Lean For 2016: Daily Summer Schedule with Kids
Now that Memorial Day has passed and my kids have just a day left of school, summer is officially on. I actually always start my summer prep a few weeks before the kids get out of school. I order their summer workbooks, sign them up for sports and activities and get our summer schedule ready. Creating a daily schedule is a part of a "Lean" lifestyle. It's all about organizing yourself so that you can eliminate the excess and become more "lean" or efficient with your time. This is definitely a little tricky with kids because you could plan for a specific thing and then a spill of ice cream makes you have to go home for a change of clothes and it totally throws off your schedule. So I will share some tips for how you can have a (mostly) structured summer schedule to make sure that everyone enjoys themselves.
I have always seen the value of having a daily schedule. Ever since my babies were born I got them on a schedule rather quickly so they were sleeping through the night at about 3 weeks to a month. I remember reading in some book that children thrive with schedules. They like to be able to have structure and create expectations. By now my kids know how obsessed I am with schedules and ask to know what's on the schedule. We go over our weekly schedule every week at a family council and then nightly talk about what's happing the next day and in the morning I remind them-they are pretty young so they need the extra reminders :) When we plan trips we always go over our itinerary before we leave and each day. On our latest trip one morning we were driving in the car and my 5-year-old said, "Mom what are our steps for the day?" "Steps?" I asked, and then I was like "Oh you mean our schedule." Apparently I hadn't told them about it that day yet :)
Schedules are a lot of hard work (making them is the easy part) sticking to them can be so hard and discouraging sometimes. These tips will hopefully just give you some guidelines to follow and hopefully you will get excited about creating your summer schedule. I am sure there will be some complaining from my kids but that's to be expected. Below is a what our typical summer schedule looks like. Not included are the kid's extracurriculars, they are doing soccer, tennis, swimming lessons and piano lessons throughout the summer. We will adjust this schedule as the summer goes on. Notice I don't have any blog time scheduled for myself... that will be done after the kids go to be or not at all. I'm going to take a little break over the summer, or save it for a rainy day.
L E A N S U M M E R S C H E D U L E W I T H K I D S
1. Involve your kids. It's their summer vacation and we want to make sure they have fun while also getting some necessities done like chores and workbooks. Ask them what their schedule was like at school-maybe there are things they want to continue.
2. Make your schedule make sense. Don't try to be a super mom by planning a million things in a day or week or even the whole summer. If your kids hate to read-don't block out an hour for individual reading time. If you know it will probably not happen, don't force it. This doesn't have to be a list of goals planned out on a calendar.
3. Set reasonable expectations.
4. Pick one or two things that are really important that they get done each day. You know those things that if you have done them, you can lay your head down on your pillow at night and feel good about your day. I have three 1. spending time with my kids, 2. Exercising, 3. Reading scriptures or talks from church leaders. If I do those three things I feel like I had a successful day. We all have those things. Make sure that there is time in the schedule to do those things.
5. Let your kids set goals. Ask them what makes them feel like they have had a good day and make sure to accommodate those things (within reason)-I know my 8-year-old would say eat candy every day since that was his New Years resolution :/ But it's a good opportunity to find out what things they value in their everyday life.
6. Be flexible. Don't get caught up on what you didn't accomplish-make sure you are recognizing what you did do.
7. Give rewards for sticking to the schedule or goals. Recently, my 8-year-old counted all of the pages in his summer workbooks and was really overwhelmed thinking it would never get done. He thought it was an impossible task but then he divided that by how many days are in the summer and realized it's only about 4 pages a day which seemed totally doable for him. And I told him we would have a celebration before school starts and he would get to pick a Lego set if he finishes the books. So now he's totally excited about it :)
8. Just get started. Set the schedule as soon as possible. You may need to do some adjusting throughout the summer but it will be a lot easier to get the kids in a routine if you start it right when schools out.