Setting up summer routines for kids

June 3, 2009 by

One of my goals for this summer is to get the kids into a new summer routine.  During the school year, the kids have morning routines, afterschool routines and bedtime routines.  Now, it is summer vacation and things are a bit more relaxed and less scheduled, but I still want to give the kids some sort of routine.  Why?  In our experience, our kids need routine to fight boredom, to teach them responsibility, to give them a sense of accomplishment and to help our household run smoothly.

In the past, my 8 year old daughter’s routine list was on the bulletin board in her room.  If I noticed she had forgotten a step in her routine, I didn’t have to get on her about it.  I just said “Did you do everything on your list?”  She would check and self-correct.  That was much better than a confrontation.  My 4 year old loves structure, so his routine is ingrained in his little head.  He has actually added stuff to his routines over the past few months as he figures out he can do new things.

Here is what our 8 year old’s morning routine looked like during the school year:

  • Make your bed
  • Brush your hair
  • Brush your teeth
  • Put pjs in the hamper
  • Pack your school bag
  • Unload silverware from dishwasher

Here’s her bedtime routine during the school year:

  • Brush your teeth
  • Put clothes in the hamper
  • Read for 15-30 minutes
  • Pick up bedroom floor

Pretty simple stuff, but it makes such a difference to have it posted and expected to be completed.  This summer, we are adding more chores to our routine lists.  The kids always had chores, but they were kind of on a “as needed” basis.  We want something more concrete this summer.  I’ve been reading some great blog posts about kids chores from The Creative Mama and Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie.  I have also been looking at some great online tools for kids chores.  My husband and I are going to set down tonight and outline the new routines and chores and how we are going to implement them.  The kids come back from the grandparents tomorrow.  I want to have this  in place this week, for the most part.  I’ll post what we come up with later this week.

What routines and chores are your kids responsible for?  How do you reward them?  How do you  enforce that they are getting done?   Any and all help welcome and encouraged!!!!

Comments (6)


  1. Chele says:

    Okay some Mom’s are going to think this is harsh but we don’t reward them other than good job, etc. We just don’t have the money for allowances. Also, our philosophy is that they need to learn it is a responsibility (a must) not to get a monetary thing in return. We were both brought up that way! Although, if we feel a reward is in need…they get a snack (something they don’t get daily is sweets) or something fun we will do (i.e. movie, play a game, those kinds of things). My oldest two are 11 and 13. They have a lot more to do. Like, taking the trash out, putting dishes away, dusting. Don’t get me wrong, I usually have to go behind them with everything. My 13 year old mows the lawn. For our 6 year old. She takes the laundry basket when full to the laundry room. Cleans her own room. Makes her bed. Things easier for her. As for the 3 year old. Really the only thing so far has been to clean up his toys. It all has worked for us so far. I will be adding more this summer too. Sorry I wrote my own blog here! You asked!!! LOL. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!!

  2. Erika says:

    Hmmm, I came, I read and I left yesterday. I’m sorry but this is all above my head. I can’t say my kids have a scheduled routine…there I said it! WooHoo! I was ashamed to say it but I did! Okay, they do have chores, they clean the kitchen at night, clean the bathroom, straighten up the living room, fold their laundry and put it away. That’s what they do right now and like Chele they get no allowance. Right now, I feel they need to learn the responsibility of living in a family and what that means. Anytime they go somewhere they are given anything they need to go but with only one parent working…they have to contribute because that’s part of being in a family.

    I think it’s awesome that you are so efficient…I’m not. I basically breeze through life but I think the Lord has led me to your blog for a reason, to teach me the other way!

    PS. I think my blog is longer than Chele’s! LOL (Sorry bout that)

  3. Abbie says:

    I had to smile when I read this. I love this “preview” of what my family’s summers will be like in a few years. My children are a bit young for assigned chores (one can’t walk yet) but I do get them to help me when I am doing chores. Next week my son is starting pre-school summer session and for the first time ever we are going to need a set schedule. I am definitely going to use your tips and write down a paper schedule to keep on track! Thanks!

  4. This is a great topic Marci and I think you know what my little guy is up to. We are big advocates of routine here, but are also flexible with it – on an as needed basis. From the time my boys were a few months old they put themselves on a schedule that happened to work for all of us, and we have been so thrilled to see it move into toddlerhood and evolve as necessary.

    Great reminder about a summer routine! Thanks also for linking up! 🙂

  5. Thank you for such a good blog. This is what I looked for.

  6. SSG Wifely says:

    Ive come across this website through the grace of God as well! I have been so confused since school has been out of what I can do to put my kids on a structured Summer routine.This is actually my first time I will be disciplining myself to do this because like the reply mentioned above, I just breeze through the day just waiting for things to come up..I am so excited for some reason.I asked my husband to sit down and talk about changing the routine,laying down guidelines for our kids and he quickly responded with a “not interested” facial expression. So I’m taking this responsibility without any distractions. I came across this website and immediately knew in my heart what I had to do to keep my kids busy.
    Mondays:arts&crafts day,
    Tuesdays:Park Day & Picnic,
    Wednesdays:Library reading program & Lean an Animal day
    Thursdays:Pool Day with your friends,
    Fridays:Movie night @ the on-base theatres!5&under are free!
    *Key Guidelines:Stay with it! Let go of any unneccessary & unwanted thoughts that will hinder me sticking to our schedule.Anything can come up but I promised my kids we will be consistent and encourage one another!

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