While not having a routine may sound amazing, having a daily or weekly routine is vital, as kids and adults thrive on routine. Researchers have found links between family routines and children’s social skills and academic success. According to Dan Brennan, MD routine will help keep stress levels low, you will sleep better and you will have better emotional and physical health. He also states that, “Family routines can reduce the chances of a child showing symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and other behavior disorders.” Setting routines will help your child be more successful later in life because they have already established good habits from the time they were young.
Start the summer off with informing the kids of your expectations. Let them know that for the first few days everyone will just be relaxing. Sleep in, wear your pajamas all day, the biggest lazy days ever! They are likely to be more excited about this than anything else you will do all summer. Explain that after your Lazy Days, there will be some expectations for how the rest of the summer is going to go. Some things to consider adding to your child’s routine might be:
- Age appropriate chores (blog for some chore suggestions here)
- This helps you keep things organized and teaches responsibility.
- Daily reading
- This can become extra exciting by incorporating regular trips to the library.
- Exercise, whether it be family walks, kicking a ball back and forth, or morning stretches
- Some kids tend to be more naturally active, while others struggle and are more drawn to electronics so some regular exercise can be a good addition to the routine.
- Limits on screen time
- By letting them know how much time they get in advance, you reduce the chances of tantrums or frustration later.
- Time for learning
- For this you can get a work book or there are many great printable worksheets for free online, just something that will help keep your kids’ brains stimulated. Great resource here!
- Creative playtime
- Building blocks, play dough, drawing/coloring, painting, or playing dress up are all great creative outlets.
- Bedtime Routine
- Getting to bed on time during summer can be difficult so find things that help your child calm down. One great way is to bathe them and get all cozy in your pjs and settle in for story time. Not only does this help little ones settle down for sleep, but after a bath they’ll be ready for cuddles, which is a great way to destress and end the day!
The ideas above are a few things that have worked for others, but it’s important to remember that you and your kids have unique needs, so do what is best for both you and your child. What really matters is creating a plan. You can utilize a chore chart (download one here!) or our summer schedule planner (download here!). Chore charts can be great incentives, especially with stickers, you would not believe the number of times stickers have helped me out! These tools are great ways to keep it simple for you, easy for kids to understand and not overwhelm anyone in the process. Remember, while routines are helpful, there still needs to be time for plenty of fun!