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Summertime is such an exciting thought, isn’t it?! No rules, pool days, beach days, popsicles for dinner, fireflies, campfires…the things memories are made of!
So why was I DREADING the last day of school this year?
I am a creature of habit. I get into a groove and while I can handle change I seriously just like things to run smooth-which happens when we have a schedule and places to be (school). So when that last school bell rang, I wanted to be prepared to keep our momentum going and stay busy when we could, but in a summertime way. Because I love my kids, but they are jerks when they’re bored. Jerks.
Kids with something to do? They’re happy. They laugh. They sleep better. It makes for the best summertime memories.
My best advice for keeping summer fun and less Jerk-y is to schedule out your days as best you can. We do it by the week here, and give each day a theme. I sit down with my kids and talk about what exciting things we want to do over the summer, then we categorize them to fit into the themed days. This helps my brain to fit each activity into a spot without feeling overwhelmed. My example of themed days is below. It keeps things fun and interesting since each day is different, yet each week the kids know what is coming up! (Feel free to click on it to print it out!)
Each Thursday is our timeout day. It’s not as strictly scheduled, and we use it to catch up on cleaning and laundry. That way the house is clean for the weekend when Dad is home so we can focus on family time rather than chores. This is the day I sit down with my oldest to decide on the next week’s activities. I tell him the theme of the day, he helps me to decide what we should do together that day. Including him in the plans helps him to be a better problem solver-he has grand ideas on what we should do, but I remind him he has a 1 year old brother who can’t do things like ride go-carts or ice skate, and that our budget for the week might be blown on one day if we go to the museum. If he can come up with answers to the problems, we put it on the schedule!
When we have at least one thing on the calendar for each day, it gives us something to look forward to. My kids get excited about what’s to come! For me, a schedule helps me to get up and get going so that our day will be as fun as possible (because getting out of the house late=late naps=jerks).
Below you’ll find a printable calendar I use for our weeks during the summer. (click on it to print)I printed two out and took them to get laminated at an office supply store. I like having two so that we can schedule out the next week and have it all ready to go. I use dry erase markers to fill in our daily activities and then we can erase it all and start again the next week!
Our favorite day each week is Tuesdays. Trip Tuesdays are spent out of the house somewhere new each week. Next week, we are headed to the lake for the day because my son LOVES it there! This week, we stayed close but had a picnic at the park and made an obstacle course to complete. Our trip days can be grand or subtle, but that guarantee of getting out and doing something fun and new is their favorite!
I made Fridays Friend days. I feel like scheduling in time where we can see our friends helps the summer memories to be that much better. I need my kids to play with someone other than their siblings, and I myself need adult friend time! School gave me a little time each day where I could talk to the other parents and keep up with adult interaction. With school out, I need to make sure and schedule that in so I don’t become the jerk.
By no means do I expect everyone to love this method, but I’m hoping to help other moms & dads who need ideas to keep their kids having fun and avoiding that jerk territory can get some inspiration. Maybe you don’t love themed days-that’s ok! Maybe you don’t like MY themes-that’s ok too. Do what works best for your family, but I hope that this helps you to keep busy making the best summertime memories with your kids!