How can families enjoy as much of the summer as possible while also giving the attention required to maintain the household? You can enjoy the demands of daily life and summer flexibility with a little bit of planning. These 4 tips will help you maintain a schedule in summer.
Dear Dr. B,
School is out, summer is here, and the kids are home during the day. How do you maintain a healthy routine but allow for flexibility and spontaneity?
What a great question! I imagine there are many families with children between 5 and 18 years of age who may wonder the same thing. We’ve had to manage that in my own home.
Summer brings with it the anticipation of longer days, catching fireflies at night, and sleeping in in the morning.
Unfortunately, the reality is that life doesn’t come to a halt on the last day of school. Parents still have to work, lawns still beg to be mowed (and maybe even more so during the warm months!), laundry still piles up, and people still expect to be fed three meals a day.
Everyone can enjoy both the reality of daily life as well as some of the flexibility and spontaneity of summer by planning ahead.
I remember one summer when I was in my late elementary school years. I longed for time to play with my friends as well as family fun time. At dinner one hot summer evening, my father asked if I would “like” to help him mow the lawn after we finished eating.
Interpreting his question somewhat literally, I answered in the negative. I didn’t “want” to help mow the lawn. In fact, I didn’t “want” him to mow the lawn either. I preferred playing croquet or being pushed on the swing set as the sun went down for the night.
This request and my unexpected response provoked a very valuable discussion for our family. What were our desires? What did we expect? What was expected or required of each of us? In sum, how could we enjoy as much of the summer as possible as a family while managing the demands that required our attention to maintain the household.
Transition well with these 4 tips for maintaining a schedule in summer:
Tip 1: As a family, sit down and discuss expectations and desires.
To transition into the change in summer routine, sit down as a family and discuss expectations and desires. Explain to your children that while their summer may mean a break in their studies, work and chores remain unchanged. The summer can offer an opportunity to teach children about responsibility, generosity, and rest.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).
Tip 2: Talk about what is essential and how that needs to be accomplished.
Then also discuss those things that would help everyone feel as though they had an enjoyable summer.
Tip 3: Map out a game plan.
Decide what needs to get done when and when there will be dedicated times for play and relaxation.
Tip 4: Use your schedule as a general guide, but let God guide you as well.
Sometimes what isn’t needed is another room vacuumed or a manicured lawn, but a spontaneous game or romp through a sprinkler.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21 ESV).
Remember, there will always be work to do, but your children will only be young and at home for a short time for you to enjoy.
Great thought–that there will always be work to do but children will only remain small for a short time. Love this! #RaRaLinkup
Thanks Angela. It has kept my perspective and my priorities in check!! Blessings!
What a very helpful post and I really appreciate you sharing it with us at Good Morning Mondays. In Australia our summer break is shorter and I try somewhat to school year round because this suits us. But I agree we need to find a balance between work and play and our children being more important. Blessings
So glad to know you’re “visiting” from Australia! I love that beautiful part of the world. I think it all comes back to balance. I wonder sometimes if schooling year round helps keep a healthy balance. Thanks for sharing!!
I love this!!! I remember that we did something similar when our children were at home during the summer. We always took a vacation of 2 weeks and we went all over the country. We traveled with the senior adults in our church in the fall, so in the summer we would take the children and go to all the places we planned to take the seniors to sightsee. They loved it and it gave us a chance to see where we would be taking the old folks. Our children still remember but while at home they had fun time but we also still had work to do. I tell moms now to truly enjoy their children while young because they grow up so quickly. Your thoughts and suggestions are so good!!! Thank you!!
I think maintaining a schedule during the summer is so important but can also prove to be a challenge. I love that you found a way to enjoy the summers with your children and give them such treasured memories.