With Summer Break finally upon us, it can be easy to slip into bad habits and lose track of your daily routine, for kids and parents alike! Consistency is the foundation of productivity and organization, and while this keeps us adults on track, it is also paramount for children to stay in a relatively consistent schedule.
WooHoo! Summer Break!
The same qualities that make long breaks from school fun and novel, are also the things that can threaten to derail a well-maintained household:
- lack of structured time
- no real schedule
It can be hard to balance the “Woohoo! Nowhere to be!” feeling with some solid structure, but if you put a few routines in place from the beginning, your kids (and YOU!) will greatly benefit. Each family has different needs, but here are some basic guidelines that can help to set you up so that your Summer Break rolls smoothly.
BONUS- when August rolls around, the “school year” routine won’t seem like such a shock to the system!
Summertime Routine Guidelines
Wake Up/ Bedtime Routines
As great as sleeping in for hours sounds, you will regret it later. Whether it is that day or 2 months down the line, trust me you will regret it! I’m not saying that sleeping in on Saturdays is a bad thing, but keeping inconsistent sleep schedules can wreak havoc on kids’ natural rhythms. Even as adults, our bodies crave regularity.
For children, when they know that sleep will be coming soon, (because they experience it every day around the same time), it provides some comfort and helps keep frustration at bay. (i.e. TANTRUMS)
I am a morning person, so this one comes easily to me, but it really doesn’t matter what time you pick. Just start waking/going to bed at around the same times each day ( I typically work within a 30 minute window for each). Kids will quickly adapt and begin to expect, their sleep routines.
A Meal Together
Between beach trips, sports, and play dates, regular meal times are easily lost in the scuffle. As a morning person, breakfast is my favorite meal, (especially with these Gluten Free Pancakes!)so this is when I make sure we are all sitting and eating together with no distractions. We have a screened-in porch and we eat as many meals as we can outside with no T.V. on or toys around. In the mornings there are tons of little critters running around to look at and talk about. This time is really special to me, it is a nice start to the day. I feel like, no matter how busy the day gets, at least we’ve had this time one-on-one together.
Are mornings are busy in your house? Perhaps dinner is a better choice! Aim for at least one meal that regularly becomes your “together time.”
Schedule a Quiet Time
Belle has finally settled on the one-nap-a-day routine. (Took her forever!) As toddlers begin to sleep less during the day, they can get pretty crabby come 5pm. Playing all day can really wear a kid out! 🙂
Set a Quiet Time!
For our family, we have conveniently coordinated this time so that she gets to watch her Sesame Street from about 5-5:30. During this time I cuddle with her a bit, but typically I need the time to get dinner ready.
Want less screen time? Have some games/books/crafts/etc. that are designated ONLY for this time so that your munchkin enjoys them, but can chill out a bit from the day’s excitement.
Again, consistency is key. Try to schedule this about the same time each day- whenever your child usually needs to slow down a bit.
Chore Chart Routines
If you have read anything about my classroom routines, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I am BIG on teaching responsibility and accountability. Every student “works” and plays a vital role in our classroom.
In the same vein, teaching toddlers to complete household tasks as a way to help out lays the groundwork for understanding responsibility, and that they are a part of this family-everyone has to help!
My first “chore” for my 22 month old was to have her feed the dog. She loves doing it and she was really good at it… until she realized that dumping the food out and putting it back over and over was super fun. Needless to say, that’s out.
Until I can figure out how to fix that (stay tuned!) these are her new responsibilities:
- Put her dirty clothes in the hamper
- Clean up her toys when she is done playing with them
- Put books back on the shelf after she is done reading them
- Helping to “wipe up” any spills with a paper towel
Stay consistent with a chore routine, even in the “off” months!
Ready for Summer!
Enjoy your Summer! Hopefully you found some useful tips to keep your family in a good routine, and be ready for the ‘Back to School’ schedule when it rolls around again, (all too quickly I predict.)
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to enjoy this summer with my family. This time last year, we were in the middle of moving to a new home, so this year it will be nice to just chill a bit and enjoy each other. What are you doing this Summer?