How to Create Fun and Meaningful Summer Goals for your Kids

Summer Goals

Summer Goals have been a priority in our family for the last few years and they were certainly born out of necessity!   As our children journey through the early elementary school years they are getting increasingly more busy.  After school clubs, and weekend sports and piano practices tend to take up a vast majority of our family time!  About 3 years ago I was getting frustrated with my children for not handling the very basic things of their day.  With a newborn at home, however, life was so busy and chaotic that the intentional time spent teaching them to tie their shoes, ride a bike, swim in the deep end, was being usurped by infant care.   Our weekends, when there were two-parents around to balance the infant needs with the big kid needs, were often spent shuttling to practices and doing necessary school clothes, new shoes and sports equipment shopping.

So that summer we instituted summer goals.  With a whole summer in front of us and only a few commitments, it was a perfect time to learn some necessary life skills.  The first year was rather rudimentary but as the summers go by the goals and the intentions behind them are more and more refined and necessary.  Here you will find the blueprint on how to start creating your OWN summer goals list!

Make them Achievable

I’m not saying make them easy!   It is okay to stretch your kiddos but make their goals something they can actually accomplish.

Shannon Summer Goals 2015

 No more than 5

 Summer should be fun too remember!!

 What things are you doing for them that they can do for themselves?

I felt like I spend the entirety of the school year in the kitchen.  So by the time summer hits I’m so tired of 3 meals a day I could cry.  So I offloaded it.  My 2 big kids were in charge of their own breakfast last summer! It was so freeing to read a book or just enjoy my coffee in the mornings while they busied themselves in the kitchen.

 What are they taking for granted? 

A few years ago I was quite frustrated with the picky eating at dinnertime.  It was time for the children to know all of the work that goes into preparing a meal for the family.   My oldest (9) was in charge of making a meal for the family 5 times that summer.  He had to find the recipe, give me the shopping list, and assemble it himself.  This one was HARD but so worth it.  My daughter (6) was in charge of helping get lunch ready a few times a week. Mostly when we were packing a cooler for the pool or an activity.

  What Life Skills do they need to learn?

The first year we did summer goals my oldest daughter was 5 and was terrified to get her face wet in the pool, in the bath, even in the shower, it made hair washing a nightmare. (you can read about that here The Great Bath Battle) I blame ear tubes for this particularly dramatic ridiculous fear.  So we knew that one of her summer goals had to be going underwater by herself.  It took the whole summer and many tears and bribes and swim lessons but eventually she got it and by the end of the summer she was actually swimming completely independently with her face in the water.  We’ve also had bike riding, roller skating, going off the diving board, and swinging without pushes!


 Establish family values

Each year we try to look for the one thing that we value as a family that should be an important part of their life but we just don’t have time or energy to enforce over the school year.  One year we did “Lehman family values” around the dinner table.  Each night we shared 1 thing that we did  or said that show others what we value.  Another year we had a marble jar that was only filled when someone tattled on you for doing something nice!  It might be kindness toward you siblings, or doing special things for your neighbors.  It might be creating intentional time to be together as a family, or exercising together.  Be creative and make an effort to do this one with your kids!

 Reading Goals 

We all know how important reading to and with our children is to their overall education experience. Each summer we make sure we have a reading summer goal.


How to be Successful

Once you’ve come up with your guidelines for family goals there are some things you should do to make sure they actually happen!  If you are like me, goals are great especially when they are on a sheet of paper at the bottom of the stack and I never look at them again.

 Post it in a prominent place

We have ours on a bulletin board in our breakfast area so it is easy access all the time.

 Make it a habit early

We give the kids the first week of summer off and then we start Monday morning with summer goals!! If we wait until mid-July, they will find it boring.  And let’s face it, after July 4th – nothing is getting done.

 Get them involved in creating the list

For the most part, my kids come up with their own goals.  I help guide them toward areas we need to work on.  One year I gave them guidelines: 1 pool goal, 1 cooking  goal, 1 reading goal and 1 mom’s choice.  That year Connor chose to read 5,000 pages.  He did it but he had to WORK for that one!


Rewards are big time in our house.  A few years ago they were begging for a trip to the indoor water park, so it became the reward for the summer goals.  Last year both big kids wanted their own fish tank.

fish tank

 Tell others about it

If others are asking your kids how their goals are going they will be more motivated.  Send a picture to grandma, tell the neighbors and of course share on Social Media!

Good Luck!  I can’t wait to see pictures or your Summer Goals in action!  Please share on our Facebook Page or on Instragram or Twitter using the hashtag #FiveSummerGoals.