Six Summer Routines that are Keeping Me Sane

I LOVE summer with my girls home and more relaxed time together.

I love more relaxed mornings, reading aloud in the afternoons, cousins and friends coming over to play, visiting the water park, and planning weekend adventures.

But to support all that relaxing, I also have to put summer routines in place to keep everything running smoothly so that we don’t come home from the pool and have nothing to eat or that our house is a disaster that isn’t fun to spend time in.

These six summer routines help keep me sane and more of a fun mom than I would be otherwise.

Summer Routines

Six Summer Routines that are Keeping Me Sane

  1. Monday grocery shopping. A good grocery shopping routine evaded me for YEARS but in the last couple of years, I’ve finally found a system that works for me. As part of my Sunday planning for the week, I make the weekly menu and grocery list and then place a grocery order for delivery first thing Monday morning. Then I’ve got things for every meal for the rest of the week, plus snacks for outings. This has taken SUCH a massive weight off of me and means there’s actually something to make for dinner every night.
  2. Daily house pick-up. I’m not one of those people who can just ignore a mess. I really need a pretty decently clean house to feel very happy, but I also don’t want to spend my whole life cleaning or make my children feel like they can’t really enjoy being at home. So I have dedicated time that we clean everything up. After dinner, while Bart does the dishes, the girls and I clean up the main living areas and get everything looking good again for the night, so that once the girls are in bed, I’m not spending my free time cleaning up the house. And when I wake up the next morning, I’m greeted by a clean home, which is basically my favorite thing and one of my favorite summer routines.
  3. Friday pizza and movie night. I love Friday movie night – it’s such a nice, calm end to the week and I don’t have to think too much about dinner because it’s the same every week (this is the best homemade pizza crust ever). Plus, because we don’t watch a ton of television, it’s totally thrilling to the girls to plop down in front of a movie as a family. And it’s a great excuse to snuggle up with my girls on the couch. This isn’t just one of our summer routines – we keep this up all year!
  4. Saturday date night. It’s a lot of kid time at our house right now, so going out without the children keeps me a little more sane. We try to plan something fun, but frankly just going out to dinner or to a movie or meeting up with friends feels hugely luxurious and a nice end to Saturday.
  5. Monday laundry. I do NOT want to spend my whole summer doing laundry, so even with school out, I stick religiously to my routine of doing all my laundry every Monday. I throw in the first load the minute I wake up and then just keep everything cycling through all day long (one load of adult whites, one load of adult colors, one load of Tally’s clothes, one load of Ani and Star’s clothes, one load of towels, and one load of sheets). Bart and I put our own laundry away, and then the girls sort and fold and put away their clothing (and I help Tally too. Ella does her own laundry on a different day). It’s so nice not to think about laundry for the next six days except for maybe a quick load of pool towels.
  6. A weekly library visit. One thing that really rains on my summer parade is library fines, and I find it very hard to stay on top of my library books if we don’t have a dedicated day to visit the library each week (plus, after a week, Ella’s finished all her chapter books and the girls are all complaining that we’ve read every picture book ten times). Before we go, I renew all the library books and set aside books that need to go back to the library, then we turn them in, check out new books, maybe play with some games or toys, and go on our merry way.

What summer routines have kept you sane when you don’t have the regular structure of school?


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  1. I love that you guys still have and use a VCR. I still use my DVD/VCR combo. I had friends over last night to watch Anne of Green Gables and they were highly amused when I pulled out my double VHS set. The quality is so bad!

  2. Such a great post! This is my second summer with three kids, but it has been quite the adjustment as the little guy is 15 months which means too small for a lot of things I used to do with the bigger boys, and too squiggly to just tag along in a wrap, and won’t sit still for all the story times and we usually do to escape this AZ weather!

    And there are only so many children’s museum trips that my budget can handle!! I know you mention time and again that your kids don’t watch much TV, I am trying to wean my kids off of TV, since this summer they have watched more than ever! (when its not 1000 degrees outside, they love playing outside, right now … not so much!) How much do your girls watch? I really love the idea of a dedicated movie night, this would give my boys a something to look forward to.

    Do you do any school-related activities over the summer? Or just more reading and arts and crafts?

  3. I absolutely love having weekly ‘traditions’. It doesn’t have to be regimented, but knowing what days to do things make things so much simpler. We do grocery shopping Sunday evening, and always do Taco Tuesday-it’s just one less thing to have to think about!

  4. We have similar schedules! Laundry (and cleaning the rest of the house and grocery shopping on Monday, and library on Thursday of us. Having those two days dedicated to those things each week makes it a lot easier to break the week up into smaller bits and plan the rest of the week easier!

  5. My kids go to summer sports camp through the week, so I’ve kept up (tried to keep up) making all week’s lunches on Sunday evening and stacking them in the fridge. Each kid has his own stack (since they don’t like the same things) but it’s all done and I don’t have to think about it through the week. Then they grab their own lunch and a capri sun and pack it up in the mornings.

    I also prefer to do all the laundry on one day – cycle the whole thing and then just do it. My kids are old enough I make them fold their own laundry and put it away, but I enjoy matching socks so I do all the socks and have them put those away too.

  6. I loved this! We do grocery pick up once or twice a week (Walmart is free and I’m unorganized!) and I have a list of chores that I check off once every two weeks.

    I’ve been wanting to ask this for a while: we’re in a different stage than you- 3 year old and 15 mo old girls. I also work from home part time. My girls play independently really well. But sometimes it feels like they are always on their own while I make/clean up meals, do a pick up around the house, cross off a chore from a list, weed the garden, etc! In other words it can feel like the only time we spend together is meal time or if we’re out and about. I typically only do work during nap and nighttime so it is really just house related things getting in the way. Is this balance normal? Do you set aside time to play or do activities?

    1. I know EXACTLY what you mean. I do try to set aside time in our schedules where I don’t do things around the house. I try to set aside about an hour in the afternoons where we play or read together and I don’t do household work. Otherwise the dang house can just take ALL available time!

  7. These are all great. Our dedicated library day is Tuesday morning for story/craft time, at least until school starts. Sunday is laundry day for us, so I know we’re ready for the week ahead. I absolutely hate grocery shopping and am trying to get better at meal planning, so maybe I’ll pick a steady day to go.

    Thanks for the tips!

  8. I fill up our summer with activities because otherwise I would never leave the house because it’s too hot in AZ!🤣 So we do things like swim team every morning, swim lessons to perfect stroke or work on dive mid morning as well as 2-3 activities a week that are not pool related and I can be in ac! I thrive on organization but am not naturally organized, so at the beginning of summer when I am excited for a change in routine, I set up workbook notebooks for my kids. They get a different notebook for every day of the week and inside I have a pocket sleeve with some summer workbook pages, a reading challenge, a coloring page, and a service challenge. On the outside of the binder in the clear pocket is a printed sheet that has their daily expectations which is basically their chores, the binder work and reading. If they get their expectations done, they can choose from the “BOX” which is basically an Amazon box ive filled with crafts and activities to do on their own.
    I make a binder for every day of the week because I prefill the sleeves with all the binder work for the entire summer before summer starts (think lazy genius batching) so I don’t have to touch the binders at all for my kids to meet the requirements of the day! It’s been a huge huge huge benefit to have this all laid out. With a few kids who thrive on schedules and knowing what is going to happen (can’t just go with the flow lol) this was a game changer for us. I may honestly keep it going during the school year.

  9. I love keeping to a schedule, especially when you’ve got kids at home. I had five children and had the following schedule to keep myself sane: Mondays (Laundry); Tuesdays (Grocery shopping); Wednesdays (Clean house); Thursdays (Laundry); Fridays (Grocery Shopping); Saturdays (Family Time/Activities); Sunday (Church, etc.) This schedule kept me from having laundry piling up and an empty fridge. We went to the library every two weeks and checked out as many books as they allowed. Date nights didn’t happen as often as I would have liked, but we survived.

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