This free printable summer rules list is different. It is not like the other lists you will see on Facebook and Pinterest. I like to think of it as an alternative summer rules list.
I am going to ask you a question before you even see the free printable: Are you open to trying something new? If not, click away now, seriously, this post is not for you.
If you are open to doing something new, something unusual, something I guarantee most moms are not doing this summer, read on.
The other question I will ask you is: Will you dare to use it?
Keep an open mind!
Free Printable Summer Rules List
As you will quickly see, my list is not like the others.
I saw those free printable summer rules lists with their “don’t do this” and “you must do that” and was thinking that they didn’t sound like they encouraged learning and many of them even sounded, well, a bit rude and others still were disrespectful in nature.
I choose to do things a bit differently and thought I would share that with you.
Everyone has their own way of parenting and if you want to have a summer rule list that is like that, go ahead. Social media is packed with those types of lists.
But for those who don’t want that, for those who want to reach a bit and do something off the beaten path, for those who would rather choose to have a kinder, and more effective, summer rules list, this is for you.
Their Rule, My Thoughts, My Rule, What They Learn
Before we get started, let’s take a quick peak at the types of things that people put on their lists. These came from real lists that I found on the Internet. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Take a look at the top of the graphic to see them all.
Now let’s break it down. We will look at their rule, my thoughts about the rule, my rule (and yours if you choose to actually go through with it,) and what your children will learn by following my rule.
Their Rule: No getting out of bed until a specific time. Apparently that includes not being able to get up if you need a drink of water or need to go to the bathroom.
My Thoughts: This is not how I would treat anyone and frankly there may be health risks involved. If you have to go to the bathroom you shouldn’t have to hold it in.
My Rule: Go to bed when you are tired, and get up when you are rested. I am aware this is a stretch for many of you. It works great for us. (Read more about boys and sleep here.)
What They Learn: They learn to listen to their bodies, to plan ahead by going to bed earlier if they need to go somewhere the next day, and what their natural sleep/wake rhythm is.
Their Rule: You can only have a snack if your chores are done. Or, no snacking during the day, eating happens at meals only. Or, the kitchen isn’t open 24 hours a day. Or, stay out of the kitchen.
My Thoughts: Kids need to fuel up often when they are growing. Withholding food because a child has not finished a chore is horrible. It is teaching him that you are in control of all the food and that if he doesn’t comply with your requests, he doesn’t eat. Unacceptable adult behavior.
My Rule: If you are hungry, help yourself to something to eat. If you need me to help you, simply ask and I will make you something.
What They Learn: To listen to their bodies and know when they are hungry, thirsty. They learn to ask for help and also to cook and make their own snacks.
Their Rule: Asking for privileges means you lose them.
My Thoughts: Really? Just asking for something means you lose the privilege? Yikes, pretty harsh.
My Rule: If you need something, just ask. I will try to make it happen for you or get you what you need to do what you want to do.
What They Learn: That you are there to help them. That you are on their side and are willing the go the extra mile when something is important to them. That asking is not only alright, but encouraged. They need to know how to ask for help and communicate. Communication is vital to their success as an adult.
Their Rule: Screen time is limited and dolled out based on your actions. There are plenty of variations here including that you have to do a list of things before you can go on, no screens until after 3:30 p.m., or you have to earn tickets to be on screens. Tickets? At home? The other thing I saw a lot was “if you misbehave, your screen time will be taken away.”
My Thoughts: People are pretty worked up about screen time. I get it. I had some limits for technology usage when my son was younger. However, all of this puts a huge amount of emphasis on screens. In my mind it makes screens seem like they are better than any other activity and we certainly don’t want to teach our children that, do we?
If you are only allowing your child 1/2 hour of screen time a day or short periods of time to do something online you are interrupting and inhibiting his learning. The learning done on technology is not second rate.
My Rule: Feel free to use technology when you want to. There are times when they can’t go on because you need to go somewhere or they have to get something else done. Kids understand these things. They work with you when there needs to be a change.
What They Learn: That there needs to be a balance. That what they want to do matters. They also learn how to research, what technology is good for and more.
Their Rule: If you tell me you are bored, I will give you a chore to do. Most of the other lists all include the rule that it is mandatory to do your chores before doing anything else.
My Thoughts: There is nothing wrong with being bored and I certainly would want my son to be able to communicate with me about how he is feeling. This rule they have stops communication and also makes chores into a punishment. Do adults always do everything that needs to be done around the house before getting on the Internet or checking their phone? Um, no. Don’t mix being bored with doing chores. That doesn’t even make sense.
My Rule: Help out around the house, so we all have time for fun. Kids are willing to help out. They want to be helpful and needed.
What They Learn: That work can be rewarding. We all help out around the house because we are a family, things need to be done, and we like to live in a certain type of environment. That when we all work together, the work goes fast and it leaves us more free time to spend alone or together as a family. They also learn to manage their boredom, either on their own or with your help.
Their Rule: You must read for 20 or 40 minutes. The number of minutes varies by list. Some also include: write for 20 minutes, play (usually outside) for 20 minutes, be creative for 20 minutes and so on. Basically these rules set specific amounts of time that a child must do certain activities. It is usually tied to screen time but not always. (See rule #4 for more on screen time and technology.)
My Thoughts: I understand people want their kids to read, but I seriously hate the “you must read for 20 minutes” rule the worse of all. Never, ever make reading seem like a punishment. The same goes for the rest of the things mentioned. What if they don’t feel like reading or writing or being creative at that time? How would you feel if you were required to sit down and be create for 40 minutes?
My Rule: Read, write, play and be creative whenever you feel like it. Requiring specific amounts of time to do these things is counterproductive. You want them to love them, right? You don’t want them to end up hating reading, right? Drop that rule and go with this one instead. Don’t force them. Encourage them and give them books and supplies, and time to do those things, but don’t force them.
What They Learn: That reading, writing, play and creativity are important. That they have plenty of time to do them whenever the mood strikes. That you are open to being flexible with your day so they can do the things that matter to them.
Their Rule: Do not talk during daily quiet time.
My Thoughts: I have no idea what to say to that. I’ve never had an official “quiet time” that required total silence. See my thoughts in rule #6 about communication.
Since I can’t really relate to that rather unusual rule, and frankly by this point I am pretty tired of those types of rules, I created two additional alternative rules and here they are:
My Rule: Learn (and talk!) about topics that interest you. Can be done during quiet time if necessary 😉
What They Learn: Anything and everything! That you are willing to give them plenty of time to explore this summer. That you will provide a lot of support and show interest in what they are learning about. Yes, even it if is Minecraft or Pokemon.
My Rule: Pick 5 things you really, really want to do this summer. This is my favorite alternative summer rule list rule. Let them pick out 5 things that are important to them and try to make them happen. I understand if you have a lot of kids that might seem impossible but see what they select before dismissing the idea altogether.
What They Learn: They learn that they have to plan ahead for what they would like to do. They learn about time and managing it. That summer slips away quickly and if they plan, they can get their very favorite things in before it is fall. They also learn that you think their interests matter. That you will go out of your way to help them get what they want. Lastly, and most importantly, they learn that making memories together as a family is a wonderful experience.
Rule #9: Just for Parents
Do not plan 1000 activities and places to go so that they have no down time. Use our free printable summer rules list to plan an awesome summer. Oh, and for heaven’s sake Don’t worry about summer slide!
Summer Rules List Printable
Our free printable summer rules list was created to make sure that you and your kids have a fun, enjoyable, memorable time. If you do the things on this list it is going to keep your kids learning. Much of what they will be learning will serve them well as they grow to become adults.
Yes, I want to make a change and will print this kinder summer rules list <<<<
What Will You Do? Will You Use Our Printable?
So, what will it be? Are you willing to step out of the norm? Are you willing to take control of your kids’ summer and make it the very best one ever? Are you brave enough to do something most moms would never, ever do?
If you are, you will really have a great summer! It will be filled with learning, love, and memories that will last a lifetime.
Remember, your kids are young for a very short period of time. Give them the gift of a summer they will never forget. And let grow up learning important life skills through being more independent and making their own decisions.
Will you try it? Will you dare to put the list up on your wall this summer for your kids (and everyone else) to see?
Leave me a comment to let me know.
You might also like: 10 Ways to Support Your Boy’s Learning This Summer
Monday 12th of June 2017
Love this!! Thank you:-)
Thursday 15th of June 2017
Yay! I am so happy to hear that Sarah. You are most welcome!
Sunday 4th of June 2017
I love this list!! I will have this printed for my kids when they come home on the last day of school...it's pretty much how we normally do summer.. but I love it being written out for them, as I think it will make them appreciate what they can do, and realize that rules do not have to be restrictive! Thank-you!
Monday 5th of June 2017
Thank you so much Janey! Your comment put a smile on my face.
Tuesday 7th of June 2016
I love your rules! This looks a lot more like our summer than any of the "rules" I've seen so far!