Make a fun summer schedule this winter? You are kidding right? Nope. Unfortunately not kidding at all.
Remember the long summer days when you were actually bored–or the soft summer nights with warm breezes when the fun summer schedule meant staying up late and sleeping in?
My fantasy is to return to the same lake house, beach house or someplace near the water every year for the summer and watch my children and the neighbors children grow up over a course of lazy summer scheduled play-dates.
My Fantasy Fun Summer Schedule
I would wear an apron and pearls and cook pancakes every morning and dinner every night in my high heels. My boys would help with the dishes and play board games as they shook the sand from their blonde sun kissed hair and sun burnt noses.
Sigh, just perfect routine all 90 days of summer with no hint of “I’m bored” or “I want” or “Where are the remotes?”.
Just like the scratch and pop of an LP record, that idea of summer seems to have faded away with the corded phone.
Just like a corded phone, consistent family vacations to the same “ole watering hole”, are anchored in a different era.
How to Keep a FUN Summer Schedule Simple
Plus, I believe every kid needs neighborhood time, by that I mean, get up late, eat breakfast, sit around, roam the neighborhood, play with friends, and maybe say I’m bored a few times while flopping down on the soft
Have A Summer Scheduling Family Meeting
The family meeting might start something like this:
- Brainstorm anything you want to do as a family this summer on a piece of paper. List can include activities you want to do both individually and as a immediate or extended family group. Put everything down even if it seems silly or out of the time and money budget.
- Rank each item according to importance 1-3. (Traveling Club Baseball is #1 for boys and Dad, but not for Mom)
- Group all the #1’s.
- Place all the #1’s on the calendar. If the #1’s fill the page, then skip ahead to cost.
- If you can add a number two item, then add a few.
Plan a Summer Schedule Budget
Plan your budget well in advance. This makes it a lot easier when the kids ask to go to the movies (easily $60-100 outing) to say no that money is ear marked for camping July 4th. Even camping can sometimes be $100 a weekend. Remind them how much fun they had last year and that instead you will pop popcorn and rent a movie, all for $3.
Childcare is involved while you and your spouse work. This can be a HUGE expense! So, you need to get on this right away.
It is a great opportunity to teach delayed gratification. It is never too early to start teaching kids about money management. Try this challenge for saving for trips.
Schedule Summer Learning
Developing a family culture of learning does not have to be work. The Joyous Family turns the kids loose from any type of school work for about 3 weeks. Then we start a daily 45 min to 1 hour review/prep for the next school year. Plus, we join the local library reading club where books read earn prizes and certificates to fun places.
Traveling offers ton of learning opportunities. Try listening to podcasts, learning to read maps, reading about history of new places you are about to see. Toss in some practical skills like fire building, preparing meals, baiting a hook or hitching a travel trailer.
Talented engaging people never stop learning. Just vary the intensity and try to make more mistakes in the summer. Maybe blow up a few soda bottles with Mentos Candies just to figure out why the reaction happens.
Special Summer Schedules
This year just as I sit at the computer and plan for traveling club baseball, theater camp, church camp and maybe a short week of family get away I pause to remember…
Last year I pulled off a coup for 6 weeks of travel with my boys. Including beach time in Dauphin Island, Alabama. It was Glorious!!
The fulfillment of this dream took a little more time and money but it started just the same way. With a family brainstorm, a blank map and a budget.
Eighteen summers are such an amazingly short time to spend generating the deep memories that bind families together for a life time. Keep it simple and real. Kids remember the grace of a summer schedule far more than fancy birthdays and crazy Christmases.