With only eighteen summers to spend with our kids we want to make the most of each one - without putting too much pressure on us as parents. Make a simple summer schedule to help you check off your summer bucket list and reach your family summer goals.
Summer is here and as much as I love being a stay at home mom and having the whole crew home with me (most days) it can quickly go from, “Woooo! No schedule! We can be lazy and do whatever!” to “What can we do now? Can we do something today? What is happening next?” Um, not how I want to spend my summer! I want to enjoy my time with the kids, not be constantly coming up with things for them to do.
I see the quote floating around all over the place right now about how we only have 18 summers with each of our kids. The days go so slowly sometimes (like when they won’t stop bickering) but man, do those years fly by. We only have nine left with our oldest and there is a good chance those last few will be shared with friends and summer jobs so we need to put the effort in now!
We aim to have a laid back summer in terms of daily life. We don’t sign up for activities other than Vacation Bible School (if our church offers it) and we only go on a few road trips. This means we are at home ALL THE TIME. Summer is our chance to be together without the interruptions that happen during the school year. No drop offs, no pick ups, no lunch packing or before or after school activities. Just together.
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I started our summer plans with figuring out goals for what I want this summer. The simpler the better because too many expectations or plans can put way too much pressure on a season that should be laid back and fun.
Summers are the perfect chance to dig in deeper to skills we want our kids to learn. Even though they have chores year round we don’t always have the opportunity to expand or work on fine tuning those skills because school comes first. Summer is our chance to spend more time in the kitchen learning how to cook, deep cleaning bedrooms and finding items to donate, and learning additional parts of normal chores.
It’s not the most glamorous part of summer by any means, but it’s vitally important. When I visited a college campus last week and saw flyers advertising an “adulting” class so students could learn how to do laundry, budget, and manage life on their own, it confirmed how much we need to be diligent and train our kids at home.
Creating and growing strong relationships with our kids and helping them build relationships between each other is a huge passion of mine. It’s not always easy because we are all human with unique (and sometimes far too similar) personalities. We push each other's buttons, let each other down, get in the way, and hurt others feelings. But we are also there to encourage one another, try new things together, comfort each other, and laugh as much as possible.
This summer we are spending less time zoning out in front of the tv (we definitely do screen time in this house!) and instead are swapping some of that time out for reading The Chronicles of Narnia together, playing board games, visiting the zoo and parks, and building with LEGO.
Ultimately if we are having fun together we are growing bonds between us. We bought a bunch of water guns and we’ve already had multiple water fights - and Micah and I are getting in on the action with them! We are going on full family bike rides now that Mercedes has learned to ride without training wheels. We are staying up late for movies and packing picnic lunches when we visit a park.
Summer bucket list
Just like prepping for the holidays I prep for summer break by asking the kids to tell me two things they want to do during the summer that would be a big bummer to miss out on. I always want to make sure we plan things they want to do rather than things I think they want to do, ya know?
Both sets of grandparents live several hours away. So far we’ve already visited Micah’s parents once. We are still trying to figure out a time to visit mine at their house but we will be visiting them at the lake in a few weeks.
Visit 5 new to us parks
Our city seems to build new parks as fast as the days change. In the few years we’ve lived in our house three or four new parks have been built. And then there are dozens upon dozens of parks in the area that we’ve never been to - ever! So we are going to try out five “new to us” parks this summer to try and discover a new favorite.
Try 4 new recipes
I love playing in the kitchen and trying new foods but I want the kids to help me decide. Since we rotate through kitchen helpers I’m going to let them choose one new meal to make when it’s their turn. This will also be a chance to teach them how to plan meals that coordinate ingredients.
Make homemade ice cream
I’ve had an ice cream maker attachment for several years but I don’t think we used it last summer at all! It’s truly a tragedy. Ice cream is so simple to make and homemade ice cream is incredibly delicious. I think we might need to pick up a few of these ice cream storage containers to make sure we can store it. It’s too easy to decide to eat it all at once when you can’t put it away safely for next time!
Read Harry Potter 3 (big 2)
Each summer the big boys and I read through the next book in Harry Potter. This summer we are reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. We used to read during nap time but now that Mercedes is old enough to stay up we’ve switched to reading at night after the younger three are in bed. We have the illustrated versions of the first three books and I am thrilled the fourth book comes out before we need it next summer!
I started reading The Chronicles of Narnia to the kids at bedtime during the school year. Want to know how far we made it? Maybe two-thirds of the way through the first book. By the time we finished dinner, cleaned up, and everyone got ready for bed there was often very little time for reading together. So I scrapped it until summer.
Each morning we are reading a chapter after Micah has left for work. The kids can play LEGO quietly or cuddle up on the couch to listen. We will finish The Magician’s Nephew this week and will start The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on Monday.
Grab your free printable Summer Bucket List Bingo cards - can you get five in a row? Includes cards for summer reading, food, adventures, and activities.
Daily summer schedule
This is our Monday - Thursday schedule. On Fridays Micah is home so we go grocery shopping after breakfast and we are usually out and about until lunch time or later.
Now, just because this is what our day looks like does not mean I think it’s a perfect schedule or what I think you should do. That 5am wake up? I’m not a huge fan. At all. In fact, I usually don’t make it out of bed until 515 most days and that’s a challenge. But if I want to get a workout in before the kids wake up and the toy-nado hits.
Also, the times for everything are pretty approximate. The kids know that snack happens around 10 and 3 (or whenever the little boys wake up from nap) but we definitely don’t keep a strict eye on the clock.
5am - Mom wakes up & works out
630am - Mom’s quiet time
8am - Breakfast
830am - Daily Chores
9am - Reading
10am - Snacks
1030am - Daily Activity
12pm - Lunch & Quick Pick Up
1pm - Naps for Littles
Games for Bigs
3pm - Snack
530pm - Dinner
630pm - Kitchen Pick Up
730pm - PJs & Prayers
8pm - Bedtime for Littles
Reading w/ Mom for Bigs
9pm - Bedtime for bigs
Daily activities range from riding bikes outside, going to a park, visiting the zoo, going for a walk, or just playing in the backyard. There are plenty of ways to have fun without leaving home so this is my go-to list for when we stay at home.
I rarely limit outside time unless the heat is too high or it’s pouring. Those are the days we play play-doh, get crafty, or lounge around watching movies.
While the little boys nap I spend the first hour playing a game with the big three and any remaining time is spent working. The big kids are allowed to read or play quietly in their rooms while I sit in the living room with my computer writing posts, creating images, or whatever else needs to be done.
Our schedule is never set in stone and I’m always willing to adjust if we feel it’s not working. Every year is a little different as our kids grow and have changing needs and abilities. Soon naps will be completely eliminated and something else will take it’s place. Or maybe I’ll switch it to teenager naps :)