How to Have a Fun, Yet Productive Summer
Can you believe that summer is finally here?
Not only is it here, but it’s going to look completely different than last summer… in the very best of ways.
Public pools, parks, vacation destinations, movie theaters, concerts... all of the things we missed out on last year are happening just in time for everyone’s favorite season.
Well almost everyone…
How many of you parents out there are worried about having your kids bothering you all summer long? It feels like you just got them back to school full time doesn’t it?!
And how many of you single folk (and parents) are losing the drive you had at the beginning of the year when you set those New Years goals? It seems like everything is going to the backburner, including your once prioritized resolutions.
Summer is an amazing time to relax more, soak up the sun, and take some time off of work for yourself and your families. However, for some people, juggling summer fun while keeping other necessary tasks at the top of their task list can be a challenge.
This is why we’re going to explore the idea of how to have a fun and balanced summer.
Schedules: The Holy Grail
Whether you’re a parent with little ones, a teen on summer break with the tendency to sleep your day away, or an adult with the habit of procrastination, a schedule may end up being your very best friend this summer.
There are moments (maybe too many for some) where you need an extra push to find the motivation to get something done, especially during the summer time.
I’m not sure if being in school for 13 years conditioned our minds to think summer should be all about relaxing, or if it’s just the pull of the outdoors that has us not wanting to do productive things. But whatever it is, the lack of desire to do anything but have fun can be debilitating.
Which is why we have… Schedules!
I know the word “schedule” isn’t the most exciting word in the world, but don’t give up on the idea just yet.
Summer Schedule for Kids
Having a routine for yourself, especially if you have kids, can help with the transition into summer immensely.
To all of the parents reading this, I want you to know that just because your kids are out of school doesn’t mean you have to entertain them all day every day.
A recent study has found that children in grades 1st - 6th lose on average about 39% of their school year gains during the summer months.
And as mind blowing as that seems, it’s the stark reality for the majority of children. Most kids aren’t going to have the desire to do school work on their own in the summer, especially if someone isn’t pushing them to do so.
We also have to take into account the fact that a lot of parents have to work throughout the day so the likelihood of children learning throughout the summer decreases even more.
But, there are ways to fight this statistic. Even if you work a full time job, even if you never had to do schoolwork over the summer as a kid, and even if you don’t think your kids will follow through.
Here’s a quick example of a summer schedule:
Wake up: 9 am
Reading: Read one chapter and write a summary of what you read
Free time: Only if reading is completed
Math: Complete 3 pages of addition, then check your work and fix errors
Free time: Only if math is complete
Chores: Sweep kitchen, fold clothes
Dinner: 6 pm
Sleep/Bedtime: 9 pm
Obviously your children will want to fight back on this which is why incentivizing the learning is so important. A child is a lot more likely to finish their work when they know free time outdoors is up next on the schedule. Especially when that free time can be taken away if they don’t complete their learning activities.
This is just a rough idea of what a summer schedule could look like but I do have a few things for you to take into account when you’re creating your own kids’ schedule:
All of their learning can be done in the morning so they have the whole day free once they’ve finished.
You can incentivize with other things like: trips, food, candy, pool time, screen time, etc.
They don’t need to spend hours on end doing school work. The important thing is to keep their mind active, not to drain them so that they hate learning forever.
If you have the time, make the learning fun! A lot of children love being able to be the “teacher” or let them take part in choosing what they’ll be working on.
Once you set their schedule you can even reward them with “holidays.”
Maybe your family is planning a big vacation or maybe you decide you’ll have a day for fun activities. Whether or not you’re doing these special things because of how well they’ve been doing their schoolwork, you can still make them think it’s a special reward for working so hard.
Not only will this be a bigger motivator for them to continue their daily work, but it can also give them a sense of achievement that will expand beyond their summer learning.
Scheduling for Adults
We’re officially half way through the year which is often the time that people begin to lose their steam.
Whether you’ve set New Year's goals that have been pushed to the back burner, or if you’re just starting to feel the summer lull when it comes to work, it’s a great time to hop back on the horse again.
We often think that time is the one thing we’re missing. It’s the one excuse we can always use when a goal hasn’t been reached. But if that’s the case, why is it that some people, with the same 24 hours that all of us have, seem to accomplish all of their goals and more?
We need to treat time like we treat our money. We set certain thresholds for our money so that we make sure we stay on track for our financial goals, so why can’t we do the same with time?
A lot of people have a schedule when it comes to work, their kids, or their extracurricular activities, but why is it that a lot of us don’t prioritize our own goals enough to do the same for ourselves?
We are so quick to stay on schedule for someone else but when it comes to our own goals the motivation can drain pretty quickly.
This is why we can’t allow motivation to be the only fuel to our fire. Discipline will always outlast motivation. And with discipline comes… you guessed it… schedules.
What is one thing (just one!) that you’ve been wanting to squeeze into your schedule? Maybe it’s finishing a book that you’ve been working on forever, sketching more, taking more walks… whatever it is, write it down.
Now that you have your one thing I want you to schedule it into your week. Pick two days that you’re going to make time for this thing. Maybe you have to wake up 10 minutes earlier, or put the kids to bed a little sooner, or maybe you'll have to watch only one episode on Hulu at night rather than two.
You may have to sacrifice some of activities or down time in order to make room for your goals, but by writing out your schedule you’ll be able to see exactly where the free time slots are.
So squeeze the one thing into your schedule, because it’s time to start prioritizing yourself and your time this summer.