Inside: Are your kids home this summer? We do these 6 things every day during the summer so I don’t go crazy and I can enjoy the summer days as much as my kids and so I don’t wish away their summer.
But, I’m bored…
Excuse me, but what?
It’s 8 am. How can you be bored already?
It never fails. Every summer my kids are bored the minute screen time is not allowed.
I’d love to say that I put my kids in summer camps or send them off to sleepaway camps, but it’s not in the budget.
They get a few camp days and the rest of the time they get Camp Mom. They get me.
And at Camp Mom, it’s not all rainbows and glitter.
I want them to have a fun summer, but I also can’t have a free for all.
Because I want to enjoy summer too.
I want to not lose my ever-loving mind.
And I’d love to not wish away their summer by counting down the minutes until they head back to school.
Here’s how we will enjoy the kids home this summer without going crazy:
There are 6 things we do (almost) every summer day, no matter what.
It gives us structure and my kids know what to expect.
They know if they can get through these things without complaining or bickering, they get to #6 faster, which is hands-down what they look forward to every day.
These 6 things keep my kids from:
- whining about being bored,
- being in their pajamas all day, every day
- begging for screen time,
- forgetting what they learned in school, and
- bickering with each other.
And it allows us to:
- enjoy each other’s company,
- get ready for the next school year,
- read more books,
- have fun activities we look forward to,
- all help around the house, and
- have a more peaceful, enjoyable home during the summer months.
1. Summer Learning
Because I’m an ex-elementary school teacher, I know what happens to kids’ brains and memories during the summer months.
They turn to mush.
Kids forget things they had mastered in June by the time September rolls around. So we do “summer learning,” every day.
All three kids spend time writing, doing some math, problem-solving, and learning a new skill they need to know or need to review (multiplication facts, addition facts, typing, learning their letters, cutting with scissors, counting money, etc.)
My kids know if they do Summer Learning without complaining, they get to #6 faster. And it’s their ticket to screen time.
2. Reading Challenge
Reading isn’t included in our Summer Learning time because it’s in addition to summer learning. And to get my kids to read, we use this incredible Reading Challenge from the Measured Mom.
I’ve tried summers without it and I will never skip it again. That’s how good it is at motivating my kids to read more books. Even my “reluctant” reader.
For older kids or more advanced readers, swap out “100 Books” to “100 Chapters.”
And if you don’t want to do “Summer Learning,” insisting your kids read daily will also prevent a Summer Slide!
RELATED: Not sure what books are just right for your kids’ reading level? Use this old teacher trick.
3. Morning Structure
Kids need structure, even in the summer.
We can’t have 68 days of summer-yes I counted-of my kids staying in their pajamas until 4 pm every day where their teeth never get
brushed and they eat cereal for “breakfast” at 11 am. It’s going to make me go crazy and wish away their summer.
So, my kids get dressed, brush their teeth, make their beds, and get ready for the day. They also eat breakfast at a “normal” breakfast-eating time.
Plus, when my kids have structure and are busy, it limits the bickering and the sibling quarrels and the pushing of each other’s buttons.
No one likes chores.
But they’re a part of living in a house with other people: dishes get used, clothes get dirty, and the floor is always filthy.
So my kids “owe the family” at least one chore a day.
And more importantly, they have to do their chore without complaining.
We’ve asked our kids to help with:
- emptying the trash,
- emptying the dishwasher,
- loading the dishwasher,
- wiping down the kitchen table,
- sorting the recycling,
- cleaning the door handles with disinfectant wipes,
- picking up toys,
- their own laundry,
- and helping in the backyard.
Teaching kids to do the chore takes time and effort on our part but it will 100% be worth it.
Related: How to Raise a Helper
5. Free Play, Unstructured Time
And as much as my kids need structure, they also need to be bored on purpose and to figure out what to do on their own.
With this “forced boredom,” every day my kids are required to find something to do without me giving them something to do.
I’m not a cruise director and there is definite value in learning how to entertain themselves.
And if they come to me with a “there’s nothing to do” whine, I offer up toilet cleaning as a boredom solution.
It’s amazing how creative kids can get when their only other option is to clean a toilet.
I also often suggest finding a game or puzzle to play with a sibling to encourage sibling connections.
They go dust off toys they haven’t played with in a while and usually get super creative… legos, blocks, play food, dress up, barbies, drawing, coloring, activity books, and play-doh.
6. Fun, Special Activity:
Here’s where a little bit of rainbows and glitter and creativity from me comes in.
I want to go experience new things with my kids and take them on adventures.
I want them to be excited about their summer days.
And if they have something to look forward to, and something to work towards, they’re much more likely to remember to be kind to one another and listen to me.
So each day we often do something special, depending on the day of the week.
Make It Monday
Try It Tuesday
Thinking and Thoughtful Thursday
Field Trip Friday
Here’s our list of summer fun activities I choose from and a FREE Weekly Summer Schedule with 50+ Ideas so you can plan out your days too.
It takes a little planning, but every day we pick something off our summer fun list for each day of the week.
Each activity varies in the level of planning and time required, but I get to choose what we do each day if they’ve “earned” it by doing all their other “requirements” from above.
#7 BONUS: Spreading some Summer Kindness
We use this Summer Kindness Bucket List to help encourage our kids to spread more kindness this summer.
It gives them something to do AND it helps others at the same time.
So enjoy your 68 days with your kids… and if they’re driving you a little crazy, remember that back to school is around the corner.