Things To Do

How to Create a Summer Schedule for Kids—Plus, Free Printables to Make it Easier!


The Everymom’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

summer schedule for kids"
summer schedule for kids
Source: @raven.vasquez Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Source: @raven.vasquez Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

Summer in our home represents an interesting mix of joy and anxiety, mostly because I have two children with ADHD, and I’m also a mom with ADHD. During the school year, our schedule is filled with structure and activities that keep things operating as smoothly as possible. We are a neurodiverse household with two kids who have different summer schedule needs.

Summer is a welcome change to our routine, but managing the kids’ summer schedules at home can be a bit tricky, especially when factoring in other things like camps and vacations. The brain works best with structure. Here’s a bit of neuroscience for you: The brain consists of seeking patterns to create deeper connections so it can form and maintain new habits; this means having a routine in the summer creates an easier transition for the school year. 

Meet the Expert

Beatrice Moise, MS, BCCS

Bea Moise is a board-certified cognitive specialist, parenting coach, national speaker, and author of Our Neurodivergent Journey. Her UNIQUE parenting channel on YouTube is dedicated to educating individuals on neurodiversity.

How to Create a Summer Schedule for Kids

Pre-planning Your Summer Schedule

The pre-planning stage is the most challenging part of creating a summer schedule for your home. You need to know what you want to do, where you want to go, and what you want to see, and research beforehand. Structuring your summer schedule for kids requires planning and making decisions in advance. This can be difficult because it requires additional mental space for an already busy mind, but when you pre-plan, you automatically free up space to accomplish other tasks that you might be putting off.

Once you have an idea about what you want your kids to do, go ahead and start the planning process. In my home, I try to pre-plan for significant events that change our typical routines. I count summer as a major event. During the school year, the planning is done by the school calendar and after-school activities. My kids know what they are doing and where they go every day because we have a set activity schedule. The ADHD brain thrives with consistency, and this helps decrease the stress of worrying about what is going on or what we are doing.

Prioritize Summer Activities With Input From Your Kids

Part of the comprehensive summer planning process involves sitting down with your children for a thoughtful and open conversation about their preferences and aspirations for the upcoming summer. It is important to consider their input and incorporate it into the summer schedule. For instance, they may desire to spend more quality time with friends, pursue a new hobby or skill, enjoy creating (and checking off) a summer bucket list—or simply have some downtime to unwind. Acknowledging and accommodating all of these preferences is crucial, as providing children with a sense of autonomy over their schedule is essential for their development.

Moreover, it’s essential to recognize that children with ADHD can benefit from opportunities to practice executive function skills—essentially the management of everyday tasks—which can have a positive impact on various aspects of their lives. Adopting a collaborative approach that values their input makes children more likely to feel engaged and invested in the summer routine and schedule, leading to a more positive and harmonious experience for everyone involved.

Source: @karissfarris

Establish a Summer Morning Routine

Many parents can attest that no matter how late our little ones stay up, they often have a consistent wake-up time. When my son started transitioning from being a kid to a tween, I noticed that he was waking up later. His growing body naturally created a new structure for his brain. As parents, we need to recognize when our children are moving from one developmental stage to the next and establish a suitable structure that allows them to do so with relative ease.

His morning routine started later than my daughter’s, but it still falls within an hour of her wake-up time. During this transition, I introduced a screen time rule starting at 12:00 p.m. to avoid the debate about what is fair. I also have a rule of handheld screens ending at 6:30 p.m. This gives my children ample time to complete chores, do activities, and have screen time within a timeframe that works for everyone. It also allows us to implement family movie nights and family games into our schedule, allowing time for connection.

Keep a Consistent Bedtime

I believe it’s also essential to consider the impact of allowing children to stay up late during the summer. Doing so can disrupt their circadian rhythm, which may adversely affect their overall well-being. It’s crucial to recognize that maintaining a consistent bedtime routine benefits children.

While minor variations, such as staying up 30 minutes past their usual bedtime, may not have significant effects, consistently staying up much later during the summer months can disrupt their sleep patterns. This disruption could result in long-term sleep issues and habits that are challenging to reverse. Of course, special occasions like 4th of July fireworks or a family trip away might merit some short-term bedtime exceptions, but overall you—and your children—will be happy you stuck to a consistent summer bedtime schedule.

Use a Visual Kid’s Summer Schedule

When I wrote my first book, Our Neurodivergent Journey, I wanted to provide families with a comprehensive schedule to support them in managing their daily routines. Visual schedules are particularly beneficial for children and adults during the summer. They can accommodate young kids and children with diverse learning needs, as the use of pictures can assist them in understanding and preparing for upcoming activities. Additionally, visual schedules can also aid older children in enhancing their reading skills as they follow the schedule. Here are a few visual schedules for kids to keep your family on track during summer break:

summer schedule for kids printable
Etsy | Acacia North Printable
Summer Schedule Packet
Shop now
summer activity pack
Etsy | Teaching in 206
Printable Summer Activity Pack
Shop now
summer schedule for kids printable
Etsy | Fairari Print Shop
Visual Toddler Summer Routine Printable Cards
Shop now
summer schedule for kids dry erase
Etsy | Bespoked Studio
Personalized Dry-Erase Weekly Schedule
Shop now
summer schedule for kids calendar
Etsy | Circle and Square Decor
Acrylic Family Calendar

A reader and editor-favorite, this acrylic family calendar can be used all year round.

Shop now
family calendar
Etsy | Circle and Square Decor
Dry Erase Family Calendar

Another option that can be used year-round.

Shop now

Download The Everymom’s Free Summer Schedule Printables

We’ve created an easy-to-customize summer schedule for kids template to manage the days and weeks. Download below!

summer schedule for kids