Today was the last day of school in Austria. In the morning the whole family went to school to pick up my daughter's grades and celebrate her promotion to 4th grade. We are so proud of our sweet girl. I always enjoy when teacher hands out the report cards. They are called Zeugnis here. She takes time to speak with/about each child. It is a nice kick off to summer. It is also the end of a week of hanging out with the class.
Yesterday we were at the park all day celebrating the end of the year with my daughters class. It was another opportunity to chat with Austrian moms and my daughters teacher. I am always amazed how often I still have the feeling I am learning about Austrian culture. The first year I came to this picnic, I had a little snack for my 9 month old son. I quickly noticed all of the other moms brought enough snacks to feed both classes at the park. The 2nd year I also brought some snacks to share. This year life happened and I barely made it to the park with drinks and a small snack for the Littles and I. There was a mom who had cooked up a storm.
She had several large tupperware containers full of schnitzel, fleischlaibchen (Austrian Meatballs), cake and bread. All of the moms had a cake, plates, drinks, cups etc.... I struggled with the desire to beat myself up for running out of time to make the rice krispie treats I planned to bring. On the one hane, I want to fit in. One the other hand this is optional and I took my kids to the park the night before and had a friend over rather then make goodies. There was more than enough food. I was still welcomed to share and participate in girl talk aka gossip around the picnic blankets. After all not time for tea sometimes means no time for treats!
I am so looking forward to having my oldest home as well. I hope that we can make fun memories this summer.
So back to the last day of school...we went to the presentation and then the kids and I returned home. Once we were home, I sat the kids down and told them they were enrolling in Camp Mom for the summer. I saw the idea for Camp Mom on Pinterest of course. I fell in love with the idea. I have been wanting to introduce a new behavioral reinforcement structure for quite some time. My husband and I mapped out a plan, but figuring out how/when to introduce it was not easy. I decided this was a great way to do just that. After all summer allows time to develop new habits right.
To get started we talked about the general plan and idea of camp. At camp everyone helps the camp run. Camp Mom would be no different. I asked the kids to sit down and decide on 9 meals we could make together. They looked through the kid cookbooks I have and came up with 21 different things they wanted to cook. They also made a list of things they would like to do, crafts to make, places to go and things they would like to learn.
We spent an hour or 2 coming up with a logo and making buttons. Aren't they fun??
Then we set out on our first adventure. We were going to get some groceries and then head out to a summer kick off event at the park. When we arrived at out grocery store they had several booths set up for kids. We stayed and played 3 hours. Everyone was so tired we skipped the park and returned home. We also went to the library to sigh up for the summer reading club and pick out books. My son is wanting to learn German so that will be a part of his camp program. My daughter is the only one old enough to participate in the City's Summer reading club. The reading and her Summer notebook will be a part of her camp routine as well.
So far every time I have asked for help, I have had 2 volunteers, no fighting just working together. I have been able to put my feet up several times. It is going to be a great summer. I am rewarding smiles to reinforce things I want them to do without nagging. I am taking them away fro the behaviors I would like to see stop. My 2 year old is already crying less, and my 9 year old attitude has greatly improved. They can turn in smiles for tickets, 5 smiles per ticket. With the tickets they can buy treats. They will have a chance to shop when Canteen is open. I have a reward box, that I am calling canteen and I will allow them to buy things like TV time, chocolate milk, special treats and little gifts. I am also giving out stars towards special badges. They can earn stars towards Nature, Life Skills, Cooking, Crafts, Service, and Sport badges.
I hope I can teach them a few things while making the summer fun and memorable for them. We have quite the idea/dream list going....I have promised to camp out in a tent this weekend and I will be putting the finishing touches on Camp Mom so be sure to come back and visit.