Summer Routines and Schedules: What this summer will (and will not) look like for my kids
I don’t know about you, but I have always been a huge fan of implementing summer schedules and routines for my children. Each summer begins with a family meeting where we lay out the expectations and give both children a beautifully created checklist, complete with daily chores, school work, camp sessions, allowable screen time, and more. As a teacher and mom, I live for routines and schedules.
Cut to the 2020-2021 pandemic - this Momma has changed her tune (a bit) this summer. I have made a conscious decision to do things differently. No, no, no, I am not throwing the whole “summer routine and schedule thing” totally out the window, but I am kicking things off differently and intend to keep it low key this summer. We did not begin our summer vacation with our annual summer family meeting, GASP! We are only 5 days in, but so far, so good! Since we have been home together for the past 15 months, we seem to be in a nice groove --- fingers crossed!
I had the privilege of working from home on my FeelLinks business, while supporting both kids through an entire year of remote schooling. Both of my children, along with so many others around the world, have tremendously upped their game in time management, problem-solving, self-monitoring, teamwork, determination, responsibility, hard work, perseverance, and the list continues on…
With all of the life changes our children (and us) have endured this past year, along with the social and emotional toll it has taken on so many of our kids, I am choosing to be very intentional at navigating this summer as a well-earned, much-needed break. This does not mean my children will forego contributing to our household chores or completing school work to prevent the “summer slide”, I am just approaching it with less specificity as I have in the past.
Instead of preparing a pretty, colorful list of chores and tasks for my children, I am choosing to build upon the greater sense of responsibility and self-management they have gained this year by encouraging them to notice how they can contribute, and guide them to ask questions like, “What can I help with?”. I want to give my kids the freedom to choose which school activities they will complete, rather than devise a daily school plan for them, building upon their growth in making choice and taking accountability.
This past year, I have learned a great deal about myself and my parenting; what I do well and what I want to improve on and grow in. One area I will continue to grow in is more flexibility and less rigidity. If this year has taught me anything, it has definitely taught me flexibility (and boy, do we know how incredibly flexible our children are).
It’s been a doozy of a year for our children (and us). During the summer, be sure to focus on your child’s emotional health and well-being (hint, hint, FeelLinks can support you with this); they need all the support they can get from the adults in their lives. Tune in, listen to them, watch and listen to their behaviors, ask them how they are feeling, validate their feelings, coach them through their feelings, help them understand their emotions, how to take responsibility for their behaviors and problem solve. Our children have just experienced a year like no other – give them unconditional support and a much-needed, well-deserved, respite. It’s time to run around outside and get dirty, just like the good ‘ol days!
P.S. I know that each of our families have different needs and circumstances. I am only sharing what is on my mind and what we are doing in our home; I hope that it resonates with you and gets you thinking. I would love to hear from you on this topic (or anything else for that matter). Feel free to send comments directly to me at marcelle.feel.links.com, comment directly on the blog post at myfeellinks.com, or send comments through Instagram or Facebook @myfeellinks.
Here is a list of some of the age appropriate chores that your child can help out with. This summer, in our home, this list is posted on the fridge so that the kids can be proactive in stepping up to help out.