My summer plans for sanity: schedules, plans, charts, and other coping mechanisms


I am one of those moms that makes a crazy weekly schedule for summer. I thought I’d share it in case it’s helpful for anyone else or gives you ideas of how to tweak things your own way. Do NOT look at this and feel guilty if you never had any similar intention. *I* do this because it helps me know what to do with my children when they are out of school and suddenly back in my care 24/7. If I did not make a plan or a schedule, I would find myself fretting in bed in the morning while my children got a jump start on chaos. If you are the type of mom who likes to go with the flow and not be pressured by a schedule, then you probably won’t like these ideas, and that’s okay. We can still be friends. 🙂

Weekly schedule.  Here’s a link to my chart, but this is the general idea: chores* done by 10 am, then a brief devotional and “summer school” (30 minutes of workbooks, writing, etc.). Mid-day activities include:

Monday:  Money and Menu plan– Allowance and Bank, Plan lunches and dinners for week (this year I’m going to try having each child in charge of one day of lunch and dinner), Grocery shop

Tuesday: Temple, Treat, and Tech– Get a treat and visit a temple, Rent a movie or video game

Wednesday: Service and Play–Humanitarian or other Service, Fun ideas from Pinterest

Thursday: Travel– Day trip or hike

Friday: Library and lunch– go to library and meet daddy for lunch

(This schedule is way more flexible than it may appear. Times are approximate, and we also have swimming lessons and other random calendar commitments, so some days the schedule will get trumped with something else.)

Then we finish off the late afternoons with a “summer snack” (usually a Popsicle), 30 minutes of reading time** followed by some quiet play time, their 30 minutes of media time, then dinner and family time, and finally bedtime– except for Thursday nights when I’ll let them stay up a little later for neighborhood night games.

*Note on chores: I make a daily chart (you’re welcome to download and edit my document here) so that every morning, each person knows exactly what their jobs are that day. Each day as they pass off their work, I will give them some kind of voucher that they can collect and cash in toward their allowance on Mondays. It may be as simple as a labeled popsicle stick. If you have any questions about the chores we do around here, go ahead and ask in the comments.

**Note on reading: You know how a lot of schools have a take-home reading program? Well, I modify that plan and run a similar system at home during the summer. My children like to read and will often pick up books during down-time and definitely at bedtime, but what I love about take-home reading is the assigned content. Sometimes I’m a big fan of forcing things on my poor children, especially when I know it would be good for them to step out of their comfort zone a little and expand their minds by trying a new genre or subject matter. So I did a lot of research about good books for my kids to read, and I went and checked out a lot of them from the library. Then I created big gallon Ziploc bags with their names on them and made a form (here’s a blank one you can download) that lists their “assigned” books. During their reading time every day, they read the book in their bag for as many days as they need to until it’s done. Then I sign it off, and they move on to another book on their list. I love this part of the day because it makes me feel like a children’s librarian, one of those jobs I’m just sure I would love.


So there you have it. It’s kind of like comfort food for the psyche; it makes me feel better to have a summer strategy. Here’s wishing you the best in your own summer preparations. What are some of your favorite strategies?


10 thoughts on “My summer plans for sanity: schedules, plans, charts, and other coping mechanisms

  1. I’m glad you said we can still be friends, because I’m definitely one of those moms that looks forward all year to the slower, unscheduled pace of summer–and summer is never as long as I wish. And I hate that now that I have teenagers, big chunks of our summer all already swallowed up by church camps, youth conferences, and so forth. (I NEVER send my kids to EFY. I’m sure they’d love it, but I covet their time too much.)

    But even so, I actually do have two schedule things I stick with: 1) THREE hours of chores each morning. My kids cannot believe I’m so mean, but, as I heard my 13-year-old explain to the younger ones yesterday, “I hate it, too, but Mom says this way she gets at least two hours out of us, even if we get distracted.” The younger ones pointed out that I should just assign two hours, but she said, “No, because then she’d only get one hour out of us.”

    The other thing I do is alternate “Friend Days” with “Family Days.” My kids can’t play on friend days, so I have a respite from the constant rotating door of kids coming and going, but on friend days the kids get a respite from me.

  2. Oh, and I also try to sit down with the kids at the beginning of the summer and find out what their hopes are. I add mine and we make a big list; then we try to make time for their highest-priority wishes at some point during the summer.

  3. Love your plan. I’m big on structure and routine. Sadly I’m in school this summer, so the kids all get to go to summer daycare camp. Mom guilt is high. I am going to use your reading list. And use some of your ideas for the evenings.

  4. I saw your pintrest post on the allowance chore chart thing, and we are going to try it. Our kids NEED routine, and they love money. We decided to not give them as much as the pintrest people though. only do half their age -and do the other half into a family fund for a vacation.

  5. Thank you so much for some great ideas! I have 5 children ranging from 1 – 9 years old. I need tips on how to be able to help each one out with their chores, reading, ect. Especially since my 1 and 3 year old take a lot of my time and energy at this point. My 3 year old needs a lot of supervising. He is 3 going on 10yrs old! So I feel like my 5, 7, and 9 year old children don’t get much of my attention. I love routine and I love structure, but I feel like it is hard to do right now. I am also just so tired right not. 🙂

  6. Fun ideas! I’m the type who dreads summer because I can’t stand the chaos and mess of everyone home. I know that sounds just terrible. However, I’m really excited to do my own mom school this summer. With as busy as the kids are during the school year, they mostly don’t do any extracurriculars (because I want them to play and do chores), but with summer, we’re now going to do piano/music/singing, foreign language, dance, and mom field trips. I’m excited. It’s getting easier, too, as the kids get older because they’re A LOT quicker to do what I ask. Plus I give them money for “bonus chores” and they like that.

  7. You must live in Utah if you can have “visit a temple” as a daily activity! LOL I love the idea of each child in charge of dinner each day. My kids are older (21 down to 11) but I think I might try that this summer.

  8. Thanks for the wonderful ideas. I make a summer binder every year. I put all of our information: various calendars/schedules, free summer movies, library classes, activities, etc into a notebook. This notebook goes with us everywhere all summer. It helps lessen the chaos because I have all the information in one place instead of all over the house 🙂

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