Families benefit from creating a summer schedule.
Summertime is a wonderful time for members of a family to enjoy being together. The days are long, and there are many opportunities for leisure.
However, there can be a lot of family stress during those long days. Kids aren’t used to unstructured time. Therefore, parents start hearing, “I’m bored” just weeks into summer vacation.
Another issue is that kids may want to spend all of their time on screens. Parents, on the other hand, want their children to be more active.
Everyone can get what they want with a summer schedule.
Make a List of All Family Activities
The first part of a summer schedule is to make a list of all of the things your family will be doing this summer. Be sure to include:
All Pre-Scheduled Activities
Are your children going to a summer camp? Do they take classes, participate in summer sports, or have a standing weekly play date? Additionally, maybe your youngest always naps at noon.
These should all go on your list. Remember to include any summer vacations the family has planned as well.
Routine Things Your Family Does
These are activities that your family does regularly but that might not have a set schedule. For example, you might include:
- Household chores
- Trips to grandma’s house
- Library and museum visits
- Going to the beach or to the pool
Things You Want Your Family to Do
Set some goals for your family for summer. Include family and individual goals. For example, you might want to volunteer together as a family. Additionally, you might want each child to set a specific education-related goal.
Get Out the Calendar
Put all pre-scheduled activities on a calendar. Of course, use a calendar that works for your family. This might be:
- A large colorful wall calendar for all three months of summer
- A day planner located in a common area such as the kitchen
- A digital calendar synced across every family member’s devices
Co-Create the Rest of the Summer
Your family will be more inclined to participate if they help create the schedule. Sit down as a group. Ask them to add to the list you’ve already created. Work together to put those things into the calendar.
Set dates for as many items as possible. For example, choose a day of the week for visits to grandma. There may also be things you want to include every day, such as dinnertime. Allow the kids to have as much input as possible.
Add Structured Free Time to Your Summer Schedule
Part of the magic of summer is the hours available for imaginative play. Therefore, you don’t want to overschedule your family. However, you might want to add some rules to your summer schedule.
Incorporate Choice Activities
Remember “circles” in kindergarten? That was when you could work on any activity for the theme of that table. This free choice is equally important in a summer schedule. Set aside an hour, an afternoon or a specific day for:
- Creative time. Take out art materials. Let everyone choose their activity.
- Being active. Each person can choose how they exercise during this time.
- Relaxation. Laying in a fort, lazing by the pool, and reading a book are a few options for this hour.
Teach and Learn
Choose one day out of the summer for each family member to take the lead. The only requirement is that they teach everyone else something new. This builds the family relationship while adding new activities to the summer schedule.
Set Limitations on Specific Activities
Everyone benefits from a limited amount of screen time. You may also limit time with friends, talking on the phone, or doing work at home. Allow time for these things, but use family rules to restrict them.
To get the most out of your summer schedule, it’s vital to collaborate as a family.
A therapist can help bridge any emotional gaps you may be sensing among your family members.
To learn more about my therapeutic approach and how I can help you, please visit my Parenting Counseling page.