Coach Mom Newsletter - May 2011
First, set a time to
evaluate how the school year went for each
child. Discuss with each one the things that
went well and the things that did not go so
well. What factors influenced success? Write
down three changes you would like each child
to make for next year, and be sure to mark
on your calendar in August where to find
that list for review.
● Clean out backpacks
and look through papers that were sent home
at the end of school. File them in their
“papers to save” place or throw them away.
This is also a great time to get everything
out of the file (or drawer, whatever it is),
and cull it down to the best papers that
show the child’s creativity, hard work, and
Gather as a family
around the dinner table and brainstorm
memories about last summer. What did each
person like? Not like? Favorite memories?
● Share changes you as
parents would like to see over the next two
months, and in the coming school year.
● The answers to the
“looking back” questions are clues to this
year’s summer planning. If last year’s
schedule felt rush-rush, then cut down on
the number of activities you commit to for
your children. If they all mentioned funny
stories from the day you went to the park
with the fountains, put that on your list
● Brainstorm ideas for
summer – what would each hope to do during
the break from school? Is there a new skill
one would like to learn?
● Discuss with your
family where they each spend most of their
time on summer days, and set goals
with each child on what a typical day’s
“schedule” might look like, setting some boundaries
(i.e. 30 minute max on the Wii, one hour max
on the computer, one hour max TV time, etc.)
Then decide how those decided-upon schedules
will be monitored.
● Make the most of
carpool opportunities by signing up kids for
day camps with friends who live close by.
● Don’t let those open
hours of summer get wasted in boredom and
screen time. Guide your child to…
people in his/her life who are special, and
have them write a note of thanks and
encouragement to them.
in a library summer reading program.
Clean out 3
pairs of shoes you have outgrown.
stuffed animals to give away.
Do a service
project for an elderly neighbor.
Choose 5 toys
to pass on to another child.
Write a poem.
Lie in the
grass after dark and look at the stars. Find
at a nearby farm.
camera on a photo safari in a park or your
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● Know your limits –
adjust your expectations, depending on the
number of children you have and their ages.
● Pack each child a
bag with busy activities – a favorite small
stuffed animal, paper, markers/pens/pencils,
activity books, a few small toys, and books.
Load a few audio books and music on an MP3
player and pack headphones. Two sets of
headphones can be plugged in using an
● Make a vacation
journal for each child using a 1” binder and
copy paper. Encourage the child to draw
pictures or write about their favorite
things from each day as you go along. It
makes a great keepsake.
● Pack a first aid
kit, flashlight, and other goods in the car
● Keep baby wipes,
hand sanitizer, paper towels, and tissues
easily accessible in the car.
● Try to keep
mealtimes and bedtimes as close to the usual
● Remember the simple
things that can make a child happy – a
playground stop, feeding the ducks at a
pond, etc. (The simple things are often much
more affordable than other things, too!)
● Get an extra car key
to keep in your wallet in case of accidental
locking of keys in the car.
● Think twice before
posting travel updates and photos on
Facebook, letting everyone who has access to
your friend’s FB accounts know that you are
away from home. Wait until you are home and
post an album of your trip.
few tips if going by airplane:
● Encourage the children to get their
energy out at the airport before boarding
the plane by jumping and doing active
● Pack extra snacks and sippy cups (that
can be filled after going through security).
Be prepared for extra time on the plane in
case of a delay.
● Pack a spare set of clothes for your
children in their carry-on bag (or two or
three for infants and toddlers) and a spare
shirt for yourself as well.
● Pack extra diapers and wipes.
● Download a children’s movie to your
electronic device or audio books on an MP3
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I can’t believe school
is coming to a close and my three children,
ages 11, 8 and 6 will be home full-time
again. My 2011 goals of home organization
are not panning out too well, and now it
looks like I have no hope of making any
progress until September. Any advice?
Organization and summer
may not seem to mix well for families, but
with a little planning and a “teamwork”
attitude, you can make great strides when
you have grade school children. Make a list
of organization projects and break them down
into small assignments. You might let your
children know that each Monday (or whenever
you choose) they will be given an
organizational task (i.e. 1. Take everything
out of three dresser drawers. 2. Put back in
those drawers only the clothes that still
fit and they wear. 3. Put all remaining
clothes in a bag to give away.)
Another way that you
can motivate each week is to let them know
the tasks will be done in an hour or less
(and set a timer). If they go beyond
expectations (i.e. cleaning out five drawers
instead of three), offer extra privileges
such as more time on the Wii as rewards.
Also, plan incentives along the way when
determined progress is made.
will put the children’s extra time and
energy to work for the betterment of your
home, and also teach them steps to
organization that they can use for a
Complete your own
organizational projects as they are doing
theirs, and you might be surprised at the
progress you make by the end of August!
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