How to Create the Best Summer Schedule for Kids

We’re almost halfway into summer, but it isn’t too late to create a summer schedule for kids!

If you haven’t created a daily summer schedule for kids yet, you are in the right place, mama!

I know there have been some years that we’ve waited way too long to start getting back into a school schedule. And that has made back to school time much more difficult for the kids (and me!).

Now that we’re past the 4th of July and there aren’t any major holidays coming soon, it is the perfect time to start a summer routine for your whole family.

how to create the best summer schedule for kids

 

Why summer schedules are important

While I love the unhurried and unscheduled days of summer for a while, I know it is beneficial to my kids to have a daily schedule to follow. When we have a routine, we are generally more organized and happy overall.

In a recent article, Dr. Laura Markham writes about seven reasons why routines are helpful for kids. Here’s a quick peek at her main points. I hope they’ll help you feel motivated to create your own summer schedule or routine for your family:

  1. Routines can help eliminate parental power struggles
  2. Set routines reduce stress and anxiety for everyone in the family
  3. Kids learn to take charge of themselves
  4. Kids learn to anticipate upcoming events
  5. Schedules help kids fall asleep more easily at bedtime
  6. Routines help parents build regular moments for connection with their kids
  7. Schedules help parents maintain their healthy expectations

These all sound amazing, right?!

Keep reading to see what things you might want to include in your daily summer schedule. You’ll find suggestions for morning, afternoon and evening schedules and routines.

I’ve also created an awesome family schedules printable pack that you can download right here! You’ll find a recommended summer schedule for kids, a homeschool schedule, and a morning routine schedule for moms. 

grab these great schedule printables now!

Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission if you click through or purchase. I only recommend products that I feel strongly you will love and will help you to live your mom life on purpose.

Morning summer schedule for kids

I am convinced that the magic of conquering a day begins with conquering the morning!

waking up early is the #1 way to be more productiveThis means that if at all possible, you will want to wake up before your kids.

From a mom who used to be the world’s biggest night owl, let me tell you that you CAN become a morning person! If you’d like to learn more about how to make the shift to waking up before your kids consistently, read this article. 

In addition to having a set morning schedule for mama, it is super helpful for kids to have a predetermined wake up time. 

Have a set wake up time

Regardless of whether or not you’ll be homeschooling, supporting virtual school, or sending your kids to public school, NOW is the time to start slowly adjusting your kids’ wake up time in the morning!

With more than a month of summer left, you can adjust that alarm a little bit earlier in small increments every week to be ready to wake up on time when school starts.

Essential things to do in the morning

Having a specific set of activities that are repeated every morning helps set the tone for the day.

Some of the essential things my kids do in the morning include:

  • take a shower
  • make the bed
  • put pajamas in the laundry
  • say their morning prayer

For the longest time, my kids would lounge about all morning, not getting anything done. It wasn’t until we created a morning routine chart for each of them that needed to be completed BEFORE they could eat breakfast that we got our routines in place.

this summer schedule checklist for kids is really helpfulCall me a mean mom if you must, but making the rule that certain things must be done before breakfast made a big impact on how well our mornings run now!

I’ve created a morning routine checklist for you to download and print out for your kids too. You can either reprint it every week on regular paper or print it on card stock, laminate it, and use it over and over with a dry erase marker. 

Other things to add to the morning routine

A few other things you may consider including in your kids’ summer schedule for the morning are:

  • music practice if they play an instrument
  • personal devotional time
  • completing household chores, such as unloading the dishwasher or starting some laundry
  • language practice
  • doing some outdoor yard work, such as weeding, watering plants, or mowing the lawn, depending on their age

If your kids are younger, you could add other activities, such as dedicated reading time, play time or learning time.

These activities may not be necessary to complete before eating breakfast. That is entirely up to you and how you want to structure your mornings!

Family summer morning activities 

After my kids finish their individual morning routines on their handy little checklist (don’t forget to snag yours!), we gather together for some structured family time every morning.

Our morning family meeting gives us some time to revisit the plans for the day so everyone has a good idea of what to expect.

We talk about the date, say the Pledge of Allegiance, and have a family prayer and devotional.

After this, we always read aloud for fifteen to twenty minutes. To see some of our favorite summer read alouds, check out this post here.

Summer Learning Time

summer learning is an important part of our summer schedule for kidsAfter reading time, my kids pull out their Brain Quest summer workbooks and do a few pages. They have really enjoyed these books, and they rarely ever complain about doing them.

The summer Brain Quest workbooks are especially fun (and incredibly inexpensive!). Each book has a cute pull-out poster with a map full of “quests” to complete. As your kids complete the assignments, they earn stickers to place along the path on the poster, getting them closer to completing their quest.

The summer workbooks are much shorter than their grade level counterparts.  And if you start soon,  your kids could most likely get one finished before back to school time next month!

Finally, going back to school with a quick and fun refresher will have your kids ready to impress their new teachers too!

Fun family morning summer activities for kids

While facilitating summer learning is really important, having fun is a very worthy summer goal to have too! 

You may choose to do summer learning on a few mornings a week and summer family fun activities on the others. 

Some of our favorite fun morning activities are: outside time, going for daily walks or bike rides, going to the library, doing arts and crafts, having a theme day, etc.

Afternoon summer schedule ideas

After lunch, we transition to our more fluid afternoon summer schedule. 

Quiet time

One of the things I absolutely insist upon for our daily summer schedule for kids is quiet time! Everyday after lunch, my kids are expected to stay in their rooms for one hour. 

They are allowed to talk to each another, but they are encouraged to read, play quietly on their own, or lay down to rest. 

Of course they can leave their rooms to go to the bathroom or if there is an emergency. But other than that, they must stay in their rooms. 

While I love my kids so much it hurts, I also need some individual time to relax or read on my own work on my blog. 

If you are considering starting quiet time, I highly recommend starting small! Have your kids stay in their rooms for 20 minutes the first week, for 25 minutest the next week, and gradually work your way up to 45 minutes to an hour. 

Fun activities

The afternoons on our summer schedule for kids are left open for fun spontaneous activities, such as swimming or playing with friends. 

Afternoons are also a great time for classes or lessons. My kids are passionate about gymnastics and piano, so we participate in these a few afternoons a week. 

Set a screen time schedule

If your kids enjoy video games or screen time, you may consider limiting these activities to afternoons on your summer schedule. 

Years ago we implemented a video game plan that I learned from a dear friend of mine.

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoon my kids are allowed to do video games for one and half to two hours.

We set a little kitchen timer by the TV so they are aware of how much time they have and know when to switch games if they’d like to do so. 

This simple schedule has really helped my kids to stay off of screens all day long. Because it’s something we’ve done for years, they haven’t questioned it. 

Evening summer schedule for kids

Summer evenings are some of my favorite times of the year! I love the extra daylight and the chance to get outside when the heat of the day wears off. 

To make the most of our evenings, we have – you guessed it – a simple schedule that makes everything typically flow really nicely! There are schedules with set times included and copies so you can fill in the best times that work for your family too. 

grab these great schedule printables now!

Pre-dinner time

A great tip for helping your evenings to go smoothly is to have everyone participate in a quick ten minute clean up BEFORE dinner! 

We divide our living areas into zones and rotate which kid is responsible for each zone every week. Our current zones are:

  • living and dining room
  • kitchen and eating area
  • school room

The child who picks up that room puts away any stray items or returns them to the bedroom where they belong. 

After zones are clean, the kids go to their rooms for a quick pick up while we get dinner on the table. 

After dinner time

A few times a week, we take the evening to do some fun family summer activities all together. 

Some of our favorites have been:

  • paper airplane contests outside
  • night swimming
  • star or cloud gazing
  • roasting marshmallows around the fire pit
  • catching fireflies
  • going for walks
  • making homemade ice cream
  • arranging a family campout in the living room

Bedtime

Admittedly, my kids’ bedtimes in the summer are pretty relaxed.

But as they are now waking up to a set time, we will be setting a bedtime too.

Our bedtime routine doesn’t change much during the summer time, and it always includes family prayer, our thankful circle, reading scripture, and reading aloud for a few minutes. 

Whatever you choose to do for a bedtime routine during the summer may be something you could continue during the school year too. 

Final thoughts on how to create a summer schedule for your kids

Now, please don’t think for a minute that our days flow perfectly! Believe me, my kids do not always complete their checklists or go along with our daily summer schedule with a smile on their faces!

We are exceedingly normal at our house – and we experience our fair share of whining and resistance.

But when we stick to it, creating a summer schedule for kids has been incredibly helpful for us.

I hope you’re feeling motivated to create your own summer schedule – don’t forget to download your free family schedules printable pack!

I can’t wait for your summer days to feel like they are running much more smoothly.

Related articles about summer activities for kids:

-How to Create an Awesome Family Summer Bingo Board

Indoor Activities to Stop Boredom for Kids of All Ages

3 Things You Need to Do to Prevent Summer Learning Loss

What things do you include in your summer schedule for your kids?

39 thoughts on “How to Create the Best Summer Schedule for Kids”

  1. In my family, we love schedules. They make us feel safe and help with accountability. I hadn’t considered a morning checklist, but love that idea. Thank you.

    1. Yes setting a schedule is very important. I do daily activities and reading books to engage my toddler . Then in the evening we usually go outdoor for some play so that their screen time is limited.

    1. Hi Rebecca! Thanks for reading! We homeschool too and I’m so glad for the continuity we can take from our summer schedule to our school year schedule too!

  2. These are some great tips for keeping a routine during the summer. I think the best one that I will have to incorporate is you have things for your kids to do BEFORE they get breakfast. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Whenever my kids were in public daycare or public school, we stuck to a pretty strict schedule throughout the summer. Now that we homeschool, our lives are different! We just finished school last week, so we are taking July off!

  4. As this is the first summer we are not traveling due to COVID, I can see the need to create a summer schedule for the kids. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. It is such a strange summer, isn’t it? We’ve had to come up with lots of things to look forward to at home this summer for sure!

  5. Definitely a good way to get them ready for school again! We homeschool so have more of a rhythm than schedule but I guess it has many of the same sentiments !

    1. Thanks, Amy! We homeschool too! I get it about the rhythm for sure. I have a few kids who really thrive with a set summer schedule, so that’s how we must roll.

  6. We homeschool, so once we finish our math curriculum for the year then I transition us to a summer schedule that’s a little bit lighter. We’ve done pretty good at sticking with our schedule, but then we went out of town over the weekend, and haven’t really gotten back into our routine yet this week. Hopefully by Monday we’ll be back to normal/

  7. Thanks for the great ideas! My kids are still little and not in school yet, but I strongly believe in a schedule and we hold to it pretty well. It is very similar to what you provided! Great moms think alike. haha

  8. As my son is approaching 1 , I definitely feel that it is important to start setting a specific schedule for how his day should go. His naps are all out of wack right now so were currently struggling , but I know I need to get a routine together.

  9. Yes! I am a big fan of routines! With life still not being completely back to normal it can be difficult to keep a consistent routine, but we do our best to. We’ve just had to find a new routine for the last few months. I love the tips though!!

  10. I generally try to keep a steady wake up time and bed time with the kids. Sometimes are day to day schedule gets a little messy depending on what’s going on.

  11. These tips are fantastic! I need to get my kids on a schedule soon. We’ve been so sporadic and it’s time we start before the back to school routine starts eventually!

  12. We are a huge schedules and routines family as I have a ton on my blog as well. I love your take on a summer schedule so much. It’s so important kids have some predictability to their day. We sure notice a lot less unwanted behaviors when we do!

  13. Great tips! I’m also a night owl myself but had to become morning person for the same reasons you mention. And I have to say I really love my morning schedule! It helps me to carve out some precious me-time.
    Thanks for sharing!

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