Creating a Summer Routine!
Cue the “School’s Out for Summer!” lyrics, as kids everywhere rejoice in the school year coming to an end. ‘Tis the season we say goodbye to homework, tests, and (somewhat) crazy schedules - and hello to summer heat, long days, and lots of “free time”!
One of the biggest challenges when you are trying to maintain any kind of “routine”, especially over the summer, is making use of these big gaps of “free time”. It always seems like there is so much time to get all the things done that you need to, but somehow time is always running away from you!
Whether you are a student, working full-time, a stay-at-home parent, or just trying to check things off your to-do list, we can all fall into this trap!
While yes, this is the season that we all want to kick-back and relax a bit more (understandably so), how can we find some balance and enjoy summer while still getting things done?
Here are some of our tips for building a schedule that you can use for yourself, or your family, to help create some routine in the midst of summer:
#1) GET A CALENDAR - First, we suggest picking how you want to track your schedule and routine. You could try a dry erase calendar, daily, weekly, or monthly planner. Perhaps, post a big calendar on the refrigerator. Me personally? Well, admittedly, I am a Google calendar fan (you can share your Google calendar with the whole family to coordinate schedules), but I think a dry erase or paper wall calendar is a great option as well! I recommend the calendars that are hourly/weekly - the more writing space, the better! The monthly ones are helpful for writing out dates and events but not exactly useful for writing out daily/weekly to-do’s. So if you are someone that has a lot on your plate, deciding between having a daily vs. weekly calendar (if you are choosing to not use an e-calendar) is an important part of this process.
Here are a few examples of calendars that we’ve found useful for clients in the past:
#2 WRITE OUT ALL OBLIGATIONS: Once you have chosen your calendar or planner, map out everything that is already on the schedule. This includes vacation, sports practices, camp, work, exercise, doctor’s appointments, family dinners and so on. If you have several recurring events, or your daily schedule changes often, this is where you can decide whether a daily or weekly calendar may be a better fit for you.
#3 SET WAKE-UP & BED-TIMES: This is an important one! It’s tempting for you and the kids to want to stay up late in the summer but this can get everyone into a bad rhythm that’s hard to break for the school year. Setting a “goal” bedtime for yourself (and the kids) can be very effective in helping you to get a better night’s sleep. Being well rested will help you start the next day with renewed energy and allow you to take advantage of those early morning hours.
#4 FILL IN ALL MEAL TIMES: Family’s tend to eat out a lot more in the summer! This can add up financially, so we recommend mapping out your meals at the beginning of the week. Having a clear (flexible) idea of what you plan to make throughout the week and when you plan to go out for food will help you save money and be prepared ahead of time for each meal. This will also allow you to better plan your day (ie, we have an early morning, so I better make my breakfast and lunch the night before, but we will be having family dinner together so I should pick up chicken on the way home). Additionally, the more prepared you are with meals, the more free time you can have to spend with your family!
#5 CHORES: During the summer, kids do not have the demands and pressure of homework so it is a wonderful time to start implementing some new systems and routines for the family. Creating a weekly chore list is a great way to start this process. We recommend a weekly family meeting to kick off the week where you can discuss what’s coming up and assign (or let the kids choose) what they are going to help with that week! This can be a fun way to bring the family together and get the kids involved around the house. During this time, we recommend letting the kids share some things they would really enjoy doing that week (seeing a friend, time at the pool, visiting a museum), and incorporate those fun things into the calendar as well! These activities serve as great motivation for them to get their chores and household work done as well!
#6 SUMMER WORK: The dreaded summer work that often gets done two days before the school year starts back up...sound familiar? If your kids have summer work to complete, summer reading, math packet, college applications, or other projects, then chances are this could become a summer-long battle of reminding them while they avoid getting started! We recommend using summer work as an opportunity to practice breaking down an assignment into smaller steps. Add this work to the weekly schedule. Maybe you even have some personal summer work or projects that you would like to accomplish; you can model breaking down a large task into small steps so your kids see how it can easily be done. Try setting a timer for 20 minutes and select a smaller goal, so instead of “finish the math packet” or “organize the whole kitchen” set a goal of 5 math problems and looking through my shoes, to see what you can get done towards that goal.
#7 ADD IN ANY MISC/PERSONAL/SOCIAL: Now that your calendar is filling up, make sure to add in your hang out time with friends and family, errands, or any other general to-do’s!
#8 LOOK AT YOUR REMAINING BLOCKS OF TIME: Look at your calendar: do you have a lot of other FREE TIME blocks left? Try computing this - did you factor in showering/getting ready each day? Traveling to/from events, etc. There’s nothing wrong with free chunks of time, but by writing everything out, it helps to create a picture of time. The more we can visualize our day, the better we can have an understanding of what time looks and FEELS like. Since we all too often think we have either so much of time, or too little of it!
#9 STRICT ROUTINE - FLEXIBLE APPLICATION: This is the most important aspect of having a successful and productive (but FUN!) summer. However you choose to implement these tips, whether it’s for yourself or your household, it’s important to maintain consistency. Of course, things come up and may need to shift, change, or be adjusted, but maintaining the daily consistency is what is key because it creates expectations. When we have the expectation that something needs to get done or happen, it makes the follow through easier.
If you’re super techy, you can always transfer this process into your favorite e-calendar, whether it’s on your phone (iPhone, google, etc.), personal planner, or share your calendar with friends/family members. Having the accountability of others is always helpful!
Having a daily/weekly routine is so important. In theory, it seems very straightforward, but the simple task of planning your day and week makes accomplishing things and checking off those to-do’s much easier at the end of the day! Life is the most fun when we can be spontaneous, and we always tell our clients that if you have a well planned week and you are organized, that gives you the best opportunity to be truly spontaneous (and enjoy the fun things that come up!)
If you would like some help getting your summer routine started, we would love to assist you in making the most of your summer! ! We offer coaching support for students, adults, parents, and families. The summer is a great time to start working on building family systems and we would love to help you! We also offer organization support for the home so if there are some spaces that need to be decluttered and re-thought, let us know.
When it comes to making changes in your life, we understand how hard, and sometimes overwhelming it can be. Want to talk further? Fill out the contact form to set up a free consultation call!