I’m excited to have my fellow blogger and mom friend contribute to the blog with today’s post! Amanda Bradley is the author of Pure Living Mama. We joined forces to bring you helpful information to survive the summer now that the kids are home from school. Keep reading on how to create a summer routine for you and your kiddos. Be sure to check out my post on a summer survival guide for moms and how to have a great time with your kids.
Create Awesome Summer Routines
Guest Post by Amanda Bradley, www.akbradley.com
Ready or not, here comes summer! With summer comes all the joy of having more time with your kiddos but it can also be a stressful time for mamas who want to retain some semblance of order over their lives! I’m a mama who appreciates order in her life, even if my kids don’t always agree! Whining, scuffles, and boredom run rampant in kids of all ages if they have too much unstructured time. Spontaneous feuds inevitably erupt during structured time as well however kids typically do better when they follow a routine (emphasis on the regular naps to banish crabbiness!). So if you’re a loving mama of amazing kiddos looking for tips and tricks on creating a summer routine, read on!
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I am all about brainstorming ideas and making lists. My life would be an incredibly unorganized disaster if I didn’t write things down in a planner like this daily planner for moms. Therefore, my first recommendation for developing a useful summer routine centers around spending some time thinking about the different types of activity categories you want your kids engaging in throughout the upcoming sun-filled summer days. Start with the obvious nap, food, bath activities and branch out from there. Other examples of essential activities to include would be outdoor fun, the ever dreaded chore time , playdates, field trips, and educational time.
After you’ve developed the larger activity categories, you can start breaking them down into individual activities. There are tons of amazing stuff under each category such as pool time, driveway chalk creations, bug searches, and scavenger hunts that can fall in the outdoor fun category. Similarly, educational time has limitless possibilities such as independent or shared reading time, arts and crafts, and even cooking. Kids need to know where their food comes from and how to prepare meals for themselves if they’re going to succeed in real life, be self-sufficient, and eventually emancipate themselves from their parents. Even little ones can help with cooking by adding ingredients, stirring, and finding the right utensils . Cooking is an awesome way to both spend time together and pass on your knowledge!
Another activity that you may want to consider under the educational category is that of music lessons. Summer is a great time to start lessons and establish an effective practice schedule so once the craziness of school starts up again, this routine will have already been established. Many school band programs require students to have some piano under their belt so this is a great time to get that achieved! From an adult perspective, I have played the piano since I was 7 and consider my weekly lessons as a child the single best thing my parents ever had me do! I run across so many adults who tell me that they wish they would have learned as a child and of course it’s never too late to learn however it’s often a bit easier to pick up if you’ve been introduced at an early age.
If you’re looking for field trip ideas, consider your local library as a starting point. Libraries often have great summertime programs for kids and are a hub of communication for other non-library activities. Check around to see what’s available in your community and start compiling a list of different kid-centric amenities. One of my local movie theaters offers special showings of movies for kids geared towards those with sensory sensitivities. We also have a children’s museum and a nature center, both great options for creating great summer memories! Even the farmer’s market can be a great place to take your kids and teach them about any number of things including how to pick out fresh produce, farming and gardening, and small business practices. Have your kiddos pick out their favorite fresh produce and then use it to create amazingly tasty dishes!
Once you’ve developed lists of activities, it’s time to put together your routine. It may be easiest to create a template of the larger activity categories and then vary the individual ones from day to day or even week to week. Plug in the non-negotiables (meals, bath, and definitely nap time!) first and then get creative! You may want to decide the time increments which your day will be split into first as this guides the activities which fit into the slot. Some activities obviously need more time than others and you also want to consider the transition time between activities during this planning phase because if your kids are anything like mine, this time can be significant!
Incorporate your kids into the planning of their daily routine by giving them options on activity choices. You could pick out the larger activity categories and then let them structure their day. Doing this will encourage engagement and give them a sense of control over their day. It may be helpful to set up a weekly template and then have your kids help fill it in on a daily or even a weekly basis so they have an idea of what’s coming up. You could even have them help plan out the family meals. I find that this is beneficial because they tell me what they want, I avoid the “I’m not eating that” tantrum, and it allows me to mix-up my usual meal plan.
Once you’ve decided upon your daily routine, stick with it! You may want to use a white board or large daily calendar to hang up in a central location so your kids can refer to it throughout the day and so they know what’s coming up next like this one. Consider using pictures in addition to writing on the board for younger ones so they can understand it as well. Having a consistent routine will also encourage regular sleep patterns which are vital for their growth and your sanity!
Summer is an amazing time to foster relationships with your kids and to continue their learning between school years. Take advantage of this time by brainstorming, making lists, and planning out the routine in advance.
About the Author:
Amanda Bradley is wife, mother of 3, and nurse educator and currently studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She loves to help other busy moms live their best life by writing about healthy lifestyle changes, freedom to pursue a passion, inspiration, financial freedom, or time freedom. You can check out her blog at www.akbradley.com