May, 2014
Woohoo!  Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime! It is quickly approaching and it's time to be sure the change from one routine to the next is seamless.  Or at least as close to seamless as it gets when school lets out.

This is a great time to change up the daily tasks on the responsibility magnet.  By now, most of the tasks have probably become routine, so taking them off the magnet won't necessarily mean that they won't be done! 

Also think about writing new chore sticks.  The fact that our schedules are a bit less chaotic in the summer opens up the opportunity to teach your child some new independent living skills: cooking, gardening, some budgeting skills for older kids, and more as discussed below.  Remember that the point is to teach our children skills that allow them to live on their own one day.  So go about your day and recognize certain tasks you complete that you could teach your child.  There are lessons to teach that we don't even recognize as useful because they have become so routine to us.  This newsletter is dedicated to the transition to summer, so if you have any more to add, give us a shout!

We are ever appreciative of the overwhelming support we receive from our customers.  I assure you that we do everything in our power to support you and make your buying experience top-notch.  The only way we will grow is with happy customers who spread the word, so thank you, thank you.

Jennifer Beck and Family

Why are we doing this?
{otherwise known as: "it's so much easier to just do it myself"}
There are thousands of accounts of parents who hover: calling to wake up their child for college classes; calling professors to discuss grades; calling bosses to find out why their child didn't receive a raise; the list goes on and on.  A friend of mine works with a large tech company in close proximity to the HR department.  She recently told me that HR is always frustrated by parents of employees who call to discuss benefits, raises, etc.  {SIDE NOTE: the company isn't allowed to hire anyone under the age of 18}

So yes, it is many times much easier to just do it ourselves, whatever "it" is.  And yes, especially with younger children, you might have to redo "it". {Cue the time when our middle child washed a load of dry cleaning because she thought it was laundry.  Bonus: we got some really cute wool sweaters that suddenly fit her dolls.}  But the goal is to teach so that when our babies are on their own we are no longer parent/teacher but instead parent/friend.  Now is not the time to be best friend....that comes later when we've done our job.

Last thing: be sure to hold your children accountable for their tasks.  It is important to teach our children to do their best work, to represent themselves with pride, and to establish work ethic.  Think about the last project you had to complete: what if you hadn't done your best work?  Would you still get the raise/praise/whatever? We need to expect the same from our children.  As parents, we know when they are giving their best.  There is, of course, a line we don't want to cross when we hold high expectations for our children.  But kids can do more than we give them credit for, so let them know your expectations, teach them how to meet those expectations, and then hold them accountable.  When our oldest daughter was in fifth grade, she drew the chore stick to dust the living room.  I thanked her when she was finished, then as I walked through the living room, I noticed she had dusted around everything on the coffee table.  I called her back down and she laughed and said, "sorry."  She knew she hadn't given 100%.   Don't get me wrong: I tell my kids every single day that they are kids and they NEED to play, to relax, and that if they do their work well and correctly, it shouldn't take them more than 15 minutes to get it all done.  That leaves them with plenty of time to be a kid.  But we do expect that it's done correctly, otherwise, we aren't a team.  Here's a good way to explain it, especially to the little guys: "If I only cooked the chicken at dinner halfway, would that be okay?"  {salmonella ain't fun, friends....}

Please know, though, that it is important to keep our children safe, to monitor there actions, and to know the who/what/when/where/why.  But our children do need to learn accountability, a healthy sense of independence & confidence, and they do need to experience failure through trial and error.  Better to do this now than later in life when they have a family of their own to support.

Here is a great study entitled Helping or Hovering? The Effects of Helicopter Parenting on College Students' Well-Being.  Lots of good reading in the citations as well. 
New Chore Ideas...
{new routine, new lessons to learn}
chore stick Here are a few ideas to change up your routine.  Many of these have many lessons and your kids will never know they are learning :)

*Healthy menu planning
*Grocery Shopping (nutrition labels, cost comparison, coupons/discounts, point of purchase, even just general grocery store navigation!)
*Table Setting

*Herb gardens (make a pizza when it's viable!)
*Vegetable gardens
*Flower gardens (flower arranging and donate to a church or nursing home)
*Lawn mowing

*Changing/checking tires
*Checking oil
*Checking wheels
*Keeping up with inspections and registration

*Introduce budgeting with whatever software/program you find manageable
*Give your older child a monthly budget that you spend on him/her and allow them to allocate for a month

*Give your older child the budget responsibility for one day of vacation.  Let him/her know what the day's budget is and then allow them to plan the day.  This is a low-stress way to introduce budgeting and allow your child to understand the value of the vacation.

Spinner Sale!
{to help calm the chaos of the end of the school year!}
All spinners are on sale until Friday, May 16!  Receive 15% off any of our spinners when you use code CALMTHECHAOS at checkout.

Don't forget to ask your friends to put your name in the notes section of checkout when you refer them to our site!  We will send you a discount code for 25% off!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support, referrals, and feedback.  When we first started in 2010, we knew we were taking a huge leap of faith.  Your support has created a net and we are eternally grateful.

The Beck Family
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