Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How Do You...Manage Free Time in the Summer?

Allyson  shared her thoughts on preparing for a more relaxed schedule and asked...

How do you help your kids manage all their extra free time during the summer? Do you establish a general routine or schedule? Also, how has this changed as they've become older?

Michelle added...

Do you keep the same schedule during summer and/or school breaks? 

My kids have never, ever had a desire to sleep in.  We ask them to stay in their rooms until 7, but they are usually talking to each other and giggling by 6:30-6:45, sometimes earlier. It's a rare day when one of them sleeps past 7:30.  My mom says that will last until they are old enough to be a big help around the house and then they will start wanting to sleep instead.  ~wink~

Since they are up at the same time every day regardless of school schedule, Brian and I decided to have them follow the same morning routine in the summer.  They must eat breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth, take care of the animals, and do their chores (anything from spot clean the bathroom to sweep the entryway to unload the dishwasher) by 9 am.  On weekends, when Brian is home and we linger over breakfast and generally enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere, we make the deadline closer to 10 am.

After 9 o'clock, we are left with hours upon hours of "free" time.  I like to maintain a general flow to the day without insisting on too much structure which hinders spontaneity.  Mornings are for play.  If the weather is pleasant, we include outside play-- riding bikes, blowing bubbles, playing tag, etc. If it is rainy or stifling hot, the kids play a game together inside or spread out on the living room floor. /

Lunchtime is around 12.  I usually bring a book to the table and read to them when I'm done eating.  We move to the living room to continue reading if we have time.  Then we do a big after-lunch clean up.  Dishes go in the dishwasher.  Someone starts a load of laundry.  The sofa cushions are straightened and loose toys are put away.  

By afternoon the kids are running out of ideas on their own so I try to have an activity in mind most days if we need it.  I like to vary it so we don't get in a rut.  Last year we made Wednesdays movie day, since we were fresh from a mid-week trip to the library. Another day was kiddie pool/water day. Sometimes I plan a craft or easy project.  Sometimes I  ask everyone to read or look at books for 30 minutes. Another thrill is to get a toy down from the closet shelf that they haven't seen for awhile-- Lincoln Logs, Light Brite, wooden dolls, etc.

In the late afternoon, we do another house pick-up and I start dinner prep.  The three youngest kids like to help-- assembling the salad, getting ingredients from the pantry or refrigerator, stirring, setting the timer-- while the older kids take care of the animals. 

After dinner, the kids run off their energy outside again. We do baths as needed and end the day with a few story books, chosen by the kids. Then it is time for bed

Does your family have a schedule for summer or do you throw routine out the window during these months?  How do you fill your days?  How do your kids stay occupied and active?

For some fun {and free!} family summer schedule printables, visit this post @ Biblical Homemaking.

My How Do You...? series is back for a few more weeks.  Is there anything you want to know? Go ahead! Be nosy.  Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page or send me an e-mail.  I'd love to hear from you.

In the meantime, you can browse the archived index of past topics.


  1. This sounds a lot like what we've been doing...morning chores, free play outside, a semi-structured activity in the afternoon and more outside time in the evening (if possible). I need to get a few things together for the afternoons, but so far it's working fairly well.

    1. It's definitely been an adjustment. The kids aren't used to having some much open time without school work. I'm trying to be intentional about having things for them to do. It's not fancy. I'm incorporating more basic chores (like drying the dishes after lunch) and game suggestions (why don't you play Memory with Alaine?) to supplement what they think of on their own.

    2. To give them some extra things to do (and to get a little help with work I would normally do) we've added in the chance to earn some money with extra chores...they love that!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...