Our Summer “Schedule”

posted by Andrea | 06/8/2017
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Today is Dave’s last day of school — which means our family officially starts summer vacation TOMORROW! 

I know many of you aren’t nearly as excited as I am for summer vacation — especially working parents who now need to find childcare for their school-age children. However, since my kid are young enough that I’m home with them all day during the school year, having Dave home everyday for 10 weeks in the summer is something I look forward to every year!

It’s hard to believe another school year has flown by… but here we are, on the threshold of another summer just waiting to be savored.

I’m honestly not one of those overly-emotional, overly-nostalgic people… but I do love summer vacation. My mom was a teacher and my dad was self-employed so even growing up, our whole family was often around for most of the summer, and I have lots of good summertime memories — swimming in my neighbor’s pool, making forts in the woods behind my parent’s house, and watching WAY too much TV 🙂

Anyway… although I do enjoy the more laid-back pace summer usually brings for our family, Dave and I (and our children) all function better and are happier if we still stick to somewhat of a loose daily schedule and routine.

And since I’ve already gotten so many emails from readers asking for what we do to stay on a schedule during the summer, I figured today was a good day to share!

Some of the questions I’ve gotten are:

  • Do we have our kids do certain chores on certain days? And do we pay them for these chores?
  • Do we monitor TV and screen time more during the summer?
  • Do we sign our kids up for sports camps, swimming lessons, or summer school?
  • Do we do educational activities at home?
  • What types of fun summer things do we incorporate into our days?

I’ll be honest, our kids are still really young in my opinion (5, 3, and almost 2) so we pretty much just hang out at home, play with neighbor kids, go to local parks, and stop by grandparents’ homes.

That said, we do still have some sort of a routine that we follow every day.

MORNING:

The kids wake up around 7:00 and can watch a couple TV shows while Dave and I finish getting ready and get breakfast on the table. This year, Dave and I are hoping to get up at 6:00 every day so we have some time to cross a few things off our list and be dressed and ready to go before the kids wake up. We’ll see how that goes 🙂

Eat breakfast and clean up the kitchen.

Get the kids dressed and ready for the day.

Go outside to play in the driveway while it’s still cool and shady (the swingset area is very sunny in the morning).

Have a snack at some point.

Continue playing outside until lunch — sometimes with neighbor friends, sometimes at a park, sometimes just with each other.

AFTERNOON:

We eat lunch between 11:30 and noon pretty much every day. Sometimes, I go through the extra work to make it a picnic lunch. SO much hassle with little kids but they always love it so much 🙂

After lunch, we usually read a few books and then I put James down for a nap. Sometimes Simon requests to take a nap as well (seriously, he’s such a good sleeper!)

While James is napping, Dave and I try to take turns doing something fun with Nora and Simon. Maybe I’ll run a couple more “fun” errands with them or Dave will take them for a bike ride or to play at his school’s gym. Sometimes we’ll do a craft, bake a special treat, get the kiddie pool out, or let them watch a special movie.

If I’m with Nora and Simon, Dave will use that time to mow the lawn, work on a house project, or do some school prep (yes, teachers work on school stuff throughout the summer). If Dave is with Nora and Simon, I’ll use this time to work on a blog post, do VA work, make dinner, or do yard work.

Once James is awake, they have a snack and then they usually play upstairs or outside (depending on the weather) until dinner.

EVENING:

We eat dinner by 5:00 pretty much every night. We do a lot of grilling in the summer and definitely more fast food than during the school year. We also try to invite people over for dinner at least once a week.

After dinner, the kids usually go outside to play for a little bit longer. I often use this time to water my annuals or pick veggies from the garden.

We start their baths (Nora takes a shower now!) around 6:30ish and they are almost always sleeping by 7:30. Sometimes we let them stay up a little later in the summer, but usually we try to get them to bed between 7 and 7:30 because they still always wake up at the same time.

Once the kids are in bed, Dave and I do yard work, house projects, blog/school work, etc. Sometimes, Dave will go for a run or I’ll go for a walk (not at the same time!), sometimes I’ll run errands, and sometimes we just sit and watch a movie.

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At this point, we do NOT stress about doing specific educational activities with our kids, nor do we intend to sign them up for any sort of summer camp or activity. We might do a week of swimming lessons for Nora and Simon again, but I haven’t decided yet.

I realize our children are younger, so we don’t have a lot of outside pressure to do summer school, sports camps, or even elaborate family vacations, but I really hope we can keep our summer weeks relatively low-key for a few more years.

I definitely don’t think summer school, sports camps, or vacations are bad — they are just “more” and sometimes “more” isn’t always better in my opinion!

Our time for camps and vacations and “more” will come soon enough — for now, our “summer schedule” is to have fun, relax, do things we might not normally do when Dave is in school, finish a few house projects, and spend lots of time outside!

How’s that “schedule” sound!?!

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23 comments

  1. Lynda

    06/09/2017

    Sounds heavenly! I cherish summers like that although we are getting a bit busier with sports. Not everyday though….. still lots of days at the lake, playing with cousins, catching frogs, cookouts & smores Good stuff! Enjoy your summer and family!

    [Reply]

  2. Kristyn Stewart

    06/08/2017

    What kind of kiddie pool is that? It’s adorable!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    It’s a “Step 2 Splash Center”. They don’t make them anymore so you’d have to find one used. They are fantastic!

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  3. Pixie508

    06/08/2017

    My oldest is Nora’s age, and this is the first year he can participate in our church’s VBS. I’ve volunteered the last few years. Thankfully, my MIL lives around the corner from church, and has happily watched the younger kids while myself and my SIL volunteer, and her older kids attend. My 5yo is SUPER excited to go this year. It makes for a kind of crazy week, but it’s also tons of fun. We also signed him up for a week of “Safety Town” – as a kid, I felt like I missed out, because both of my parents worked, so we were in daycare/camp, and people always referenced Safety Town – so, I signed him up – it’s in the mornings for 1wk, and not far from our house, and also close to the park, so I figure I’ll wear the little one out while he’s there, and then we can lunch and nap!

    I joked that the rest of summer is “Camp Mommy” – which basically means we’ll spend our days at local pools/splash pads/parks, our house or the house of a few close friends since we all have kids the same age, and at our local zoo (we’re members, and the kids love it). I try to get the kids out of the house and moving at least 3 days a week, otherwise, they’d be begging for TV and screen time. Otherwise, we basically keep a schedule that mirrors our school year schedule. I do allow the kids to sleep a smidge later than school year time, but nap (for the little one) and bedtime, and our meal times remain pretty consistent, save a few fun plans (we’re planning one night at the Drive-In when Cars 3 comes out, 4th of July, and a couple other such activities). It makes the transition easier when school goes back in session.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Sounds like your kids will have a really fun summer!!

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  4. Francie

    06/08/2017

    This is just in time for summer. I was about to post my summer to do list and I thought what would Andrea do!lol.Long story short, I had to revise to a more sane schedule! Thanks! http://www.supersimpleways.com

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  5. Meghan

    06/08/2017

    Thanks for sharing your schedule! My oldest just asked me today if I have our summer schedule ready. (I type it up and include pictures, laminate it, and post it in the kitchen.) He loves school and has a bit of an emotional time adjusting to the change, so the schedule really helps give him an anchor. I need the schedule because without it would be 11:00, everyone would still be in their pajamas, and I would be shocked to realize that lunch time is right around the corner.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I can see it being tough to adjust to the new “at home” routine. We’ll see how Nora does next year after a year of full-day school!

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  6. Rebecca G

    06/08/2017

    No wonder you look forward to summer! So much play time! I have to ask – with so many hours of play outside, what do *you* do during that time? Sounds like a great time to read!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well, I try to do a lot of yard work while the kids are playing outside — weeding, pruning, deadheading, watering etc.

    However, because my kids are pretty young, they do still like a lot of attention from me and/or Dave while we’re outside. So often, I just sit in a chair and watch them jump, swing, climb, slide, play in the sand, etc. Not horrible! Sometimes I can get away with reading on my phone, other times, they want my FULL attention!

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  7. Debbie

    06/08/2017

    Sounds like such a fun summer! I wish for those kinds of summers.

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  8. Emily

    06/08/2017

    Sounds like a wonderful schedule! Our summers in West Michigan are so beautiful (and short!). Love to take it easy and enjoy it. Happy summer!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, short! So let’s enjoy them!

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  9. Tracey

    06/08/2017

    Sounds wonderful! I’ve mostly been a work at home mom, and even though my husband isn’t off in the summer, I’ve always looked forward to the kids being home and a more laid-back schedule. We’re such homebodies, and enjoy doing things around the house like you guys.

    In the photo with your sisters, I see such a resemblance between James and your younger sister!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, James DEFINITELY favors my immediate family (specifically my Dad — and my youngest sister looks a lot like my dad too!)

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  10. Michelle

    06/08/2017

    I love your “schedule”…it sounds great to me!

    Just wondering though…how do you get rid of extra kids when you need to stick to your schedule such as lunch so you’re not feeding extra people?

    Also, do you have a lunch menu that you stick to? My grandkids seem to want to eat constantly and they’re big snackers and not so great about eating a healthy lunch with snacks later.

    It seems like planning 3 meals with snacks, the shopping, preparing, and clean-up is a full time job when the kids are home all day long.

    Thank you in advance for your answers and suggestions–if you have time to even reply! Sounds like life keeps you very busy!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I just send them home when it’s time to eat. I’ve honestly never felt bad about it at all. I would expect other families to send my kids home for lunch too.

    And yes, I shared our lunch ideas a couple weeks ago (http://andreadekker.com/easy-at-home-lunches/). I don’t necessarily “plan” our breakfasts or lunches in advance like I do our dinners. We just rotate between the same few options for breakfast and lunch everyday — same thing with snacks. It makes things very easy and no one seems to get bored with the food choices.

    Cleaning up, on the other hand, takes a lot more effort these days!!

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    Pixie508 Reply:

    Much like Andrea –
    Breakfast is almost always fruit, frozen waffle (homemade or store bought)/toast/cereal, and sometimes eggs or yogurt. Rarely is anything else available.
    Lunch is either PB&J, lunch meat sandwich, or cheese & crackers along with a veg, and if they have a sandwich, something like pretzels or goldfish. Lucky days are when there’s some leftover cold pizza. It’s enough rotation that they’re happy.

    Lunch clean-up is almost always only dishes. Breakfast is the same, unless I make eggs, then the pan/spatula needs cleaned. I try to minimize the mess created there, because I don’t want to spend my time cleaning, haha.

    Dinner is by far the biggest time commitment. I try to prep stuff while my youngest naps, so I can be more efficient when it comes time to make dinner.

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  11. Lou

    06/08/2017

    Sounds perfect! Produces happy, healthy kiddos. You’re doing a great job!

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  12. Karen

    06/08/2017

    I am a teacher and beyond thrilled it’s summer! I agree it is a time of year where we can just savor the simple things. This will be my first time teaching a month of summer school but with a planned vacation in July I’ll still have plenty of summer to enjoy. I love seeing your old photos. We’re similar in the fact we both had long, thick hair as kids and are now sporting short hair. Thanks for sharing your schedule.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, LONG THICK (curly/frizzy) hair… and now so short and simple! I LOVE the short hair!!

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  13. Kimberley

    06/08/2017

    That sounds so great! My husband stays home with our kiddos and I wish he was more organized (I am the organized one of our marriage). His schedule with the kids is all over the place and it stresses me out while I am at work lol.

    We live in Texas and it is already so HOT here…going outside is hard to do but I wish he did take them out more. Anyway, I love your schedule and I love that there is routine!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well, you probably get outside a lot more in the “winter” when we are cooped up inside with frigid temperatures.

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