It’s the beginning of June. Everywhere I see kids excited by the incoming summer days and being off the school. I see moms wearing cotton dresses and sunglasses…families putting final touches to their vacation plan…and working moms planning the summer schedule for their kids. Wherever you live, your primary school-aged kids will probably have around 9 weeks off this summer.

Do you realize it’s almot 300 hours of non-school-time for the whole summer?

Hmm…. Am I the only one to cringe a tiny bit at this idea of facing 32 days of unstructured time with my sweet little tribe?

As a parent, our hopes and dreams for the summer are often a mix of family fun, loads of quality times and a bunch of good naps too. But let’s be real for one sec. Sometimes something different happens: for 5 days we’ll have a blast doing “nothing” and enjoying ourselves with unplanned playdates with neighbors or just simple trips to the park. And soon enough, the kids will become bored, and we will find ourselves stuck with an uneasy feeling of frustration when the house looks like a mess and the kids had way too much screen time – not if you ask them, of course 🙂

So the question remains: we all have dreams about summer activities, tons of family fun and quality time with the kids. But how do we make that happen? How can we keep the kids entertained this summer without over-scheduling? How on Earth will we be able to create fantastic family memories this summer… when it’s so challenging to find the right balance between quality time with the kids and our personal rest as a parent? And for all moms of the universe with younger kids, another difficult question still remains: How do you keep the house “tidy enough” with kids at home all summer?

Yes, the situation will differ drastically from the busy working mom who needs loads of quality time with her kids and also loads of down time to have some rest … and the stay-at-home-mom who needs a summer schedule with loads of kids-friendly activities to keep boredom away. Not even mentioning the work-at-home mom (hey, that’s me!) whose desire is to allow some work-time all summer long, even with the kids at home.

Whatever the unique life-configuration you’re in, I have 2 words for you: Summer Schedule.

And yes I hear you, the idea of scheduling and bringing in more structure to our life… doesn’t quite fit with the idea of an easy and tranquil summer… But pleeease hear me out just for one sec: achieving a fantastic summer is within reach with just a simple Summer Schedule, only if this schedule is totally fitted to your own unique and personal situation, brainstormed with your family and combined with a smart Kids’ Summer Checklist.

And this is why:

  • With a Summer Schedule, you’ll plan ahead loads of family fun, so you’ll be 100% sure to create some fantastic summer memories with the kids. Yes, a lot of unexpected will still happen in the upcoming weeks, but your Summer Schedule will give you the best shot to make key things happen. When a key event is planned, it’s more likely to happen!!
  • Then, creating a Summer Schedule begins with brainstorming Summer Activities Ideas with the kids. Creating a Summer Schedule WITH the kids instead of creating one FOR the kids is a total game-changer; empowering the kids, lightening the pressure on our shoulder, growing the family spirit… the benefits of the family are tremendous!
  • Additionally, drafting a Summer Schedule with the kids is a great opportunity to leverage a Summer Checklist for the kids at the same time. Making it a win-win situation, in other words… The Summer schedule will make sure kids have tremendous fun all summer long…while the Summer Checklist will allow us to maintain some sort of control on the mundane: kids contributing at home, maybe even reading or writing time as recommended by some teachers.
  • Bust most importantly for some of us moms, including quiet and independent time in the Kids’ Summer Checklist, is the proven way to accommodate some personal time or work time for you as a parent, in the kids’ schedule this summer.

Not completely on board yet?

Worried about the time you’ll need to create your own Summer Schedule, Summer Activity Ideas and Summer Checklist for kids? It’s true to say that if you’re drafting ones from scratch, you should be ready to give plenty of time to this project.

But what if I told you I created a simple step-by-step plan to facilitate the whole process? Yep! Now, I’m helping you create your own Summer game-plan in only 90 MINUTES!

Step #1: Summer Activities

This step is the « meat » of your Summer game-plan and takes about one hour.

This is how it works. First, using the template provided here, brainstorm with your kids and husband your own Summer Activities Ideas. My template allows you to use some guidelines, i.e. “themes” for each day of the week. This is the quickest way to create a great list of Summer Activity Ideas. Choosing one theme for each day of the week will help the ideas fly during the brainstorm session.

Help everybody to contribute to the brainstorm and set yourself a goal of filling in all the bullet point in one hour max! If you have a very long summer to plan, it could be a good idea to print 2 copies of this Summer Activities sheet. Keep ideas simple and thrifty too! The point is to create fantastic & quality-time-filled summer memories, not to get you broke and exhausted!

Step #2: Summer Schedule

Then, print as much as Summer Schedule sheets as weeks you need to plan. This steps will take you only 5 minutes, right? In my case, I’ll have 9 weeks from end-of-school till back-to-school, so I’ll print 9 sheets.

Now, using the ideas for your Summer Activities List, fill in each day of the upcoming weeks with only ONE or TWO ideas per day at a maximum. You can definitely plan only one or two weeks at a time.

No over-scheduling, please!!! Remember to plan breaks and days off in the middle of the week also and try to stick to ONE big event per week and some simple activities through the week.

Step #3: Kids’ Summer Checklist

Finally, my favorite part of the process: creating the Kids’ Summer Checklist. This step is only 5 minutes also.

First, print one Kids’ Summer Checklist template for each of your kids. Fill in the blanks to make it work for your child. Only you will know what will fly for him/her! The Summer Checklist is a proven tool to help your kid contribute to the household. And it allows you to not become the family’s servant this summer 😎. But most of all the house will remain “tidy-enough” all summer long. Yeah!!!

Additionally, kids can benefit from a decent time of reading and writing also through summer. A Summer Checklist is a great help to make sure this is really happening on a day-to-do basis. My pro tip? Place the Summer Checklist in a sheet cover on a clipboard. It’s going to make your child’s life so must easier when checking off his/ checklist with some dry-erase marker! No more printing the checklist over and over again…

The best part of it? To get more personal or work time as a parent this summer, make sure the Summer Checklist include activities with a certain amount of quiet and independent time!

Need some ideas to create your own Kids’s Summer Checklist?

These are some ideas that work well with my sweet little tribe. For my 11 and 9-year-old, I buy a lot of novels at the beginning of the summer (they’re picking new ones in the bookstore as well as favorites in the library) and also a great deal of age-appropriate activity books. I also print a bunch of writing prompts from the internet (you can choose some over there). Then, on their Summer Checklist, you can read:

  • After breakfast, do your morning routine: make your bed, brush teeth, help clear the breakfast table, get dressed, put away your pajama
  • Read one your novels for 30 minutes at a minimum
  • Write in your summer journal for 15 minutes
  • Play/ Create/Build something independently from one your Activity Books for 30 minutes
  • Do something nice for your siblings: read a book, play with the baby, propose a board game
  • Before dinner, give a hand to tidy the family room
  • After dinner, do your evening routine: tidy up your room, do your daily chore, take shower, brush your teeth

This way, I know that I will have at least one and a half full hour of work time on mornings after breakfast. But after this kids’ quiet and independent time, I can only say that the day is rushing through its end… As a mom of 4 during summer there’s no way I’ll find some personal or work time at another point of the day. The only way to find this work time is to engrave some quiet and independent time in the Kids’Summer Checklist.

And, yes, the kids WILL have screen time at one point… but as for me I definitely need to grab a novel or take a nap with the baby. Because this is summer for me, yo! So…. I’m using my best shot in the mornings to protect my work time before the kids can take that over 😜

Optional

You can also use some Technology Vouchers to better manage kids’ screen time this summer. Don’t forget to ask the kids to use Technology Vouchers with a kitchen timer! The kids are the ones who need to take responsibility for ending their technology time, not you!

Let’s wrap things up!

  • One hour for brainstorming a game-changing Summer Activities List Ideas,
  • plus 20 minutes to set-up your Summer Schedule for the upcoming week,
  • plus 10 minutes to set up your Kid’s Summer Checklist.

It’s a total of ONE hour and 30 minutes. As you see, 90 minutes of summer prep can go a long way to do summer better this year!!!

If you ask me, that’s quite a small investment for a fantastic summer with your kids 😉

So yes, even if you’re a real busy-bee, as you still have hopes and dreams about your summer, you can plan your own fantastic summer with kids. Just take a seat, print the game-plan, brainstorm with the family… and have your best summer ever with the kids!!

Happy Organizing!

Elise

This is the first post in a series of 4, where I share strategies, tactics and printable tools for moms to enjoy an amazing summer this year. To keep everything nice and tidy, here’s the link to the other posts in the series: