The House Rules of Summer

School’s Out! It’s time to get back to a summer routine.

I’ve set a few goals and routines for the summer while I’m home with my kids full-time.


Screen time. Screens and time spent on devices is always a tricky subject around our household. I like the idea of allowing them time to use screens each day for a limited time, but in the past that screen time bleeds into longer and longer times. Our family usually does better with screens on Friday afternoons and weekends only, which is what we did all school year. We will likely stick to this plan. Although ask me again in a few weeks, things may change.

Bedrooms- If we keep our screen days the same as last school year, it’s easy to make sure the kids have their rooms clean each week before they are allowed use their devices.

Meals– I’m thinking I can get my kids to plan and cook one dinner each week. They could search cookbooks, write out the grocery list, prep the ingredients and cook. It will be fun for them and a break from the usual routine for me.

Laundry- In addition to getting my kids to cook, I’m thinking this might be a good year to get my kids to fold and sort their own laundry. My kids already put their own clothes away, but currently I wash, fold and sort for them. Having them do this work seems like the next logical step, since a major goal my wife and I have for our kids is to keep them from living under our roof forever.

Sleep- I cannot force my kids to sleep in, but I can make them stay in their rooms until a reasonable time in the mornings. What I don’t want is six bored brown eyes staring at me at 6am on a Monday morning asking me what the plans are for the day. In the past we’ve also had “quiet time” for 40 minutes after lunch. It’s a good way for my kids to get a break from me and from one another. I just need to once again convince them it’s not a punishment.

Fun- Summer won’t be all work and no play. I plan to go to as many Indy Indians games as time and the weather will permit. It’s truly a place where I get as much enjoyment being there as my kids do. We will also swim ourselves exhausted as much as possible. Hopefully, BB will learn to ride her bike this summer as well. We took the training wheels off a while back, but have yet to get past the “me running holding on to her seat while she keeps her balance for three feet” stage. Hopefully she gets the concept of bike riding in time for us to go on a family bike ride or two this summer.

As with all goals, I’m sure we will exceed some of these goals and fall short on others. What goals does your family have for this summer?

Brian "Pete"
Brian "Pete"
Indianapolis Stay-at-Home Dad to three kids, ages nine, six and four. Blogger and monthly print columnist for Indy’s Child, Cincinnati Parent and Dayton Parent magazines. Fifth grade class spelling bee runner-up. Gold Award Winner at the Parenting Media Association Editorial and Design Awards for Best Blog/Blogger.

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