Do you make a summer kids schedule? Keep reading to find out why you need one and how to make one using a free summer daily schedule template.
Summer is almost here, and kids everywhere are thrilled. Every child loves the freedom of summer. But I know I’m not the only mom who starts to panic at this time of year and thinks, “How am I going to keep my kids happy the whole summer!?” 😬
While I’m all about letting kids get bored and giving them space to develop their imaginations, too much unstructured time, and we all tend to fall apart. We start to lose our minds with too many summer days spent in our pajamas!
Over the years, I’ve noticed that our family thrives when we find a balance between freedom and structured play.
We don’t know what to do with ourselves if we have too much open-ended time without structure. Kids follow a parent’s lead, so I created a daily summer schedule for our family to help structure our days.
Keep reading to find out how to get our sample summer schedule (and one you can PRINT) along with a PRINTABLE cheat sheet for easy kid’s activities to fill in that open playtime.
This post may contain affiliate links.
Before we get to our daily summer schedule, I want to talk about balance. I’ve found we need some days “scheduled” to stay in our pajamas and not have a lot planned. It’s kind of freeing to have nothing on the calendar.
Summer is a time to step back from the hampster wheel of extracurricular activities. Don’t be tempted to fill in the space because you have an opening in your schedule. Rest and refreshment are good too!
But again, I know myself. We won’t do well if we have a completely unstructured summer. All of us like order, and our family thrives on it. You must pause and consider what balance works best for you and your family.
What Happens When Our Schedule is Wide Open
So this is why I decided to create a sample summer schedule for elementary aged children. It’s like writing a to-do list. It feels easier to get things done when you write them down.
The same thing applies here. I find peace and balance when I write out a plan! As our kids have gotten older, I’ve also asked for their input. Are there certain activities, camps, and day trips they’d like to add to our summer?
Anticipation builds when we sit down and come up with a plan for the time off from school. A planning meeting is also a great time to set some ground rules. For example, this year, our kids will have two chores they must complete BEFORE any screen time.
If we start this at the beginning of the summer break, staying consistent will be much easier. Trying to change the “rules” in the middle of the summer is more challenging (though not impossible).
You’ll notice in our schedule we have a nap and/or quiet time.
But what if your kids don’t nap anymore?
You can still use this schedule! We have a “quiet time” each day for our older kids who don’t nap. The kids play outside or in the playroom. They have to do quiet activities, and the biggest rule is they can’t bug mommy unless it’s an emergency. You may also want to define what emergency means to you. 😉
Generally, this goes well. Especially if I set the boundary right away.
Want to know a secret for a good “quiet time?”
One of the best tools we’ve discovered for quiet summer activities is books on tape! It’s a great relaxing activity for kids and entertains them without screen time. Our older kids love being able to use the CD player by themselves. They feel important, AND it’s entertaining.
We buy most of our books on tape online, though we’ve rented some from the local library. During quiet time our kids can also use their leap frog leap start (essentially another version of books on tape). Another option is the Yoto Mini, it plays audiobook cards and you can even record your own story with blank cards. Our 7 and 9 year old love their Yoto player.
Of course sometimes during our “quiet time” the kids ask for screens. So how do we handle screen time in the summer?
How to Handle Screen Time
My kids usually watch TV as I’m prepping dinner. They each get to pick a show, so that’s about an hour’s worth of “screen time.” Though in the summer, I’ll admit some days I’m a little more relaxed.
If it’s super rainy outside and the kids are going crazy, we watch a movie together in the morning. But generally, I’ve found it helpful to have a set time for screens.
Then they know when it begins and when it ends. Having clear boundaries eliminates some of the arguments.
Now that we’ve got over some of the details, here is an example of our summer schedule for preschool and elementary-aged kids:
Our Summer Schedule For Kids
In our schedule, I planned our days by the hour. It works best for our family and flows naturally with our regular school year schedule.
You can see some things like nap time lasts two blocks, so two hours (approximately from 1-3 pm). See our sample here:
How to Create Your Own Schedule
If the clock stresses you out, try writing an order of events instead of assigning a time value to everything. You can use your to-do list to structure yourself instead of timing everything out. Find what works for you!
Learn how to download your own customizable copy at the end of this post!
You can use ours as an example. It’s up to you if you want to follow your schedule exactly or more loosely.
Finally, I’ve written out EASY kids’ activities that you can add to your schedule. My kids sometimes get bored of the same old thing, so I keep a list of fun and easy summer kids’ activities on our fridge.
Then if we get “stuck” and don’t know what to do, we can pick something from the list.
Feel free to use our schedule or print out the blank copy to create your own!
Sign up for our newsletter below to access your blank summer schedule. Download the schedule, print it out and laminate it so you can write it out each day.
In the email you will also receive a copy of our sample summer schedule. Feel free to use that for your family instead of writing your own!
BONUS: You’ll receive a printable copy of these easy summer activities. Print it out and keep it handy for a day when your kids moan “I’M BORED. What can I do!?”
Now I’d love to hear from you! Do you have a daily summer schedule for your kids?
Do you require your children to do chores or activities before you allow TV time?
Share with us in the comments below.