Home TBT — summer goals with a plan

TBT — summer goals with a plan

by Shawni
Each summer as soon as the last school bell rings freeing us into summer, we sit down together and write out what we call “summer goals.”

And man alive, I am in love with those little things.

They give our kids something to really work hard toward and they give me a sense of satisfaction that our precious summer is being well-used.

(Much more about the background on summer goals back here and here…my family always did this growing up.)

But this year it’s like I blinked and school had been out for four weeks.

How in the world did that happen?

So we were a little behind the 8-ball getting on task this year.  But we’ve made up for it in tenacity I tell you.

Here’s Grace sitting down to get serious about the whole deal.

  Oh wait, here’s serious:

Wait, that’s more bored, but good posing Grace….you get the idea.  These kids have been far from bored the last week since we’ve been home.  They’ve been busy as bees working on their stuff.

Each year we do our goals a tad bit different.   

One year we did calendars to mark off as we went along.

One year the kids all worked together to earn something they all wanted (Rockband).

But every year they do these kinds of charts:

Those little circles on the side are to color in as they make each goal.

(I love Grace.  And I love that she will stop to pose for me any time I want…even on her way out to do her goal of swimming laps:)

And every year we make sure to balance in some physical, spiritual and mental goals.

The only thing I don’t like about summer goals is how sometimes I feel like I turn into a big nagger to help the kids stay on task.

Becoming a “big nagger” is not part of what I daydream about when I think of summer.

So thankfully this year my wise sister came up with a miraculous solution.

And extra thankfully I happened to read about it HERE right as we were sitting down to knock these suckers out. 

The key is to have a weekly chart filled with the things the kids need to be reminded to do every day.

A check list.

Because one of the most important parts of goals is to have a plan as to how to reach the goal.  And all my nagging had come because my poor kids didn’t have a plan to go with.  They were just looking at the big overwhelming picture of what they wanted to do, but didn’t know which steps to take to get there.

Have I mentioned that my sister is a genius? 🙂  (She even made up forms and wrote up many more great details about her summer planning over here if you are interested in checking that out…very motivating I have to say…thank you Sar!)

So we pumped out some weekly schedules.

…as a companion to those goals.

…and boy howdy is that plan ever working.

Especially since we decided to motivate with a little bit of cash.

And that they get to double that cash if they get every single thing checked off every single day each week.

I wish I had pictures of the stars in their eyes when we told them that little nugget of information because they are all in need of money right at about this point of the summer.

Lucy is particularly into this new system.

She is a schedule girl if I’ve ever seen one, and she is responding SO well to this new regimen. 

I’ll have to write more about her daily walking goal another time…it melts my heart to see how hard she’s working on that one…especially since it’s with her dad and they are so darn cute together.

My favorite part of our new plan is these jars:

One of them holds the “prompts” for the kids to use when they write in their journals for one of their “check-offs” each day:

(I have loved reading what they write.)

…and the other jar holds the extra jobs they “get” to do to help around the house for another one of their “check-offs.”

This second one is worth it’s weight in gold because along with summer goals we are working on putting away the things we get out.  (Including me…sometimes I’m horrible at that so I know where they get their bad habits.)

If I see something the kids have used that they haven’t put away I remind them politely to do what they know they should have done without me asking and then sweetly tell them to grab an extra job from the job jar and that maybe that extra job will help them to remember to just put their things away in the first place next time.

I mean, who wants to get hit with an extra job every two minutes?

Apparently my kids did for the first couple days, but they are quick learners, I tell you.

And our house is much cleaner.

And I am not such a big nagger.

So we are all happy (most of the time).

I do love summer goals.


dresselfamily.blogspot.com June 8, 2015 - 3:06 pm

this was perfect for today as I cleaned up about 30 things they had forgotten to put away!!!
your summer goals are always a huge favourite post of mine

Anonymous June 8, 2015 - 4:20 pm

I can appreciate wanting your kids to be productive over the summer. But I think this is way too structured for my family. This is a bit too scheduled and organized for my taste.

It would be like me taking my week of vacation from work and having someone give me a long to-do list for every minute of that week. To-do lists are for work. Vacation is to relax and not be so overly scheduled.

Summer is way too short. The kids will be back to reality soon enough when school starts. How about a lazy, relaxing unstructured summer?

April Whiting June 8, 2015 - 4:32 pm

My kids are much happier with a structured summer. So much better than sitting around playing video games and watching TV all day. Every parenting book I've read says kids need structure, they THRIVE on structure.

AnnaMice June 8, 2015 - 5:10 pm

I think the beauty of Shawni's approach to summer goals is that they are a chance for kids to start setting their own goals, determining their own priorities, and being accountable to themselves. (Though obviously with some prodding from Mom at this stage. 🙂 School is great for teaching kids to meet external expectations, but summer goals seem like they would help teach kids to be intrinsically motivated and to set and work towards goals that matter to them.

Anonymous June 8, 2015 - 6:32 pm

I agree structure is a good thing and planning ahead is good. My to-do list for my kids would be 1) go to the zoo 2) eat picnic lunch 3) come home and bake cookies 4) lay on the grass and look at the clouds. I get it, but just a little more laid back for me.

Jaymie June 8, 2015 - 4:49 pm

I love your blog!! I've never commented before, but I just thought I'd say thank you for sharing a bit of your life on here. I have a 2 year old, so some of these posts don't apply to me yet, but I have a giant notebook FILLED with goals, notes, and ideas I've collected from your posts. I basically treat 71 Toes as my ultimate motherhood masterclass ;). I love how you can feel the spirit of family love and the Gospel in every post. I hope I can approach motherhood the way you have. I admire how much effort and love you put into helping your kids become the best versions of themselves. I think you are wonderful! xoxo

Angie June 8, 2015 - 6:02 pm

I'd love to see your ideas for journal prompts and extra jobs! As always, a super inspiring post! Thanks!

Heather H June 8, 2015 - 7:07 pm

Me, too!

Cassie June 8, 2015 - 9:17 pm

I'm pretty sure she's posted these before, I would use the search bar to look for them!

Annika June 8, 2015 - 8:09 pm

Such great ideas!! Thank you for sharing! I'm going to be pinning this post so I can have it for when my kids get older! 🙂
Also, I am a crazy person for fonts. I love downloading all different kinds of cute fonts. I LOVE the one you used for the prompts and jobs. Can you tell me what it's called?

As always, thank for sharing your wonderful ideas!

Karli June 8, 2015 - 8:17 pm

Shawni, love this idea! I was searching trek ideas on pinterest and your post came up which greatly excited and inspired me that we get to go. We had a couple back out {it's two weeks away} and we were called in their place so I'm madly working on ideas. I LOVE the talk/bracelet idea your stake YW president at the time did. Do you have her contact info so I could ask where she got or made the bracelets? Or you could ask if you don't mind and email or text me? I know you have NO spare time, so I'd appreciate any help or guidance. Thank you!
{I'm a friend of your sil Kara's-she can verify I'm not crazy!} (;

Melissa June 12, 2015 - 12:46 am

I have a 5, 3 and 10 month old. Preschool has been out for 2 weeks and the older two definitely like a schedule. We are working on individual prayer, making the bed, and getting dressed before coming downstairs. We also talk about each day: the day of the week, the date, where daddy is (working or traveling or off for the weekend!) and what are plans are. It makes the world of difference in their lives. As they get older I know we will add to the list. Great ideas!

Jessica :) July 3, 2015 - 2:44 am

I love love love this idea! We've been doing a few little things around here but nothing really concrete. Though I guess with a 4, 2, and soon-to-be-newborn, they may not understand all the concepts. But I bet we could make some adaptations for our little family. And I'm definitely going to remember this whole system for when my kiddos get a little older.


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