With summer break just around the corner, you may be wondering how you will keep your kids entertained at home over the next few months. If it makes you feel any better, you’re not alone. While kids are looking forward to a much-needed break from school, parents and caregivers may be questioning how they will survive the summer.
If you’re feeling some summer break stress, you might benefit from creating a summer schedule. This schedule could include basic routines like eating, playing, quiet time, educational activities, and crafts. Your kids may even enjoy pretending they are at school or summer camp every day.
Having a daily routine will not only help keep you sane, but it will benefit your kids as well. Consider these 5 great reasons to have a summer break schedule:
- Structure helps kids to feel safe and move from one activity to the next with less stress.
- You will feel more confident, and less overwhelmed throughout the day.
- Making sure children get adequate rest and stimulation can help with tiredness, crankiness, and boredom.
- Your kids can get a head start on school next year if they work on school subjects over their break. (And hopefully, they won’t forget everything they learned during the previous year!)
- Going back to structured school days in the fall won’t be as much of an adjustment if they are used to having a routine.
How To Create A Structured Routine
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the three most important factors when building structure in a routine are consistency, predictability, and follow-through. Keep this in mind as you plan your summer schedule and set rules for your child’s behavior. If you have more than one child, all of the extra time at home together will inevitably lead to some arguments — whether it’s over a toy, taking turns, or just wanting to be left alone. Structure helps your child know what to expect throughout the day and what is expected of them.
When planning your summer break routine, you can schedule as much or as little as you would like depending on your family and your child’s specific needs. Some parents like to schedule every hour of the day, while some prefer to just have a rough idea of what activities they will be doing. And don’t forget to allow some flexibility if something fun comes up, like an impromptu beach trip or outing to the park with friends.
You may find it helpful to include the same subject areas and special activities your child is used to doing at school in your summer break schedule. For example, subject areas that your child works on throughout each week could include math, science, reading, writing and social studies, and special activities might include physical education, music, art, computer and outings or field trips. To keep things relaxed, you might aim for one subject area and one special activity a day.
Lastly, don’t forget to include playtime, naps or quiet time and even chores in your summer break schedule. If your child resists naps or chores, making it a part of your daily routine can help motivate them. Putting these items on a checklist that your child can mark at the end of each day might be fun for them and help to establish your expectations for them throughout the summer.
Sample Summer Break Schedule
If you aren’t sure where to start, here are a couple of simple ideas for creating a summer break schedule:
This simple weekly schedule shows which subject areas and special activities you and your child might do each day. (Keep an eye on our blog for specific activity and lesson ideas this summer!)
This more detailed daily schedule will help you and your child to know exactly what you will be doing each hour of the day. It includes subject areas, special activities and time for playing and resting as well.
|8 am||Wake Up / Eat Breakfast / Get Ready|
|10 am||Snack time|
|11 am||Subject Area Practice (Math, Science, etc.)|
|1 pm||Nap or Quiet Time|
|2 pm||Special Activity (Art, Music, P.E., etc.)|
|3 pm||Play Outside|
|4 pm||Chores / Clean Up|
Free Educational Websites For Kids
You don’t have to be a teacher to keep your kids learning throughout the summer. While ideally, you will want to find some inexpensive workbooks (like Scholastic’s Little Skill Seekers that only cost about $3 each), there are also some great educational websites parents and their children can access for free. Many have free interactive games, and some allow you to create an account so your child can track their progress as they learn.
Check out some of these free educational websites that kids love:
Parents can sign up for a free account on SplashLearn to access math and reading games for kids in pre-K up to grade 5.
Scholastic: Learn at Home
Scholastic has free learning resources for children ages 4 to 10 on a variety of topics, like earth science, animal studies, and healthy habits. Parents can sign up for a free account which allows your child to save their progress.
Starfall began as a free reading resource that has been expanded to include language and math activities for children from pre-K through 3rd grade.
Highlights for Kids
If you don’t have a subscription to Highlights, don’t worry — you can access tons of free educational activities and resources through their website. They have short articles, games and puzzles, crafts, recipes, jokes, and more.
My name is John Haber. I’m a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the founder of Nogginsland. I became a COTA in 2003, and then went back to school much later, receiving my Master’s Degree in OT from Mercy College in New York in 2016.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a variety of populations in different settings, from school districts, to developmental disability centers, to children’s hospitals.