Summer is here! Or it’s almost here! It’s so exciting! But wait- what am I supposed to do with these kids all summer long? How will I keep them entertained and keep the peace?
If you are staring down some long days, weeks, or MONTHS of summer with your kids and wondering how the heck you can make this a wonderful time…you are not alone! I’ve got some simple behavior tools to help make things smoother in your home.
Try all of these and more on your own, or join us for the Summer Behavior Reset where I’ll make it as easy as possible for you!
Structure your days: For days at home, decide how much structure you want/ need for yourself and for your kids. I encourage you to have a loose schedule to structure your days, not tied to a clock.
Must do/ can do list: Create a list with 2 columns: Must Do and Can Do. Under the “Must Do” include just a few simple things that you want to see happen each day. Must Do’s might include reading for 20 minutes, doing a simple household chore or 2, getting outside, doing something creative, and doing something kind for someone else. Can Do’s might include specific ideas of things your kids like to play with: Lego, Play Doh, coloring, call Grandma, etc.
Before Screen Time list: Before your child can hop on Netflix, iPad, or Nintendo, have a list of Must Do’s. These are required every single day so keep the list short and focused on what’s really important. This list may include some of the Must Do’s from above and also things like brushing your teeth that an be easy for our kids to “forget” to do on summer days.
Loose Schedule Blocks: Have some anchors in your schedule that you do at about the same time each day- lunch time, rest time, dinner, bedtime. Then loosely build in some typical day activities as before lunch or after lunch. Before lunch may include- going to the gym, library, park, etc. and after lunch may be quiet play time or doing chores or whatever! Make it fit your daily needs.
Visual schedule: For daily routines- make it visual! Break down your routines into the simplest steps and then put pictures to it. Hang this where the routine happens- morning routine visual schedule goes in the bedroom or bathroom where those tasks take place. For learning new chores- hang the visual schedule where that task takes place as a quick reference- unloading the dishwasher visuals go next to the dishwasher.
I’m bored list: Make an “I’m bored list” (or download my free template). Give options in each category: Chores, Learning, By Yourself, With Others. Then when those precious kids utter those words “I’m booooooreeeed”, you hand them the list. Again- use visuals for your kids, especially non-readers.
With all of these- be flexible! Make changes as the days go on. Switch it up entirely- go from a Must Do/ Can Do list to a loose schedule. Go with the flow. A loose structure will help your child know what to expect next but it IS summer time. Model that flexibility and help your child learn to go with the flow.
And the most important tip of all?! Don’t do any of this FOR your children. Do it WITH them. Involve your kids in every single possible step of summer planning.
Ask your kids:
“What do you think needs to go on the Must Do list for every day?”
“Do you have any ideas for ways we can show kindness to each other each day?”
“What small chore do you want to put on your list this week?”
“What fun ideas would you like to see happen in our before lunch time slots this week?”
No matter what format or method you choose, plan WITH your kids!! Let them share ideas, let them take the lead, let them have as much independence and decision making as possible within the boundaries that you set. This will prevent so many power struggles while teaching your child so many important skills like self-management, self-advocacy, and independence.
Summer is here. Let’s make it a wonderful time together! Add some loose, flexible structure to your days. Plan WITH your kids, not FOR them. And join me in the Summer Behavior Reset to get your summer stared off on the best foot possible!