It’s officially summer time! And if your kids are at home that means they have most likely already told you they are bored or you’ve spent the day reminding them not to play video games for 8 hours straight. Summer is a time to relax and not be so structured but it ends up meaning that kids have to create their own structure. My younger two children THRIVE on structure and if it’s not there, we ALL pay the price. Because of this, I used to structure every day when they were younger just to avoid spiraling downward. As they get older, I want them to still have some structure but also have a little freedom and learn to use it properly.
When my kiddos were little, we used picture charts attached to Velcro to show them what they had to do throughout the day. Then, once they were able to read, we used pictures and words together and I laminated each card. We used the red “chore chart” shown below that my husband built for us. I put the cards in the order in which they had to be done….as in we put on our clothes AFTER we take a shower! (You didn’t know that tidbit needed to be explained, did you?!?) They moved the cards to the “Done” section when finished. This included not only chores but other daily duties (such as brushing teeth – although one of my kiddos questions whether this really needs to be a “daily” thing!). I reset it each night.
Now that they are older, we’ve been able to add in that freedom by giving them categories and allowing them to accomplish things in whatever order they would like. I now laminate the entire paper schedule (you can do it at any office supply store), hang it on the chore chart board and they use dry erase markers to check off what they have done. After everything is done, they are free to do whatever they wish – including video games. As you can see from the photo, my one child struggles with the idea of freedom and would prefer to do everything twice so that her day feels more structured and “safer” for her. My final product is a mix of lots of different ideas from various blogs – aka moms who have been there before me.
Here are the categories I currently use:
- Daily Chore + any routine lists they may need to help them
- Build Your Brain
- Build Your Body
- Build Someone Else Up
- Build Your Spirit
Our older kiddos get a very simplified version of the “must do” items and then we expect them to make good choices with their time. If they don’t, they know I won’t hesitate to have them use a list as well!
I hope you can pull some ideas from this and design what works for your family. Use pictures if needed, add in as much choice as you think your child can handle (and make sure they are choices you are cool with). You do you. But hopefully you can make summer a little more relaxing for everyone.