Transitioning to summer vacation can mean different things for each family. For some, it may involve juggling your child’s various commitments, such as camps, extracurricular activities, daycare, summer school, and so on. For others, it may mean there’s now no set schedule and plenty of time for leisure and fun at home and in the community. Regardless of your family’s summer plans, thinking about ways to establish some structure and routine during the summer months can be worthwhile. Why? Because it can help your child stay on a regular sleep schedule, promote regulation, and help them better transition back to school in the fall. Below are some ideas on ways to establish a summer schedule for your kids.
Maintaining a Routine for Your Child
- Scheduled activities. If your child is participating in scheduled activities such as sports, camp, or daycare, then you will likely already have a schedule in place that can help create a routine (e.g., getting up in the morning for camp or daycare).
- Rise and shine. Regardless of whether your child has scheduled activities, it can be helpful to establish a regular wake-up time and morning routine over the summer. For example, having your child wake up around the same time each day, get dressed, and eat breakfast within a certain time frame is an example of a morning routine that can be helpful over the summer.
- Meal times. Thinking about keeping regular meal and snack schedules can also be helpful.
- Map out what you want to happen during the day. Let your child know expectations and limits for summer vacation upfront. For example, if your child has daily chores or homework, it is often helpful to schedule these activities into the daily plan. Additionally, if you are limiting your child’s time on electronic devices, you should let your child know those limits (for example, they can play on electronic devices for X amount of time, can play on electronics before noon, or whatever it may be). Also planning time for activities your child can enjoy, such as playing with friends, going to the pool, completing a craft at home, and so on.
- Not every minute needs to be scheduled. The goal of establishing a routine over the summer is not to schedule your child every minute of the day, but instead to keep them on a consistent schedule (particularly sleep) and provide some stability and organization to their day. There will still be lots of time for leisure at home, playing with friends, and spontaneous activities.