an elaborate vacation.)

What are the things you’ve always said you should do “some day”? Is this the year to make it happen? Is there a smaller version you can pull off?

Use your passes, go swimming, whatever.

Make your favorite things a priority and toss the long list into the trash bucket. 😉

Here’s Your Free Printable Summer Schedule for Kids