I am a list-maker at heart, so when summertime comes around I am secretly thrilled at the opportunity to make a new list to help my children organize their days. This summer our lists come in two pieces: a Household Work chart and a Daily Must Do list. Keep in mind that my children are ages 12, 9, and 7 (the 2-year old is currently exempt from the list).
The Household Work chart is simply our chore chart, and includes 5 sections. Chores are rotated weekly (I just move the names around on the chart).
- Morning Things are the typical get ready for the day tasks: get dressed, brush teeth and hair, make your bed, make sure your clothes are put away. Each child does this everyday.
- Each child is given one Daily Job: empty bathroom trash and wipe down the sink, empty recycling, or empty dishwasher. My kids have been doing these tasks for a while now and are comfortable with each of the tasks.
- I am changing things up for our 5 o’clock Jobs (this used to be table jobs, and each child was in charge of one aspect of setting the table-plates, forks, or filling water cups). In our new system, one child is the dinner helper–they help me with meal preparations, and they get to give input on the menu for the week. One person is in charge of setting the table. One person is in charge of keeping the two-year-old brother Adam happy and out of trouble.
- We have tried After Dinner Jobs in the past, but haven’t been very successful. It is often easier for me to just do the dishes, but I am finally ready to spend the time teaching my kids how to clean up after a meal. One person will clear the table and sweep the floor, one person will wash the table and load the dishwasher, and the other will rinse and wash dishes.
- Weekly Jobs are once a week, usually on Saturdays. We have two bathrooms, and a living room, so each child gets one room. They have already been doing these jobs for a while and are fairly independent.
The other big part of our summer schedule is our Daily Must Do list. The tasks on the list are things that we believe are important to do everyday. The list includes:
- 30 minutes of exercise (before 9 a.m.): The Florida heat and humidity keeps us mostly inside (except when we are at the pool), so it is important to get moving outside before it is too hot. The kids like ride bikes or rollerblades, or we will run/walk a few miles.
- Scripture study: Lily and Zach each have a goal to read The Book of Mormon this year. Anwyn has her own scripture study goals.
- Piano practice (20 minutes a day): I teach piano lessons year-round, and summertime is the perfect time to make progress.
- Workbook pages: I ordered these Summer Brain Quest workbooks for Zach and Lily. They add stickers to a map when they complete their tasks, and the material is pretty engaging. It will keep them thinking. As a rising seventh grader, Anwyn has a school assignment to work on, or she will find other things to learn and review.
- Memorization: we work on memorizing Articles of Faith or scriptures that we study at Family Home Evening.
- Life Skills (choose 2 from the list): life skills are activities that we feel are worthwhile. Most activities can take 10-20 minutes each (but my hope is that they will get immersed in a task-like LEGO for example–and spend a lot more time on some). I put together a list for reference, and it includes skills that we want our kids to learn (for example-Zach needs to learn how to tie his shoes summer, and I want to focus on kitchen skills measuring, peeling, eggs, and following a recipe). You can download my list of activities here: 2017 Life Skills Suggestions
There are two other sections on the Daily List page. The Healthy Eating section gives space to keep track of the number of fruit and vegetables and sweet treats eaten each day (hopefully the fruits and veggies will far outnumber the treats!). I included this section to encourage the children to be mindful about what they are eating each day.
The last section is a Family Time Report. This is something new that I am trying. Our children need some practice speaking in front of people, so this will be their opportunity to present something that they have learned or worked on or read that day.
You may notice that I don’t have any reading time on our list. My kids are avid readers, and getting them to read is not hard (really, the effort is to get them to do something besides reading!).
By now, the question you may be asking is “how do you get your kids to actually do the list?!”. The biggest motivator for my children is getting screen time (xbox, movies, computer games, etc). The question I hear from my kids everyday is “When do we get screen time?” And the answer is “When you have finished your list.” My children will earn ten minutes for each item they complete on their Daily list, for a total of 60 minutes. If there is whining or complaining about their jobs, then they can lose screen time. Screen time if not used cannot be used another day. Screen time must be finished by 5 p.m., to prepare for dinner and allow for family time after dinner.
Completing the list should really only take 1-2 hours, and the rest of the day is open for other activities like going to the pool, playing with friends, etc.
Feel free to download the lists I created here: 2017 Summer List (includes the chore list and the daily must do’s).
This is what I have planned for our summer, and I’m sure I will end up tweaking it overtime. Over the years I have had a lot of different versions of the daily list. See the 2015 version, the 2014 version , the 2011 version, and the 2009 version (when my kiddos were just itty bitty!!).