Planning a Summer Schedule for Kids: A Daily Routine for Four Kids

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Planning a Summer Schedule for Kids: A Daily Routine for Four Kids

Summer is a super fun time! Kids are home! Everyone is happy every minute of the day! It’s all fun. Smiles. Pure joy. From sun up until sundown. Right? Right?

Confession: I’m guilty. I’m totally and completely guilty of daydreaming of summer. Even getting excited about it. In my mind, it’s SO EPIC and I get SO PUMPED to make all these fun memories with my kids while they are out of school.

pinable image planning the ultimate summer for your kids

Then reality hits. The kids bicker. Heck, they straight up fight. I spend my days frustrated with having to deal with their arguments.

They complain. They are bored. Then I get frustrated at their lack of appreciation. Annoyed by their entitlement attitudes.

So often it’s not joyful. For anyone. I have all these great intentions and plans and ideas and none of them end up happening because I spend my time frustrated rather than having FUN.

Not. This. Year.

Nope. This year things are going to be different. This year I’m entering summer with a solid game plan.

Realistic expectations. I am not wearing rose-colored glasses.

My kids are home often enough for me to know how things will go if I don’t enter summer with a hardcore strategy.

How I’m Planning My Summer Schedule with Four Kids:

I have four children. A 10 year old boy, 7 year old girl, 4 year old girl and 18 month old boy.

That’s a lot of kids.

And a lot of varying ages.

I have realized if I don’t have a plan then the 10 and 7 year old end up arguing. Either the 10 year old or the 4 year old end up getting ganged up on by the other two or get left out from whatever sort of game they come up with.

I also end up just aimlessly tossing some toys at the 18 month old and hope he’s distracted enough for a few minutes for me to get something, anything, accomplished.

kids on beach. text: ready for summer break? how to plan the perfect summer with four kids

I’ve always been a big fan of getting out of the house. Going out. Having experiences together.

Having that fourth kid though? Whew, it’s like the effort to go places tripled!

We live in South Georgia where it’s SUPER HOT so I also know that going out and about during the summer will not only mean sweating profusely but also applying sunscreen to four children. Which every mom knows that sunscreen application itself can easily eat up an hour of time!

On top of all of that, I’m also a work-from-home mom. Blogging takes time and I need peaceful, quiet blocks of time in my day to be able to focus and get the things I need to get done, done.

That’s why this summer I’ve decided to implement block scheduling for our daily routine when we are at home and mapping out days and activities for times when we leave the house to create a balance of fun and structure.

Planning Family Vacations and Camps During the Summer

We are a busy family. We travel often and I really, really love making memories together during fun experiences.

We travel so often that our summer gets pretty full just from our travels alone (a week at the beach, a week at Disney for our daughter’s birthday…that’s a big chunk right there!).

My first step is to look through our summer and carefully plan out our travels. In the past we’ve made the error of traveling too much and too often.

It is now our family rule to not travel back to back. We have at least one weekend at home as a family between trips. It has helped a LOT to lower our stress levels and allow us to more fully enjoy those travels!

I also map out activities the kids are involved in. I encourage our children to be involved in camps during the summer if they have subjects or sports they are interested in.

Our kids also attend our local Georgia Bible Camp and attend local VBS gatherings if offered too.

As I sign the kids up for activities I am mindful to block off those days on our calendar too. Again, being careful not to overbook. Ideally, I am for one camp at a time. If the 10-year-old is at a camp one week I prefer it not to fall on the same week as a camp the 7-year-old wants to participate in.

Having one child less makes a big impact on the family dynamic. By having just one child gone at a time at a summer camp it allows the remaining children at home to bond and play in a different way.

Take the 10-year-old out of the equation. He is able to be having a blast with friends at a camp and getting a break from his siblings while the seven and four-year-olds are able to bond without having arguments with their older brother.

You Can Read More Helpful Travel Posts Here:

keeping kids on a schedule while traveling
what to pack for travel with kids when flying
how to survive traveling with an infant

Block Scheduling: A Daily Routine for Four Kids During the Summer

Since we do travel so often and are involved in so many activities it’s easy to sit back and say that the typical day at home over the summer will just be chill time.

No plans. Just let the kids do their thing.

But that’s when everyone bickers the most. That’s when Mommy is most likely to lose her mind.

Enter the concept of a block schedule. A kids daily schedule. A kids summer schedule.

And really? A stay at home mom summer schedule!

image of three children with text overlay : worried about surviving summer? using block scheduling for summer routine

At school the kids are used to a set time period for learning. They spend 30 minutes on math then switch gears and spend 30 minutes on reading.

Why not transition that into home life too?

In creating our block schedule I sat down and thought through our typical day and based the entire routine off of the 18-month-old’s schedule.

Have a child who can’t yet tell time? Be sure to invest in a fun kitchen timer like this one!

Our Summer Schedule:

Here is a look at the blocks for our daily routine this summer.

four kids at a water park text overlay: summer schedule for four kids

Our 10-year-old is named Kye, 7-year-old is Britt, 4-year-old is Tess and the toddler is Spear 🙂

  • 6:00 I get up for the day and get ready and do some of my work related items
  • 7:00 Kids get up for the day and my husband or I make breakfast
  • 7:30 Everyone eats breakfast together
  • 8:00 Spear will have Independent Playtime, the remaining three will have Bible Study, Prayer and Gratitude time.

——> Want to know more about what Independent Playtime is and How to Implement It? Read this Post!

  • 8:30 Spear will have a bit of DVD time and the others may watch with him
  • 8:45 Spear goes down for morning nap

—–> You Can See Our Favorite Movie Choices for Toddlers and Preschoolers Here!

  • 8:45 Once Spear is down for nap, the older three children will go outside in the backyard for free play. (The 10-year-old has a goal to work on his basketball skills so this will be a good time for that and will ensure the kids have active time outdoors before it gets too hot).
  • 10:00 Kids allowed back inside and will choose from a quiet learning activity or craft time

—–> Need some Outdoor Activity Ideas? Be Sure to Read This Post from Twin Mom and More!

  • 10:30 Older three have structured playtime together
  • 11:00 Spear is up from his morning nap and I will make lunch, older kids will clean up their playtime activity
  • 11:30 Lunchtime
  • 12:00 We will all swim (we have a backyard pool) or, if raining, we will bake together (our 7-year-old really has a goal to learn how to bake this summer so it’s going to be a focus!)
  • 12:40 Get out from swimming to dry off
  • 12:45 Spear will go down for nap, Tess will nap most days at this time as well
  • 12:45 Older children have their rest time. They have to stay in bed but may read. They will also be given the option to listen to audio books during this time of rest
  • 2:00 Older children have their independent playtime

—–> Want to Learn more about the Transition from Naptime to rest time? Read This Post!

  • 3:00 Screen time for older children
  • 4:00 Spear is up from his nap and has his independent playtime. Older children do their chores or may choose from a craft time or learning time activity
  • 4:30 Children are allowed free playtime to play how they choose
  • 5:00 All four kids go into the playroom together while I make dinner

——> Be Sure to Read About How We Do Chores Here!

——> And this is a great post on getting toddlers involved with chores from Christine Keys!

  • 5:30 Dinner as a family
  • 6:00 Go on a family walk, or bake if it’s raining and we didn’t do so earlier
  • 6:30 Baths and showers followed by storytime and prayers
  • 7:00 Spear in the bed for the night
  • 7:00 The rest of us play a board game together before tuck-in time.
  • 7:30 Tess down for the night
  • 7:30 Kye and Britt may read for 30 minutes before bed

Posts You May Find Helpful:

starting independent playtime for older children

rest time for older children

Options for Structured Play:

I have found that by limiting what my children are allowed to do that they get along better and enjoy playing together more than when I allow them to be the ones deciding the activities.

During the days of summer, they will have time set aside for structured play. I will allow them to choose between these activities during those blocks of time.

If they are unable to agree then I will limit their choices further by choosing the activity for them. If they don’t agree on a regular basis then I will plan to cycle through each activity each day.

The children and I put this list together and tried to think of toys that they don’t regularly play with but enjoying playing with when given the opportunity.

Scroll Through to Shop All of The Structured Playtime Options:

Imaginext Dragon
Dollhouse
Musical Instruments
Little People Set
Car Playmat
Wooden Blocks
Magnatiles
Marble Run
Wooden Train Set
Imaginext Dragon
Dollhouse
Musical Instruments
Little People Set
Car Playmat
Wooden Blocks
Magnatiles
Marble Run
Wooden Train Set

Options for Learning Time:

It’s important for children to stay on top of the knowledge they learned over the school year in order to avoid the back-to-school slump come August.

However, I value learning time more for the practice in sitting still and focusing on a task than I do what they are actually learning!

Here are their choices for the learning portion of our day:

Scroll Through to Shop All of the Learning Time Options:

Letter and Number Puzzles
Dry Erase Book
Playing School Set
Summer Learning Books
LeapFrog LeapStart
Letter and Number Puzzles
Dry Erase Book
Playing School Set
Summer Learning Books
LeapFrog LeapStart
Letter and Number Puzzles
Dry Erase Book
Playing School Set
Summer Learning Books
LeapFrog LeapStart

Options For Craft Time:

I enjoy doing crafts with my kids but the reality is, crafts are a LOT of work on MOM.

Now that I have kids who are a bit older, they can not only handle crafts on their own but can also help younger siblings.

These are their options during craft time:

Scroll Through to Shop all of the Options for Craft Time:

Tracing Projector
Easel
Sticker Books
Slime Kit
Play-Doh
Coloring Books
Tracing Projector
Easel
Sticker Books
Slime Kit
Play-Doh
Coloring Books
Tracing Projector
Easel
Sticker Books
Slime Kit
Play-Doh
Coloring Books

Alternatives to Our Daily Summer Routine:

Our typical day will follow the above routine.

However, I plan to also keep it flexible and leave plenty of room for time with friends, going out and about, and doing fun things together too!

For weeks when we are not traveling and not involved in any camps or church activities I plan to keep the daily routine two to three days of the week.

kids by pool - how to fill the day with kids during summer

For the remaining two to three days of the week we will participate in these alternative activities:

  • Visit the library at 10:30 (wake Spear early from nap) and then have a picnic lunch at a park or eat out with friends (we plan to do the summer reading program at our local library)
  • Have friends come over to swim and play at 10:00 and have them leave prior to naptime at 1:00
  • Invite friends over during afternoon naps to play with the older children, and allow our children to visit with friends during that time as well
  • Eat breakfast 30 minutes early and then walk to our neighborhood playground for some playtime (possibly meet up with friends there too) and be back by 9:30 for Spear’s morning nap.
  • Visit our local theme park (Wild Adventures) for the water park area. Apply sunscreen prior to leaving and leave at 10:00 (waking Spear early from nap). Feed the kids lunch in the car or at the water park and be home by 1:30 for their afternoon nap.
  • Kye (the 10-year-old) is allowed three hours of video game time per week and he has elected to use that time in one solid block once a week so one day a week he will play video games during naptime and have no other screen time that day
  • Britt (the 7-year-old) is allowed two hours of video game time per week so she will also have her time during one of the afternoon naptimes and that will also count for her screen time that day

Change in Summer Routine: When Nap is Dropped

Spear is almost 18 months old and toddlers typically drop the morning nap between 12-18 months of age.

While he is a high sleep needs child, I do think he will probably drop that morning nap at some point during the summer.

My plan once he drops that nap is to shift the schedule a bit for the mornings.

This is how the morning schedule will work:

  • 6:00 I get up for the day and get ready and do some of my work related items
  • 7:00 Kids get up for the day and my husband or I make breakfast
  • 7:30 Everyone eats breakfast together
  • 8:00 We will all go outside together, either on a walk or just to play
  • 9:00 Spear has independent playtime for 1 hour, older children may remain outside for that hour or come in have structured play time.
  • 10:00 Spear has his screen time for 30 minutes, older children may watch with him
  • 10:30 Spear has learning time and craft time while older children do the same.

Have a Toddler? These Posts May be Helpful:

pinable image filling the day with your toddler

pinable image 5 tips for preventing toddler meltdowns
filling the morning time slot when the morning nap is dropped

Summer Bucket List for Four Kids:

Every summer the kids and I come up with a summer bucket list and over the years the list has become pretty repetitive. We have our favorite must-do summer items every year!

I try my best to spread these out throughout the summer, especially during weeks where we don’t have plans and spend our days mostly at home using our daily routine.

We’ve always been pretty successful in completing them all and it’s important to make realistic bucket list goals!

pin: easy and fun bucket list for summer with kids

Here’s our list:

  • Back yard family shaving cream fight
  • Visit the local fire station
  • Have friends over for a pool party
  • Visit the local nursing home
  • S’mores by our backyard firepit
  • Homemade pizza night
  • Lemonade Stand
  • Sibling sleepovers
  • Disney themed movie days

——> See More About Disney Movie Themed Activities Here!

  • Participate in the library reading program
  • See at least one movie from the Summer Movie List (cheap movie days at our local theater!)
  • Night swimming
  • Have “dates” with Mommy and Daddy (solo time with each child)
  • Go to our local playground
  • Visit local you-pick locations

Want to Shop All of Our Favorite Summer Items? Be Sure to Scroll Through Here:

Kitchen Timer
Tracing Projector
Easel
Sticker Books
Slime Kit
Play-Doh
Coloring Books
Imaginext Dragon
Letter and Number Puzzles
Dry Erase Book
Playing School Set
Summer Learning Books
Dollhouse
Musical Instruments
Little People Set
Car Playmat
Wooden Blocks
Magnatiles
Marble Run
Wooden Train Set
LeapFrog LeapStart

Looking for More Summer Fun? Be Sure to See These Posts:

13 free or cheap summer activities
Disney movie theme ideas
pinable image: super simple busy bag ideas

Planning a Summer Schedule For Kids: Final Thoughts

I like being a “fun mom.” I like filling my children’s days with activities and memory-making and experiences.

But.

It’s also important to me to have a balance. It’s possible to have too much fun.

And when my kids have too much fun? Well. The start acting entitled. They bicker more. They become ungrateful.

So just as this post shows all the epic moments we’ll be having this summer, it’s also important to me that my children appreciate that fun.

——> You Can Read My Post on Teaching Appreciation in an Entitled World Here!

I had a sweet lady at my church tell me that kids should spend their summer days doing chores and helping around the house and that mother’s today focus too much time and energy and effort on revolving our days around our children.

Whew that hit home!

I do think a balance is important and just as I’m planning out our days in order to bring joy and minimize arguing and frustrations for us all…I’m also not shying away from allowing kids to be bored and have to find things to do.

I also have things that my children will be responsible for and will be expected to do each day.

For example, the kids empty the dishwasher daily. They clean up the kitchen. They take care of our dog. They make their beds. They help with younger sibilngs.

This summer a big focus will be on having them make their own lunches so they will be prepared to take over the task when school starts back!

Summer is a GREAT opportunity to teach new skills and prepare for the school year ahead!

——> You can Read my Post on Preparing for Preschool Here!

I am excited for our fun summer together and hope these tips will help other mamas fully enjoy their summer as well!

More Posts to Help Plan Your Summer:

pinable image how to stay cool outside when it's unbearably hot
7 things to keep in the car for summer
Creating a summer schedule and how to keep it

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Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

You can read more about our family on my About Me page. Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

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