Tag Archives: kids

The Perfect Day Camp Checklist

June 21, 2016


Perfect Day Camp Checklist

Today is the first official day of summer and you probably, like many other moms, have kiddos that are off to day camp.

My 7-year old with an entrepreneur’s soul is at a girls’ business camp. She started yesterday and is in heaven.  I was, however, a little ashamed because I arrived with her unprepared for what she needed.  Yikes!  I didn’t have a checklist.

So… I’ve since made a checklist and want to share it with you.  Without further ado, here is the PERFECT DAY CAMP CHECKLIST (and by perfect, I mean “probably good enough.”).

This is a checklist for the items to put into your kid’s backpack for day camp.  

___ Sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 45

___ Insect repellant wipes, wristband, or lotion (I don’t recommend the aerosol can of insect repellant–the spray can sting if it gets in your child’s eyes.)

___ Water bottle filled with ice-cold water

___ Sun Hat

___ Bathing suit and towel (I recommend a super thin towel to create less bulk in the backpack.)

___ Extra set of clothes (especially a pair of socks and shirt if they get wet from the rain or water play)

___ Comfortable running shoes or closed-toe sports sandals WITH socks

___ Rain poncho (not something we often need in Los Angeles, but if you’re in a rainy place this is good to have.  Ponchos are good because they roll up small too)

___ Medication: All camps should have your child’s medical information on file. Having an extra note with details in their backpack and attached to their Prescription medication and/or Epi-Pen is helpful.

___ Food: Many day camps will provide lunch and snacks. If you pack a lunch it should be easy to eat on the ground and not need refrigeration. A sandwich, fruit and a juice box or water makes for a healthy lunch. Granola bars make an excellent snack. Some camps may have vending machines or snack bars — find out the rules and cost of items ahead of time so you can plan if and how much money you want your child to have every day. I recommend putting money in a zippered change purse or zip-up sandwich bag. Notify the camp of any food allergies your child may have.  And be careful about sending your child with peanut items (e.g. PB&J sandwiches) for any other children that may have that allergy.

___ Other: If your child is at a specialty camp like my daughter, your child may need to bring other objects or gear.  You can note it here.

Day CampOptional:
___ Change purse with $1-$5 for snacks
___ Benadryl cream for itchy mosquito bites.

With these items in your child’s backpack, it should help your child have a happy and healthy day at camp!



Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Parent Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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10 Things I Wish for My Kids – Week 11 #52ChecklistsProject

March 19, 2016


#52checklistsproject 10 things i wish for my kidsThis week’s checklist prompt is: 10 Things I Wish for My Kids.  We all have desires for our kids.  These are our hopes and dreams for them as they grow up and mature into adulthood.

So the checklist prompt is aimed at tuning us into what we most want for our kids.

Here are my top 10 wishes for my kids:IMG_0583

  1. Share their gifts – I believe each one of us is born with unique gifts and talents and true happiness comes from fully sharing our own unique gifts and talents with the world.  I notice how each of my kids has their own talents and I try to encourage the development of those talents whenever I can.  My deepest wish is that they fully share those talents with the world. 
  2. Find love.  I wish that each of my kids finds a deep abiding love like I’ve found with their father.  They definitely have love from our family, but I also wish them to experience the profound joy that comes from a fulfilling romantic relationship.
  3. Make a difference. This wish goes hand-in-hand with my first wish – that they share their talents.  When they share their talents, they will make a difference.  What I truly wish here is that they always strive to make a difference and do the right thing.  
  4. Are kind.  I try to encourage and model this as much as I can.  I want my children to be kind — kind to others, kind to animals and the environment, and most importantly kind to themselves.  
  5. Enjoy financial success.  I want my children to be financially successful.  By this I mean, I want them to never feel like they have to worry about money.  I want them to feel comfortable enough to share their gifts, live the lives they want, and be generous.  Money doesn’t make one happy, but having enough definitely eases some worries and provides more options. 
  6. Are healthy in mind, body & spirit. I want my children to be healthy in this broad sense of the world. In fact, I want them to be more than just healthy, I want them to be thriving.
  7. Become parents. I really would love to be a grandparent someday, so I hope my kids have kids.  Also, parenting, while super duper challenging, is also one of the greatest life experiences.  I desire them to be able to experience that.    
  8. Are happy. Everything I’ve written is ultimately because I want my kids to be happy.  Each of the other wishes for them are ultimately about this.  So, if they’ll be happier not having children or renouncing all their material possessions and being ascetics in India, I’m good with that.      
  9. Are true to themselves. In my coaching and speaking, I often focus on helping people listen to their intuitive guidance – that still small voice that knows exactly what is best for you.  I wish for my kids to listen first and foremost to that voice and be true to it.  I wish that for them even if the message they get is different from what I would say for them.  Ultimately, I want them to be true to themselves.  Luckily my stubborn, non-people pleasing kids, seem to have this one pretty firmly under control.     
  10. Play as big as they can. I truly wish that they never play small.  I wish that they always reach for the moon and go for it.  They may fail … no, they will definitely fail sometimes.  Not giving up after failures and continuing to play big is what will lead them to success.  I hope they are never too scared of losing that they sit out of the game.  I want them to always play and to play as big as they can.  

Those are the items on my list.  What’s on your list?  What 10 things do you most wish for your kids?  Share in the comments or share on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #52checklistsproject.  I can’t wait to see your checklists.What do you wish for your child?

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and career choices.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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Top 5 Dad Must-Dos For More Time Without The Stress, Guilt or Drama

January 20, 2016


The Checklist Dad Corner

Since we launched Checklist Mom back in 2013, I’m often asked “Marc, why is the Checklist Mom website or app only for moms? Don’t you know that dads are also interested in organization and scheduling?” and my response is “yes, of course.” I tell them “Oh! Don’t let our name fool you, Checklist Mom is for all parents (mom and/or dad) who want more time for themselves and are committed to making their lives better by getting organized so that they will have more stress free, guilt free and drama free time  to thrive.”

At Checklist Mom we believe that any parent can achieve their goals, but we emphasize that these goals can be achieved much faster when the whole family is involved, that means Mom, Dad and the kids.

However, as a dad, I know that sometimes my perception of how our family should go about getting better organized often differs from my wife and kids’ perspectives. I have to admit that this has led to a few family disagreements that were at times quite uncomfortable. But since my wife and I are both committed to being better organized, we’ve made a series of adjustments that I believe greatly improved our relationship with ourselves and our family. Doing so has enabled us to achieve our goals much faster than we ever expected.

Note that we are constantly making adjustments to better ourselves. As described in the following article “Dividing childcare and housework duties with your partner,” I’ve listed my top 5 favorite must-do adjustments that has guaranteed  success in our home:

  1. Share the load by working together

    When my wife and I work together to maintain our home, everyone benefits. I’m much more involved with the care of our kids. This helps me develop a strong bond with them. The kids benefit because they see mom and dad as both being important to family life. For housework, I’m committed to cooperate, communicate and work together fairly, and as a result everybody benefits.

  1. Redefine your goals

    Marc helping Cleo with her homework

    Helping my daughter Cleo finish up her homework & enjoying every minute of it.

How do we maintain balance at home, get dinner ready, do laundry, feed and bathe the kids, and still have time for each other and ourselves? Well, instead of striving for a 50-50 division of labor, we first focus on what we both want and need. Then, we find a way to balance the load so that we can both feel good, productive and appreciated

  1. Track your to-dos

Here’s an exercise that we found extremely beneficial. For one week, both you and your partner keep a log of everything your do at home and for the family. Then compare your lists.

  • How do you each feel about the tasks on your list?
  • Do you want to change anything?
  • Is there any task you intensely dislike?
  • Can you switch it for another chore?

While reviewing your lists, try reassigning responsibilities and finding compromises. Maybe you can agree to take turns doing the especially difficult tasks. And stay flexible even after you’ve divided up the chores in a way that’s mutually agreeable. Be willing to help each other out when you can, or even swap chores once in a while to get a feel for what your partner does.

  1. Anticipate and communicate

Ok I admit it, my wife exshutterstock_244953904pects me to read her mind and I do the exact same thing, but for some reason or another we never got real good at mind reading. So we’ve learned that It’s crucial that you tell each other what you want and need. Do your best to express yourself clearly and specifically, and without blame.

For example, when you need help, tell your partner exactly what you want “Can you help with the kids’ homework so I can cook dinner?” rather than how you may feel at the moment. “I have to do everything around here or nothing gets done!” If you fight over household responsibilities, set-aside time when you’re both calm to figure out what the real problem is and how to find a solution.

  1. Accept each other’s style

My wife and I have different parenting styles, and these differences are important gifts for our kids. But as parents it’s sometimes very hard to respect and value those differences. Instead of criticizing my wife about what she feeds our kids, I simply accept and respect that she feeds, bathes, teaches or dresses them differently than I do. If you constantly criticize your partner’s efforts, they will have angst and be more reluctant to help you in the future.

BONUS – Reward yourself and your stress free, guilt free & drama free time

When you agree to work together, you will have time to play together later. For example you could say, “If you take the kids to the playground Saturday, I’ll spend that time grocery shopping. Then we’ll have the rest of the day to ourselves.”

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Quick Last-Minute Halloween Costumes for the Whole Family

October 31, 2015


quick halloween costumes-01-01OK, mamas.  It’s the 11th hour and you and your kids don’t have Halloween Costumes?  Don’t despair, we’ve curated some of the best articles to help you find quick and easy, but clever Halloween costumes for the whole family.

For the Kids:

Here’s a great article from Parenting Magazine of 35 no-sew costumes you can make for kids: Parenting Article.  I’m especially obsessed with this no-sew “corn on the cob” costume made with painted egg cartons as the corn, over-sized green sweatshirt, and some felt.

Photo Credit: Frank Heckers. How To at http://www.parenting.com/article/corn-on-the-cob

Photo Credit: Frank Heckers. How To at http://www.parenting.com/article/corn-on-the-cob

On a budget?  Here are 51 Cheap and Easy Last Minute Costumes: BuzzFeed Article . My favorite from this article – a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle that uses a spray-painted roasting pan as the shell, green clothing, and some felt for the mask and arm bands.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Costume from anightowlblog.com

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Costume from anightowlblog.com

Here are 12 clever and easy DIY costumes for Kids: Huffington Post Article. My favorite costume from this article is this adorable bubble bath costume – made with white clothing, white balloons, and some dollar store bath accessories.

Bubble Bath Costume https://www.pinterest.com/pin/258675572320641270/

Bubble Bath Costume https://www.pinterest.com/pin/258675572320641270/

For the Adults:

This is a great article about 7 clever Last Minute Costumes you can find in a grocery store: kitchn.com Article  These costumes are punny and budget friendly, like this “Thyme Capsule” costume:



This Women’s Day Article is filled with 20 great super-easy costumes for the whole family: Women’s Day Article.  This totally clever “French Toast” costume is my favorite.  All you need is a beret, striped shirt, little scarf to look trés français, and some toast made of construction paper.  It’s magnifique!

"French Toast Costume" from @ShonteMarie on Instagram

“French Toast Costume” from @ShonteMarie on Instagram

Lastly, here’s an article with costumes for the whole family.  Real Simple Article I particularly love this Lion Tamer and Lion Costume because you can get the family dog in on the show too.  And who doesn’t love a dog in a Halloween Costume?

Photo Credit: Glenn Glasser; Styling: Kristine Trevino

Photo Credit: Glenn Glasser; Styling: Kristine Trevino

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Getting the Kids’ Things Organized – KonMari Method with Kids

October 28, 2015


This is her closet after being tidied KonMari style

This is her closet after being tidied KonMari style

1-01-01In my last post, I talked about the KonMari Method from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up from Marie Kondo.

It’s been about a week since I started using it and it has felt rather life changing for me.  My office and closet, drawers, are looking pristine and only filled with things that spark joy.

The neater my spaces got however, the messier my daughter’s room began to look.  I was itching to get rid of things in there too.

Previously when we wanted to de-clutter her room, my husband and I would wait until Aliza went to school and then start throwing things away that we thought she didn’t need anymore.

In the book, Kondo says that you should never throw away anyone else’s thing without them knowing about it.  Most of the time they’ll never notice, but when they do it erodes trust.  She says that you should instead begin with your own items (and if you’re noticing that others have stuff to get rid of, it’s almost certain that you’ve got your own items to de-clutter) and let the others in the house be inspired by your example.

That seems to have worked out in my case.  I showed my 7-year old daughter, Aliza, my closet and drawers and how I was tidying, and she said she wanted to do it too.  [My husband has also gotten the bug, and says that he will be starting with his things in the next day or too.  Yeah!]

Normally, I think Kondo would say that people should handle tidying their own spaces in private, but in my daughter’s case I  decided I would be there to guide her.  I did let her make the decisions on what sparked joy for her and what she’d keep or give away however.  Generally this worked out well, except for yesterday, which you will read about shortly.

So we began, as Kondo suggests, with her clothes.  We split it up into categories and started with tops, then went to bottoms. I had to explain to her what “does this spark joy?” mean and simplified it as “does this make you feel happy?”  She got it and had no trouble getting rid of clothing that was too small or she didn’t like.

At first, she was saying “get rid of this skirt.  It’s poopy and ugly.”  I told her, “You have to thank the items and show them kindness.”  She got really into thanking the items after that.  “Thank you for being such a wonderful skirt.  You are too small for me and it’s time for you to go to another little girl now.”

Dividing up her clothes in to the categories, and working on it for about 2 hours per day, we did the job over the course of 2 days.  I also taught her how to fold KonMari style, though she didn’t quite get it and I went behind her re-folding everything.  By the end, her closet was looking SO MUCH BETTER, and I can actually see what she has!  Even getting rid of tons of things, she still has ample amounts of everything – except a bathing suit.  Now, I can stop shopping for things she doesn’t need. AND mornings have been so much easier with her clothes so beautifully organized.

I should have taken a before picture (though it was mortifyingly messy and I’d be embarassed to post it).  I posted an “after” picture though.  You can just imagine that the before picture looked opposite to this (overflowing drawers in crazy states of disarray).

The next day we took care of her books.  I had been planning to buy a new bookshelf to handle all her books, but by the time we’d finished, she had room to spare on her current bookcase.  Yeah!  We’ve just saved time and money.

This is Aliza going through her books to determine which ones spark joy

This is Aliza going through her books to determine which ones spark joy

This is her bookcase after being tidied. Before it was overflowing with books, and now as you can see there is room to spare.

This is her bookcase after being tidied. Before it was overflowing with books, and now as you can see there is room to spare.

We took a couple days off of tidying and yesterday we started back into it with toys.

I made a huge mistake here and we both ended up very frustrated.  My mistake was not dividing her toys up into categories.  I just dumped a mass of toys onto her floor and after a little while, we both started getting overwhelmed and cranky.  What I should have done (and what we eventually started doing), is I should have divided her toys into categories – stuffed animals, Barbies and other dolls, puzzles & board games, musical instruments, little toys, etc.

Marie Kondo doesn’t discuss toys in her book.  She appears to be a single woman and I’m not sure how many of her clients have kids, but toys should be a whole chapter unto itself.

Anyway, at the end of the evening, Aliza asked if she could organize with daddy next time. 🙁 Unlike the previous times, toy tidying was not much fun.  I’ve agreed, but will stay in the background to help and divide up the remaining categories of items for faster and less stressful sorting.

Anyway, that’s the story with us using the KonMari method with a child.  If you’ve tried it with your kids, I’d love to know how it worked out for you and if you’ve got insights to share.

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