Sample Summer Schedules for Kids

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Find great summer schedules for kids to get ideas on how to structure your summer for your family. Get ideas for balancing structure and fun!

Child playing in the sand.

A big question people have when summer comes around is “what should our summer schedule look like?”

People want to have fun in summer and perhaps relax things a bit, but they still want to maintain some structure and routine.

You can see how I plan my summer schedule here

Before my children were in school, our summer schedule really was no different than our spring, winter, or fall schedules. I am sure this was in large part due to the fact that Brayden, my oldest, was not a terribly flexible baby or toddler.

We had our disruptions during summer, but our main schedule was the same most days.

I didn’t really start creating a summer schedule until Brayden started school and our summers became something that could be distinguished from other times of the year.

In this post, you will find tips for creating your summer schedule, a discussion on being flexible in the summer, key elements to have in your schedule each day, and sample schedules for kids from teen down to toddler.

Creating a Summer Schedule for Kids

When creating a summer schedule for a baby, I do not change the daily schedule for the baby in summer significantly. This is truen even if I have older kids who are in school and out for the summer.

I worked my older children’s summer schedule around the baby’s schedule.

  • I had them do nap and rest time while the baby did nap.
  • I had them eat meals when the baby was used to eating meals (or around the baby’s meals if needed).

When planning for a toddler, you need to take into account how flexible that toddler can be. Some need things super consistent from day to day while others can be more flexible. Even if your toddler is flexible, you want meals and nap at the same times each day as much as possible.

Most preschoolers can handle some variance to the schedule. It is always wise to have meals at the same time.

Your preschooler will benefit from some rest time, but you can easily have that vary and even skipped some days. If your preschooler still needs naps, keep that in mind as you schedule things out.

School-aged children (from kindergarten to high school) can usually do more of a block schedule. If they have younger siblings, map out the schedule around them.

So as you plan your summer schedule, note when naps or rest are and when meals are or when they need to be.

Plan meals and rest/nap time for everyone else around those times.

Also plan Independent Play around those times if needed.

Then you can plan out the schedule for the family and work the rest of baby’s things in around what the family is doing.

>>>Read: How to Prepare for the Summer You Want to Have

Schedules Can Be Flexible

There are some things I want to point out. I view summer as a more flexible time of year. I love the idea of lazy summer days.

I always remember that my schedule is to serve me and my family.

If we are on a walk and I planned our walk to last 30 minutes and we take longer than 30 minutes, I don’t stress about it.

If we are having a lot of fun with the learning activity and it takes over our time slot for free play, I don’t mind (that is one reason I put free play there–so we could borrow from it if needed).

If I don’t have anything ready for learning time, free play becomes an hour instead of just 30 minutes.

On the other hand, if the children don’t get their chores done in time to go on a walk that day, the walk doesn’t happen. It is a logical consequence.

Take note that you need to be careful about how often you are flexible with core schedule items like meals and sleep. Yes, bedtime can be late sometimes, but not for several days in a row.

Yes, nap can be skipped some days, but not all of the days. Make sure you give your child days that do not disrupt the core schedule items.

Schedules Are Still Valuable

With that said, schedules are still valuable to have. Don’t throw them out the window.

Children still thrive on routine even if it is summer. Some children will continue to sleep well on a more random routine, but you might find they become an emotional mess or that they get very disobedient.

Having structure is still valuable.

Don’t stress about only having “18 summers with your kids“. If you do feel worried you won’t be able to fit in all of the fun if you have a routine, try making a summer bucket list and consult it often so you make sure you fit in the things you really want.

Summer is just a season. It is not a time slot you are required to fill up with constant entertainment. You are not required to give your child every life experience there is before turning 18. 

It is okay to have a daily schedule even in the summer months. You can have a fun family summer even if you have a routine.

I kind of look at summer as a great opportunity to teach my children skills they need to develop, like how to cook new foods.

I even add in extra chores for my kids during the summer. True story! 

Do you know that I even am perfectly happy to just let my kids be bored in the summer months? I think it is good for them.

>>>Read: Why You Should Let Your Child Be Bored This Summer

You can still have fun and have structure. The fun you plan can be very simple. I have 12 ideas for simple summer fun here. 

And that isn’t to say you can’t have some great, elaborate days of fun. You absolutely can. It just doesn’t have to be every day (or really many days…maybe even any days).

Elements of a Summer Routine

Here are some key elements to consider including in your summer schedule. This isn’t everything you ever could have, just things I strongly encourage you to include.

Sleep

Sleep is always a big question for people in the summer. Do you want a later bedtime for summer? Go for it!

But make sure you don’t cut down on total sleep for the 24 hour period. Needs don’t change just because it is summer.

So if bedtime moves back, maybe your kiddo sleeps in later in the morning. Or maybe your little one takes a longer nap in the day.

If you have longer daylight in the summer months, you might want to invest in some blackout shades to help your kiddo go to bed at night or sleep in the morning.

Independent Playtime

This is such a valuable item to have each day that I will always recommend you have it.

It is even valuable with my teenagers. They of course don’t go play with toys, but they get some time in their rooms alone each day when siblings can’t pester them.

Having some time alone each day helps the kids stay more pleasant toward each other.

Yes, they all love each other, but being together all day every day for several months gets old no matter how much you like each other. This is especially true when some are introverts and others are extroverts.

Sustained Silent Reading

Sustained Silent Reading (or SSR) is one of my favorite things about summer. We often like this to be after lunch. It is during the heat of the day and gives kids a chance to sit still and cool down. It will also remind them how thirsty they are. 

Chores

Children being home all day means they are contributing to the messes of the house more regularly. DO NOT feel bad about enlisting their help to clean up after themselves and the other family members. 

Learning Time

My kids always love having some learning time each day. This is a fun thing to add in.

Free Play

Free play is a perfect summer activity. Do not be afraid to have a lot of free play time in the summer. Remember, children learn through play. 

Eating and Sleeping

You of course need your meal times in there. You might need some rest time (also referred to as quiet time) or nap time worked in there, also. Do not feel bad about providing your child with the time her body needs for some rest. Older children might get sufficient rest just from SSR time each day.

Free summer planning printable

Summer Schedule Planning Printable

To help you figure out what to do for your summer schedule, I have this free printable for you. Sign up on the form below. If you already get my emails, I sent it to you today.

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Sample Summer Schedules for Kids

Below are some samples of our summer schedules and daily routines we have had over the years.

Don’t live and die by the schedule. Have a game plan, but be flexible as needed. Do remember, respect sleep times and meal times as much as possible. Doing so goes a long way for helping your child be flexible.

A way to make a schedule more flexible is to work more in time blocks than specific times. This is when you set things up in blocks of time rather than specific times.

So you would say, “we will do activities A, B, and C between 8-9 AM” and not care the exact timing of each of those three items so long as you got them all done in that hour. Then you can play it by ear more. 

Read more at Why Daily Block Schedules are Great for Your Older Kids

School-Aged Children Summer Schedule

This was Brayden’s schedule one summer:
7:00 AM–Wake up. Get ready for day.
|7:30 AM–Sibling Playtime
8:00 AM–Breakfast
8:30 AM–Music/learning time
9:00 AM–Practice Piano
9:30 AM–Chores
10:00 AM–Walk/bike ride
10:30 AM–Play outside
12:00 Noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–Learning Activity
1:00 PM–Free Play
1:30 PM–Sustained Silent Reading
2:00 PM–Rest Time
2:30 PM–Independent Playtime
3:30 PM–Free Playtime (at times, TV time or video game time would happen in this block)
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family Time
7:30 PM–Get Ready for Bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

Wanting to avoid summer setback? Read my tips on avoiding summer setback here.

This was Brayden’s schedule one summer. This was designed to be done when the weather was cooler outside:
7:00 AM–Wake up. Get ready for day.
7:30 AM–Sibling Playtime
8:00 AM–Breakfast
8:30 AM–Music/learning time
9:00 AM–Practice Piano
9:30 AM–Chores
10:00 AM–Walk/bike ride
10:30 AM–Independent Playtime
11:30 AM–Learning Time
12:00 Noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–Outside Time
1:30 PM–Sustained Silent Reading
2:00 PM–Rest Time
2:30 PM–Free Play/Outside time
4:30 PM–Free Playtime (at times, TV time or video game time would happen in this block)
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family Time
7:30 PM–Get Ready for Bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

Thinking of doing a summer camp? Read my reasons why you should and why you shouldn’t here.

This was Brayden’s and Kaitlyn’s schedule one summer:
7:00 AM–Wake up. Get ready for day.
7:30 AM–Practice Piano/Sibling Playtime
8:00 AM–Breakfast
8:30 AM–Chores
9:00 AM–Walk/Bike ride
9:30 AM–Sports practice
10:00 AM–Outside Time
12:00 Noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–Learning Activity
1:00 PM–Free Play
1:30 PM–Sustained Silent Reading
2:00 PM–Rest Time
2:30 PM–Independent Playtime
3:30 PM–Free Playtime (at times, TV time or video game time would happen in this block)
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family Time
7:30 PM–Get Ready for Bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

Another Brayden summer schedule basic outline.
7 AM–Wake up and read
8 AM–Swim team practice
9 AM–Eat breakfast and get ready. Do any chores needed.
Noon–lunch
12:30 PM–Free time
5:00 PM–Dinner then family time

Brayden Summer Schedule as a Teen
6 AM–Get up (YES! This is when he got up. He had swim team each weekday and need to get to the pool)
6:30 AM–Leave for swim team
9:00 AM–Get home. Get ready. Do chores.
NOON–Lunch
I really let him have a lot of control over when he did what during summer. He had a list of ideas and our summer schedule to consult, but I didn’t care when he did certain things for the most part.

Preschool-Aged Summer Schedule

This was Kaitlyn’s schedule one summer:
7:30 AM–Wake up. Sibling Playtime
8:00 AM–Breakfast
8:30 AM–Music/learning time
9:00 AM–Get ready
9:30 AM–Chores
10:00 AM–Walk/bike ride
10:30 AM–Play outside
12:00 Noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–Learning Activity
1:00 PM–Free Play
1:30 PM–Sustained Silent Reading
2:00 PM–Nap Time
4:00 PM–Get up/Independent Playtime
5:00 PM–Free Playtime (at times, TV time or video game time would happen in this block)
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family Time
7:30 PM–Get Ready for Bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

This was McKenna’s schedule one summer:
7:00 AM–Wake up. Get ready for day.
7:30 AM–Sibling Playtime
8:00 AM–Breakfast
8:30 AM–Chores
9:00 AM–Walk/Bike ride
9:30 AM–Sports practice
10:00 AM–Outside Time
12:00 Noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–Learning Activity
1:00 PM–Free Play
1:30 PM–Sustained Silent Reading
2:00 PM–Rest Time/Nap
3:30 PM–Independent Playtime
4:30 PM–Free Playtime (at times, TV time or video game time would happen in this block)
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family Time
7:30 PM–Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM–Bedtime

This was Brinley’s schedule one summer:
8:30 or 9:00–wake up/get ready/eat breakfast
9:30–play with siblings usually independent play for an hour in between now and lunch
12:00 –lunch. Then play.
2:30–Nap
4:30 or 5:00–Wake up. Eat dinner. Then family time.
8:00–Get ready for bedtime
8:30 or 9:00–Bedtime

This was Brinley’s schedule one summer:
This was her typical daily schedule for summer–not a lot of structure.
8:45 AM–Morning routine included Wake up/Breakfast/Get ready.
Sometime between breakfast and lunch, have Independent play for 60-90 minutes
12:00 PM–Lunch
1:30/2:00 PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and Free Playtime
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family Time
8:00 PM–Get Ready for Bed and do bedtime routine
8:30 PM–Bedtime
During the day, we would do learning activities, play outside, go for walks, go to the park, water park, go do other fun stuff…what we did each day varied a lot.

Toddler-Aged Schedule

This was McKenna’s schedule one summer:
8:00 AM–Wake up/Breakfast
8:30 AM–Music/learning time
9:00 AM–Get ready
9:30 AM–Chores
10:00 AM–Walk/bike ride
10:30 AM–Play outside
12:00 Noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–Learning Activity
1:00 PM–Free Play
1:30 PM–Nap
4:30 PM–Get up/Independent Playtime
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family Time
7:30 PM–Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM–Bedtime

This was Brinley’s schedule one summer:
8:00 AM–Wake up/Breakfast
8:30 AM–Get ready
9:00 AM–Walk/Bike ride
9:30 AM–Outside Time
11:00 AM–Independent Playtime
12:00 Noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–Learning Activity
1:00 PM–Free Play
1:30 PM–Nap
5:00 PM–Free Playtime
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family Time
7:30 PM–Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM–Bedtime

Conclusion

Summer days can be fun and flexible, but you can still have a schedule for kids. Get a solid block schedule down with your core schedule elements and then be flexible between those points if you want to.

Related Posts

summer schedules

This post originally appeared on this blog May 2018

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