Welcoming Summer: 5 Ways Adapt our Family Rhythm

welcoming summer featuring a 5 year old girl admiring a sunflower
Sian Thomas

Summertime is a brilliant opportunity to slow everything down. With schools and preschools broken up for the summer, it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace the simpler things in life and enjoy being with your children.

Welcoming Summer

For us, welcoming summer means adapting our daily and weekly rhythms to accommodate the warmer weather. Without school to worry about, our mornings are much, much slower – something that is loved by all of us.

Here are 5 ways our daily rhythm changes in summer.

1.Daily Rhythm Adjustments

I regularly talk about the importance of a daily rhythm. When you’re at home on a daily basis with young children, it can be really easy to feel out of control. One day might feel chaotic and exhausting; another day might feel slow and boring. A gentle daily rhythm can really help overcome those typical parenting stressors and make the days feel more enjoyable.

But, a daily rhythm shouldn’t be set in stone. Welcoming Summer also means making adjustments to our daily rhythm. For us this means:

  • slow mornings at home with no school to worry about
  • 2-3 bucket list trips each week
  • longer durations of outdoor time in the garden
  • Art and sensory play activities outside
  • A later bedtime / later wake-up time

blonde 4 year old boy inspecting white flowers

2.Keeping things really, really simple

Simple and slow is really the theme of our summer rhythm. We don’t pack everything with non-stop entertainment because that would be overwhelming for the children and myself. I personally avoid colour-coded routine charts because summer should really be a break from schooling.

You can read more about a no-schedule summer here. 

3.The Bucket List

Whilst we do absolutely love the slow life during the summer, we do also enjoy some planned trips and events sprinkled in amongst the more chilled-out days.

Each summer, we hold a family meeting and come up with ideas for special activities and events. This could be as simple as a visit to the park to play frisbee or a road trip to the lakes.

The bucket list items help bring focus to our weeks and it’s something that the whole family contributes to.

You can get a free printable (no sign-up required) via this link.

4.Play Space Revamp

The majority of the year, my play space is primarily focused on the needs of my youngest child (4) who is still at home with me full-time. When summer rolls around, the play space has a dual focus to accommodate the needs of his 6 year-old sister too.

I recently revamped the play space for summer and introduced larger wooden shelves and an additional cube unit for small world play. As both grow older, they are far more entranced with small world and role play activities and the new space reflects that.

I highly recommend organising and rotating your play space for summer so that your children can play independently for longer durations of time. If you’re stuck on where to get started, take a look at my Play Space 101 mini course which currently has $10 off with the code PLAYSPACE10 . This deal is for a limited time only, so check out further details below.

6 year old girl and 4 year old boy play

5.More time outside

From lunchtime picnics in the garden to messing around with the sprinkler, there’s endless opportunities to spend more time outdoors.

Listen, I know that the weather can be a problem and that some days it can feel impossibly hot. I lived in Australia for 4 years and we always had to make serious adjustments to our time outside during the summer.

Here are some things you can try to still get plenty of time outside in the summer:

  • Do park visits really early before the sun makes play equipment too hot
  • Get outside before 9 am and in the early evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day
  • Only use factor 50+ sunscreen and aim to apply it to your children before you leave the house – just remember to reapply at regular intervals
  • Use the natural shade of trees to make a base camp in your garden – or invest in a garden shade sail if this isn’t possible
  • Take sensory play outside with lots of ice and water play!

2 young children look out over the lake on a boat trip

But what about work?

I recognise that I am privileged to stay at home with my children all summer long. Being self-employed means that I can choose my business hours and work flexibly.

If you are in a situation where you need to work whilst your children at home, where possible try to take some time to connect first before starting your work day. For both myself and my children, going outside for a few hours really helps set the day out for success.

If you are working, I can’t stress enough the importance of:

  • Taking time to connect first before you start your work day
  • Providing a welcoming home environment that helps foster independence
  • Creating daily play invitations for your child
  • Adding an art cart to encourage creativity
  • Using a busy box for quick access activities

 

Related Articles You Might Enjoy

How To Make Your Summer At Home With Young Children More Playful

Moving from parental overwhelm towards joy

5 Essentials for Building a Daily Rhythm

5 Reasons why your child needs plenty of outdoor play

5 Ways to Reduce Screen-time 

A Simple After-School Rhythm for Young Children 

You can also visit my Pinterest and Instagram pages for daily play inspiration.

Introducing Your Playful Year On Substack!

What if I told you that you didn’t have to figure everything out for yourself?

What if I told you I could help you plan out your playful year?

‘Your Playful Year’ is our low-cost membership over on Substack which you can get for as little as $5.80 per month. That’s basically the equivalent of one takeaway coffee + cake.

this playful home substack subscription

Why Pay To Subscribe?

  • Get detailed, research-backed information from a qualified educator and mum to three children delivered straight to your inbox
  • The monthly masterclasses will help you to delve into topics and reach a deeper understanding. This is simply not possible with social media posts and regular blogs
  • The seasonal guides and resources will help you to play your upcoming season and focus on the things that matter most to your family
  • Access to the playful prompts library will help you to create easy, engaging play invitations at a low-cost
  • I help save you time and energy so you wont need to scroll social media looking for answers
  • Get access to printable resources and video masterclasses
  • Be involved and have your say – whilst topics are planned in advance, you as a subscriber also have the power to drive future focus topics.

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What Topics Are Included In The Focus Topics And Masterclasses?

This Playful Home is a three-pillared approach to raising children in the early years.

Learn how to raise your child with intentional rhythms, purposeful learning environments and play- centred educational philosophies so that you can design your own unique family roadmap.

HERE’S A RUNDOWN OF CURRENT AND UPCOMING TOPICS:

  • family rhythms
  • environment as the third teacher
  • outdoor play
  • toy rotations
  • your role in play
  • an introduction to play schemas
  • how to set up intentional play invitations

 

Topics are detailed. Each month you get four emails introducing, then expanding upon the topic. You also get access to the monthly masterclass videos (I’m currently involved with Substacks’s video beta test) as well as printable resources and journal prompts.

 

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