This post is full of ideas for simplified summer routines, including a free summer chore chart printable for kids and summer organization ideas for your cleaning/work schedules!
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I've gotten a couple of questions about how I'm planning on keeping our schedules, routines, and to-do lists together for the summer. As so many of you know, it's so incredibly easy for all of those good habits you've kept going so far this year to completely fall apart when summer vacation hits. It's super tempting to forget about responsibilities and just have fun…trust me, I want to do that too! My main goal for the summer is to make lots of memories with my babies and find a healthy balance of responsibility and laziness.
There's not much of a hidden secret or a method to my madness…but I do have a few essential tips that are making my summer easier. These tips worked when we had young kids and even work now that we're getting in to the older aged kids department. I hope they help you find an effective way to integrate daily tasks into your kids' routine!
1. Have a (simple) summer chore chart printable for kids each day.
A few summers ago, I really committed to working on responsibility with our daughter, Emmie. Without consuming her day with chores and responsibilities, I wanted to make a list that she could complete at her own convenience. I wanted to instill a little bit of responsibility and structure into her day.
I quickly came up with this summer chore chart printable one afternoon a couple of years ago. It has been so incredible useful for us to have a list of simple tasks and age-appropriate chores than can be completed in a daily routine. Free printables are kind of my thing; so of course this fit perfectly on the blog, too!
There's also an updated version of this free printable summer chore chart on this post). Really, I just sat down and thought about the things she should be doing anyway to make her chore list. She's the kind of child that thrives when given a set of tasks or a checklist (she gets it from her mom 😉), and so far, this has worked incredibly well. In the past, she got 50 cents a day for completing it (and it was all or nothing; if one thing isn't checked off, she got nothing). She also didn't get screen time until it's completed.
The easiest way to use something like this is to either laminate it, use a sheet protector, or use an inexpensive picture frame (this one is from Dollar Tree). Use a wet or dry erase marker to mark off the tasks on the daily checklist. Then, you can simply use an eraser to reset every night, rather than having to print another daily chore checklist.
A Digital Chore Chart
If you're more of a digital person, I've got something for you to try too. For summer 2022, I'm trying something a little different. My family just does better with a digital format, so we're using the Our Home app to organize chores. This isn't sponsored by them, I just love the app! I am using the same general idea as the printable chore chart – just in a different way.
Each member of the family has a profile. I can assign daily chores that happen just once a week or repeat daily for each family member. For the kids, I assign 1 point to each task…that's how they earn allowance (I talk a little bit more about our allowance system in this post).
This is an example of what a day looks like (it's late when I'm writing this post, so most of the items have been checked off for the day). My kids have to complete all of the orange tasks each day before they're allowed screen time. It's a great way to motivate them to get chores done quickly. 🙂 Then, if they want screens after they go to their room at night, they have to complete at least 4 green chores. I'm using the same tasks that I did when I used the original printable. I think this is a lot easier. I don't have to remember to give them allowance – it's automatically loaded into the app when they check off a chore.
The Current Summer Chores for My Kids Each Day:
If they want to convert these points into actual money or use the points for rewards (talked about here), I just manually deduct them from the app. There is a section of the app where you can automate rewards, but I just find that doing it manually is way easier.
This app also lets me tell my husband what I need him to do from Journey to Clean for the week (although, sadly, he doesn't get an allowance for his chores ;)). Overall, it's just a great, easy way to automate the whole chore process.
More than anything, focus on keeping this list simple for kids, especially younger children. I've found that it just won't get done if it's too complicated. By integrating easy things they do every day anyway (brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc.) you can really motivate kids to complete the rest of it.
2. Give yourself a summer chore chart printable too. 🙂
Keep a similar schedule as the rest of your year, but lighten up your work load.
After our first day of summer break, I sat down in the evening to look over my Journey to Clean tasks for the day. I had not even looked at it after spending a fun-filled day with my kids. I quickly realized that, while this list works incredibly well for most of they year, it just wasn't going to fly this summer. It was too intensive for the schedule we were planning on having for the next few months. We have lots of fun and family time scheduled that doesn't allow for lots of cleaning. I decided it was high time to, at least for a few months, give myself a little grace in the cleaning department.
If I was needing a little grace in the cleaning department, I figured that many of my other Journey to Cleaners probably needed it too. Summer is a busy time that calls for a little slacking in the home – that's ok! Your home will not fall apart from not following a full cleaning schedule for a few months.
So, I spent the next few days in my office putting together an easier version of Journey to Clean to carry me (and my other J2C friends) through the end of summer. Journey to Clean Light has 14 pages of cleaning printables,
- daily/weekly task checklists
- divided room of the week lists into bi-monthly chunks that ensure cleaning tasks are done evenly
- lighter cleaning calendars for June-September 2018 that follow this easier set of room of the week chores
- pretty dividers to make your own cleaning notebook!
And, as of today, it's available for purchase when you click here!
I've also found ways to lighten my work load for the summer. I like to work 2-3 mornings a week during the school year. That isn't the case during the summer. One day a week, my mother-in-law takes the kids, which I'm super lucky to have. My posting schedule slows down a little bit over the summer, scheduling in lots of posts that take a little bit less time for the next few months. I work hard to have all of my posting and social media scheduling done in that one day I have away from my kids, which means there isn't much time for product development this time of the year. That's ok! Fall will be here soon.
3. Find a way to get out of the house every day.
Every single person in our family goes a little stir crazy if they don't get out of the house every day – I didn't discover this until a few years ago, but it does us all good! So I make sure that there is something to do every day that gets us out of the house, even if it's only for an hour or so. I go to the gym pretty much every morning, so it's an easy schedule to keep for us. We also love going to library story times, our local learning center's Play Shop, on play dates /lunch dates with friends, etc. It's something you have to get in the habit of doing, but it is possible!
4. Have a cornerstone routine builder for each morning and each afternoon.
Speaking of that -it's great for us to keep a consistent routine each day (one small thing for the morning, one thing for the afternoon). It's loose enough of a schedule to allow for changes, but enough of a routine to keep kids consistent. Our gym time is our morning activity each morning. The kids love our child care program and I love a little bit of a break to focus on myself! Each afternoon, we all have a rest time that shapes our afternoon. While my kids rarely actually go to sleep, they have an hour of laying down or quiet playing in her room. The kids know both of these times are coming each day. Children thrive on routine!
5. Automate and streamline as much as possible.
You guys know I'm a huge fan of freezer meals. They're especially helpful during the summer! It's so nice to be able to pop one in the Instant Pot as the kids are playing outside. I really don't worry about it until dinner. I highly, highly recommend these if you haven't started making them already. (And for those of you who love freezer meals – I've got a fun series starting next week…stay tuned!)
I also love simple little conveniences like our Robot Vacuum (we have this one and love it!). Why not let a machine do the work for you when time is so precious? Set that guy to run every day and worry about one less thing. This one has a daily schedule option that can be set from your phone.
6. Keep fun and memory making as the priority.
There will be time again for getting to work and focusing on adult stuff. If you're lucky enough to have the time with your kids this summer, you'll never regret cutting back on responsibilities as much as you can for a few months and focusing on them. Trust me, I'm the kind of person that is very goal-oriented and is always looking forward to the next project with my business. But I heard something so important a few weeks ago: we only get 18 summers with them. That's it. So right now, my goal is making memories with my babies while I have them!
Image from previous version of post: