Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Allow your skater to fill out the ice contract

When Ice Girl first started figure skating, I filled out the ice contract every month. Ice Girl sometimes complained that her ice was at an inconvenient time because of a sleepover, dance, or party. Boy, I hate to contract and lose that money if she doesn't skate.

Ice Girl and I clashed a few times before I wised up and had her fill out the contracts for the month. Yes, she's 13, but I think that even younger kids can do it with Mom's or Dad's help.

Here's my process:

  1. We prepare to collaborate. Ice Girl and I sit down at the dining room table with the month's calendar and two copies of the ice contract - the real one and the mark-up.

  2. We renew our commitment. Is this really what Ice Girl wants to do? How about track? School play? You still like it? Is there anything we need to change? What's going right?

  3. We decide on the number of hours. This really comes from me. Here's the number of hours I can afford and still buy groceries. We block off lessons and other obligations. These contract and non-contract dates are set in stone.

  4. We set her loose with a pencil. I encourage Ice Girl to keep a tally of the hours at the end of each week so we know she isn't over or under the amount.

  5. We discuss and double-check. I review her work and transfer it to the real contract. At the end I say to Ice Girl, "You know that these are your hours and your choices. You are not allowed to schedule over them without a loss of hours on next month's contract. Do you understand?"

  6. We stick to it. I don't make any decisions about skating without running them through Ice Girl first. "Will I.G. do summer off-ice?" My answer: I'm not sure. Let me ask her what she wants to do.
I think this is smart policy for many reasons:
  1. Fewer arguments about competing activities. They're the hours you wanted, Ice Girl. Contract differently next month.

  2. More buy-in. You wanted these hours, Ice Girl, wake up! Come on: 6 a.m. ice. Get up!

  3. More reflection. Is this what you really want to do, Ice Girl? Because you have to make choices, you know. You can reduce the number of hours you skate and participate in the musical.

  4. Tames the psycho mom in me. I don't want to be the mom who forces my kid out on the ice, kicking and screaming. I don't want to be the mom who makes her kid skate well beyond the time when the kid no longer wants to set foot in a rink.
I want to be Ice Mom, not Mommy Dearest.


MER11 said...

What a great idea!

RedShamrock said...

Agreed, even @ 7 and a bit G can handle some of this kind of conversation.

And that psycho mom -- that is the BEST part.

Irene said...

Hi, I am an Ice mom myself, in Malaysia where we only have 1 ice rink :( I have been practically living at the rink for three past 8 years, with 3 boys figure skating. Would love to exchange notes with you and share experiences. I have blog as well, but no exclusively about ice. www.icydawn.blogspot.com
All the best,

RedShamrock said...

Irene, I've been to your rink! It was really odd to be in such a cold place when it was so warm outside.

My skating skills are quite poor, but they were spectacular compared to my MY friends.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea. I think it really helps kids in so many areas of their life ans is a great skill to learn. It makes the responsible for planning their time, but also in being aware of their athletic "biorhythms" for want of a better word.

For example, it took us a while to realize that after a competition, any ice time for a few days was wasted. My ice kid really needed two or three days to totally decompress before "starting again". Other kids might want to schedule extra time right after a competition to sort of go over went went well, what needs to be fixed, etc. Again, a great meta skill that is a life skill, not just an ice skill.

katiedear said...

doesn't your coach do anything?

Ice Mom said...

Hi, Katiedear. Yep. Ice Coach does a lot, but we fill out the ice contract each month. Maybe other coaches do it differently, though.

Falyn said...

I think this is a great idea! Do you have a "rough copy" that us readers could see?

Honey said...

This is a really great idea.