UPPER EAST SIDE — Christopher Park forgets things.
"I forget my jacket, I forget my books," the absentminded 8-year-old said.
His parents, who were frustrated by the third-grader constantly losing his belongings, looked for an answer. It came in the form of a life coach.
As overworked and stressed adults look for somebody to help organize their chaotic lives, Upper East Side kids are now mixing traditional after-school activities, such as drama and art, with consultation sessions with their coaches.
"It's about bringing out their full potential," said Helen Kim, an instructor who opened the 91st Street Academy, which offers coaching among other, more typical, after-school activities such as drama and art.
The academy now coaches 12 kids. Prices start at $199 a month for a weekly three-hour session that includes supervised homework time, a consultation with a coach and an additional class. A half-hour, one-off coaching session costs $30.
At her first session with Christopher, Kim noticed he enjoyed making charts. She used that strength to work on his weakness.
"She gave me a sheet with dates on it that I check off the stuff that I leave the house with," said Christopher, who lives in New Jersey and goes to school in Queens. The sheet helps him go home with the same possessions he left with.
"It is really fun."
The life coaches at the 91st Street Academy focus on various issues that elementary school kids face, from time management and negotiating peer conflicts to goal setting and misplaced belongings.
Unlike counseling, coaching focuses on setting goals and using a child's strengths to achieve them.
"If you think of a sports coach, they are really looking to maximize strength,” Kim said.
Kim described the example of a 12-year-old client who was skipping class and not doing well at school because of family issues.
"Going into the next grade may not have been an option," said Kim, who withheld the client's name for confidentiality reasons.
In the session, Kim drew an image of the client’s ideal future through open-ended questions such as, "Where do you want to be in 10 years? What do you want to do? How do you want your friends to describe you?"
The client realized her decisions were not taking her toward that picture, so she began recalibrating her life, with Kim's help. She started with the short-term goal of attending school every day.
"I think she just needed someone to logically think through her action," said Kim, adding the girl has since been attending school regularly.
Derrick Sweet, founder of the Certified Coaches Federation life-coaching organization — which is not associated with the academy — has mixed feelings about life coaching for kids.
"I think you should have a certain amount of maturity for life coaching," said Sweet. “Kids should have a chance to be kids.”
Still, Sweet said, it's never too early to build a healthy structure for children.
"I think putting things in a different perspective for kids, other then just basic teaching, really helps," said Upper East Side dad Steve Monaco, whose 9-year-old daughter, Lauren, is receiving life coaching.
He is hoping another adult voice will get Lauren enthusiastic about math homework, which is her current goal.
Elizabeth Silkes Happy enrolled her daughter, Katherine, 8, in the program to help her limit her procrastinating.
While Happy's daughter has improved, the mother of three admits to the limits of life coaching.
"It's not a huge life-changing moment," she said, "but the extra voice is helpful."