Monday, May 4, 2009

A Dozen Tips for Making your Summer Plan Work - Part 2 of Summer Survival Series

In my last blog we discussed ways to "plan" your summer versus just "letting" things happen. When you plan your summer you can accomplish so much more and have a more valuable, quality summer. When I talk about accomplishing more, I don't just meaning "doing more". You can actually set goals for your children in the four developmental areas as discussed previously and help them to "grow" in those areas, as well as still having much fun and learning at the same time. In fact, many times, they probably will be having so much fun that they won't even realize that you are teaching them something or that they are learning from an activity.

This week I'm going to continue to help guide you through surviving summer ! Now that you have your plans how do you make it all work? Here are a Dozen Tips for Making Your Plan Work!

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing." -- Abraham Lincoln

1. Be sensitive to the fact that kids need time to decompress after the stress and structure of nine months of school. Give them time for extra rest and adjustment the first couple of days (or week) after school's out.

2. Have a summer-launching dinner or event - a special time that indicates to your children that a new, fun, and interesting season of life is beginning.

3. Make necessary adjustments to your house rules. Talk about bedtimes or curfews; afternoon naps or quiet times; chores; how much time will be allowed for television, computer, and video games, and so on.

4. See which activities need advance planning, and make the necessary arrangements in plenty of time.

5. Each week, make a list of any supplies you will need. Collect or purchase them beforehand.

6. Designate and organize places for items and equipment you'll use often. For example, have a shelf or plastic bin for paint and craft clothes for kids to wear while doing messy projects; keep swimming and water-play items -- beach towels, sunscreen, floating toys, flip-flops, goggles - in one convenient place; store yard-game equipment - Frisbees, horseshoes, badminton and croquet gear - in one area in the garage; keep hamburger/hot dog condiments - fast retrieval; put paper plates, cups, napkins, plastic utensils, unbreakable sat and pepper shakers, and a tray near the back door for quick table-setting outside; stock your picnic basket with disposable dishes and utensils for impromptu picnics and park outings.

7. Purchase a large thermos and plenty of small paper cups. Fill the thermos with ice water every morning and put it on your porch or in your garage so kids don't have to come in the house every time they want a drink of water. (Put a trash can nearby, too). Keep an extra bag of ice on hand in the freezer -- ready for extra warm days or a sudden urge for homemade ice cream.

8. At your weekly family forum/meeting, check in with your kids. Is any activity boring, too hard, or too complicated? Expect that some ideas just won't work - which is why you want to stay armed and ready with plenty more.

9. If you have another full or part-time job besides your job as Family Manager, summer can be especially challenging. Discuss your summer goals with your sitter or nanny, then work together to plan activities and excursions. Make sure you get a daily report from both the sitter and your kids in order to ensure that they aren't "tubing out" in front of the TV or computer and are getting plenty of opportunities to exercise their imaginations and their bodies.

10. If your children will be in day care, choose one that comes closest to meeting your objectives. Discuss with the center what goals you have for your children and see what you can do to help accomplish them.

11. If your kids are old enough to stay alone, communicate clearly what you expect of them while you are gone. It's crucial that you listen to their goals as well and help them plan to meet them. Assist them in setting goals for each day that contribute to their growth.

12. If at all possible, arrange to take some vacation days for "at home" time. Use those days to do special projects or go on field trips with your children.

Extra Tips:
  • For Safety's Sake - Invite parents in your neighborhood over for coffee and discuss how you can work together to make your neighborhood a safer place for outdoor play. Create a master contact list so you can call or email each other to report anything suspicious. Designate "safe" houses where children may go if they are being harassed.
  • Establish a certain time for kids to check in for dinner so you don't have to negotiate a new time every day.
All of the information that I am presenting throughout this series is taken from Family Manager CEO, Kathy Peel, and her book The Family Manager's Guide to Summer Survival. I am also currently finishing up development of a workshop based on these tips and Kathy's book. Each participant will get a copy of the book to keep and refer back too! Contact me today if you would be interested in participating in the workshop and learning even more great tips, get all the reference tools I refer to in the posts, and get a copy of Kathy's book!

Wishing you a very FUN, SAFE, and GROWING summer!

Committed to Your Family's SUCCESS!!

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