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.
Setting up summer goals
Oh, the way we do these goals has changed over the years. But the idea is always the same: think hard about the ways you’d like to progress and grow, and set goals to help you get there.
Usually we have “bubble charts” in all sizes where you fill in all the little circles when you finish a task:
We have done everything from having the kids write those goals on big posters in the kitchen to hanging them on the door of their bedrooms so they won’t miss them.
Then the kids get going doing all that good stuff.
One year we did calendars to mark off as we went along.
Whatever works for your family is what is the best idea!
How can you take the nagging out of summer?
The only thing I don’t like about summer 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.
That’s what I love so much about these goals.
We have time set aside each day where it was just part of the day to get those suckers done.
It isn’t a perfect plan, of course. Some summers work better than others.
But those kids work and are productive before they set out to roam the neighborhood.
And I love it.
Come up with a Plan
My wise sister Saren had an extra plan to help kids navigate their goals even better. Sometimes kids look at the big overwhelming picture of what they want to do, but don’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 f you are interested in checking that out…very motivating I have to say…thank you Sar!)
So we pumped out some weekly schedules.
We printed out a new checklist for each week.
And boy howdy how that “plan” changed things.
Is there a reward for accomplishing the goals?
Growing up we usually had money attached as the reward for accomplishing our goals.
In our family it’s changed each year.
Sometimes money, sometimes time (late-nights, dates with parents…back when that worked!, etc.), sometimes something they really wanted (clothes, toys, etc.)
Some years the reward is a special family trip.
One year the kids all worked together to earn something they all wanted (Rockband).
One year when the reward was cash, 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.
Kids like schedules
I love summer goals because there is something about kids knowing expectations that does some thing so good for them. Especially if they’re the ones who make up the expectations!
Lucy is particularly into this new system.
I think all kids love to know what’s expected. They love to cross things off. They love to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Some extra helps for summer goals
One is filled with writing prompts. You see, writing is always a part of the “mental” section of summer goals. I feel so strongly that kids need to be writing in the summertime! So writing is one of their “check-offs” each day.
(I have loved reading what they write.)
The other jar is called the “Job Jar.” It 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.
I do love summer goals!