How Do I Successfully Set a Summer Routine for My Kids?

Lindsay Knake

| 3 min read

Summertime means fun, sun, and maybe a little chaos. School is out, and that means you need a new schedule for your days.
Creating a gentle routine for your kids is important for their development and well-being. Knowing what to expect helps children feel more safe and secure. Working with your kids to develop the routine can also give them a sense of autonomy and independence as they learn how to manage their time and responsibilities.
Here are ways to create a successful summer schedule:

Establish a regular wake up time.

Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day creates better sleep habits. Consistent sleep promotes better mental and physical health.
Some kids may naturally be earlier risers than others, and you can create a routine that fits best for your kids and schedule.

Have regular mealtimes throughout the day.

Gentle structure throughout the day provides consistency and healthy habits. A regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner schedule allows kids to get the calories and nutrients they need for long summer days of play and fun.

Create a chore chart.

To keep your kids on task, create a chart for them to take care of their responsibilities. The chart can include brushing their teeth, getting dressed, or cleaning their room. Kids can mark the task complete with a stick or marker, and even get a fun treat at the end of a day or week.
If your kids also help with age-appropriate chores, the chart can help ensure they get the work done while teaching them time management.

Have reading or learning time.

Set aside time each day for your child to read a book, make a craft, or learn something new.
Local libraries often offer free reading programs and challenges that include prizes and events. Some libraries even offer kids movie nights and craft events.
School districts or the YMCA may offer fun summer classes such as robotics courses, science classes, or martial arts.

Spend time outdoors.

Summer is a wonderful time for outdoor recreation activities and for getting away from screens. Aside from sending them out to play, you can find local classes and camps to introduce your kids to new or varied activities.
For both fun and safety, swimming lessons once or twice a week is a great option. You could explore local parks, such as the Huron-Clinton Metro Parks. Park staff often provide both entertainment and education about nature and animals.
Sign your kids up for a summer day or overnight camp for a bigger adventure. There, they’ll get to spend time with friends and make new ones, and learn new skills such as paddling, archery, or using a compass.
You can also make summer traditions with your family, such as a weekly neighborhood bike ride for trips to get ice cream.

Leave room for spontaneity.

After a long year of school, it’s healthy to give kids a chance to unwind and relax. While regular wake up and mealtimes provide structure for your child, unstructured playtime is healthy for a child’s development. Boredom can lead to creativity and allow your kids to use their imagination, such as creating a backyard obstacle course.
Don’t worry if you have some late nights or mornings. A schedule should be consistent, but it doesn’t need to be perfect to be effective and healthy.

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.