Run a lemonade stand with your kids and teach them basic business skills.

A lemonade stand

So I realize it is the first week of fall and you may not be thinking about running a lemonade stand (apple cider stand – anyone?), but there are definitely lessons to be learned from the lemonade stand experience I want to share with you.

Over the last few summers, my kids and some of their friends were pleading with me to do a lemonade stand. “Can we PLEASE do a lemonade stand this year?” is a question I would constantly hear as the end of the school year was approaching. This was the summer I was determined to make it happen. I saw it as a good learning opportunity as well as being a lot of fun.

There are lots of business skills children can learn from running a lemonade stand: project planning, goal setting, marketing, customer service, math, cross functional training and fundraising.

We are always looking for ways to give back to the community and decided to donate all the proceeds from our lemonade stand to the Smile Train. This organization provides free cleft repair surgeries to those in need while helping to train local doctors. How did we do it?

Project Planning

  • What supplies to we need?
    • Country Time lemonade mix, pitchers for lemonade, cups, napkins, ice, easel for sign, table, etc.
  • What time of day should we run our lemonade stand?
    • We decided to run our stand later on in the day 5-7PM to catch people coming home from the pool, work, before and after dinner
  • Who will run the lemonade stand?
    • My two daughters, me and which friends can help us?

Marketing

  • I sent out an email in the morning the day of our lemonade stand to friends, family, classmates to create awareness.

Cross Functional Team Training

  • Assign roles and cross train kids so they don’t get bored because we know all kids like to collect the money 🙂
    • Roles: cups and ice, lemonade server, cashier

Math Skills

  • Great practice for adding, subtracting, giving the correct change.

Customer Service

  • Good customer service does matter. No one wants to buy lemonade from a grumpy kid.
    • Smiling, welcoming and thanking your customers for supporting your lemonade stand will help drive your lemonade stand sales.

I have to say the kids loved running their lemonade stand and I enjoyed the experience as much as they did. Our goal was to raise $250 for one cleft surgery for the Smile Train – we ran three lemonade stands over the course of the summer and achieved this goal! Our efforts have made it possible for a child born with cleft to eat, breathe, speak properly, and smile. What a wonderful feeling – Who knew a lemonade stand could teach so many valuable lessons?

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Develop a work and life mantra.

YOLO

I have shared my work and life mantra with many over the past few weeks. It reminded me of one of my earlier blog posts which I felt was worth repeating:

At some point everyone should develop a general mantra for their life…Mine is pretty simple and revolves around the following:

1– “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

Perhaps you are a working mom and you want to work from home a few days a week to be able to balance your work and family life, but no one in your organization has done it before. Someone has to be the first one. Don’t be afraid to ask! All your leader can say is no, but if you never ask, how will you know?

2– “You have to look out for number one… if you don’t, no one else will.”

Even though one would like to think everyone is kind and thoughtful and looking to do the “right thing”…let’s face it, many people follow the WIIFM (What’s In It for Me?) factor.

For example, you may want to get promoted and have a leader or mentor looking out for you, but don’t count on it. You have to put in the effort to make it happen. Others may be supportive, but don’t expect them to make it happen for you. You have to work hard to get something you really want for yourself!

I’ll repeat…You have to look out for number one (which is yourself) because if you don’t, no one else will (some things are worth repeating).

3– Work to live, don’t live to work.

This gets back to my overall YOLO (You Only Live Once) philosophy. No one on their death bed says they wish they would have worked more. Since you spend so many of the hours of the day at work, there should be some level of enjoyment, but don’t let work consume you. Getting paid for work should enable you to enjoy life and have fun… A Ferris Bueller movie quote comes to mind…”Yup, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Life moves pretty fast… If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.”

“It’s back-to-school time, or as homeschoolers call it, stay-where-you-are time.” ~ Stephen Colbert

Home Schooling Photo

The new school year has begun and like my children, I am also learning new things every day. Learning is a lifelong process. I never really knew much about homeschooling. I was excited when a fellow YOLO mom, Mary Anne, was willing to be a guest blogger sharing her experience with homeschooling.

“It’s that time of the year again-Back to School time! Shopping for pencils and notebooks, back to school wardrobes, first day of school pics posted on Facebook -except we homeschool. So my kids begin their first day in pajamas around 9am after all the school buses have left our neighborhood.

I never thought we’d be a homeschooling family. As a product of parochial schools and a former elementary school teacher, I never imagined any other way of educating my children. We even moved to our current town simply because of the reputation of the great school system. The first couple of years were fine, my kids had some great teachers and made friends but by the time my son was in third grade and my daughter in second, school wasn’t really working for our family.

I had been following a blog about a homeschooling family and I was inspired by the relationship the mom had with her children and the way homeschooling gave their lives flexibility. I started researching homeschooling laws in my state and reading every book about homeschooling I could get my hands on. I learned about different styles of homeschooling and the various curriculums available. I joined a homeschool message board for members in my area and read about the many options for classes and meet-ups (for the all important socialization that most people worry about). Next, I had to convince my husband who agreed to try it for a year.

After spending the whole summer researching and planning, I was ready! The first month or so was difficult as I tried to recreate school at home since I was terrified of deviating from the schedule. But as the months went on and the kids and I started figuring it all out, we really started to enjoy it. The kids met new friends, took interesting classes, and went on incredible field trips. The flexibility also allowed us to take family trips to California and London.

So here we are beginning our second year of homeschooling by taking a trip across our state (very useful since my daughter’s curriculum this year is studying NY). Will we continue to homeschool next year? I have no idea since we are planning one year at a time with a lot of evaluating to see how it is working for the kids and our family as a whole. But for now my family is enjoying our decision to learn together and doing what works for us.”

Some of Mary Anne’s favorite homeschool blogs:
Simplehomeschool.net
Steadymom.com
Scholesisters.com
Reallifeathome.com

Mary Anne – thanks so much for sharing your experience with homeschooling  –  one of the many different ways we can educate our children.

Make sure the teacher and others pronounce your child’s name correctly.

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Your kids may recently have returned to school or are about to go back after Labor Day weekend. It is an exciting time of year! It is time to meet old friends and make new ones.

As a child, I eagerly awaited the new school year, but also dreaded it because I never knew how the teacher was going to pronounce my name. I did not have a common name and it was usually never pronounced correctly. I felt as if my name drew unwanted attention to myself as I tried to coach the teacher how to pronounce my name.

I hated having an uncommon name, but now as an adult I actually appreciate it. I can’t say my name is pronounced correctly today, but I decided how I wanted it pronounced. I use the following mnemonic: “My name is Birgitta… Birgitta like in the Sound of Music or you can think of my name as rhyming with Chiquita.” People seem to get a kick out of it when I say that and they always seem to remember my name.

My daughters have common first names and do not have an issue having their names mispronounced. I always tell my daughters, however, they need to correct the teacher if their last name is pronounced incorrectly. If you don’t correct it now, your name will continue to be mispronounced. Speaking from experience, it gets more difficult to correct the pronunciation of your name when people are used to saying it a certain way. It can be intimidating as a child to correct an adult, but my daughters realize the importance of it. At back to school night, I also give the teacher an easy way to remember the pronunciation of our last name: Sethi. I will say, “Think of it as drinking a cup of tea …Sethi pronounced “Say – Tea”. That seems to work.

I think everyone would agree they want their name to be pronounced correctly. If someone has an uncommon name, make that extra effort to learn how to pronounce it. It will be appreciated.