The summer season is a good time: sleeping in, swimming at the pool, reading books, and lots of uninterrupted time with my children…wait a second…the thought of lots of uninterrupted time with my children every summer can sometimes be a cause for panic! So I’ve done some thinking and some online research and discussing with other moms, and this is the plan that I have come up with for our family this summer. Our goal is to keep our brains and bodies active and our house clean!
6:45 Mom wakes up
7:00 Morning Mile Run (for mom and sometimes Anwyn, and sometimes Lily and Zach on their bikes)
7:45 Family Prayer, Read 5 verses in the Book of Mormon, Breakfast
Morning Fit: If we don’t get out and play first thing in the morning, the Florida heat and humidity will keep us inside the rest of the day. So right after breakfast we head outdoors for some physical fitness. The children take turns picking the activity: bike ride, playground at a park, tennis, soccer/balls. Basically any activity that gets us outdoors and moving.
Morning Things: Daily personal care habits: get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, make beds, put away clothes.
Morning Work: Since I have three children, I divided our house into three cleaning zones: kitchen, living room, and bathrooms. The children rotate weekly being in charge of one zone. I work with the children to teach them how to clean their zone. For example, depending on the age of the child, the kitchen zone involves emptying and loading the dishwasher, clearing the breakfast table, sweeping the floor, etc. The living room needs to be picked up, and sometimes dusted and sometimes vacuumed.
Once the three morning things are done, the children have earned 30 minutes of “learning screen time”: a show on PBS, learning apps on the iPad, or websites like starfall, pbskids, abcya.com, or brainpop. Sometimes they do a screen together, but we usually end up with 1 child on the computer, 1 on the iPad, and 1 watching the TV.
Practice Time: to keep our brains active, the children are encouraged to practice something for at least 15 minutes. My 4-year-old reviews his activities from his speech therapy. My 6-year-old does reading lessons or practices sight words (I am trying to come up with fun ways to practice these and have a list of ideas). My 9-year-old is currently practicing typing at the keyboard. Once they have completed practice time (and done some other activities) they have earned 30 minutes of free choice screen time.
Reading between the lines here, and you can probably see that screen time is the best motivator I have to encourage my children to get things done!
The rest of the day is a little less structured. I try to plan an activity for each day: playdates with friends, library trips, swimming at our neighborhood pool, etc. We usually swim at least 3 days a week, sometimes more (in my effort to tire my children out so they will go to sleep at night!). And we read books-picture books, chapter books, or individual reading (the Ant Bug read the first four Harry Potter books in four days this week).
I am hoping to work in more creative time and science experiments and hands on activities, but in the first two weeks of summer we have stayed pretty busy so far!
What are you doing to survive the summer?