Ahh Summer, the time for lazy, carefree, quiet days with no worries. Ya right! Well sort of. It can be that way at first and then you are hit with it. The phrase every Mom dreads..”Mom I’m bored”. Usually this is this follows Mom saying “no more electronics” especially if you have kids in the pre-teen and teen years like I do. I knew one of the things I would need to combat that is my trusty schedule chart. Problem is, I was used to making them for little kids, my background is in teaching preschool and working with kids in the 2-5 age range, I was able to adapt it fairly easy from ages 6-10 but after that it became more of a challenge. I checked Pinterest and all I found was daily schedules for younger kids and kids with special needs, most of it was picture schedules. Trying to find examples for older kids was just not easy, the closest thing I found was summer camp schedules. Lightbulb moment!! Why didn’t I think of that? I had volunteered at enough of the kids camps over the years to note one thing…when the kids were there, no one needed melatonin or any help going to sleep and the kids were never bored because they were always busy. So I took some of the old schedules I had from my camp counselor days and adapted them to a teen summer routine. We do homeschool year round, however our schoolwork is much lighter in the summer and I don’t make the time for it too long because I want the kids to have summer, no one wants “summer school”. I hang it up on our bulletin board. To see our detailed schedule click here: Summer Daily Schedule
This schedule is set, however there will be adjustments made, for instance , Tuesdays will be our errands/outing day. This will be the day we go to the library, or a nature hike, or something on our summer bucket list. We will have another day where we do the movies or some other activity. I believe in a schedule but using it as a guideline and not letting it run us. So while our schedule looks pretty detailed and we will mostly follow it, I don’t consider it set in stone and we will have days where it is loosely followed or not at all, after all it is Summer!
Another thing I am doing to combat summer teen boredom is implementing the “Extra Job Jar”. This is something the kids can go to and pick something out of and complete the task correctly to earn extra media minutes to be used later. There is a catch though, they can only use the jobs in that jar for extra media minutes or to stay up later etc. if THEY go to the jar on their own and choose something if they feel bored. If they come to Mom or Dad and complain about being bored then they will be sent to pick out a job and they don’t earn the extra stuff. This is sort of a spinoff of what used to happen when I was younger and made the mistake of telling my parents I was bored. I tweaked it to work in the way that would encourage them to really think why they are bored, and to give them opportunities to deal with it. The jobs in the jar will vary to be anything from washing the car, to organizing a shelf in the garage etc. I believe there is chores that everyone in the house should do because we all live here and we all need to learn to respect our space, however I think other jobs can be done to earn something because no one should do all jobs for nothing that isn’t real life either. Our main goal is to teach our children responsibility.
I want to explain the media minutes for…well..a minute. I could go on for days about how we feel kids (and adults) are just too plugged in all the time, and we just don’t want our kids to grow up remembering sitting in front of a screen, or to get to addicted to games etc. One of the saddest things I see these days is a restaurant full of families sitting at a table and no one is uttering a word. Instead they all have their head bent down staring at a phone. I am not innocent either, it is so easy to get sucked into the internet, games etc. Therefore we really limit the time, and closely monitor what kinds of games are being played and what sites are being visited. So the kids already are alloted 30 minutes per day total on media such as computers, game systems and the like. It’s a little more with the tv that is an hour. However they can earn some extra time depending on what extra chores they do, or if we catch them doing something kind, such as helping a sibling without being asked, or doing something nice for someone. We do put a limit on it though because otherwise it would get out of hand. For video games they can earn up to another half hour totalling an hour each day, and the tv they can earn up to 30 extra minutes. Some people would say this is too much, and some people would say this is too little for teens. However this is what works for OUR family.
I hope this gives you some ideas as to how to handle teen boredom over the summer, and also any one of these things can be adapted for younger kids as well!