1) Plan a schedule BEFORE school gets out.
This first one is super important! Before school ever gets out make a schedule. For my oldest daughter it looks a little something like this: -bedtime is 8:00 PM, -get up every morning at 6:45 or later, -make your bed, -eat breakfast, -brush your teeth, -brush your hair, -read a book for 20 minutes, -help someone for 30 minutes, -play for 30 minutes, -free time
You can change it to tailor what your family needs or wants. This is especially important for little ones. Our youngest, who’s 1 year old, would definitely not have the same schedule as our almost 7 years old daughter.
2) Stick to the schedule as consistently as you can.
I’m sure some of you are reading this thinking “You are off your rocker Medical Mama! There’s no way we can stay on a schedule because I work and we are so busy all summer long.” Okay, so I agree with you 50%. What I’m saying is make a schedule, and follow it as closely as you can. If you are on vacation obviously toss this out the window for the duration of the vacation. I understand parents work, but that is not really an excuse. It’s YOUR excuse. We are always so busy all summer long too. I still manage to keep both my daughters on a consistent schedule. I work in the morning, and throughout most of the afternoon. My husband doesn’t get home until well after dinner time. Our kids stay on schedule. As a parent it is your responsibility to execute this. Not your kids’, and certainly not your basket of excuses.
3) Remind your children that there will be a schedule and it is to help them.
Explain to your children that the schedule is to help them not feel grouchy so you guys can have more fun all summer long.
I keep my kids on a schedule because otherwise nap times get messed up, and kids are super tired and/or cranky. It’s no fun for anyone. This is especially true for our 1 year old daughter. Our oldest is super grouchy the next morning if she had to stay up the night before. It just works well if they stick to a schedule. It also helps to plan my day accordingly and I get to plan things in advance when I know for sure when everyone needs a nap, or when we need to get the kids to bed.
4) Have some leeway and fun!
Like I stated earlier if you are off on a vacation make that a priority. Have fun, and try to make sure your kids are having fun. If there’s something local that will for sure interfere with a nap time, but you know your kids will enjoy it then do it. It’s a “once in a while thing” and not a “I’m a lazy parent and not keeping to a schedule” kind of thing.
5) Don’t overthink it.
Don’t overthink this. It’s common sense. It’s the right thing to do for your children. Remember, you can still have fun and be on a regular schedule.