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When schedules disappear in the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer, maintaining some structure can help your kids have a head start as the school year rolls around. And with the freedom and spontaneity that comes with a Schaffer summer, one thing that has to stay constant for our little ones is their chores and their summer reading and writing. These last two summers have been unlike any other, but keeping my kids on a schedule year after year, complete with tasks and goals, gives them a little normalcy and keeps them focused and positive!
Checklists, journals and colorful stationery make even their chores fun! In the midst of this summer’s madness, Erin Condren’s new items have made staying on task seem seamless.
Acts Of Kindness
Living in such a fragile world, it is imperative our kids practice one or more acts of kindness each day. I don’t want my kids to just be receivers of kind acts, rather I am teaching them to be givers of kindness. By reminding them to do at least one kind thing each day, I hope to increase their happiness, expand their positive outlook on life and remind them that bullying is not acceptable.
Erin Condren’s compliment cards do just that. I love the idea of my kids picking one or more people to give one to. Whether a relative they miss or a friend feeling blue, these compliment cards are such a simple way to make someone’s day. Surprising someone with an unexpected compliment is a great way to spread joy and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
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As much as I love our lazy mornings and a loosely bound summer, one thing remains true year after year: My kids make better use of their time when they have some sort of structure and schedule in place. So many of my friends throw all of their routines out the window once summer hits. But with four kids, we have no choice but to stick to routines. Just the right amount of structure keeps our house and lives flowing at a great pace.
My children seem to be most responsive to doing their daily reading and writing in the morning hours. As soon as they wake up over breakfast, I ask them to read for 30 minutes and write about what they read. They also get to choose from many workbooks I keep on hand for them. Having the kids do some school work and fun educational projects will ultimately keep their brains sharp and will experience less regression in learning when they return to school.
Erin Condren created a checklist that really helps my kids complete their individualized tasks. After the chores and studies are complete, it’s all about some summer fun! For a list of age-appropriate summer goals, check out my reward system.
Research indicates 2 months of reading skills and 2 1/2 months of math skills are lost over a single summer. Combined over the years, by the time a student reaches middle school, they’ve lost the equivalent of 2 years of learning to “summer slide.”
As much as it is important for my children to read, it is equally important for them to write. One way I like to inspire my children to write is to let them tell the stories of their summer adventures. We experience so much living in San Diego and with non-stop adventures, they have plenty to write about.
Here are some summer writing prompts I found to be useful with my children:
- What do you like about summer?
- Write about your daily adventure.
- What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer?
- If you could go anywhere, where would you go and why?
- What is your favorite season and why?
- Write about your summer acts of kindness.
- How could you make your sibling happy?
- If you didn’t have to go to school, what would you do?
- If our dogs could talk, what would they say?
Check out all my schedule ideas on the City Girl Gone Mom Pinterest board!
Helpful Summer Bags
Our summer has been rich in nature exploration and plentiful in water sports. We have been in the thick of making meaningful memories and joyful discoveries. This means road trips, beach days and outdoor fun, so I have to pack a lot of healthy snacks.
With her adorable lunch totes, you can say bye-bye to brown paper bags. These, perfectly-sized and easily-washable lunch totes are ideal for our family of six. I can easily pack the kids’ lunches and they love having their own bag with their name on it. Its been our most popular grab-and-go item this summer. You can be sure we will be using these for all of our family outings.
Children who read four or more books over a summer perform better on reading-comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who don’t.
Must-Have Labels & Lists
One staple item I could never have too much of are my gift labels. Having labels to put on gifts is such a savior. With all the birthdays and celebrations we’ve had to miss this year and a half, it’s nice having a custom gift label from the family, and is the best way to add that detailed finishing touch.
Additionally, I have found Erin Condren’s custom checklist to be so helpful. When we are trying to leave for the weekend with so many kids pulling us in multiple directions, you can be sure we forget things. Not any more! With this handy itemized list, I am able to cross-check with Bobby to see if we forgot anything of importance. Parents need to have a schedule for the summer too!
Celebrating an Organized Summer Schedule
No matter how you’re creating memories this summer—from s’mores and campouts to nature excursions to the beach—providing just the right amount of structure in a consistent environment can be beneficial to both the kids and parents. And Erin Condren has done it again for our family. She keeps creating items that both inspire and give us that right amount of organization to thrive in the summer months and get our minds focused as we head back to school.
Educators and researchers have found that board games, eBooks, mobile apps, and other digital engagement can make reading more interactive and fun.