Keep track of your busy family with this activity.

By Lori Serratto,
Family Resiliency Trainer
FOCUS San Diego

The arrival of summer is an exciting time for kids and families. Summer time allows for more freedom and relaxed schedules than during the school year. It is also a perfect time to go away on a long vacation or visit local attractions. While a shift to the summer schedule can mean more opportunities for fun, it may also bring more confusion since most plans vary by day and by family member. Setting up a summer schedule that works well for you and your children can be challenge but a little planning goes a long way. A Family Calendar will help ensure that your family’s transition into this year’s summer schedule is a smooth one!

A Family Calendar helps to:
• Let the whole family know about important events
• Keep track of busy schedules
• Allow family members to quickly locate other family members
• Achieve goals, such as cleaning the garage or enjoying a weekly family movie night

When placed in a common space, such as the kitchen, all family members are able to pass by the calendar and be reminded of upcoming events. Your family can use the calendar to schedule family meetings and family outings, and to track family goals. The calendar also allows parents and children to schedule their own important events—like parent date night or friend play-dates. In addition, a family calendar can help teach children about organization, cooperation, advance planning, and communication. Children also learn that their plans and wishes matter.

How to create a Family Calendar:
A Family Calendar should be big enough to include the entire family’s schedule. The best option is a big desk calendar from an office store.

Use stickers and markers to highlight special events like birthdays, holidays, homecomings, and other important family dates.

Making a family calendar is just one fun activity that can help children feel at ease during a transition time. For more ideas on ways to support children during transitions (such as deployment) check out our website at www.focusproject.org.

Notes: Deployments and homecomings are important dates to put on the Family Calendar, but keep in mind that those plans and dates can change, often at the last minute. Be sure to have a family discussion with your children about these possible changes. You can talk about the various schedule options that might exist around deployments and homecomings and how your family will deal with those schedule changes. Families who have a deployed parent can save the calendar, and during reunification, family members can sit together to highlight how they spent their time while the parent was away from the home. This type of family discussion can be helpful in re-establishing the connection with the recently returned parent. Care should be taken to have this talk at a slow pace to allow the recently returned parent to adjust to home life.

FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) is a resiliency-building program of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). FOCUS is an eight-session training program for military families that is grounded in more than two decades of research and experience serving families dealing with stress and changes. FOCUS is specifically adapted for the needs of military couples, children, and families and provides training in core resilience skills. These skills increase closeness, support, communication, and adaptability. Couples and families learn to work together to manage difficult emotions, set goals and problem solve, communicate clearly and effectively, and develop customized strategies to deal with ongoing stress and change.

For more information about FOCUS, visit us online at www.focusproject.org or www.facebook.com/FOCUSresiliencytraining
Contact your local FOCUS site today to learn more about FOCUS and to schedule your personalized training sessions.
• Marine and Family Services, Bldg. 13150, Camp Pendleton, 760-859-6079, camppendleton@focuproject.org
• Dolphin Alley, Bldg. 265, NBSD, 619-556-6075, sandiego@focuproject.org

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Military Press

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