I’m always looking for ways to teach my kids how to take responsibility for their belongings, for teaching them some age-appropriate household tasks, and learning good behavior. It is usually easier to do during the school year because we have such a regular routine and schedule. On weekends things get a little lax as far as cleaning up after ourselves or staying on task — and that’s ok. And sometimes I realize we’ve gotten out of regular habits of chores or behavior charts due to our busy schedules. So I’m trying to get prepared for the summer, when I want to take advantage of a more laid-back schedule to implement more age-appropriate chores for the boys and a regular routine of cleaning up after themselves and being responsible for their own belongings. I also want to set clear expectations for them and for myself. I found a few things that I think will help us to stay organized and on task this summer without getting out my whistle and implementing a military-style strategy, ala The Sound of Music.
Chore and behavior charts are great in theory, but I’ve yet to find one that really works for us and that we stick to for longer than a week. I think it is partially because we don’t have a consistent routine of checking off boxes or getting stickers for each category successfully completed. I also think it is because I’ve only really used one for my oldest son. I got these behavior charts from Pickett’s Press that you can customize with both behavior and chores or tasks and personalize for each child. I had one made for each of my boys and plan to hang them in a very prominent place in the kitchen where we will see our progress and remember to track and reward timely. I love that the styles are so cute and aren’t an eyesore hanging in my kitchen. I think they will really help my 7 year old keep a consistent behavior routine and remember expectations (which we need because we are navigating what we think is ADHD with him and consistency is huge). My 4 year old will benefit from a behavior chart as well, though he doesn’t need one to motivate good behavior as much as his older brother. And my 2 year old will want one just because his brothers have one 🙂
Another thing I stocked up on are personalized bookplates. The mess of books in our house is a problem. I love that my kids love books and want to read them so much, but I cannot handle the piles of them left out and the fight over who made the mess. So I’m putting bookplates in my kids’ books. Each are personalized by color and name so that they can lift the cover and see who is responsible for putting that particular book away. And at the end of the day if there is a pile left out I will put the books in “jail” and the owner will have to earn them back. We’ll see if that works…
I’m not a stickler for continuing school work when we’re on break, but I do like to encourage writing and reading in the course of our play. Charlie loves to write stories and books, Calvin has started practicing writing because he wants to be like Charlie. And Quincy loves to color. So I got each kid a personalized journal so we can do “journal time” over the summer. Charlie might write down his ideas and thoughts, or dedicate the journal to just one story (he’s very particular about his writing and “books” that he writes). Calvin and Quincy will likely just scribble in them. But my thought is that I’ll write the dates and save them from each summer to see what we did and worked on at that time.
Those are a few of the ways I plan to stay somewhat organized and on task with my kids this summer. I mostly hope to relax and have fun and just play outside in our backyard, gardening and learning through play. But using those tools will help to keep some consistency and routine that will help us transition back into our regular routine once school starts again.
What is your summer vacation style? Are you laid back, do you through structure out the window, or do you try to keep a consistent routine? What tools help you?
This post is sponsored by Pickett’s Press, which is also included in Chandra’s Favorite’s Guide. But the opinions are my own and the love is real.