by Lisa McCarthy
Spring is the time where I start to look ahead to the lazy days of summer.
Being a working mom who can create her own work schedule is great, but when summer comes around, I have to figure out how to entertain my child so I can stay productive.
Tonight, I am looking at summertime activities -- adventure camps, acting camps, horseback riding camps and sleep away camps. All of these colorful brochures and websites are calling and giving me an easy way out. But is it the right way to handle the summer?
For me, the answer is yes and no. Yes, there will be a few weeks of camp, but there will also be unstructured time where my daughter will have to figure out a way to entertain herself! That might mean building forts, creating backyard plays, reading a good book, or as I am going to suggest, do some fund raising to help those who can't help themselves!
We talked about this venture last summer when my daughter and her friends came into the house with the summer time whine of "there is nothing to do!" So while I put my conference call on mute I said, ""Why don't you do something that will help someone less fortune than you?"
Of course I got the eye-roll. But several minutes later, I heard a lot of planning and laughing outside my office door! Next thing I knew poster board and crayons lined my kitchen floor, I could hear the tinkering of lemonade being made and cookies being prepared for baking. Out of it all came a door-to-door lemonade and cookie sale to buy food for dogs without a home.
This summer year we're planning to do this tradition again. We are calling it our "summer charity activity." I let it be her own idea, and she can come up with whom she wants to help and how. Now, this might not always be about raising money. In fact it could be helping an elderly neighbor put away groceries, or helping a mom entertain her three-year-old. It the end, it really doesn't matter. This activity is all about helping others rather than herself.
Part of being a money-smart kid is to realize that there are those who sometimes need our help! Being a money-smart parent is not only about teaching our children about money and responsibility, but also about charity. As the idle days of summer begin, and your children begin the summertime whine of "I am so bored – there's nothing to do!" say, "Oh yes there is! This is a great day to think about ways to help someone else!"
A sure way to beat summer boredom, and a great way to raise a socially conscious child!
Lisa Laughton McCarthy is a mom with a passion! As the founder of MoneySmartKidz and author of "The Money Tree," Lisa, takes delight in finding fun creative ways to help show young children the value of financial independence! Her first book "The Money Tree," with its eye-catching illustrations, is the answer to every parent who wants to give their child a head start on the road to financial independence.
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