Planning, coordination and cooperation are key

  • Friday, May 2, 2014

OK, so before long, the kids will be out of school, and if you are working parents, what to do with/for the kids becomes critical. And for all parents, keeping the children busy, happy, safe and entertained becomes the challenge.

Dear Liz,

I am trying to coordinate an annual summer visit for our grandchildren who live out west. Our daughter works full-time and has the challenge each year to cover the children.

She has the added complication of coordinating things with her ex, their father. I am finding it a nightmare to try to coordinate with famly here, there and keep it affordable.

Now, everyone is in a battle over priorities, schedules, availability – and my daughter is ready to throw up her hands and say forget it. I want to see my grandchildren! And help her too. I feel so helpless and frustrated. I miss my grandkids!

Summer Blues

Dear “Summer ... ,”

It feels impossible to keep everyone happy, huh? Indeed. We, as grandmothers, want everyone to be happy, to get together and to get along. That is normal and right. The hardest thing is recognizing just what you have control and power over.

It is often hard to tell. I recommend a well-timed conference call with everyone involved, calendars in hand, and airline schedules up on the computer.

Success takes loving communication, concern for others' needs and priorities, and willingness to cooperate and compromise.

Grandparents' needs, limitations and schedules should be important to kids (and models good, loving relationships for the kids as well!).

People who honor their elders will be blessed. Those lines of respect are blurring these days. Hey, adult children out there – make grandma/grandpa happy! My research indicates that having a set time each summer tends to work well.

In that case, everyone plans things around that one particular time, a year in advance. It allows for taking advantage of the best travel/flight costs as well.

Happy planning, and I hope all works out in a win-win way.

Dear Liz,

How do you work within a budget and still give your children an interesting summer? We both work full-time jobs, but money is still tight. Basically, we have our regular child-care budget to work with. The children are ages 6, 9 and 11.

Planning now

Dear “Planning ... ,”

Now is the time. Charleston County School District runs their after-school program through the summer for elementary school students at certain schools.

Check with Wando Community Schools for the schedule, cost and locations. They enrich the summer with field trips and other special activities.

There are also day camps for sports (including horseback riding and gymnastics), the arts, karate and science.

Hire a well-vetted college student to nanny for you to break up the summer. Check with local churches as well. There is a lot to choose from and I will have an updated list next week as well. Take time out to enjoy your children with early evening supper-on-the-beach or park outings.

We live in a wonderland – it's easy to vacation at home, even after work!

Please send your questions and comments to asksharpliz@ gmail.com. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Masters-level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health including serving as a school counselor, and as a consultant and mediator.

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