The strangest thing has happened… the older I get, the more organization and structure I crave. I don’t know if I’m getting more boring or if I’m just figuring out that I’m happier (and my kids are, too) when things are thought through and planned for. We still reserve plenty of time for flying by the seats of our pants, of course, but having a loose routine has been a game changer for our family.

We have about a month left of school and I’m already planning ahead for summer break, so I thought I’d share what worked well for us last year (I plan to do basically the same thing this year!). If you’re not a routines person, I encourage you to still give this a shot! It might not work for your family, but we are truly not a “systems” family by nature, and this has been a great thing for us!

Here’s a quick look at ours from last year, and at the end of this post, I’ll link to an editable document

so you can use some of my ideas and add your own, swapping out the things you don’t need if you’d like! 🙂

 

When I sat down to create this routine, and really when I create any routine, I tried to keep things as simple as possible. I’ve found that creating a daily theme helps so much because then I’m not scrambling on a daily basis for things to do with the kids. You’re probably wondering if I actually stick to the schedule… and I do, mostly, but there are definitely days where we abandon the theme for the day and do something else. Or nothing else, sometimes you need a “do nothing” day, too! 🙂

When coming up with our daily themes, I made a list of the kinds of things I wanted my kids to be doing consistently throughout the summer. I wanted them to be getting out into nature, exploring and learning… that became Monday. I wanted them reading and experiencing the joy of reading and eating outdoors – library and picnic day became Tuesday. I wanted them to keep up on their piano lessons… We Play Wednesdays. I wanted them to think of others and so a day of service was an easy choice – Thoughtful Thursday. For at least one day a week, I wanted to hear their ideas and give them the chance to pick what we do. Sometimes that ended up being a trip to the local pool, a movie party, playdates with friends, or learning a new craft or hobby. Saturday is our biggest work day, so it’s always “Saturday is a Special Day” – Sabbath prep and resetting the house so we’re ready for Sunday. And then, always, Sunday is a family day… a restful day that we reserve for family drives, dinners, that kind of thing.

If I did not have this daily theme system in place, it’s very likely that I would not be very proactive in getting the kids to do much of anything on a daily basis. I tend to be a go-with-the-lazy-flow mom when I don’t have a plan. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I really want my kids to have a productive and fulfilling summer, too. So, we mix in these activities, which typically take place in the morning, with lazy afternoons. I keep the afternoons “free time” for the kids, while I work and get things done around the house, and that has been a perfect routine for us – they get to experience something and have some structure to their morning, but the afternoon they get to do whatever they want (within reason, of course!) and I get some dedicated time to work.

So… let’s chat about the daily routine itself. 

I never put an assigned time to our summer routines… some mornings we’ll be up at 6am ready to go and others we’ll sleep in until 10. That’s the fun of summer, right?! So I like to just have a general flow to the day that starts when we’re up and ready to roll and ends with a consistent bedtime routine.

To come up with this routine, I jotted down a list of the things that need to get done every day and then I spaced them out so that between meals, we have time to get everything done. Before breakfast, I like to get the duck chores done… duck chores?! Yes. Duck chores. If you don’t have ducks, maybe you have other animals that need to be fed and taken care of in the morning… or maybe that line doesn’t fit your family at all!! 😉 That’s the beauty of this… just jot down whatever you feel needs to be done on a daily basis and then realistically plan it out between meals.

I like to use meals as anchors for the other activities that need to happen throughout the day… everybody’s gotta eat! So that’s a constant that gives our day a bit of a reliable rhythm and everything else sort of falls into place around those meal times. 

Are there days when the list goes to pot and we get very little on it done? Yep, you bet.

Are there days when it just feels like too much so we skip a thing or two? Yep, that too.

Are there days when we work the system perfectly?

Absolutely… in fact, most days go that way, and it is so satisfying!! 🙂 

I also thought I’d mention that my oldest kiddo, Stella, is 11 and she has a very free-spirited personality. She does not love routine and schedule naturally… she likes to ask if we reallllllly have to do these things. I like to throw in those spontaneous scrap-the-plan days for her sake, but I’ve found that she’s truly happiest when we do implement the schedule.

Printing the plan and putting it on the front of the fridge has been super helpful. I don’t have to remind the kids of what they’re supposed to be doing, and often times they’ve done all the morning stuff before I’m even ready for the day (how did I birth such early birds!?! I’m a total night owl and love sleeping in! haha!). They like to tell me they’re already done with the morning stuff and we can get on to our daily activity now. 🙂 It’s been really good for our naturally unstructured family to throw some routine into the day-to-day. I encourage you to try this if you’re looking for a little more structure this summer!!

Next week, I’ll be sharing some of the things I have planned for us throughout the summer, too. We like to keep things cheap (or free), simple, and still a ton of fun for the kids. So, what do you think of this kind of a routine?! I’d love to hear your thoughts, leave me a comment below!

 

Grab your editable/printable routine here!

{Create a copy and then edit to make it your own!}

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