Routines are long gone when it’s summer time. The kids stay up late. It’s difficult to go to sleep when the sun is still up. You take each days as it comes. No planning ahead needed. There are enormous amounts of free time to do what you want.
This is a great opportunity to give your children more power in planning the day. During semesters the daily agenda is already laid out. Sometimes down to the minute. However, during the summer holidays, life is not as scheduled and you can take advantage of that to let your children decide the activities for the day. When autumn comes, the routine has become a habit.
Around the breakfast table, talk about what to do during the day:
- Everyone gets their say and carefully consider every suggestion brought forward.
- Make sure you also articulate what you want to do during the day, not just your kids wish list.
- Reach a consensus together regarding the outlook of the day.
This way, you will make your children feel that their opinion matters. That their wishes are important. You will also guide them in how to make decisions that lead to them feeling better about themselves. To feel that they’ve accomplished something during the day.
This can be further emphasized by doing a recap in the evening at bedtime:
- What was three great things that happened today?
- What did you learn today?
- What could have been better?
This will help both you and your children to reflect upon the day. We should strive to learn something new every day and by that I don’t necessarily mean the multiplication table. Talk to your children about new things that you discovered during the day, however small. Help them keep that curious mind by keeping yours as well.
It helps to have a calendar for them to get the sense of what day it is. My 7-year old has trouble keeping track of the days, and even though I as an adult really don’t feel that it matters so much, he wants to keep track of whether it’s a Saturday, meaning that the motocross field is open. Or whether it’s a Wednesday and time for his football practice.
Make sure your kids are in the loop
A common mistake is that we adults think that the kids are aware of our plans, when in fact they are not. Discussing things with your partner at the breakfast table doesn’t mean that they will have fully registered what you were talking about. You have to make sure you are talking directly to them for the information to get through. Otherwise you run the risk of frustrated kids since they might feel left out.
Including your kids in the daily planning doesn’t mean that they get to dictate everything. However, their opinions and wishes are just as important.
When it comes to things that need to be done around the house like cutting the lawn and cleaning the house, involve them as much as possible. Most kids can see for themselves that the grass needs cutting and that the room is dirty, and they understand that these things needs to be done. If they help out with the daily chores, then there is more time to do something that they wished for. Accept that things might take a little bit longer when the kids are helping out. If they don’t get to help out now, they will never learn to help out when they are teenagers.