Thursday, June 7, 2012

Preventing the Lazy Days of Summer

When I reminded one of my children about their chores one morning and they replied, "Oh, but I'm on summer vacation now!", I knew we had to change some things around here. I pointed out that Daddy still went to work and that all of them still expected to eat and wear clean clothes throughout the summer just like they had during the school year. "The only thing you're on vacation from is school work," I told them.

So, I decided to get a little creative and make a summer schedule. It's not as strict (as if we ever have a strict schedule! ha!) as during the school year, but it keeps the kids from being bored and it ensures that the work still gets done. If you are a free spirit that likes to let each summer day just happen to you, then you might not be interested in this post. However, if you're afraid that your children will be whining, "Mom, I'm bored!" by next week, it may help.


Schedule in Fun
I am not as mean as you may be thinking. I set aside one day a week for park day. We tell our friends so they can join us if they have that day free. I also take them one afternoon a week to our library's free reading programs. They have an art show, an animal show and a magic show planned among other things throughout the summer; plus the kids can enter contests and win prizes for how many books they read.

Get the Necessary Stuff Done
We have an errands and shopping day as well. This can also be fun for them, because they get to play at their grandma's house while I do the grocery shopping. If it involves doctor appointments or something, then they have to go along. I try to get them a treat or do something a little fun if we have to be gone a while.

As I mentioned before, the house does not clean itself during the summer. I determined that they were going to help more, since reading the Chores Bundle e-books. Here's the system we're trying:

I divided the weekly cleaning chores into upstairs and downstairs. We do the cleaning on two different days. I then divided the chores for each section into 3 different lists. My 10-year-old and 20-month-old are Team A. My two middle boys (ages 6 and 3) are Team B. I am the Mom Team. :-)

I tried to coordinate the lists in order so one team is sweeping in one room while another team is cleaning glass in another room and the floors get done last. It's not a perfect science as you can imagine. We set a timer to see how quickly we get the whole upstairs or downstairs clean. It breaks down to each team getting 3-5 age-appropriate chores. When we're all done we can go outside or do some other fun activity.


Here's an example of the upstairs team list for my middle kids:
  • Take all sheets and pillowcases off beds and carry to the laundry room. (They love this job!)
  • Take all towels hanging in the bathroom to the laundry room. 
  • Pick up all toys, clothes and trash in the kids' room.
  • Have Mom check and bring up the vacuum.
  • Vacuum the hallway and Mom's room.  
Keep a Consistent Daily Routine
Just as through the school year, I try to keep a few "constants" in our daily schedule since we all (including Mom) thrive on routine. Here are a few things we try to do every day:
  • Devotions at breakfast. If we're rushing, I don't always do this. I know it is the most important thing, so I'm working on it.
  • Morning chores. This is divided between the "teams" and ensures that the dishwasher gets unloaded, the trash is emptied and the laundry started for the day.
  • Nap/Quiet Time.  This is two hours in the afternoon where everyone has free time to do their own thing---as long as it's quiet!
  • One or two full loads of laundry.  This is a necessity for our family!
  • Cook/eat three meals and take baths. O.K. so maybe I'm the only mom who has to remind myself to do these things every. day. ;-)
  • Go to bed on time.  Yeah, we don't stay up all hours and sleep in every morning. If a kid is not awake by 9 A.M., I wake them up unless it is Saturday. Bedtime is almost always between 9 and 10 because it just makes for a happier household! Since we home school, this is basically what we do year round, so the kids don't think much about it. Sshh! Don't tell them they are supposed to be allowed to sleep until noon and stay up until midnight during the summer.
So how do you keep your kids busy during the summer?


  1. Excellent post, Jennifer! Gave me some ideas to implement as well. Thanks for so many good posts over and over again from this blog--I appreciate the work that goes into these thoughts from time to time! Blessings to you and the other bloggers on "Cherish the Call", Sharon Knight

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Sharon! We are glad you give us part of your time by reading.