Summer Structure Parenting Tips

Summer Structure Parenting Tips – Kids will never admit it, but they miss the structure that the typical school day presents. It’s no wonder that parents often yearn for the kids to go back to school long before the Dog Days of Summer set in. I’m coming to the realization that teachers are not only educators, they are also full-time cruise directors.


Some kids are naturally “self-directed.” Mine? Not so much! My son and daughter tend to linger over their breakfasts, settle in on television or head straight for the video games if I don’t intervene. I don’t blame them. Media is an extremely attractive crutch. Rather than throwing up my arms and proclaiming “just find something to do!”, I’m trying to use some tips I’ve learned from home school parents to try to bring structure to the day.

Summer Structure Parenting Tips

  • Keep a schedule – Try to keep bed times and sleep schedules consistent. It may be tempting to keep the kids up late, but doing so repeatedly can lead to cranky episodes, interruptions in the schedule, etc. Keep meals and snack time on a schedule too. Just like in school, only without the bells and lunch trays!
  • Plan the days – Summer structure for kids doesn’t have to be over thought or a dictatorship, but it helps if you set aside activities and give kids a time frame as to when they will happen. Consider setting up a white board with the day’s schedule so they can follow along and know what to expect. Whether it’s a chore or an errand, it’s all about the schedule. If you’re going to take your kids grocery shopping – tell them: “Tomorrow we’re going to the store at around 1p.” If your son or daughter practices music or art, set aside a special time of day where they can practice.
  • Include education – Parents know it is important to keep some learning active through the summer months. This helps even more if you add the structure to the day by setting times and schedules for activities. You can check your local library about summer reading programs that offer rewards for how much a child reads.
  • Playdates – My kids’ school has a directory of parents so it is easy for us to contact their classmates to arrange for playdates. It’s easy to be too flexible. Try to find a classmate’s parents who want to set up a regular weekly playdate or a set playdates to give kids something to look forward to and plan around. Consider playdate field trips to mix in the education.
  • Summer Day Camps – Think of these as “fun structure”. Like teachers during the school year, camp counselors are like cruise ship directors – they keep the itinerary fun and light as the group bounces from 1 activity to another. Most local day camps can be even more affordable than a nanny or sitter. Here’s a list of fun summer day camps in the area.
  • Events and Activities – In addition to free library events, we have a free summer fun for kids guide to local free events and activities. Planning a fun day out ahead of time gives kids something to look forward to. If your local library is closed due to covid, check out the fun you can have by visiting the local playgrounds. They’re FREE. Here are our FAVORITE OC PLAYGROUNDS.

Overall, part of the fun of summer is to not be on a schedule. But, in some cases, incorporating a summer structure schedule during the summer months allows you to enjoy more as a family, be more productive, and make the most of these cherished days.

See related posts below for more summer structure parenting tips.

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