Keeping a Summer Schedule for Your Child

I get asked a lot how I keep little man busy during the summer.  Especially as an only child, people expect that I have to constantly keep him entertained.

Now let me start off by saying, a LOT {like seriously, LOT} of how Goob is is simply how God designed his little personality.  I don’t know why I have the type of child I do–one who can self-entertain easily and is content to be by himself–but I’m sure it has very little to do with anything his daddy or I did correctly.  He’s a quiet child who still happily builds train tracks and races cars around his room.  So it’s not even that he sits on a game system all day to keep himself busy {I’d never allow that}.  He’s imaginative and I’m grateful!

Of course, Goob is not perfect and has convinced himself that summer vacation means having to do absolutely no type of work.  Much to his dismay, his mother expects him to read and do math worksheets and this summer–horror of all horrors–to actually pitch in around the house.

Goob is 9 now, and while we’ve been lax in giving him chores or regulating his time during the school year or even in summers past, I really felt the need this year to give us some sort of parameters.

Enter our–very loose–schedule:

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Creating a schedule is good for so many reasons:

  • First, by writing out the schedule, it created a visual for Goob.  The first few days we used the schedule I was able to simply tell little man to go read what the expectations of him were.  After getting used to it, Goob could simply go to the board on his own to pick something he needed to do and I was free to not be on top of him about it.  And even when we went a period of time not following the schedule, i.e. when we were on vacation, it was easy to direct him back to the board to remind himself what his responsibilities are.

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  • Another way a written schedule is helpful is it easily shows my son when mommy is available to be with him.  The thing about summer is that just because your child is off from school does not mean that the chores you need to do stop.  Laundry still needs to be done, windows washed, and carpets vacuumed.  It’s hard for little minds to understand that.  Of course, not every single moment of every single day is accounted for in this schedule, but you’ll notice that next to Monday I included a little note letting my son know that Monday mornings belong to Mommy and the benefit of this is I’ve schedule in time where he can do what he wants.  When you give children this little bit of freedom and the chance to make their own choices, they are more apt to be compliant during structured times.  It also reminds me to better manage my time because other than Monday mornings, I need to remember that spending quality time with my son is more important than chores that needs to be done.  It forces me to prioritize and evaluate what I need to get done and when I need to do it over the week.
  • A schedule helps guide a child and gives healthy boundaries.  It truly teaches a child the old adage of there being a time to work and a time to play.  For a child like mine who isn’t in camp during the summer, it can be easy for time to escape and days to go by without doing anything of value.  This schedule helps little man to know what’s expected of him to be a well-rounded person.  With that said, we’re not big on a certain bed time during the summer and so his devotional time with daddy at night really fizzles out.  I had to make sure that being the parent who is most with Goob that I was taking on the responsibility of making sure we stayed in the Word daily.  I calculated that if we read two Psalms a day starting on the first day of summer {June 21} that we would finish by Labor Day.  How cool is that!
  • As I mentioned above, our schedule is pretty loose.  What this means is you’ll notice there’s no “time frame” associated with any task; Goob knows he has all day to complete them and as long as the task(s) get done, it doesn’t matter when he does them.  So if he’s smart enough, he’ll get them done quickly and know he has the rest of the day to himself or to play with mom or dad.

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  • The schedule helps to give YOU, the parent, time to yourself.  Whether you build it into the schedule like I did with Monday mornings or use the time your child is doing a chore to get something personal done, a schedule will be your friend in knowing when you get a chance to yourself.  It’s kind of like a bright light in a day that can feel very overwhelming when you’re just going on a whim.  Now because Good can choose whatever time to do a chore, I have to be flexible in letting him lead and taking advantage of whatever minutes I have when they become available.  Also, you can be a little selfish–the reason I included “exercise” as part of Goob’s daily routine is because I am the one who really needs to exercise.  This keeps me accountable, but also I have no excuse to not get it done.  Doing a physical activity with my son is not only fun but it motivates me!  Win-win.
  • Going back to the schedule being “loose”, it’s also loose in the since of knowing that I cannot be rigid and there has to be days when we just kind of go with the flow.  Sometimes we’ll be out all day; sometimes someone in the home just may not feel well and it’s important to remember that sometimes structure has to go out the window.

We are not tied down to this schedule by any means and there is no guilt if something or not one thing gets done.  Again, this has helped create healthy parameters for a young child who is home the majority of the time and for his momma to make sure I’m being proactive in keeping his little mind sharp and also guiding him to being a contributing family member to our household.

It was important that I gave Goob tasks that were reasonable and would not take him hours.  Personally I think I gave him things that are pretty fun and manageable.

One last final tip is to include your child in the making of the schedule.  Before I wrote it out on a random dry erase board we had around the house, I discussed with him things I wanted him to do.  We discussed what could easily be handled daily, weekly, etc.   It’s also imperative to discuss the why behind the schedule.  I’m not a mean mom who just wants to give him work to do; I’m a mom who cares about keeping his mind sharp and becoming a young man one day who could live on his own and know how to take care of a home.  It’s hard for him to understand that now, but I’m convinced he’ll look back one day, remember these days, and be appreciative.  By discussing the schedule, there were no surprises.  For example, Goob knows he will help me “as needed” with laundry–he knows not to complain if I ask him to come help me sort clothes because that is an expectation we discussed and is clear for him to see on his board.  I can’t tie myself to a particular day/time I can commit to do the laundry, so he knows he needs to be compliant and helpful when that job is ready to get done.

I’m sure I missed some things I wanted to write and will probably come back and edit this post to include other benefits to keeping a schedule with your child during summer months.

But tell me, what kind of schedule do you keep with your child(ren) during the summer?  Are you like me the last few summers where we just did whatever whenever?  Or have you found that keeping a pre-planned schedule has allowed you to keep your sanity? 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, I would love for you to Pin it or share it on Facebook.

Hope you’re having an amazing summer!

I’m linking up!

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One thought on “Keeping a Summer Schedule for Your Child

  1. Pingback: Fun in a Jar {Summer activity idea for children!} | A Life Well Done

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