The end of school and the beginning of summer is just around the corner for the Pacific Northwest and it’s time to relax, sleep in, and get wet.
I know that putting a little bit of work into planning out my family’s summer routine before everyone is home all day gets all of us headed in the right direction.
A couple of years back, I started setting up simple systems to keep my house and people loosely organized which increased the chances of us going out and doing awesome stuff.
Relax, I’m NOT a “type A” person. I don’t love charts and calendars and checklists. I’m totally chill, but the older my kids get, the more systems I need to have in place so our days run smoothly and we get to have maximum fun.
By “systems” I mean a schedule or a routine. It’s way easier than it sounds but you NEED TO POST IT so the literate people in your home can follow the plan and you quickly redirect those who are faking that they don’t know what to do next.
Here are some ideas for systems (routines, plans) you can think through and get set-up before your summer starts:
Morning and Evening Routines
The Morning High-Five is simply the best thing you can do to bring sanity to your summer. It’s a total GAME CHANGER.
The Morning High-Five are five things your kids need to do before a certain time in the morning. The goal is for everyone to be “ready for the day” without your help or direction. This system keeps me from yelling at everyone to get off their lazy behinds at 10:00 am and do something with their lives.
Read more about the Morning High-Five system HERE.
You could add an Evening or Nightly High-Five as well if you want to systematize your before-bed routine.
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My kids get up earlier than I do (the whole wake-up-before-your-kids thing doesn’t work for me) and I don’t like being greeted with “I’M STARVING” the minute I roll out of bed, so I need to create a breakfast routine this summer.
It could be as easy as cold cereal every morning, but you need to set up the way the kids will get the food and then clean it up.
You could also set up a schedule to help you plan things out — like a type of breakfast every day of the week that coordinates with when your personal schedule. Maybe cereal on mornings you are busy and hot breakfast when you have more time.
Another idea is to put one child in charge of breakfast each morning. The older they are, the more involved the meal can be. Little kids can be in charge of cereal while your teens can be in charge of baking a casserole or making pancakes.
The sad reality of summer is that the mess-makers are home more which means… more messes. If your kids are anything like mine, they seem to let items fall out of their hands the moment they no longer need said item. It’s maddening.
Our job as the adult is to
force encourage everyone to clean up after themselves so our homes don’t descend into absolute disarray.
Figure out NOW how you’re going to keep the clutter in the common areas of your home under control. For some people, a nightly “pick-up” is sufficient. For some, they can’t go through an entire day stepping over socks and fidget spinners so you may need an additional afternoon pick-up-your-crap session.
You could also institute a five-minute common-area sweep before or after each meal. I like the idea of no eating until their stuff is put away. Seems reasonable enough.
“Get Home” Routines
Coming home from an event or activity with wet towels, dirty socks, and a stack of library books is enough to push me over the edge because you know all of this stuff ends up crammed in a bag or in a pile by the front door.
Instead of dealing with it “later,” create a routine that everyone follows when you all come home from doing something awesome. Here’s a rough routine that we will follow this summer:
- Empty all bags and throw away the garbage
- Put food away
- Put wet towels in the dryer, in the dirty laundry, or outside on the line
- Hang or soak swimming suits
- Put dirty clothes in the laundry
- Refill important bags (like diapers and wipes)
When we get home, I’ll just say “go through the ‘Get Home’ list and DO IT.”
Remember, the goal with all of these systems or routines is for you to SPEAK LESS WORDS. Instead of directing a child’s every step because they tend to stop thinking when there is work involved, you point them to the list. “Go do the list.”
And you’ve already taught them how to do all the tasks on the list, so they are without excuse. No more, “but I don’t know how to load the washing machine” because you trained them how to pick up a sock with their own hand and put it inside the giant hole at the beginning of the summer.
So, what systems are you setting up before school gets out this June? Make a list.
Then write your systems on a piece of paper and post it in your house. DON’T CHECK PINTEREST. Just write a list with a Sharpie in your best handwriting or type it out. Don’t try to make it beautiful or you’re never going to get it done.
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