Today we’re going over daily routines and schedules for kids. It’s summer right now, and I don’t know about you, but typically, my kids are in camp. Of course, this year they’re not, so we’ve needed to streamline things around the house with routines and schedules for our kids! I know that sounds like an overwhelming task, but I’ve created a list of tips and tricks to help you do the same thing.
Let’s start why WHY we need routines during the summer. Creating schedules and routines for your family isn’t all about sanity–there’s actual research on why it’s important! Routines eliminate power struggles between parents and kids. Kids know this is how the day is supposed to go. That’s why you might hear your kids’ teachers say they’re great in class, and you’re wondering why they’re so much more challenging at home.
The reality is that kids cooperate much more when they know what’s coming next (like in school) because knowing what comes next makes you feel at ease. Giving them that structure is going to help them so much! And as a bonus, when they know what comes next, they have activities to look forward to. As we talk about how to do this and you start implementing it in your life, remember this why!
Daily Schedules and Routines for Kids
Start your schedule planning with the non-negotiables.
This includes wake-up time, lunchtime, and bedtime. These things are non-negotiable. They happen every day no matter what. If you’re doing summer school, that’s included too. I put those in first, and that’s how I start creating my schedule. We do these things every day at the same time for consistency and sanity.
Write it down.
Pen and paper work better for this than a computer. It’s just better for your brain. So write it all down on a piece of paper–it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be written down. Start with the non-negotiables, and then fill in everything else like outside time, errands, or chores.
Follow this schedule for a month or two and tweak.
I know a month or two sounds intense, but it’s important. For it to stick, you need to be somewhat rigid about it. During the first month or so, if something’s not working, tweak it. But wait for a while to veer too far off of what you originally planned. That way it can become a habit for you and everyone else in your family.
Use tools to help your kids with new routines and schedules.
Now that you have your plan written down, and you’ve decided to commit to it for a month or two, it’s time to start implementing! This part can seem the most intimidating, but good news–I have some great tools and ideas for you.
The Ultimate Parent’s Guide to Getting Organized: This free download includes 11 pages of guides, examples, tools, and more. Inside I include an expectations page where you write down what you expect your kids to do and how you expect them to act–that way it’s crystal clear. This is how you’re going to build and structure your routine.
Morning Routine Checklist: This free download includes all kinds of morning-related visuals for your kids. I printed it, cut out the pieces, laminated it, and added velcro so that the kids rearrange the different parts of their morning routine. This gives them a sense of ownership. If your kiddo wants to make the bed before eating breakfast great! If they’d rather do it after, that’s fine too. As long as it gets done, the timing isn’t important.
The other option for morning routines is the Morning Routine Checklist. This one isn’t as visual, but I like it. I laminate it and put it on a clipboard in their bedroom on a 3M hook. I keep a dry-erase marker nearby so the kids can check off the different parts of their routine as they complete them. Then, at bedtime, it’s part of their routine to erase the checkboxes.
Household Rules and Expectations: Nothing fancy here! I just write them on a piece of paper and let the kids decorate. It’s not complicated, and it’s so important. Again, we’re making everything crystal clear, and we’re making life a little more predictable for them.
Chore Chart: Chores and responsibilities are separate things. Responsibilities are expectations, and I don’t pay them to do those things. For example, making their bed or keeping their room tidy. I do pay them to do chores like bring out the trash, bring the trash can in from the curb, unloading the dishwasher, washing a big dish by hand and drying it, vacuuming, taking clothes out of the dryer. Like my rules and expectations, I just write these on a piece of paper. It helps that the kids know what their options for chores are.