Does this sound familiar, mama?
Day One of the long summer school holidays: ‘Yay! I get my babies at home again, how I miss them, I can’t wait to spend some quality time together.
Day Four of the (interminably long) summer school holidays: ‘Send help. Or coffee. Or wine. Dear Lord...how many more weeks of summer?’
The usual routines are gone and home life resembles the Wild West. At worst, it’s The Purge with sunscreen.
But what if it didn’t have to be this way?
Your sanity could be saved by setting up a balanced summer schedule. ‘Balanced’ because this schedule would give you (and the your kids) the right amount of structure without being stifling.
And don’t worry - this schedule is completely flexible.
It’s worth a try, mama. And cheaper than more coffee (or therapy).
Step One: Grab Your Calendar
Start off by grabbing your calendar and marking off all the days of the school summer holidays (yes, there are freakin’ loads of days - don’t panic).
There are lots of cute free printables on Pinterest if you fancy something a bit special.
Now, mark off whatever plans you already have for the summer holidays: vacations, trips out, appointments, or visits to friends and family. Go ahead and mark in any family games’ nights or date nights too.
Step Two: Think about your Daily Schedule
The usual morning and bedtime routines might be long forgotten during the school holidays. But it’s still a good idea to give your children some daily structure.
So, think about what you want to schedule in daily to enjoy the holidays and keep on top of home management and any side-hustle.
This might include things like:
Tidy your bedroom time for kids,
One to one time for you with each of your children,
Music practice for kids who play instruments - or anything else that must be practiced at home regularly,
Quiet time after lunch for the kids - so you can work or rest,
Time for you to work on client projects,
Time to prepare dinner for you,
Time to do chores.
Take a sheet of paper and plan when these things need to happen.
For example, you might like your children to make their beds and tidy their rooms. So you schedule some time straight after breakfast each day for this to get done.
But don’t be too rigid.
Notice that I didn’t give a time for this job to be done. Just at whatever time your kids finish breakfast. This gives you the flexibility to enjoy the holidays and still give your kids some structure.
Do the same for each thing you legit need completing each day.
If you find you’ve planned out en entire day - drink some wine, chill out and scrub some things off your daily to-do’s.
Step Three: Block Schedule
OK, shit just got real, mama.
This step is your first, last and only line of defense against ‘I’M BORED’ or buckling under the pressure and letting them watch TV all day.
Divide the day up in to one hour time slots - or whatever works best for you and your family.
Now go ahead and assign an activity to each time slots. Here are some examples to get you started: reading, craft, baking, play together, time with mom, play in their bedrooms, play in back garden, do chores, screen time, time with dad or grandparents.
Keep the activities broad - you might decide to have a quiet time for reading after lunch. But you could easily put on an audio book or read some stories to your children.
For any activities like craft, art or baking don’t forget to include a ‘tidy-up time’.
When it’s time to prepare lunches and dinners, why not get the kids involved? Let’s call it ‘teaching them to cook’, not ‘slave labor’. Right?
Step Four: Keep Things Fluid
Because it’s not enough to be flexible. You gotta be fluid.
If all this is sounding too type-A for your liking. Don’t give up yet.
Here are some ideas to help you loosen up without giving up.
Try creating a schedule just for the morning - afternoons can be free.
Or just for certain days a week - keep weekends and Wednesdays free for whatever you like.
Create a schedule that kids can follow without much input from you - you don’t need to be buzzing around supervising them all day.
Instead of using time slots try more natural ‘chunking’ : before breakfast, breakfast, after breakfast, just before lunch, lunch, after lunch, before dinner, dinner, after dinner, before bed. Get the idea?
This lets you establish a flow without clock watching all day.
Step Five: Tackling the ‘I’m Bored’ Moments
So what should we do when kids say they’re bored?
For a long time, my usual response would be to reel off a dozen or more things that my children could do (‘look at all the freakin’ toys you have!!).
And as you can guess, all my wonderful ideas were rejected.
All my midnight Googling suggests one thing - it’s good for kids to be bored.
So I’m taking a different approach now - when someone tells me they’re bored, I say ‘good for you, enjoy it’. And sit back to see what happens.
If this sounds a bit frightening why not create an ideas jar - a kind of lucky dip where they have to at least give the chosen activity a go. Yes, mama, you can sneak some chores into that jar. I won’t tell.
Step Six: Tell the Family
Once you’ve created a broad schedule for the day, stick it on the fridge for everyone to see.
Remind them that it’s not rigid but that it’s there to help the days run more smoothly. It’s also there so everyone can get what they need from the summer holidays: Time with you, time alone, time to rest, time to be together.
How Many Days of Summer?
After the tight schedules and rush of school, extracurricular activities and homework, the long days of summer are just what kids need.
But kids do thrive on routines and a sense of knowing what is next.
So the key is to create a balance between freedom to be kids and a routine to keep the days running smoothly.
Hopefully this post gives you some ideas.
Enjoy your summer!
Remember to pin for later.