A summer routine is essential to the day to day of this relaxing season of fun in the sun. That may seem like an oxymoron, but it is so true. Structure is crucial to the day to day flow because it creates boundaries and it lets you and your kids know what to expect. You will find that you actually do more, enjoy more and live more when you have a flexible framework to enjoy it all in. I promise you this is not a strict and exact schedule to keep, but a daily flow to your day that helps you move from various activities, plan fun events and take part in different opportunities more easily because you have an idea of how it all looks and will go, for the most part.
How do we create such a routine to our days, especially in the summer? I have a few tips to get us started….
- Look back over your list of Summer Goals. In part 1 of this series I talked about the importance of writing down a few key items you wanted to accomplish and achieve in this season, (I also mentioned that less is more when it came to this especially in the ‘more’ active season of summer!) This is where we can apply those goals to our everyday life…see what goals you listed and figure out what you can do each day to achieve it. Brainstorm what time of the day might work best and how much time it will take. (For example one of my goals is to have Paisley learn to tie her shoes. I knew this would be a daily repetitive task so I try to focus on it after our quiet time in the afternoon and before her brother gets up from his nap…so for about 10 minutes a day we work on the next step in the shoe tying lesson. I saw a goal, figured it would take 10-15 minutes and thought about the best time of the day to work on it.) To start I would list your summer goals and then write out when, where and how next to each goal so you can see it all laid out and then move on to tip #2.
- Write out what needs to be done each day based on your priorities. What things do you want to accomplish everyday in order to stay aligned with the good things in your life? Things such as a daily work out, time to yourself to read and pray, down time with your kids to play and learn together and/or time with your husband each night. This will help you have a basic framework in which to plug the other stuff in and help your day flow with purpose and intention. Some of these things might be the same as the goals which is great! Basically ask yourself- what are my priorities right now? (mine are motherhood, marriage, personal time, home and blog) What do I want to do each day/week for those areas?
- Figure out an approximate ‘start’ time to your day and an ‘end’ time to your day. The key to this is flexibility, because in summer we know our timed schedules aren’t always exact and we sometimes tend to go with the flow more. But in an effort to figure out what can be done and how much (or little) we can get done, an approximate time and how much time we have in our day can help us get started.
- Start with a rough draft of your day. Write out a simple time block schedule and write in the daily basics, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, naptimes, etc. then plug in those other ‘needs’; your priorities for each day. If your day already looks full, you might want to look over your ‘needs’ and decrease it by 1 or 2….you don’t want to be overwhelmed before you even get started! (I have to remind myself daily that I most likely will not accomplish a ‘need’ in each priority area everyday…it just isn’t doable at this season in my life, but I can fit a ‘need’ in each area over the course of a week…so maybe there is a time of the day where it is blocked out for that…and each day you hit a different ‘need’…)
- Make a different routine for certain days and/or weeks where the day is just different than ‘normal’. In the summer there are some days where you have a certain activity or a week where there is somewhere the kids or you have to be at a certain time. An example is if your child is taking any sort of camp or vacation bible school. This week my daughter is at VBS and our days this week look and flow quite differently than last week did, so we have a slightly different routine to our days this week to accommodate for that. Also your weekday routine and your weekend routine might be different from each other, as another example.
- Try it out! For a few days live out your daily routine…see if it works and what needs to be cut, moved or tweaked to fit your life. Make the changes and keep trying…it is the only way to figure out what works best!
Here is our Summer Routine: (keep in mind that some days are different depending on the activity, weather, kids’ moods-lol!…and times are approximate!)
5/5:30 am- I get up and start coffee and do my ‘morning time’- praying, bible study, reading and coffee time for me
6 am- I get dressed and ready for the day
6:20/6:30- Writing/Blog work time
7:30 am- Kids (usually) get up...make beds/get dressed
7:45/8 am- Bible Baskets…this was a summer goal and it is going so well! We pray with prayer cards and then they draw/write in their gratitude journals while I get breakfast ready…I then have them tell me what they wrote/drew…if we have time we will also read a story from Paisley’s bible…Brantley is a little young to understand all of it, but he loves to try to say the prayers and to color in his notebook…he also loves to listen to stories! 🙂
8/8:30 am- Breakfast/Chores and finish getting ready…
9/9:30 am- Learning Time (we don’t always do this, but sometimes I have Paisley complete a worksheet or flashcards…)
9:30 am- TV time for kids/Cleaning task for me (this is if we don’t have somewhere we have to be in the morning usually…)
10 am- Daily activity time (This is where I have theme days…you can read more about this later in the post…)
12:30/1- Read Aloud time (Paisley picks a book…usually one of her new chapter books and we read it together…Brantley likes to listen, but also look at his own books)
1:00 pm or so- Brantley down for a nap and Paisley has Quiet Time in her room...this is when I read Brantley a story and attempt to put him down for a nap…
1:30/2- Workout and catch up time for me….I change the laundry at this time and check up on emails, etc.
3:00 or so -one on one time with Paisley…we work on tying the shoes, play a game, read, etc.
3:30- Snack time….I also can make lunches at this time (if needed) and get dinner stuff out
4:00- Free play time/Outside play time
4:30- I start making supper/ Seth usually gets home
5:30/6- Dinner time
8/8:30- Bedtime…routines for each child include prayers, reading and songs
8:30-9:30- Evening catch-up, pick-up and ready for the next day
A few things to note about our schedule~
*Some days are a little different…on Tuesday evenings when Seth gets home I go downstairs and do some work so I try to have dinner pretty much ready to put in the oven, etc./on Thursdays the kids go to my Mom and Dad’s for the day so I take them over about 9:30 or so and they come home about 5 when Seth picks them up/on Tuesday evenings Seth and I have a date night in where we have a glass of wine, watch a favorite tv program and catch up on conversation so that evening looks a little different too…
*Essentially I took our daily basics (meals, getting dressed, cleaning, etc.) plus the goals…those on-going (such as working out, writing time everyday and personal ‘me’ time) with those I wanted to start this summer (bible basket-gratitude journals with the kids, theme days, starting chores with Paisley and helping her to tie her shoes) and plugged it all into the time blocks of our day to day for this season. I have an approximate start time and end time to our day…put in our needs and then our wants and then we have our day!
*I did have to tweak this schedule a few times before it seemed right for us! Most days we do not have learning time…I figure a lot of learning happens when we are out and about plus with all our reading Paisley is keeping up with her academics somewhat there. And some weeks I do not get much cleaning done so those tasks do not always make it on the day to day, but the framework is there and I can make it work each day as it comes and we have the layout of our days for the most part, which to me is what a summer routine is all about; the bones of our day, consistency with flexibility to allow fun, learning and memories to occur!
Ideas to incorporate into your daily routine (especially for the summer!)
- Theme Days– I love the idea of having certain activities set aside to certain days of the week. Maybe it is the teacher in me, but I just love the organization of it and it helps me to plan when we do our fun “outings”! So ours goes something like this! Monday– Park and/or Playdate Day! Tuesday– Errands Day (I try to save my middle of the week grocery store and Target runs to just this day!) Wednesday- Water Day! Thursday- Go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house day (work day for me!) Friday– Library and/or Friday Fun Day! These can (and do) vary, but again it is the basic framework of it that helps me to plan our various unique summer activities. The weather can also play a big part in whether we follow through with each day’s activity. We stick close to our Tuesday/Thursday “themes”….and every other Friday we have library story time.
- Summer Bucket List activities– I love the summer bucket list and I devoted a whole post to this idea in Part 2…check it out for FREE printables and lots of ideas on how to do one with your family! I love to plug in the summer bucket activities to our daily theme days from above. This is when we can go to the splash pad on ‘Water Wednesday’ or go to the zoo on Friday Fun Day.
- Daily activities like read-alouds, bible baskets and one on one time with kids- I love to add those things to our routine that happen daily. Children really do crave structure and I think setting up certain things that always happen everyday especially first thing in the morning and end of the day can help them to start and end the day on the right foot. We almost always have the same wake up routine (unless Brantley decides to wake up super early, but we always hope he sleeps!) and have Bible basket time before breakfast. We also really enjoy our read aloud time after lunch…the kids are so used to doing it, they pretty much go and grab a book after eating!
Things to Remember
- Go with the flow– Some days and weeks are different and therefore your routine may be a little off from ‘normal’…remember that at this time your routine will be different and that is ok! This is why the general framework of a routine helps because you have the bones; it is just the ‘meat’ of the day can (and will!) change!
- Flexible schedule is key!– Exact times are usually not as followed as a general flow to the day…one thing and then the next thing, instead of this will happen at this time and then this at this time. I know that I have included times on my schedule above, but as a general guideline only. Life happens and especially in the summer, I think it is important to be able to go with the flow (see #1!) I tell myself daily that this is a guideline and some days my day does take on its own routine of sorts, but we go with it and I just try to make sure the basics are there and to live in the moment!
- Give yourself grace and enjoy!-New patterns and being intentional about your days can be tough sometimes, but stick with it and allow yourself some breathing room….keep trying and know you are doing your best! Summer is just for a season so enjoy the unexpected at times, don’t worry too much about getting it exactly right and remember tomorrow is a new day!
Do you have a summer routine?
Do you find it helpful? What is the most helpful part of having a routine to your summer days?
What is the favorite part of your summer routine?
This was Part 3 in a 4 Part Series…check out more in the ‘Sink Into a Sun-sational Summer Series!!
*Part 3- The Day to Day- Daily Flow of a Summer Routine: Fun not Glum
*Part 4- Taking Time for You- Enjoying Summer as a Mom: Thrive not just Survive~ Coming soon!