A Plan for Summer Sanity

Summer is upon us. For some moms it feels like sweet relief after months of homework, school projects, and a plethora of activities.


For other moms it can seem like storm clouds are on the horizon as they wonder, What am I going to do with everyone home all summer?

Years ago, I found myself two weeks into summer, realizing that I was losing my cool day after day and it had nothing to do with the temperature outside. My children were bothering one another and bombarding me with questions all day long.  My ineffective method of discipline consisted of harsh tones and frustrated sighs.

At one point, it finally hit me. I realized that I never actually communicated with my children my expectations of them for the summer.  I sat down that evening and came up with a list of “Summer Rules.”  Our plan included expectations, rewards, and consequences. It was specific to our family (and to the particular frustrations that were driving me crazy), but I think some of these ideas would translate to most homes. We discussed these at a calm time in the day, reviewing them many times over the course of the summer. It helped to have the list printed and hanging on the wall so that I could easily point to it and say, “Refer back to rule #2.”

I attempted to make both the extra chores and rewards fun. When it was our “organizing hour”, one child got to pick a chore from the jar.  When it was time to do a “Fun thing with Mom or Dad,” they also got to pick from a different jar. They loved the surprise of not knowing what was coming.


Having expectations, rewards, and consequences did not turn our home into summer drudgery. It was the opposite! We all looked forward to Fabulous Fridays and the fun things we got to do together.  Having a “Summer Plan” helped us all enjoy time together and set clear expectations (they knew not to ask for a treat at the pool on Monday, because that was coming on Friday).

If you are looking for ideas for some summer structure, here’s our plan from years ago. We began these when our children were ages 3, 6, and 9.  I’ve included our:

Summer Rules
Verses for Summer (these are printable, more options available in the appendix of Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood)
Responsibilities Chart (3-6 years)
Responsibility Chart (7-12 years)
Time Coupons
Fun Activities
Clean up Jar
Fun things to do with Mom or Dad

If any of these ideas work for you, feel free to print them up and use them. I’d love to hear ideas from you as well.

Happy Summer Days!




  1. Laura says

    LOVE all these ideas!

    We just started doing allowance, which comes to them in the form of an invoice with charges taken out for things like pool fees, gas for transportation, etc., and then they take money out for tithing and savings. What’s left is just a few dollars that they can use or save. They can only get treats at the pool with their own money. That reduced our daily sugar shock by quite a bit!

    We build in an hour of quiet time to our day as well. I need it to recharge so I can get through the evening with a happier heart.

    • Melissa Kruger says

      Yes – those are great ideas! I need to figure out a good plan for allowance…. maybe this summer I’ll add that. :)

  2. Rosemary says

    after many years (boys now 22,21,18, and 14) I still need reminding that our school schedules are changed and they seem to believe they are deserving of choosing to do only the things that they enjoy or seem to profit them. Making our list today! Because I forget that some things should be rewarded and fun, not just because they have to be done!
    Paying them to learn the “hand” gospel from Evangelism Explosion.

  3. Chelsey Crouch says

    i came up with a list of “summer screen time rules” for our boys, who are 4 and 5. Each day they get two tokens that they can trade in for a 20 minute show or 20 minutes on the tablet. They can get them taken away if they whine or complain about doing their daily jobs. I like the idea of a jar of fun things to do with mom and dad!

  4. Sarah O'Neill says

    Thank you so much Melissa! Your idea of having the charts & rules all printed out is a good one. I just finished making mine in preparation for tomorrow’s first day of summer. In my case, it will also help keep us, the nanny, grandmother and two girls all “on the same page.” They’ve already memorized the verse last week about truthfulness, since it was applicable at the time. ;) If you are ever looking for a good book on teaching kids about finances, I would recommend Dave Ramsey’s “Smart Money Smart Kids.” Easy to read & biblicaly based. I enjoy your blog & thanks for the wisdom you share!