When my offspring were young they felt left out because their friends were going to summer day camps/childcare. Being a home-based nurturer with one household income most summer camp opportunities were out of our reach. My children preferred being home but their ideas for summer included watching lots of television and saying, “I’m bored.” Thus I created Mommy Camp.
My mommy camp curriculum incorporates learning and fun,tailor-made for each child.
1. Bridge Books: summer bridge books help offspring retain their learning skills and prepare them for the following year. I really like Summer Bridge Activities books (www.summerbridgeactivities.com) because they give little chunks of learning for each day with a tracking chart for reading and rewards. My rewards include new books; going out for breakfast, lunch, or dessert; going on a special field trip with child; or buying special toys or collecting cards within a specific price limit.
2. Personal Reading Program: Many public libraries have summer reading programs. This did not suit my children so we established our own. Each child makes their own reading goal, such as 10 books for the summer, and then the child can choose a reward. Younger children can be rewarded monthly while older children can receive one reward at summer’s end. My offspring like to go to the bookstore and buy a book. I even require this for the high schooler who has to read a minimum of 3 books–he reads really big books these days like Steven King or Clive Cussler. Age appropriate reading lists are available through school or your local librarian.
3.Chores: Monday thru Friday my offspring are given chore assignments that are age appropriate and supervised. They also help me with the Spring Cleaning . They can wipe baseboards, clean out closets, recycle old school papers, clean the basement, and so on. The deep cleaning includes wiping down from top to bottom, de-cluttering, and reorganizing. Sometimes offspring have their own ideas of organization that improve upon my own. If it doesn’t work I fix it later. I don’t like to force or criticize their work. I allow them to have consequences like missed play time and tv time if they do not cooperate; if I need to correct, saying it casually as a note for next time or adding a please helps. My tone of voice will determine whether they despise the suggestion or incorporate it into their new cleaning skills. For more hints check out www.successfulfamilychores.com.
4. Independence training: I want my kids to take care of themselves by the time they reach adulthood. Many schools no longer teach life skills to most students. Cooking, cleaning, fixing, sewing, and finances must be taught at home.
Cooking- many websites and book exist to help you teach your child to cook. Make sure the activity is safe and age appropriate. We have had Chef of the Week; the child plans menus, helps with grocery shopping, prepares, and cleans up.
Cleaning- my offspring help do all household chores and laundry. This is a teaching experience. I don’t get to sit back and sip lemonade all day while they do hard labor–no, responsible nurturers must supervise. Sometimes supervision occurs in the room and other times a few check ins are all that is necessary. Praise helps the child’s confidence in their skills grow.
Sewing-my kids need to be able to sew a button on by hand and sew a straight stitch for a hem. Many resources are available to help you teach your kids these skills. Some kids will want to learn more while others will be fine with the basics.
Finances- learning to budget and spend wisely are necessary skills for all offspring. Offer extra chores for cash . Lemonade stands and yard sales are other tools for teaching kids finances. Saving and spending should be a part of the discussion. For more tips check out www.BlueSuitMom.com and www.prosperity4kids.com.
For the work abroad nurturers you may want to incorporate mommy (or daddy) camp tactics on the weekend or share them with your care giver. Design your own summer experience. May you each have a thriving summer vacation.