Summer is a great time to spend with kids, away from the hustle and bustle of the school year. Even though the schedule is more relaxed, there are five important tasks that need to be considered during these warm, sunny days.

A Summer Schedule

Summer is a time for relaxing and having fun, but kids without a routine can become irritable and restless. Sit down with your kids and make a loose summer routine together, outlining important times of the day (for our family, these are snack and meal times), as well as when daily chores should be completed.

In our family’s routine, we also talk about specific lengths of time each day for video games and for watching TV. This will prevent repeated questions about both of these items during each day. Don’t forget leaving time open during the day, specifically for down time – this will spark creativity and spontaneous fun.

Summer Reading

Another element for the summer routine includes summer reading time. Many companies offer rewards for kids who complete reading logs over the summer – including Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Chuck E. Cheese – that allow you to print out specialized reading calendars at home.

Another important place for summer reading is your local library. Many times, businesses in your community will partner with the library’s summer reading program, offering coupons for free items or activities. This will help your kids stay current on their reading skills while providing summer fun.

Head to the Doctor

Personally, I don’t like to take my kids out of school in order to go to the doctor and dentist for routine checkups. An easy way to avoid this is to schedule appointments in the summertime. Many doctor and dental offices offer to schedule your family members during a specific block of time during one day, so you can take care of everyone’s needs at once, saving on money and gas.

It’s important for children to visit the dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups and teeth cleanings. Appointments with your pediatrician, however, will vary depending on your child’s needs – he or she might require a routine physical or vaccinations. Call your pediatrician’s office to clarify what appointments you might need to make before school starts!

Not Just School Supplies

Shopping for school supplies presents excellent opportunities to help teach kids about money, especially as they grow older. Using the school supply list, assign your child some or all of it to research prices for each item. Create a simple tally sheet with columns for the store name (i.e. Target), the item (composition book), and price ($.50).

Then analyze the list with your child, discussing which store has the best deals for what you need and total up the cost. For an extended lesson, give your child the money and have him or her shop and pay for the school supplies – you’ll know that you got great deals and you’ve taught your child valuable consumer skills.

Have Summer Fun!

The relaxed schedule of summer provides us with time and opportunity to have some valuable summer fun with our kids. If you’ve signed up with summer reading programs, gather the coupons and forms along with your calendar. Make notes during the summer weeks regarding when you’d like to redeem these special offers with your kids – this will become even more important as the season comes to a close and those summer reading logs are due!

Once those important dates or arrangements have been written down, research local coupons for fun activities in your community. These could include special offers at family fun centers, swimming pools, roller skating rinks, or children’s museums. Write on the calendar at least one fun activity per week using these coupons or offers, planning summer fun before the season slips away!

Kelly Wilson is a busy mom, former elementary school teacher, and freelance writer. For more information about teaching kids to take the best care of their teeth, visit Dr. Beadnell, a Dentist in Hillsdale Portland at Beadnell Family Dentistry.