The unscheduled days of summer freak me out a little.This isn't new. In fact, every summer I write a post about this topic. In 2019, I wrote “How’s your summer going so far?” Last year, my post about feeling out of control at the beginning of the summer was called, “I like things the way I like things.” And here I am writing about it again. It’s not because I have no other blog ideas. It’s because every year I need to be reminded that's with a little structure, we'll have a great summer. Here are some things I know:
You can have a routine even if you don’t have a schedule.
My saving grace in the summer is just a little routine. But, wait…isn’t that another word for schedule? They’re similar, but not exactly the same.
A schedule is a plan for carrying out a process or procedure, giving lists of intended events and times. Whereas a routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program. See what’s missing in a routine? Events and times. So, while not everything in the summer is connected to a specific time, we can still have a routine. We can have a fixed program which offers the structure we need to thrive.
I’m not just speaking for control freaks like me. I was a teacher long enough to know kids thrive when they have structure. They might fight it like they fight bedtime or eating vegetables because they think they want unstructured time, but guess what? They need structure just as much as they need vegetables and bedtime.
The fun part is you can structure your days based on what your family values. Your super-fun, structured summer will look different from mine, but this is how we’d like our routine to look:
I like to start the day with my Bible. And the un-scheduled mornings of summer lend themselves to inviting my kiddos to join me. That’s not to say we don’t do this some during the school year, but summer is a good time to make some good habits. You can read a short devotion together or have something special for each kid. They like to have their own devotion books. Here are a few of my favorite devotions for kids:
Dinosaur Devotions by Michelle Medlock Adams
I'm a Christian Now What? -Lifeway Kids
Loved and Cherished; 100 Devotions for Girls by Lynn Cowell and Michelle Nietert
Coffee Shop Devos by Tessa Emily Hall
We try to exercise our minds everyday. Math skills are sometimes the quickest to get dull over the summer, so a few minutes a day on a math app or in a workbook can really help. My kids came up with a good idea for the summer. They wanted to learn more about a few historic people (like Anne Frank and the Wright Brothers) and a handful of US states. Each week, we plan to learn a little about one. No book reports or presentations. Just a little reading and talking about it.
When I presented our chore chart on the first day of break, my daughter said, “Well, here it comes!” We’ve used a few chore charts, but this one (knock on wood) is going well so far. We found these cute pictures online and cut out the chores we wanted to make a priority. I laminated them and used sticky velcro to attach them to the kids’ charts. Each kid has a few they do everyday (tidy room) and a couple they draw from a hat and do for a week. They simply do the chore and move the picture from the left side (to do) to the right side (done). Easy peasy. Do you know there are people who really hate the sound of velcro? Look it up. I had no idea. But when it means my house is getting cleaned or flowers are being watered, I can’t think of a sweeter sound than that velcro.
Will we do these things perfectly every day? Of course not! There will be days we’ll get lazy or forgetful and that’s okay! The goal is a little routine. My goal is that my kids’ hearts and minds will grow and they’ll learn that working together is the best way to get the job done. And they’ll find comfort in the routine. I will too.