A great bilingual Summer is doable. If you’re anything like me, in the past summer break used to catch me off guard and cause a lot of stress.
When I implemented these changes to our home in the summertime, it truly transformed our summers.
I take you through each secret and tell you how to exactly implement each one.
1. Establish a Daily Routine for Your Bilingual Summer
This is not a schedule but rather a routine or a rhythm.
Have a visual routine chart up to help younger kids and one written in the target language for older kids who can read.
Consider what are the musts you want your kids to do and be sure to include those.
It may take a week or two for kids to get used to it. But once established, there will be a lot less nagging! #win!
2. Let Them Pitch In with Housework
Teach your kids how to do some chores around the house so it’s not all on you.
This is also a great way to teach them the important value of working together as a family to take care of the home.
They may need some guidance and repeated modeling but in the end, they learn an important life skill and you get a little helper
3. Establish a Time Limit for Screens Reinforced with Visual Timer
Let your kids know what the expectation is with screens. Where and when they can watch and how long. This will help avoid meltdowns and arguments.
There will be a lot more free time in the summer. Having expectations and limits clearly laid out in the beginning will help everyone.
I like to reinforce the time limit with a visual timer. This is especially helpful for younger kids who have yet the grasp the concept of time.
Here’s one we love.
4. Stock Up on Open Ended Toys and Craft Supplies
Try to prepare some new opened-ended toys and craft supplies if your kids are into crafting.
There’s a lot of downtime which is a perfect opportunity for kids to build something and use their imagination.
For the crafty kiddos, providing new craft supplies to create with will give them something to do in the afternoon or rainy days.
Below are a few of our favorites craft kits:
- Air dry clay kit
- Sewing kit for kids
- Craft Kit with all the art supplies you’ll need
- Rock painting kit
- Loom bracelet kit
Open Ended Toys
5. Institute a Daily Clean Up Time
With more people at home in the summer there will definitely be more messes to clean up. Set a daily clean up time for the kiddos so you’re not left with cleaning up the mess every day which can wear a person down.
Make it doable for them by setting a time limit such as ten minutes and play some fun music for them while cleaning up.
Try to clean up with them in the beginning to help them know what to do. Provide clearly labeled bins and places for toys and craft items to make the clean up time go even smoother.
6. Plan a Bilingual Summer Activity for Your Child
Summer is a great time to focus on the target language. With extra down time it’s a great time to spend more dedicated time on learning and having fun as a family in the language.
Below are a few options to look into:
- Language camps (look in your local park district, immersion schools, facebook bilingual parenting or local parenting groups)
- Take an online class. Below are some good ones to consider:
- Connect with other local bilingual families learning the same target language (FaceBook bilingual parenting groups and local parenting groups, homeschooling groups)
- Facetime relatives
- Chinese learning apps for kids
7. Have a Daily Quiet Time
Schedule in a daily quiet time so you get a break too. Our quiet time is usually after lunch when my son tapes a nap.
Clearly communicate what your child can and cannot do during this time and how long it will be. Using a visual timer to help your child know how much longer they have is really helpful here also.
Usually, this is a great time to give them access to audiobooks and books on CDs. Having an audiobook in the background is not only a great way to immerse your child in the target language but it’s also an easy way to cultivate their imagination.
This is our favorite app for Mandarin audiobooks.
8. Be Realistic and Remember to Have Fun
Be realistic with your expectations. Days probably will seem long and there will be times your child will be moody or complaining more.
Realistically, we stick to focused time learning the target language (one hour tops) three times a week outside of taking an online class.
Summer is a time to relax, have some fun as a family and enjoy impromptu playdates and outdoor picnics.
So if the routine didn’t pan out today, no big deal, tomorrow is a new day! Remember to have fun and give yourself a break every now and then too.