Summer is my very favorite time of the year.
It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. How I looked forward to summer break when I was a kid! I fondly remember childhood days of lazy mornings and long, warm evenings playing outside.
I think I anticipated summers even more as a public school teacher, and perhaps most of all now that I’m a homeschooling mom.
I’m a creature of structure and routine, but my inner rebel relishes the freedom of relaxed schedules and shorter to-do lists.
Although, as my kids get older, I’ve noticed a less-than-delightful trend.
After the first week or two away from the daily grind, they…well, they start to get on each others’ nerves. And that gets on my nerves. And I think each child even starts to get on his own nerves.
They get listless. And irritable. And let’s not forget every parent’s favorite word: bored.
And so this year, I do plan for us to enjoy about a week’s worth of lazy days. But after that, I intend to incorporate some of these ideas for surviving and thriving all summer long.
Because after all, our God is not one of confusion and chaos (I Corinthians 14:33). And He’s a God who rightfully deserves our stewardship of all that He gives us (Luke 16:10, Matthew 25:14-30)—including the moments and days of a season called “summer.”
Fresh Ideas for Summer Sanity
Establish routines. Summer routines will look different from the norm, but establish some kind of order to your day. Kids thrive when they know what to expect; you don’t necessarily need a strict schedule, but develop a concept of what each day will hold.
Enrich family worship times. Spend time in the Bible together over breakfast. Pray through Operation World’s guide for a different country each day. Sing favorite worship songs and hymns together. Summer is a great time to teach your kids (and yourself!) to linger with God, rather than rushing through your time with Him to get to the next thing on your to-do list.
Memorize Scripture together. Choose a chapter to memorize together throughout the summer, and plan to enjoy a family treat together when you reach your goal.
Serve together. Have your neighbors over for a cookout. Serve in your church’s Vacation Bible School. Visit a nursing home. Go on a short-term mission trip. Visit some of your church’s shut-ins, or make a trip to spend time with elderly family members; serve them while you’re there—mow their grass, clean their house, or prepare some meals for their freezer.
Teach new chores. The relaxed schedule of summer provides an ideal time for teaching kids new jobs you want them to continue through the next year. If you take the time to teach your kids how you want a chore to be done—in a process that requires patient and consistent training over days or weeks, not mere minutes—you’ll reap the reward of their capable help all through the next year.
Not sure what is age appropriate? Click the button below to grab a 3 page printable! You’ll download a 2 page list of chores sorted by age as well as a free chore chart (it’s an editable PDF…fancy!).
Spice up your family menu. Find some new recipes and cook together! It’s a great way to spend productive time together, and the icing on the cake is that kids are much more likely to eat foods they’ve helped prepare.
Sign up for summer reading at the library. Reading is so important, and summer can be a great time to encourage kids to read more of what they enjoy (within limits you set). Establish a “reading time” of thirty minutes or even more each day. Many libraries offer cool prizes as an incentive for meeting summer reading goals. Consider making library trips part of your weekly routine, so there’s always something fresh and new to read.
Work on house projects together. I wonder if your basement playroom is as out-of-control as mine is? And what about that yard work we’ve been neglecting? Summer is a great time to purge and organize! Pick two or three big projects to complete as a family this summer.
Learn together. Visit a historical landmark. Take a trip to the science museum. Look for constellations in the night sky. Pick a read-aloud your family can enjoy together in addition to individual reading time.
Keep some schoolwork going. Assign a weekly journal entry or handwritten letter. Issue a summer book report, a leaf collection, or a history report. Take time to nurture your kids’ interests and reinforce their weaknesses. If your son struggles with math, it probably isn’t a great idea to take a three-month break from his multiplication tables. If your daughter is finally getting the concept of diagramming sentences, it’s helpful to keep them in front of her occasionally through the summer months. Issue a small reward weekly or a larger reward at summer’s end for the work they complete.
Try something new. Sign up for an art class, a drama camp, or a sports camp. Visit local parks you’ve never been to before. Pick berries and make jelly. The sky’s the limit! Ask yourself what new activities you would try if you had the time. Then form a plan for making time this summer.
Have fun together. Have a water balloon fight. Visit every state park within a two-hour drive. Splurge on a day trip to an amusement park. Play basketball after dinner. Have a family water gun war. Catch lightning bugs. Fly a kite. Grill your dinner, then keep the grill hot and roast marshmallows for s’mores. Enjoy together all the simple pleasures summer has to offer.
With a little planning, it’s possible to survive and even thrive all summer long. It’s my prayer that these ideas will enhance a fun and refreshing summer, also making it a memorable and productive one.