My boys summer break officially begins today! It’s our first day home for the summer. To celebrate, they slept in our camper last night…right out in the driveway. It’s one of their favorite things to do in the summer.
Many years ago I decided to give some structure to our summer days. Nothing terribly constricting…just enough to keep things in balance. Here are the Savage Summer Strategies:
1) Chores and Basics need to be done by noon. (Chores are their assigned household responsibility for the day and Basics refers to bed made and teeth brushed.)
2) Tuesday and Thursday are “No Screen” days. That means no computer screens, video screens, or television screens. These days are usually filled with legos, board games, playing outside, running through the sprinklers, and reading.
3) Mondays are library days…so we have something to read on the “No Screen” days!
4) Room Time every afternoon for an hour. This one hour of separation helps keep the sibling rivalry at bay! (Yes, I know my boys are 12 and 15….we still do an afternoon of rest time or “room time.” It’s good for all of us! And if Erica is home–she’s 18–she joins in for room time, too! We’ve all come to appreciate the quiet break in the day.)
5) Each of the kids are in charge of making dinner for the family one night a week. This helps them learn to plan, shop, and cook…and it gives me a break, too!
So what summer strategies do you have in your family? I’m way overdue for a contest on my blog so this will be the June contest. Share your summer strategies as a comment on this post and your name will be entered into a drawing on Friday morning, June 5 for a Hearts at Home book of your choice!
We learn so much from each other. I can’t wait to glean some wisdom and encouragement from your wonderful ideas!
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My boys are 6, 4 and 1, and a couple of weeks ago I started thinking about how to add some structure to our summer days…I just don’t do well without a plan. Like you, I don’t want anything constricting, so I love your outline! Obviously, I can’t have them cook for us yet, but I’ll keep that in mind for when they’re older.
Unfortunately, my 4yo stopped napping when his baby brother was born 20 months ago, so this has been a struggle daily for a long time. But, he’s getting better at an hour of quiet time and I’m hoping that having my oldest here doing the same thing at the same time will make it work better this summer.
We’re heading to the library soon to sign up for summer reading program and to get some books to fill our quiet time!
I have been thinking and looking for something like this! I need some structure, but as you said, nothing too constricting! I have a 8, 5, and 3 year old so no screen days are not something I can orchestrate right now, but I like that idea. Maybe we could do that for a time. I do want to read more with them, and I love the idea of 1 hour room time! My boys share a room, so do you have any ideas for that?
Our plan includes going to our library program each week. They bring in all kinds of speakers and we have learned so much. We all really enjoy it, even me! And we have a free spray park near by that is so fun. I think I will be a more sane mom if I can get them in the habit of doing jobs around the house–here it gets so hot in the afternoon, we may play outside in the morning and work inside in the afternoon. I’ll have to think more about this plan. Thanks so much for the pointers!
Jill, you are a genious. Thanks so much for the ideas!
Well, My kids are only 3 & 1 so summer isn't any different for us. But, we do have a beginning of the summer party. To officially kick-off summer when my husband is home more during the evenings.
As with Jennifer, my daughter is 21months so we are in “summer” all year long. However, now that the weather is warmer (I live in MN) I am taking the time everyday to get outside and go to the park. Not only does she get fresh air and play time but I get a nice walk. I listen to my i-pod and can pray or just relax. I also make sure my daughter takes an afternoon nap. All to soon she won’t want to nap but I already know that we will be having a 1 hour quiet time.
I love the “all chores done by noon” idea!
I have no advice. I homeschool the kids so summer is my time, too. We just hang out and be lazy – lol.
I have a home daycare, so with four infants to take care of, it’s tough to balance having a 6 year old home for the summer! We sign up for the summer reading club at our library, and make different shapes out of construction paper to hang on her door. We did a “beach” them last year, cut fish shapes out, and after we finished a book we would write the title and author on a fish.
I also print activity sheets from the internet out for her to do in her room while the babies nap in the afternoon. It helps her retain some of the basic math and reading skills she’s learned in kindergarten, but she just thinks they’re for fun 🙂
These are wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing!
Shelly, when my boys shared a room, I had one of them go to the living room and one stay in their bedroom. Or sometimes one would go to my bedroom and one would stay in their bedroom (it all depended on whether I needed to take a nap during that hour or not!)
these are great ideas, Jill! with my son being 2, we are not at the point of having an actual ‘summer break’ just yet. we will go about our normal daily routine with some summer fun thrown in there. i signed us up for reading at the library once a week, i don’t want that to fall to the wayside just cause it’s nice outside. i did get us passes to our park districts water parks and to the park district’s farm. keeping a routine with a toddler is important, but throwing in some fun things to do as the seasons change is important too!
enjoy your family this summer! i will definetly write down your ideas for later years.
I copied an idea that my mother used to use with us when we were little. I make a list for my 4 yr old and my 6 yr old each day. It includes chores (make bed, put away clothes, etc.) as well as fun stuff (play pretend for 30 minutes, swing on the swing 10 times, etc.). My kids love to check things off the list and they do the chores without whining since they get to play as well.
We also do the afternoon rest time in our rooms. It cuts down on fighting.
I have a 13yr.old girl and 11yr old boy. We set a few boundaries. Showers before 10pm. Reading in bed 1/2 hr before lights out. Dressed, beds made and other chores before noon. They take turns doing dishes but we decided they would take care of own dishes for breakfast since they are eating at different times.
We signed up for reading program at the Library.
Barnes and Noble and Borders have reading programs for 6th grade and younger. When my kids were younger, Barnes and Noble had a some great activities for the kids. Reading times, craft and snack. Guest speakers and readers. My kids loved going there every week and it was free.
My kids like garage sales so we are planning on shopping at some and I have thought about giving them some fun challenges with finding things or a certain amount of money to spend.
We are going to have a sale with a neighbor so they have been cleaning out stuff to sell. We are also going to help someone with sale who is moving overseas.
They are each going to plan a meal to cook each week.
We are also going to make a list of things we want to do or projects to finish. We will keep track and mark off as we go.
We also have free concerts in our community and neighboring community so we will pack snacks or picnic and get out and enjoy with friends.
We keep the schedule loose but it is helpful to have some things planned.
What a lot of great Idea's. I have a 3 and 5 year old. We have always had rest time in the afternoon for 1 hour. My 5 year old uses that time to read.
We have learning time after breakfast, each kid picks something they want to know more about that day and we try to find different things about that subject. An example is learn about the letter A day, things that start with letter A, colors, shapes , a food we can eat, a craft we can make …sometimes we do it for the whole week if it's a broad subject.
Monday is for the library- ours has so many programs and events that are all free.
Fridays are clean your room days.
And everyday is a help your family day. 🙂
Treats are whatever fits in a small jar, they can pick one a day…(use that jar of your choice, I picked one that will not fit a bag of chips, there's only room for things like rasins, granola bars,and small hopefully healthy treats). I hope this is helpful.
I have really struggled with summer consistency over the years, so seeing all of these great ideas has been such a blessing!
On the snack issue….when our children were younger, we had a set snack time – 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This helped with the always asking for snacks as well as teaching patience and teaching time 🙂
What I struggle with now (my children are 9, 11, and 13) is they want their friends over EVERY day…any suggestions?!?
What great ideas! I can't wait to try some of them with my 5 and 7 yo! I homeschool as well and plan to do some schooling over the summer like a phonics program and beginning a foreign language. We also live near a beach and have signed up to be Sea Turtle Trackers. We went to a training yesterday and will go out one morning a week looking for sea turtle tracks. So they are helping an endangered species and having a fun beach day!
My sister and I came up with several ideas for our children (She has 3, and I have 2) that we could post on the fridge for our kids to choose from when they are "bored" this summer. It keeps us from needing to remember our ideas and give the kids some freedom to choose on their own. Here are a few of our ideas:
sidewalk chalk, ride bikes, crossword puzzles, bocce ball, draw a picture, write a letter to a friend (or they could email someone with permission), jump rope, make a card for someone, color, flash cards (my family has flash cards for the books of the Bible that the kids can practice putting in order), and of course all the normal things of tv/movie, video games, etc with limits.
We are planning to participate in the Barnes and Noble reading program that was already mentioned. If they read 8 books between now and early September, they can fill out a special page with the their favorite part of the book, get a parent signature and take the sheet to B & N for a free book (from a specific B & N list.) Supplies of the free books are limited, so I'm guessing the earlier the better, but we thought we'd give it a try to help give them a fun incentive. Here's the link if you are interested.
My kids are 7 + 4. Last summer we started a chart for my oldest that included fun activities and chores. It's about 25 days of about 15 choices each day, and he needed to do at least 7 each day. Things like write a letter, read for 30 minutes, run around the house/basement 20 times, read to sister, color/draw, make bed, put away silverware, do activity book pages, write in journal, practice piano, put clothes away, wild card (parents' choice), etc. When he filled in the chart, he got a nice reward. I need to start one for my daughter this summer.
We are doing the 1 hour of room time where my son reads, but it's harder for my daughter. She likes to make pictures with foamy stickers, but it's tough for her. I can't let her fall asleep or she's up late into the night.
To keep my sanity, I've hired a neighborhood teenage girl to come 1 morning a week for 3 hours. That's when I can go get groceries and run errands. And get some time by myself!
Don't forget to sign up for freeing bowlng all summer long: kidsbowlfree.com
found you thru your guest post on moneysavingmom. I look forward to taking some time and looking around your blog. Summer. .hits in 7 days for us. I have 4 kids (11, 9, 8, and 2) and I too am trying to come up with a summer structure. . I want to have some Bible reading in the am during or after breakfast. I want to spend 10 minutes on multiplication facts (for the 3 older ones) so they keep that fresh. I want to do some geography (10 minutes. . start learning where the countries are) and yes, room time is a must. .an hour in their rooms reading. And then helping with the house and dinner. We'll spend our mornings thru lunch time at the neighborhood pool so trying to figure out how to structure and fir in all I want to fit in in the afternoon. . I think I am "writing outloud" . . .thanks for the encouragement. .that this really is important to think thru. Snacks. . need to think that thru.. I give them $1 a week to spend at pool snackbar . .but yes, what about other snacks? Good suggestion. . .
Great ideas!!! I need to start thinking of some things to do!!
My son is 4 and will be heading to kindergarten in August so this is our last summer together before he starts to school.
We enjoy library time every week and participating in their summer reading program.
I know Lifeway is having a summer reading program too in their store.
I don't have a lot of structured activities or a schedule that changes drastically from what it's been since my son isn't in school yet.
I know something my Mom did that I liked in the summers was make a chore chart. Some of the things were chores and some were more fun/ educational type things. She gave point values to each item and I used the points I earned for special summer time treats, like going bowling (our bowling alley gave away summerfun passes for a free game every day all summer long), getting a snowcone, renting a special movie or game, etc.
Deb–you could try to establish a "Just family" day that is a day that no friends come over. When we lived in a neighborhood we also used a red flag that we would put outside the front and back doors to indicate to neighborhood kids that our kids couldn't play. That might help, too.
Oh, I LOVE rest time at our house! Seems like we've been doing it for a little under a year now. And at the same time as you — early afternoon (which is when my 3YO goes down for a nap). I always tell the kids to "go to their own planets." I enjoy having my own half-hour of "space." 🙂
I met you 9 years ago, when I spoke at one of your conferences. (I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my 9th child at the time.) Anyway, just doing some blog hopping and found your blog. Look forward to reading more.
I have 13 children now. We adopted 3 from Ghana a year ago.
As usual, I read all that you do with your family and can't believe how similar the Lord has shown us to raise our families. We do a 2 hour quiet time every afternoon, and it is wonderful for all of us. Since kids obviously share rooms at our house, we break up pairs of kids by putting one in the bedroom and one in the rec. room or living room.
Our kids also take turns making meals, and our adult children have thanked us many times for teaching them how to run a household when they were young.
I recommend your My Hearts At Home book to anyone that asks if I've written any books yet, because when I read it the first time I thought, "This is exactly what I would write if I were to write a book." I've already bought copies for my 3 adult daughters, for when they start raising families.
Many blessings to you and your family!
mama of 13