Monday, June 29, 2009

Summertime Smarts for Kids

Yup, I’m one of those mean moms who makes my kids do homework—in the summer! Frankly, I like sitting around our kitchen table and spending a few minutes remembering the capital of South Dakota (Pierre) and figuring out fractions. I try, try, to have my kids do “lessons” every day, but I’ll admit it doesn’t always happen. It helps to have someone else put all the worksheets (and answers!) together for you. Here’s what my kids are working on:


Summer Bridge Activities. (my two oldest kids) I like how these books are organized. One page (front and back) per day is manageable. Plus, the kids complete a goal/reward page before they start. There’s three reward periods during the summer, each lasts around 10 lessons. My middle daughter is working toward a WebKinz (to add to her expanding collection).


Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. A friend recommended this book to me when my middle child began to struggle with reading in 1st grade. I’ve already started my youngest on the program. I like the emphasis on simple phonics and easy instructions. My youngest is on lesson! Our story today was about a cat licking a kitten. A cat can kiss a kitten. A cow can not kiss. A cow can lick…

Saturday, June 27, 2009

8 Mistakes Every Mother Should Make

So I’m not a perfect mom, that’s no news flash. But I must admit I sometimes fall prey to that idea of being close—you know, the mom that volunteers every week in her child’s classroom, works part-time, mows the lawn, reads to her kids every night, plans amazing meals. Sometimes when I forget a permission slip, or miss a deadline for a class sign-up, I have to remind myself, we all make mistakes. Some mothering mistakes are worth making, keep reading for eight you really should try!


Letting your kids eat junk food.

Now I’m not saying you should let your kids eat Cheetos and brownies for every meal. But the occasional bowl of rocky road ice cream and King-size Hershey bars doesn’t guarantee your child will have heart disease when he’s 50. Food creates memories at our house, so bring on the brownies.


Forgetting deadlines to register your child for activities.

Often at the beginning of the school year I get so excited about all of the classes and activities offered afterschool that I make plans to sign up my kids for too much. Luckily, I often miss the enrollment deadlines. Children need freetime (so do moms!) so every once in a while don’t turn in the soccer/pottery class/Spanish camp form.


Bribing your kids to be good.

We’ve all heard you’re not supposed to bribe kids to get them to do something, right? But I dare you to find a 3-year-old that doesn’t respond to doing whatever you say—like cleaning up her room--for a Dum-dum (I guess that’s a mistake double-whammy, bribery and candy).


Giving kids too much TV time.

We have a designated movie night every Friday. We eat dinner in front of the TV and watch movies. I’ve given up feeling bad about our TV habit. Instead, I look forward to sharing some of my favorite flicks with my kids. We’ve watched some classics, like every episode of Scooby-Doo, and some clunkers. But watching them together has given us a common language to talk about things.


Leaving your house a mess.

I like to have my house clean—who doesn’t? Yet when it comes to kids some messes are worth leaving alone or else you’re going to drive yourself crazy cleaning all day.


Moving in on your kid’s space.

There are plenty of terms out there for moms who are deemed overly involved in their kids’ lives—helicopter parent, hovering parent. But I’ve found the more I know what’s going on in my children’s lives, the better I can help guide them through the tough times and celebrate with them the good times.


The mistake list could go on—and on. The truth is sometimes as moms we’re too hard on ourselves. And often what might be considered a mothering blunder can turn into a real blessing.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Swim Meet Survival Pack

Ah, the smell of chlorine at 6:30am! Must mean its swim meet time. This June you’ll find me and my crew at swim meets every Saturday morning. But having a successful meet is about more than just what your kids’ times are at their events.


Yup, swim meets are all about the snack bag. When I was little, I loaded up on sugary snacks for meets (remember Razzles?). But with my kids I’ve noticed that keeping them on a constant sugar buzz isn’t fun for anyone—especially mom. Now that’s not to say there’s not a place for a little candy on a Saturday morning, but if you want to keep your kids sane, pack a little protein in your grab bag.


Here’s a peek at what I’m packing up for this Saturday:

Water bottlesx5—one for everyone. I’ve tried to skimp in the past (I just didn’t want to lug something else) and that meant I was the one parched by the end!

•Frozen muffins. I buy or bake chocolate chip muffins so my kids feel like they’re getting a treat while they’re still getting their tummies filled. Freeze ‘em so they’re less messy and tasty while you’re sitting in the sun.

•String Cheese. For a shot of protein that’s also fun to eat, bring one for each of your kids.

•Chips. There’s something so satisfying about eating salty potato chips or tortilla chips in the sun.

•Sandwiches. On the ride home from meets my kids used to get snippy (even I did). Turns out we were just hungry. I pack a ham and cheese sandwich for everyone. Last time I only packed a couple and sure enough I was the one going without. Can you say, cranky mom?!

•Airheads. No, not the kids [insert courtesy laugh here]. Airheads are the perfect candy—takes the kids awhile to eat ‘em and they’re not so sticky that you’ll be running for paper towels.

•Ice pack. Don’t forget to keep your treats cool!


Here’s what I won’t be packing:

•SunnyD. I brought these drinks to the last meet only to end up with sticky orange gunk all over the bottom of our bag. Stick with water—easy clean-up.

•Ringpops. I’m no fan of these sticky, sugar pacifiers. My kids always beg me for them, finish half then hand me the rest with the fingers nearly glued together. Yuck!


What do you bring in your snack bag?