Summer time is the time for lazy pool days, popsicles, and staying up late. It’s also the time for utter chaos. You can keep your cool and keep the chaos under control by having a summer schedule. It doesn’t have to be strict, but some sort of structure helps the kids and you feel calmer. Here are some things you can do to make your summer a little less chaotic.
Set bed and wake-up times
Even if you let your kids stay up and get up later in the summer than during the school year, they should still have set bed and wake times, so that they are sure to get enough sleep. For my family, it’s bed by 11:00 and up by 9:00 during the summer, for everyone except my five-year old. For her, it’s bedtime an hour earlier. To ensure that your kids are going to bed when they are supposed to, unplug internet routers and confiscate tablets, phones, and other electronics. You can also buy a parental control device to put on your router that allows you to download an app where you can set certain usage times for each device for everyone in the house. It also allows you to control how long your kids spend per day on each app, like Mine Craft or YouTube.
Have a job chart for every kid in the family. Include things like taking a shower, eating breakfast, and brushing their teeth as well as other daily jobs. In our family, we pick up our room and read every day, and do one other bigger chore each day (mowing the lawn or loading the dishwasher). Require kids to get everything on their list done before they can play with friends, watch TV, or play video games. That way, they are motivated to complete all their tasks. Try to have them start first thing in the morning, so the rest of your day can be dedicated to playing and spending time together.
Set meal times
Summer days are long, but they also go by fast. Before you know it, it’s dinner time, and you realize you haven’t fed anybody lunch. To avoid this, have set breakfast, lunch and dinner times, and stick to them as closely as possible. It’s ok to make exceptions for outings, vacations, etc., but as much as possible, stick to a meal schedule. Kids will be more willing to stop what they’re doing to come and eat if they know when to expect meals. Set a timer on your phone so you don’t forget, and stock up on easy breakfast and lunch items that your kids like, so you’re not tempted to go out every day.
Everyone gets to go outside and play or do something active for at least 30 minutes every day. Having everyone inside watching TV and playing video games all day every day can lead to fighting and grumpiness, cause chaos and leave parents stressed. Exercise is good for the body and mind, and chances are, once you get kids outside, they will spend a lot longer than 30 minutes, leaving you to get something done or enjoy the great outdoors with them!
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