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Here are a few proven summer-ready tools any mom can use:

The Job Jar You know those tasks that always fall to the bottom of the list? Summer can be a great time to have the kids help you complete them. Breaking them into short, 15-minute jobs and setting up a lottery system for assigning them (where everyone has a chance of drawing a “day off”) can make chores less like work. Create your own job jar by designating an empty container to fill with slips of paper containing the chores to be done (along with some free day slips). Include tasks such as: wiping down kitchen cabinet fronts, dusting slats on wood blinds, or cleaning out the silverware drawer. Make the jobs simpler for younger children or plan on assisting, should they draw a more difficult job. Also, keep jobs brief enough to be easily completed in 15 minutes You can put an entire summer’s worth of jobs in the jar and have children draw slips daily until the jar is empty. Or you can fill it weekly with enough chores for children to draw one apiece each day. Then make note of small jobs around the house as you notice them, to be added to the job jar later.

The Reading Ratchet

“I’m bored.” “There’s nothing to do!” Moms dread to hear these two refrains, especially in the weeks after the school year ends. Between keeping the house running smoothly, and ensuring a good balance of entertainment, education and relaxation, it can be an overwhelming time. But with preparation and the right tools, you can save your sanity and make it a summer to remember. Mobile Bay Parents I June 2014

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What will your kids be reading this summer or what will you read to them? Whether you live with kids who have an unending appetite for books, or have to bribe your child just to crack one open, it helps to have a list to work from. Add this tool to your belt now and you’ll be able to reach for it all summer long - whether in response to the occasional “I’m bored” or to fill the stretches of time during a long car ride or plane trip. Don’t feel like you have to create a list all own your own (although if you’ve been meaning to have your kids read some of your favorites, now’s your chance). There are plenty of reading lists available for kids of all ages. If your school gives out a summer reading list, start with that. Some kids enjoy the challenge of reading all the recent award-winners. And occasionally schools offer rewards for those who complete a list. Book awards include the Caldecott Medal (for picture books), Geisel medal (beginning reader), Newbery, and Coretta Scott King (African American authors and illustrators). Many states also have their own young readers’ book awards, in which students can www.mobilebayparents.com

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Mobile Bay Parents June 2014  

2014 Mobile Bay Summer Fun Guide! Plus, Summer Sanity Savers, the Buzz on Teens and Alcohol and more.

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