Hi friends! I hope your Summer is off to a great start! There’s no denying that this has been a crazy year with everything going on and we’re not out of the woods yet with Coronavirus and staying in most of the time.
Last Summer we had such a great time doing all kinds of fun things, going here and there and James was in a wonderful three week academic camp where he really thrived. Unfortunately, the camp canceled this Summer and we haven’t enrolled in anything else. We also haven’t made any travel plans. 🙁
So, we’re basically home with an occasional trip to the pool where we have to book in advance (it’s hard to get a reservation because they only allow so many at a time) and practice social distancing. If I’m not careful, it would be easy for us all to turn into major slugs and be in pajamas all day long, staying up way too late and sleeping in way too long!
Sure, there are times when structure and routines go out the window and you just hang out and play, but for the most part, I need a routine and rhythm to our days to function well. I know my kids operate best in that kind of environment also.
I realized lately that my 10-year-old son has been staying in his room wayyyy too much playing video games and if I didn’t nudge him out of there, I’d hardly see him! He’d finally emerge at the end of Summer and be taller than me!
We are starting something new this week in an effort to have more productive days and so that my kids get some outside play and exercise each day. I know how important that is for my own health and well-being, and I believe the same is true for my kids.
This is more for my 10-year old son because my 4 year-old daughter loves to do all.the.things. She’ll beg to go outside and play and run around and read and color and paint and play doctor or family or restaurant or makeup or you name it! At her age and with her personality, she doesn’t need any encouragement to get off electronics and socialize. She just needs to make sure to get dressed, brush teeth and hair and help tidy up after herself.
And for my son, I’m not saying video games or screen time is off-limits- I just want to have more balance.
I made a routine chart to ensure that he gets some learning, exercise and chores done each day. I’m not super strict about what time those things happen, but making the bed, getting that personal hygiene taken care of, and the room tidied needs to be done first – before electronics.
We’re trying to avoid fungus growing on/in the mouth/body and this situation:
I made a little chart to hang on the fridge that he could refer to each day and we all know how good it feels to check things off a list! And seeing it in print is a helpful (not so subtle) reminder, right?!
I know that for us a loose routine works best in the summertime. As much as I think I’d like to have all day broken out into neat little sections, that’s just not how our life works. During the school year might be different, but Summer is definitely more lax.
I like to have a some routine to the day, but not a strict schedule. This chart lays out what my son should do each day, but it’s not rigid and it gives them some flexibility too.
I typed up the chart on my computer, then printed it out and laminated it so he could use dry or wet erase markers to check things off. I opted for the wet erase markers because they don’t smear as easily. You have to get it wet to erase.
But can you just see the JOY on James’ face when I started explaining the routine to him?!?!
Hang in there buddy, this is FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!
Isn’t there just something about having your bed made that makes you feel like you did something productive that day? Even if nothing else gets done, at least your bed is made. #WINNING!
And it’s fore sure nicer to climb into a made bed at the end of the day than a heap of wrinkled sheets and pillows!
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that I believe exercise it critically important for our health and MOOD. We don’t need any grumpy pre-teens around here!
I’m sure you know how you feel on the days you get moving versus the days you don’t. Of course you feel better if you get at least 20-30 minutes of exercise in. I feel like I can take on the world if I get a hard 45-minute workout in first thing in the morning.
This one takes the most nudging, but once my son gets going, he tends to go beyond the 30 minutes.
We have a basketball hoop in our side yard, bikes we can ride and a mini treadmill in the playroom if we are in a pinch. It’s really super hot in Houston, so it’s great to have that inside option.
I’m pretty flexible on what I’ll consider learning during the Summer. Reading, writing, playing music, doing a workbook or online tutoring all counts in my book.
Reading is a great quiet time activity and I find that in the late afternoon everybody is ready for a little break. Jordan doesn’t nap, but we do like to build in that quiet time each day. James has required Summer reading, but I still need to buy that book for him! Ali-Shaun, what is it again??
Aside from making his bed and keeping his room tidy, my son helps unload the dishwasher, set and clear the table, puts away his laundry, takes out the trash and the bins to the street on trash day. He’s also responsible for emptying his stair bin when it gets full.
One specific chore is to vacuum the area where he eats because I swear, more food ends up on the floor than in his mouth! I was telling y’all about that a couple years ago and you guys were the ones that recommended the Dyson stick vac to me!
It’s honestly my favorite small appliance and the one that gets used the most often. We use it every.single.day, sometimes twice a day. It’s awesome because it is so lightweight and there is no cord to lug around or trip over. You just hold the power button down and let it do its work.
Even James can do it! #luckydude!
All kidding aside, I’ve had readers write and tell me that even with their arthritic hands, they are able to easily hold the power trigger on this vacuum. I’m really happy to hear that because I remember how difficult some daily tasks were for my Grandma Nola, who had arthritis in her hands.
Dyson V10 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
It comes with a charging station and accessories that hang conveniently on the wall. We have ours in the walk-in pantry.
When you’re ready to empty it, you just unlatch the lever that opens the lid of the bagless tank and all the dirt goes right into the trash can without you ever having to touch it!
I was so surprised when I went online to buy it and how expensive it is, but it is definitely worth every penny! Had I realized I could buy a refurbished one I definitely would have done that!
eBay has lots of options for refurbished items that have been thoroughly tested to meet like-new performance standards. The item may have some cosmetic blemishes that include scratches and/or other surface imperfections, but they do not affect functionality.
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You wouldn’t think someone would get so excited about a vacuum, but this one is a game changer!
I also like the handheld feature and use that often. It’s perfect for vacuuming the couch, stairs, inside drawers and my car. The Dyson V10 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner has up to 60 minutes of run time and I never run out of battery when it’s in regular mode. The Max Suction doesn’t last as long, but I rarely need to use that.
James usually just vacuums around where he eats, but he had fun demonstrating how this vacuum works on the stairs and in other parts of the house.
Please don’t think I make him vacuum the lampshades! Ha!
And he also had fun being the boss of me and showing me where I missed a spot!
I’ll be sure to keep you posted with how this Summer routine is working (or isn’t!). I’m not afraid to make adjustments as needed, but I’m hopeful this will get us off to a good start!
Do you have a Summer routine with your kids? I’d love to hear. I think it’s just extra challenging now with having to be more creative being home so much. I’d welcome reading your suggestions and how you do things in the comments.
And the cool thing is, having a routine in place still leaves lots of time for snuggles!
One thing I love to do at night is have one-on-one time with each of my children at bedtime.
Jordan has a bedtime routine that includes a story, a song we made up that recaps the day and ends with me singing, “I love you Jordan, I love you so much, you’re the sweetest girl in the whole wide world. I love to be your mommy!”
With James, I still go into his room, make sure he’s brushed his teeth (it’s extra important since he has braces), and I’ll lay down with him and we’ll just chat or he’ll show me Tik Toc videos he thinks are funny or what he created in Minecraft and it’s the perfect time for him to share anything else on his mind.
No, those aren’t things on a chart, but just so important to our day and relationship. And I don’t think you’re ever too old for pillow talk!
Some of you have been reading my blog since I started when James was just four months old! Can you believe how much of a young man he’s grown into? I just love him so much and I always appreciate you being here!
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Have a fantastic day friends!
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Hi! Long time reader and what a great idea to get your kids active and involved in the daily routine! Quick tip on the Dyson. I have hardwood floors too and the roller head you’re using may scratch that delicate wood (I learnt the hard way!! ?????). Try the soft roller head, works like an absolute treat and even buffs the floors!
OMG! Thank you so much for that tip!! I’ll try it!
I can’t believe James is 10 already. Time flies!
Thank you for the summer tips 🙂
I just had to go update my post because I had written “when James was 4 years old” but I started my blog when he was 4 MONTHS old!
Hi there! Thanks very much for the routine details…we’re (or I’m) feeling the same way at our house 🙂 I just wanted to share an idea for James. My nephew just started a Minecraft class on outschool.com (https://outschool.com/online-classes?startAfter=ThisWeek&q=minecraft#abkbutehyj) I can’t personally vouch for the site or the class but my SIL reported that he had his first class and really enjoyed it. They built a city council building and voted on things for their next class. My nephew is 10 too. So, it doesn’t help to keep him off of video games but does get him learning new things. It might be something worth checking out 🙂 Take care!
Thank you so much for that! James wanted to learn how to code mods so I’ll have to see if they teach that. I agree that’s still learning something very cool to do!
I was just going to recommend the same thing. My 11 year old has become obsessed with having his own YouTube channel to post Minecraft videos. The Outschool classes have been helping us balance screen time with learning some new computer science skills. For every Minecraft class he chooses I choose a coding or programming course. Can’t beat the price (or the referral bonuses) and so far he’s been happy with the courses.
Hi! I enjoy reading your blog daily! Where did you purchase your son’s blue quilt? I have been looking for one just like that for my son’s big boy room.
Continued success and blessings!
Hmm, I’m wondering if that was from Target!
I’m eventually going to get a dyson! We have a similar routine and here too we struggle with the outside time as it has gotten older. The last few days thought my oldest has been going on walks with me in the evening bar walk for about an hour and it is cool to hear the frogs and just ask and talk.
I love this post, so relatable! My son (13) has been given a timetable do he removes himself from his gaming chair for chores, study, exercise too. The pic if James in his chair made me chuckle as it is just like Caspar. He gets vacuuming duty too, every other day, and us pretty good. Made a laugh to see James either the Dyson as Caspar knows about these and has been ASKING for one to make his life easier haha! Study is probably getting harder to motivate over time with us being off school now since March- we’ve found anything with a competitive element like Dr Frost maths or Duolingo for French to be really useful. Joanne .
Where is James headboard from? Thank you
Thanks for this, Megan! I have a 6 and 9 year old and can very much relate to ALL of this. Both would be on Roblox all day if I didn’t give them a list and make time to play with them. We’’re still not getting together with friends very much due to COVID, so I’m their main playmate! Thanks again for all your amazing posts, especially the lists/schedules/charts, I think I’ve printed and used them all! Take care 🙂
I love your daily chart. One other thing I added to mine was an act of service a day. I really want to instill in my children the ability to see others and their needs outside themselves. So teaching them to find even small ways to help someone else or to brighten their day, and it makes for good dinner time conversation as well. Keep up the intentional parenting! Love your suggestions!
That’s a great idea Kristin, what a great mom you are!
First time reader and I totally enjoyed the post. I’m a teacher and a mom so it was definitely right up my alley. Will try this routine with my challenging eight year old daughter!
Thanks for stopping by Sacha! Let me know how it goes!!