Your life

A Mom’s Life Top Five

Must-dos before summer break

1. Be a lady-who-lunches. Skip the mocha latte lunches or eating that leftover pb&j while folding someone’s Dora the Explorer underwear. Instead, gather your girlfriends and meet at a real restaurant for some gourmet grub. Linger, laugh and let yourself have that glass of Chardonnay. (Then go home and take a nap before carpool.)

2. Get ripped. It’s not fun, but it’s necessary. Make an appointment to see your favorite wizardress of waxing, put on a cute pair of undies, suck it up and go get that"situation” taken care of before your kids come at you with the pool passes.

3. Indulge in a mid-day movie. Whether all by yourself or with a mob of mom friends, schedule a movie just for you. Going in the middle of the day makes it even more decadent. No testosterone-laden action flicks or talking vegetables permitted. Just a big ol’ bucket of popcorn, your favorite sugary soda and no one to run to the potty.

4. Head to the lake, alone. Leave the shovel, pail and pull-ups behind. Pack a comfy blanket, some trashy mags, your expensive sunglasses, snacks you’d never feed the kids and a pretty journal. Jot down your hopes for the summer and store up on the sweet sound of silence. It may be a long time until you hear it again.

5. Prep your summer house. Every summer I pretend my house is a summer home. It’s a way of keeping my sanity with grubby boys, sandy shoes and a menagerie of flying insects arriving daily. Stick a basket of beach towels, sunscreen and fly swatters by the back door, stock up on a collection of cool treats and go to Carolina in your mind.

Meredith Sinclair

Quiet in the bleachers!

How to be the best cheerleader in the bunch

Let's look alive out there! Wake up, first base!"

When I heard this from a parent during a recent T-ball game, I was shocked. Not only because it was being yelled at a 6-year-old player who was much more interested in the anthill near first base than the game, but because the parent was me. And the scary thing is, I wasn’t alone.

“It is excellent for a parent to be supportive of their child and attend games,” says Barbara Walker, a sports psychologist. But she warns that yelling from the bleachers is distracting and embarrassing for the child.

“Even if the parent is just instructing from the sidelines during play, this behavior undermines the coach, which results in the child being confused about who to follow.”

There are simple ways to cheer your child that don’t require yells from the stands, yet speak volumes about your support, Walker says.

“Get them to their practices and games in a timely manner, minimizing stress prior to the event. Know and understand the sport. Watch carefully and listen,” says Walker, who adds that parents should give positive feedback at every practice and avoid criticisms, which most kids tend to give themselves too easily.

“Kids who have a firm conviction that their parents are in the corner, on their side, do better in life because they can concentrate on solving the problems and surmounting the barriers that life throws in the way of all of us,” says Jim Thompson, author and founder of the Positive Coaching Alliance, a national non-profit working to transform youth sports.

To make the most out of your child’s sporting events, try Thompson’s winning ways to be the best bleacher parent you can be.

Fill the emotional tank. Kids can’t do their best physically if they aren’t filled emotionally, Thompson says. Reinforce your pride, support and love for a child before a game.

Honor the game."We ask parents never to do anything that would embarrass or bring shame upon their child’s team,” says Thompson. Remind yelling parents to set a good example, refrain from boos or jeers and support the decisions of the officials even if you feel a bad call has been made.

Target your cheers. Of course the crowd will cheer at a goal or good play, but parents should be thoughtful about reinforcing other things like tenacity, leadership, sportsmanship and good efforts.

Think about the big picture."Parents need to focus attention on what their child is taking away from the sport experience that is useful in life.” The big picture, he says, gets obscured by worries over who won each game and which player scores the most points.

Sharon Miller Cindrich


Flip for Flip this summer

It’s now so easy to share videos of your kids with friends and family—even the world if you choose—that the most non-savvy computer user can do it. Flip Video camcorders by Pure Digital Technologies Inc. is out with a new HD model, Flip UltraHD ($199.99), with double the memory and a larger screen, yet still not much bigger than your cell phone. The camcorder plugs directly into a Mac or PC to let you edit and share videos immediately. Just imagine all the summer fun you and your kids can have with that.

Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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