Maintaining a Summer Routine for Middle Schoolers

8 min to read
A student takes notes to plan their day.

While most pre-teens and teens look forward to the summer as a time without classes and schoolwork, it’s important not to completely forego a daily routine during the summer.

During long breaks away from active learning, students are at risk of what has become known as the "summer slide.” One study found that students lost 27% of their learning in math and 20% in reading on average over summer break. But you can take proactive steps to prevent summer learning loss through learning activities and by helping your student create and maintain a routine over the summer.

How Can a Summer Schedule for Middle Schoolers Help?

Kids benefit from a predictable routine. While it’s exciting to enjoy the freedom from daily classes, it’s still essential for your teen to get at least nine hours of sleep, eat well-rounded meals, set goals, exercise daily, and take breaks from unproductive screentime.

Healthy Sleep

Implementing a routine with a few hours of screen-free time before bed can help your student get at least get nine hours of sleep. Although they may not need to wake up at a consistent time to get to school each morning, it’s still helpful for teens to start their mornings and go to bed at around the same time each day. 

Avoid Unproductive Screentime

Screentime can be a powerful tool for researching topics of interest, finding community events, and more. However, unproductive screentime, such as time spent mindlessly scrolling social media, is largely unhelpful for students and can quickly monopolize the whole day. Learning how to self-regulate unproductive screentime—or any unproductive habits in general—can be tricky for anyone, but by creating and keeping to a routine can better help students stay focused on their summer goals.

Physical and Mental Health

Creating a predictable routine for meals and snacks can help your child maintain a healthy diet and get all the nutrients their growing body needs. A consistent schedule can help your child eat three rounded meals each day.

Your summer daily schedule should also include a plan for physical activity and spending time outside. Daily exercise benefits all parts of your child’s body, including their mental health.

Be Ready to Return to School in the Fall

Creating opportunities for students to continue using the knowledge they’ve learned in their classes could help them return to classes more confidently in the fall. Instead of aiming to have your child read textbooks or study specific topics, look for real-world activities that keep their minds engaged. Students can participate in fun activities, like reading their favorite book series, researching topics that interest them, cooking a meal, and more.

How to Create a Daily Summer Schedule for Teens

Building a summer schedule for your teen doesn’t need to become another chore for you to manage. With some upfront consideration, you can work together to create a routine that will be fun and beneficial for them.

Set Goals

Work together to set goals. What does your child want to accomplish this summer? They might want to participate in an organized sport, get through a book series, finish an art project, or train for a 5k. Allowing your middle schooler to set their own goal will help them to be more invested in following their new routine and give them an accomplishment to be proud of when it is time to return to school.

Stimulate their Minds

Most parents dread hearing “I’m bored!” on a loop throughout the summer. Ensure your child has access to a variety of activities that will keep them engaged. Your child might appreciate a list of activities posted somewhere, like the fridge, that they can reference any time they start getting bored.


For some teens, gamification is an effective way to help them stick with short and long-term goals and to make less exciting parts of their routine more enjoyable.

Or you could create a visual schedule on a whiteboard and represent your child with a magnet. They can move their magnet down the schedule as they progress through their day. If your student is goal-oriented, they might enjoy checking off each step of their goal as they complete it during the summer.

Activity Tracking

You don’t need to plan every minute of your child’s summer break down to the minute. Instead, after setting goals for the summer, work together to break down their goals and daily obligations into smaller steps so they can measure their progress. If your student wants to work their way up to training for a 5k, for example, you could create a goal of running progressively farther distances each week, building up to 5 kilometers.

Summer Activity Ideas

When creating a daily list of summer activity ideas for teens, remember that your teen doesn’t need to spend the whole summer studying workbooks to stay ahead of summer learning loss. Instead, there are many ways they can stay healthy and busy while still getting the most out of their summer.

Tackle a Summer Reading Challenge

Avid readers might enjoy visiting their local library to pick up books off their summer reading list. This Middle School Summer Reading List is a great place to start, but you can always encourage your child to find books that speak to their interests.

It’s better for your teen to find a book they’ll be passionate about reading, than to force them to read books that don’t engage their interests.

Write Letters to Friends

If your child has friends or family across the country (or even across town) writing letters is a fun way to stay in touch while practicing their writing and reading skills. In today’s digital age of instant gratification, it can be exciting to wait patiently to be surprised by snail mail!

Spend Time Outside

Serotonin, known as the feel-good hormone, is released in the presence of sunlight. By spending time outside, your teen can improve their mental health, reduce the impacts of depression, and feel calmer.

Gardening is a fun way for teens to spend time outside, while learning about science and growing their own food.

Get Active

Physical activity helps teens in all aspects of their health: mental health, cardiovascular health, bone strength, blood pressure, and more. Plus, it’s a fun way for your child to stay busy and connect with their friends. Your child can be active any way that they find enjoyable — sports are a great option for teens looking to socialize as well.

Bonus: your middle schooler can knock two items off their list by getting outside for a walk, jog, or playing a sport!

Summer Daily Schedule Ideas

How you decide to organize your teen’s summer schedule will depend on their goals and your family. Printing out a schedule or writing it on a whiteboard will help your student know when they should do which activities. It can be helpful to set specific time goals (like reading for at least an hour each day) but not every moment needs to be scheduled. Instead, let your student have general blocks of time scheduled to accomplish a small handful of tasks they can do at their own pace every couple of hours. Remember, the goal isn't to keep them busy but to empower them to make the most of their summer break.

When a goal is identified, written down, and displayed somewhere visible, it is more likely to be accomplished.

A summertime routine for middle schoolers could look something like this:

9:00 AM

Wake up
Quiet/Screen-free time/ Journaling

11:00 AM Exercise
12:00 PM Lunch
2:00 PM Practice piano
3:00 PM Relax
5:00 PM Dinner
8:00 PM Reading
11:00 PM

Quiet/Screen-free time
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