One day, your child is following a to-the-minute schedule. Up at 7:00. Out the door for the bus at 7:42. School at 8:20. Lunch at 11:20. Home at 3:15. Then homework, practice, lessons, dinner, a kiss goodnight, aaaand... done!
And then summer starts, and routine falls completely by the wayside. Schedules lighten up as quickly as the sun rises on those hot, summer days, and suddenly you're smack dab in the lazy days of summer. No wake-up times. No bedtimes. No rules. Just play.
Bliss, right? Well, maybe.
But aimless meandering through the summer -- without a schedule -- can actually be harmful to your children. Keeping to a routine (albeit, a looser and more fun routine) during the summer is good for your kids.
Summer Learning Loss
In a study performed by University of Missouri-Columbia professor, Harris Cooper, Cooper found that summer learning loss is real. "We found that kids do forget over the summer," Cooper said. "Across the board, all kids lose some math skills."
Without concerted effort to keep kids engaged in learning, Cooper found that the best-case scenario resulted in kids showing little or no academic growth over the summer. But the alarming thing is that the worst-case scenario showed kids losing up to three months of learning!
Routines even provide emotional benefits for your kids, as they help kids feel safe and handle challenges more easily. And if you have a child who isn't self-motivated as a result of ADHD, routines are especially important during the summer.
It's safe to say a summer routine is a good idea. But are you worried about over scheduling? Part of the fun of summer is the slower pace and fewer responsibilities. Here are some tips for keeping to a summer routine that doesn't overwhelm, and that allows for plenty of play and free time.
Structure Your Day
You don't need a tight routine, with each minute planned, but structuring your morning with Brili will help you have a day in which you can do all the fun things you want to do.
In your schedule, include the regular things like getting dressed and brushing teeth. And then add chores, reading, and summer assignments. By the time this is done, you'll have plenty of time to spend the day however you want. You don't have to be tied down, but you'll have the essentials taken care of.
Have a goal for this summer? Maybe you want to teach your child how to cook or do laundry. Add it into the Brili routine. Maybe you want to make sure your family gets a movie night every week. Add it into the Brili routine.
Following a summer routine doesn't have to be oppressive. It actually frees up time so you have more time to do what you want.
Keep your child's brain revved up by expecting and providing for academic learning during the summer. Focus both on math and reading.
- Enroll your child in a camp or summer school
- Participate in challenges, like local library reading challenges
- Purchase grade-level workbooks, and schedule a few minutes into each day for workbook time
- Read to your children, and encourage them to read on their own
- Print off math and reading worksheets. Add worksheet time to your Brili routine
Make a Summer Bucket List
Since the mundane and time-sucking things (like chores and getting ready for the day) will be taken care of with your summer routine, you can have time to do the things you've always wanted to do! As a family, make a summer bucket list. Does it seem like you never have time for camping, picnics, swimming, day trips, movies, and museums?
Stick to your routine, and you'll be surprised how time opens up for the fun things of summer.