Long days. Sunny weather. Cold, sweet treats.
Every kid loves summer, especially when it brings the promises of sandy beaches and all sorts of new adventures. But for parents, the season can also mean new schedules during the day, disrupted sleep schedules, and other unforeseen stressors.
Transitioning to a summer schedule can be tough, but planning can help. Here are five tips for creating a new routine that’s reliable and easy to stick to, from sun up to sundown.
1. Make a list of summer activities
Sit down with the kids and talk about their summer goals — as small as learning to write their first name or as large as making a new friend. Help them understand that some resolutions will be easier than others; steer them toward realistic, achievable activities within your means.
Use a large piece of cardstock to create a summer activity checklist; incorporate photos, mood board-style, or just stick to text. Check off activities as they’re completed — it’s a great way to give kids something to look forward to and reduce excessive downtime.
2. Maintain a sleep routine
A proper snooze schedule is as important for adults as it is for children. And summer is no excuse to let your sleep routine slide.
A firmly established routine makes the days at home more relaxed and enjoyable. Longer days mean you can consider pushing bedtime an hour later: one way to help children feel like they’ve earned some freedom without letting things get out of hand.
3. Plan out a daily schedule
Daily summer schedules are a lifeline for parents of infants and preschoolers. Children thrive on schedules and routines and benefit from having a consistent roster. You can switch up the activities every day, but try to keep the schedule consistent as the weeks go on.
Here’s an example of what a good schedule might look like:
- 7 am: Wake up and breakfast
- 8 am: Morning relaxing and playtime
- 9 am: Outdoor walk
- 11 am: Structured story hour or playtime
- Noon: Lunch
- 12:30-2:30 pm: Nap
- 2:30 pm: Independent playtime and errands
- 5 pm: Dinner
- 6 pm: Cleanup, bath, teeth, and storytime
- 8 pm: Bedtime
4. Mix structured activities with downtime (unstructured play)
Structured activities keep children engaged and focused on specific tasks. But unstructured play and downtime have their merits, too. Most children thrive — their creativity sparked — when they’re allowed to express themselves freely.
Like adults, children also have limits when they’re asked to perform too many tasks. Downtime is important — kids can get overwhelmed when they’re too busy or overscheduled. Be sure to give your child at least one or two hours of downtime a day so they’re able to decompress.
5. Organize playdates
Be sure to follow health and safety protocols; if Covid-19 restrictions are still active in your area, keep outdoor play dates distanced and wear masks.
Vivvi’s Summer Schedule
Early childhood education is a part of any good summer schedule. That’s why Vivvi’s campuses are open year-round; we also offer in-home care, or one-on-one education, right at home.
Learn more about our inquiry-based programs for children ages six weeks to five years old.