Summer frightens the mom of school-aged children. Those mandatory hours of peace and an empty house go away and now it’s up to Mrs. Mom to entertain, educate, and be responsible for their knees and brains. For the divorced mom though, summer can seem like a blessing. Joint custody means there are times I don’t have them, and when I do have them they are in school for many of those hours. The summer is a unique time for the kids to see a slightly less regimented Mama. Road trips and no homework after dinner. A steady stream of Otterpops and nights warming marshmallows in the back yard fire pit grill.
This year there are several weeks of the summer I will have ALL the kids, five days a week, and I really want to take advantage of that time together. It’s also really important to keep their school skills razor-sharp. This fall I will have a fourth grader, a third grader, a first grader and a preschooler. The older ones are getting into the real school years! Exciting times.
So, the key to keeping everyone from losing their minds, is a routine. A loose, summer routine that keeps them from spending the entire day in front of a screen, fighting and whining because they have no direction. I’ve been steadily collecting inspiration on my Summer Camp Pinterest Board.
Today I sat down with my notebook and sketched out a rough timeline of an ideal summer day. When building your summer schedule, organize by the hour and be sure to schedule in plenty of buffer time to keep from overbooking yourself. Summer is about relaxation and relationships. Don’t feel bad about slowing down the pace of the day. I’ve modeled our schedule after the school year schedule so there shouldn’t be any difficult transitions to overcome. I have also extended bedtime by thirty minutes for the summer.
- 7:00am- Mom Morning Routine: haven’t developed this fully but will involve coffee with husband before work. Shower. Kids under No Asking Mom For Food Edict.
- 8:00- Breakfast downstairs, iPads allowed (they do this during the school year so will continue the privilege). Everybody dressed, Everybody brush teeth.
- 9:00- Outside time! Before the temperature gets too high, get the kids on the swings in the backyard, go to parks, swim, do messy sensory activities, schedule playdates for this time. Photograph them. NO SCREENS, including for me.
- 10:00- 12:00pm- Free time. In our house that means everybody does what they want. Typically movies, Minecraft, Sims, reading and playing in their rooms. I am really blessed that now, all the oldest three kids are extremely good at entertaining themselves. They love their free time alone. They also play well with one another, the two oldest being great gaming partners, and my two girls are very close with one another. Free time. During the kids free time I am either doing housework or computer work, occasionally checking in on the kids and helping them with various tasks.
- 12:00pm- Lunchtime. Everyone eats together at the table.
- 1:00- Mom cleans up after lunch. Workbooks/Writing/Crafts/Piano Lessons/C00king with kids.
- 2:00- 6:00- Free time. On some days Kung Fu occurs during this time. Four hours of free time seems a tad excessive, so I may schedule library trips or errand running. Dinners out would occur at this time as well.
- 5:00- Mom cooks dinner. Husband grills. Summer dinners will be salads every night, protein from the grill, veggies from the greenhouse, and bread.
- 6:00- Dinner. Inside or outside. Dinners outside should extend to the evening and possibly involve fire. And marshmallows.
- 7:00- Showers/Baths/Laundry. Free time for kids while they rotate through bath times.
- 8:00- Books and bedtime for the youngest two.
- 9:00- Mandatory reading time for the oldest two. Lights out at 9:30pm for the girl, 10:00pm for the boy.
I’ve got one of those school teacher pocket things and the perfect spot to hang it, prominent to all. I think keeping the kids on a loose schedule will really help to reduce stress, boredom, fighting and screen time. I hope this post helps to inspire you moms out there to get one step ahead of the kiddos this summer. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!
What are your summer plans? How do you plan on keeping the kids occupied this summer? Comment below!