Summer Rules!

From Olaf in “Frozen” to every kid in the world, (and every teacher come June): SUMMER RULES!

For me, summer is the best when you have kids and you are able to spend time with them outside of school and the school year grind. It’s a gift that many don’t have, but my husband and I are fortunate to be able to spend quality time with our two kids each year during summer break. Sure, by August we’re looking at boarding school brochures, but for the most part, it’s an awesome thing to be able to do as a family. We usually send the kids to Y camp for a few weeks so we can have some time to get stuff done around the house and reacquaint ourselves with each other, but after that, they are home with us for the entire month of July and most of August.

We decided one night that we wanted to come up with our "Summer Rules" for the kids.

Studies have shown that students who continue to read over the summer break do much better the following year, while those who don’t lose up to 2.6 months of grade level equivalencies. As teachers, we didn’t want that to happen with either of our kids.

Anna was born with a book in her hands and squeals in delight when we go to one of the many branches of our county’s library system. She checks out bags of books and will spend hours poring over them or using them to teach her collection of dolls lined up in her make shift classroom set up in her bedroom. We had to limit the amount of books she was checking out, as our fines went up to the double digits due to lost/hidden/or overdue books. She is now allowed to check out only 8 books at a time. This did not go over well, as you can imagine. Yes, we are monsters.

Eli, however, goes straight for the movies, the computer games, or the Wii games and screams and whines when we ask him to go and find some books to check out. He started kindergarten as a non-reader, but due to the amount of reading he does at school and the mandatory reading we do as a family each day, he is now on track for entering first grade next year. We want to keep up that momentum so he doesn’t back slide and lose time in September. We don’t know much about his birth parents, but what we do know is that they did not value reading. We want to break that cycle with him.

The day after discussing setting up the rules, Tod sent me an email with the following, which we are instituting as our SUMMER RULES:

1. You must read for at least 30 minutes between breakfast and lunch.

2. You must read for at least 30 minutes between lunch and dinner.

3. You must keep your room clean every day.

4. When you choose to ignore your parents when they ask you to do something, there will be no TV, Kindles, bikes, skateboard, or roller blades allowed for the next 24 hours. There are no exceptions for this rule.

We discussed this with the kids and we got a lot of hand waving and “sure, sure” nods of agreement as they played games on their Kindles. Right now, they are on the sprint to the finish of the school year, and I am certain that once the shackles of school have been dropped, these rules will seems like the most tyrannical, Joan Crawford-esque rules on the planet.

I am also certain that there will be whining.

I am also certain that there will be arguments.

I am also certain there will be non-compliance… but that’s just with us as the parents. We’re putting together a strong front regarding this and we hope that these rules will help the kids get into a predictable routine, like the one they have during the school year.

So yeah, summer rules and hopefully, with the implementation of our own summer rules, the summer of 2014 will be one of the best!

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