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Sunshine Parenting

Author: Audrey Monke

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Camp Director, Mom, Author, and Speaker Audrey Monke and other youth development experts discuss summer camp, family life, raising thriving kids, and ideas for living more connected and happier lives.
194 Episodes
Visit Sunshine Parenting for more resources & episodes. Get on your shoes, hop on your treadmill or go outside, and join summer camp directors, moms, & joy chasers Audrey "Sunshine" Monke & Sara "Salsa" Kuljis as they share updates, resources, ideas and encouragement with each other and with you! Related Episodes & Posts Ep.115: Giving Kids Meaningful Compliments (Sara talks about 3 "Levels of Affirmation") Presence: My One Word for 2020 Ep. 57: The Importance of Adult Friendships with Sara Kuljis Links Parenting in Place Masterclass Simple Boiled Crab Recipe (
Through her psychotherapy practice and her own experience as a divorced mother of three children, Dr. Jenna Flowers knows the importance of prioritizing children's well-being and practicing "conscious coparenting." Her book, The Conscious Parent's Guide to Coparenting: A Mindful Approach to Creating a Collaborative, Positive Parenting Plan, About Dr. Jenna Flowers Dr. Jenna Flowers has her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She has a private practice in Newport Beach, California teaching parenting classes, and seeing individuals, children and couples and is often asked to consult on divorce cases addressing coparenting issues. In 2016, The Conscious Parent's Guide to Coparenting was published by Simon and Schuster. Dr. Jenna is EMDR therapy trained and has studied Attachment Focused EMDR. She has had the privilege of attending consultation groups with interpersonal neurobiology pioneer and author of "Parenting From the Inside Out" Daniel Siegel, MD., Tina Payne Bryson PhD. Dr. Jenna is also the Clinical Director of Mainspring Family Wellness in Newport Beach and is the cohost of The Mainspring Family Wellness Podcast. She is the proud mom to three kids ages 19, 12, and 9. Links Jenna's Website Mainspring Family Wellness Ep. 6: Jenna & Her Ex-husband Erik talk about how they consciously Coparent their three children Mainspring Family Wellness Ep. 13: How Summer Camp Helps Raise Thriving Kids with Audrey Monke & Sara Kuljis The Conscious Parent's Guide to Coparenting: A mindful approach to creating a collaborative, positive parenting plan If you're facing the challenge of raising children in two homes, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to build a healthy coparenting relationship. With The Conscious Parent's Guide to Coparenting, you'll learn how to take a relationship-centered approach to parenting, foster forgiveness, and find constructive ways to move on when relationships change. Coparenting means putting your child's needs first. And conscious parenting acknowledges a child's thoughts, feelings, and needs, as well as a parent's responsibility to them. This easy-to-use handbook helps you to: Build a coparenting relationship based on mutual respect Lower stress levels for the entire family Communicate openly with children about divorce Discuss and reach parenting decisions together Protect children, meet their needs, and help them build resilience Educate your family and friends about coparenting The concept of ending a marriage peacefully, with compassion and respect for former partners, is often viewed with surprise in modern society. But choosing to consciously coparent is an important choice you can make for yourself and your children--one that will benefit the emotional health of your family for years to come. Resources/Related 9 Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults Ep. 123: Connection Comes First One Simple Thing: Monthly Parenting Challenges for a Happier, More Connected Family
Show notes & links available here. Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources.  Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families. This is an encore presentation of one of my favorite episodes from 2020, my conversation with Jim Burns, President of HomeWord and the Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 30 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books include: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, and Closer. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; two sons-in-law, Steve and Matt; and two grandchildren, James and Charlotte. The aim of Jim (and Homeword)'s work is to strengthen and equip parents, couples and families. They believe in strong marriages, confident parents, and empowered kids. Big Ideas Our kids (no matter their age) need us to be their biggest cheerleaders. Sometimes our kids need tough love, which is not meanness. Our adult children really need us to listen. When our kids become adults we have to make some changes in our parenting role. Becoming independent can be an awkward, painful process, but we can support our kids through it. Today’s young adults “meander” towards independence compared to previous generations and that changes parents’ roles, too. Your role as a parent changes throughout your child’s life. We need to have healthy boundaries and refrain from coddling our adult children. Quotes Jim Burns: But the truth of the matter is what brings them back is setting a tone of what I call awe, affirmation or affection, warmth and encouragement...I want to be the top cheerleader in their life. Jim Burns: Even if they've not launched or they're not doing so well or if they violated values, the bottom line is they're asking this question, do you still love me? And I really believe that our kids need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, Hey, I still love you and we're going to get through this process together in that. I think that's the best thing. We as parents can offer our kids at the same time know we do have to set boundaries and hold expectations but in a way very different than when they were children. Jim Burns: I had to realize that experience is a better teacher than advice. Jim Burns: Unsolicited advice is taken as criticism. Audrey: Even if they're doing things that are crazy or not right, you can still affirm them and be their biggest fan. Audrey: It is cool at camp that other adults can pour into kids and see that in them. Audrey: For our kids, if we can just focus on the strengths that we see and help them grow those, it's remarkable. It will help them throughout childhood and adulthood. Jim Burns: If we have somebody who believes in us, that is just huge. Jim Burns: Tough love is not meanness. Tough love is saying they're going to have to experience some of the consequences for them to learn. Audrey: I think part of what parents struggle with, and I know that you find this too, is just the fact that when you're becoming independent, it's kind of a painful, awkward process. So it's not this smooth line where you go to college and suddenly you're mature or you get a job and you're suddenly mature. It's painful and there's two steps back, one step forward. It's a lot of ups and downs. But what I like about your book is it's very much what, as a parent, we need to do help the process. Audrey: The truth is that none of us are ever really ready for something we haven't done, even adulthood. And we have to remember that when we started doing things, we weren't ready either. Jim Burns: So they go away and they are more ready than we are ... Not totally ready, because there are some bumps along the way. But you know, I think part of it is a process of us getting ready and us realizing that we have to reinvent the relationship. Audrey: Be comfortable with a little bit of discomfort or sometimes a lot of discomfort, which is when your child's going through a difficult time trying to do something on their own. You know, the innate desire as a parent is to jump in and rescue. That's not what they need. Audrey: I do want to encourage parents to read your book and I think it's good to read as early as you can, even during adolescence or sooner to kind of prepare yourself emotionally for the journey so that you're ready for it. But even if you have already a 30 year old, you could still read it and get some great insights from it. Jim Burns: You help them launch by sometimes showing empathy, showing care, but not necessarily giving them the answer unless they ask you. Resources & Links Homeword Doing Life With Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut & The Welcome Mat Out Understanding Your Teen: Shaping Their Character, Facing Their Realities Confident Parenting Doing Life With Your Adult Children Online Video Course Related Ep. 75: Begin with the (Parenting) End in Mind 9 Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults Ready for Adulthood Check-List for Kids Ep. 122: How to Connect with Your Teen with Chris Thurber One Simple Thing: Post a Quote or Mantra Each summer at camp, we select ten positive, inspirational quotes and post them on the doors of our bathroom stalls. Campers often offer the quotes, word for word, as something they learned at camp. Why not create some positive messages in your home to help remind your family about the positive practices that will enrich each of your lives? Repetition and reminders in the form of signs, notes, and postings are a great way to reinforce important lessons. If you have a favorite quote or mantra, tell your kids about why you like it and post it in a prominent location. I guarantee your kids will remember it (even if they make fun of you for posting it!). Here are some of my favorite quotes: Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.  -Mother Teresa A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. James Keller People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou We rise by lifting others. Robert Ingersoll Throw kindness around like confetti. If you want more kindness in the world, put it there. A great attitude becomes a great day which becomes a great month which becomes a great year which becomes a great life. Maybe you’re not meant to fit in. Maybe you’re supposed to stand out. Please don't hide your inner awesome. The world needs it. Be the reason someone smiles today. If you decide to post a quote or mantra, I'd love for you to share it with me.  My Favorite The Dibble Institute: Free Resources "The Dibble Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that promotes relationship training for youth—especially in the context of dating and romantic connections. Our goal is help to young people build a foundation for healthy romantic relationships now, and for lasting, positive family environments in the future." Explore all the great free resources at The Dibble Institute, including their series of Tip Sheets which include: Guiding Teens & Young Adults in Developing Healthy Romantic Relationships Tips for Parents: Coping During the Coronavirus Pandemic Listener Question This week's listener question came in via email. If you have a question you'd like me to cover on a future episode of the podcast, email me or record a voice message!   Do you have any suggestions for how to start doing family meetings? Family meetings are a great way to make sure you have a set time to talk as a family, plan ahead, and communicate about values and other things that are important to you. Most of us didn't experience family meetings growing up, so it might feel awkward at first calling your family together for a meeting. In our jobs, we know that regular communication, often in the form of weekly or monthly meetings, is vital to keeping people informed and up-t0-date. The same holds true for our families. Even if you start with just one meeting per month, it's a great way to open up communication about topics that don't normally come up in day-to-day life. In the resource section of my book, Happy Campers (p.230-231), I offer some suggestions for how to format your family meeting. You can get a A PDF version of the resource by signing up below.
Put on your shoes, hop on your treadmill or go outside, and join Audrey "Sunshine" Monke & Sara "Salsa" Kuljis as they walk and talk, sharing updates, resources, ideas and encouragement with each other and with you! Visit Sunshine Parenting for more resources & episodes.
Show notes & links. Check out Audrey's book, HAPPY CAMPERS. Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources.  Subscribe to Sunshine Parenting email updates for free resources and ideas for happier, more connected families. Links The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen's Wellness & Academic Journey in Today's Competitive World. website | instagram | @parentcompass facebook | TheParentCompass linkedIn | Cindy Muchnick and Jenn Curtis podcast | Parent Compass on SmartSocial About this episode In this episode, I talk with co-authors Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, MA and Jenn Curtis, MSW, about their book, The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen's Wellness & Academic Journey in Today's Competitive World. Bragging rights and bumper stickers are some of the social forces fueling today’s parenting behavior—and, as a result, even well-intentioned parents are behaving badly. Many parents don’t know how best to support their teens, especially when everyone around them seems to be frantically tutoring, managing, and helicoptering. The Parent Compass provides guidance on what parents’ roles should be in supporting their teens’ mental health as they traverse the maze of the adolescent years. For anyone daunted by the unique challenge of parenting well in this pressure-laden and uncertain era, The Parent Compass offers: • Advice on fostering grit and resilience in your teen • Strategies to help your teen approach life with purpose • Guidance on how to preserve your relationship with your teen while navigating a competitive academic environment • Clear explanations of your appropriate role in the college admission process • Effective ways to approach technology use in your home, and much more! Using The Parent Compass to navigate the adolescent years will help you parent with confidence and intention, allowing you to forge a trusting, positive relationship with your teen. If you enjoyed this episode, you might also enjoy... Ready for Adulthood Check-List for Kids Ep. 79: Thoughts on the College Admissions Scandal Ep. 34: Advice on College, Transferring, and How to Support Your Kids with Their Decisions Ep. 21: Advice for the College Application and Selection Process Conversations before College: WHO you are matters more than WHERE you go About Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, M.A. Cindy, a graduate of Stanford University, is an expert in the college admission process: she got her start in admission offices before opening a private study skills and college counseling business in Southern California, which she ran for over fifteen years. As an Assistant Director of Admission for the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago, she screened and reviewed over three thousand applications, interviewed prospective students, and served on the admission committee to evaluate borderline applicants and appeals cases. Then, as a private counselor, she helped hundreds of high school students navigate their academic journeys, including course selection, study skills, time management, and college applications. Since closing her private educational practice in 2011, Cindy has focused on public speaking to student, parent, school and business groups on a variety of education-related topics. Over the course of her career, Cindy has written numerous books: The Parent Compass is her tenth. Her other titles include The Best College Admission Essays (co-author, ARCO/Peterson’s, 1997), The Everything Guide to Study Skills: Strategies, Tips, and Tools You Need to Succeed in School (F&W Media, 2011), Straight-A Study Skills (co-author, Adam’s Media, 2012), The Everything College Checklist Book (F&W Media, 2013), Writing Successful College Applications: It’s More than Just the Essay (Peterson’s Publishing, 2014), and four other books (Simon & Schuster and Random House). In her her research for these books, she interviewed the Deans of Admission of Amherst, Bates, Bucknell, University of Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Grinnell, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Notre Dame, Occidental, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, Stanford, Vanderbilt, University of Virginia, Wesleyan, Williams and Yale. Cindy holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Art History from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Nova Southeastern University. Some of the other twists and turns in her multifaceted career include her stints as a campus tour guide and volunteer student coordinator for Stanford’s Office of Undergraduate Admission, and a tenth grade history teacher at The University School, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Cindy raised her family in Newport Beach, CA, and moved to Menlo Park, CA, in 2018, where she resides with her husband and four children. For further information, or to inquire about a potential speaking engagement, feel free to visit her website at About Jenn Curtis, M.S.W. Jenn Curtis owns FutureWise Consulting, an educational consulting company in Orange County, California. She has guided hundreds of high school students from throughout the United States through all aspects of the college admission process. Her passion lies in empowering students to navigate their high school years with confidence, emphasizing self-advocacy, grit, and intention. Jenn’s interest in mental health and research began while an undergraduate at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), where she worked in a lab studying athletic performance anxiety. After college, at the University of California-Irvine’s Child Development Center, Jenn researched treatments for learning disabilities, co-authored a published study on a novel diagnostic tool for ADHD, and supervised and trained undergraduate researchers. After earning her master’s degree, Jenn worked in psychiatric rehabilitation, assisting clients with severe and persistent mental illness. She also served as the Director of Grant Writing for an international university, was an editorial assistant for a forensic psychology academic journal, has edited several books, and coached graduate and doctoral students in developing effective writing skills. Jenn also developed a college and career readiness program for first-generation students. Jenn earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA’s Honors College and master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California, where she was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and selected as Dean's Scholar. Jenn earned her College Counseling Certificate from UCLA. She resides in San Clemente, California with her husband and two daughters.
Show notes & links available here. Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources.  Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families. In this episode, Audrey's guest is Dr. Michele Borba, an educational psychologist, parenting expert, and author of 24 books. Her most recent book is Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. The aim of Dr. Borba's work is to strengthen children's empathy and resilience and break the cycle of youth violence. In this book, she shares her experience meeting kids from all over the world and discovering the unprecedented global epidemic of mental health disorders. Watch Audrey & Michele's chat on video Big Ideas 1 in 3 kids has overwhelming stress levels. As a generation, kids today are lonelier, more risk-averse, and lacking in curiosity. Dr. Borba began to examine the causes and found the lower the income of the kid, the happier the child. Studies found that in the U.S., teens are nosediving in empathy. There was a 40% drop in 30 years, while narcissism and self-absorption were up 58%. Kids today need to develop empathy. Empathy can be cultivated in our youth and doing so will dramatically enhance their success, happiness, and well-being. Here are some ideas: The Two Kind Rule: say or do at least two kind things every day. Check-in with your kids and ask, "What was something kind you did today?" Model kindness and caring. Talk about your values and moral identity. Show and demonstrate kindness in small and simple ways. 9 Essential Habits that Give Kids the Empathy Advantage: Emotional Literacy: Be able to read someone's feelings, to connect with others, talk about feelings. Moral Identity: Feel inside that caring matters and your values inform good choices. Perspective Taking: Feel another person's point of view. Moral Imagination: Share uplifting literature, film, news, and images as a source of inspiration. Self-Regulation: One simple tip is to teach “Belly Breathing.” Practicing Kindness:Look for simple ways for your child to see you extend kindness. Collaboration & Teamwork: Encourage your child to have contact with individuals of different races, cultures, ages, genders, abilities, and beliefs. Moral Courage: Promote moral courage and teaching children situational awareness to embolden them to speak out, step in, and help others. Altruistic Leadership: Don't think about yourself, think about what you can do for others. Four questions to consider: 1. Which empathy habits are you helping your children acquire? 2. Which empathy habits might you be overlooking? 3. Which empathy habits is your school addressing or may be overlooking? 4. Which habit are you interested in nurturing in your children or students? Quotes Michele: "Empathy is teachable. Our kids are hard-wired to care, but we've got to nurture it and the culture is removing it." Michele: "Parenting right now is all about the G.P.A. and the rank and score. So it puts empathy down on a lower level. All we need to do is flip it around because we'll raise more successful, happier kids who are more prepared for life if we do." Audrey: "When you are not feeling good, the best thing you can do is serve other people. Empathy gets you outside of yourself." Michele: "When we look at kids and who their role models are, 20 - 30 years ago it was, I want to be a helper, a doctor, a teacher, a firefighter. Now? Somebody who is rich and famous." Michele: "If we flip our parenting and weave in how we cultivate empathy, and it's doable. It's not another teacher, not another tutor or worksheet--it's simple little things that we can do on a day-to-day basis that will make a major difference in our children's lives." Michele: "You can't have empathy unless you can read somebody else's feelings. That's emotional literacy. Our kids have been looking down, not up. They've been disconnected. So right now, just start talking feelings more because that's the gateway to empathy." Michele: "Kids need to feel inside their heart and soul that I'm a caring person and that matters. So talk about that in your home. 'That's what we stand for, those are our values.' Because your kid will be likely to step in and do the right thing." Michele: "If we keep asking those simple little things, and weave them in, what we start doing is stretching our kids to think 'WE' not 'ME' and that's what helps our kids to be able to fight the stress." Michele: "When stress builds, empathy goes down and burnout comes up. We're now looking at a population of burned out, overwhelmed individuals." Michele: "My challenge to each kid right now is to think of one person who's struggling. It could be a friend, somebody you may not be able to connect with face-to-face, but what's one simple little thing you can do to reach out and help that person? It will not only get your stress level going down, it'll help that person. That's a win-win." Audrey: "During a time of high stress and high anxiety, the best thing we can do is stop thinking so much about our own stress and our own worry and instead think about, 'What can I do?' Little acts of kindness." Michele: "Parents, don't try to do it all. You'll be overwhelmed and your kids won't be so happy." Michele: "Yes, it's important that you get the grade and you study, but it's also important to have balance. Because what you really want is a child who has two things going for them (heart and mind.) That's the kid who's going to be able to handle life well." Audrey: "Parents, remember, talk about it. If it's important to you, make sure your kids know that it is important to you and that you value kindness and empathy." Audrey: "Our identity is so much more powerful than anything else. So if we want our kids, for example, to be healthy, they need to identify themselves as a healthy person who doesn't take things into their body that are bad for them." Audrey: "A lot of communication to kids is, 'Don't do this, don't do that.' It's so much more powerful to say, 'We are kind. We're going to practice kindness.'" Michele: "Words really do matter. Praise can diminish or increase empathy. One of the simplest things to do is catch your kid with any kind of character trait and use the word 'because' in your praise: 'That was being kind because you held the door open for grandma. Did you see how happy she was?'" Michele: "When kids see the impact of a gesture, they're more likely to repeat the gesture until they become that kindhearted kid. Just tuning up our praise the right way can make a difference." Audrey: "Let's take this time to think more about our family's values and use it as a kind of reset...There are simple things we can do right now to come out of this better, kinder people." Michele: "All of these habits, you weave them in. It's kind of like this little scaffolding trajectory. You start when they're little and you keep on going even when they're out of the house. And what you end up with is habit nine--the altruistic kid who wants to make a difference in the world. That's what our world needs right now. The kid who thinks 'WE,' because we get through stuff together, not alone." Audrey: "It's never too late to start this--or too early--and nd it will lift everybody up. We need more people bringing positive changes to the world. What this world needs is people who care and people who are looking out for each other." Resources  Dr. Michele Borba 7 Ways to Teach Perspective Taking and Stretch Children’s Empathy Muscles Empathy Is a Verb: My TEDx Talk to Start An UnSelfie Revolution The Altruistic Personality by Samuel P. Oliner Related 5 Ways to Encourage Empathy in Kids Ep. 124: Promoting Mental Health with Dr. Jess Shatkin 30 Days of Kindness Is Kindness the Secret to a Successful Life? 10 Friendship Skills Every Kid Needs One Simple Thing What are the "little things" that bring you delight? Make a short list, and encourage your kids, your partner, and your friends to do the same. When you take time to create your list, you'll realize how many of the little things you enjoy don't cost anything and can be done even when you're stuck at home. Learning to Enjoy the Little Things My Favorite It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.-Bronnie Ware Bronnie Ware's post, "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying." Here are the five regrets Ware lists in the post and covers in her book by the same name (which I haven't read). 1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. 2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. 3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. 4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. Ep. 75: Begin with the (Parenting) End in Mind Listener Question This week's listener question came in via email. If you have a question you'd like me to cover on a future episode of the podcast, email me or record a voice message! Hi there, I listen to your podcast and joined your discussion of homeschooling a few weeks ago. I was wondering if you think sleep away camps and day camps will happen this summer. I'd love to hear parents and camp directors on this topic. I'm so eager to have my kids have a "normal" summer but it's feeling more and more likely that they won't. I'd love advice on this topic. Thank you, Laura Hi Laura,   I really don't know what's going to happen this summer with camps. All camps will hopefully have more guidance soon, as the American Camp Association and CDC are coming up with guidelines.   In following what other camps are doing, some have already decided not to operate this summer, some are modifying sessions and starting later or with smaller groups, and some are planning to operate their regular sessions. The majority (including mine) are waiting to make decisions until we get more guidance from authorities and see what's happening with the Coronavirus.   So much depends on what happens with the pandemic and when states allow larger gatherings. So... I'm sorry I can't be more helpful. If your kids have a camp they attend, you could contact them directly and see what they're planning.   A "normal" summer would be so nice right about now!   Take Care,   Audrey
Dr. Tina Bryson and I talk about her phenomenal book, The Power of Showing Up.
Show Notes Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources.  Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  This is an encore presentation of one of my favorite episodes. Enjoy! In this episode, I'm reading one of my most popular blog posts. It's one that's really applicable during these times that we often take to just spend some time reconnecting with our families: Why We Need To Unplug to Connect with Our Families. I’ve been following the trends and research about screen use and have long been an advocate of unplugging. I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of unplugging each summer at camp and have fought back in my own family to rescue us from being sucked into our screens 24/7. Yet, even with all that I've learned and know about the importance of getting off our screens, I've still struggled with myself and my kids when we're not at camp getting us off our screens consistently. It's really easy to get sucked right back into the screen vortex as soon as summer ends. And it's really not just the kids. I, too, get easily back into the too-much-screen-time habit. I know that I'm not alone in having the limiting of screen time be one of my biggest parenting headaches. I think all parents get a lot of pushback about plugging in devices at night. My kids, when they were at home, would often say things to me like no one else has to put away their phones at night. It was probably the most common response I would get from them when I reminded them that it was time to go offline. As with what I've found in other areas of parenting, it seems like it's always better to approach things with a more positive approach and so instead of focusing on rules and guidelines for screen use, a good opportunity is to figure out more screen-free positive family events.   A really simple way to figure out some fun family events that are screen-free is to just ask everybody in the family something fun that they would like to do that does not involve a screen. Whether it's just a quick activity or something a little longer, how fun would it be for the kids to each have the opportunity to think up something fun that you can do as a family? It could be a game that you haven't played in a while, a puzzle, some kind of outdoor activity like playing basketball or going for a bike ride or a hike. Even just a family dance party is a really fun idea and one that one of my daughters was often in favor of and while it might require a screen to turn the music on, no one's looking at the screen while we're dancing. When we have something fun to do, when we're not on our screens, it makes it a lot easier to be unplugged. It's also a really great way to have some fun family bonding time. You may not always like whatever the kids choose as their screen-free activity, but I suggest going along with whatever they decide to do because as long as you're together and screens aren't involved, that's a really good thing. Connecting with each other is the most important thing we do in our families and connection happens much better when we're unplugged. When I first shared this post several years ago, I got some great feedback from readers. I remember one mom wrote to me that with their two daughters they gave them the option of picking some screen-free fun family activity and one of the daughters wanted to do makeovers on both her parents, her mother, and her father and they had so many laughs with this make-over that the girls did on the parents, so it's just amazing how creative kids can be in thinking up screen-free family fun. I encourage you to try it this week and just see if you can spend some time together that doesn't involve a screen. I'd really love to hear if you come up with any fun family screened free activities to do, you can get in touch with me by sending me an email: Related/Resources Ep. 96: Unplugged & Happy at Camp Ep. 35: Unplugging Your Family with Jill Stribling My 24 Hours Unplugged Ep. 17: Unplugged Middle School Lunch with Rebecca Gogel 5 Reasons to UNPLUG
Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources.  Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  This is an encore presentation of one of my favorite episodes. Enjoy! Each month this year, I've shared a One Simple Thing tip for creating happier, more connected families. For this episode, I share all twelve tips! 12 Tips for Happier, More Connected Families January: Daily Family Sharing February: Calm the Morning Chaos March: Discovering Your "Authentic" Self April: How to get Closer to your Kid in 5 Minutes a Day May: 3 Reasons to Give Your Kid a "WOW" Today: How to Create More Positivity at Home June: Pick a Summer Theme! July: 4 Ways to Focus on our Kids' Strengths August: More of, Less of, Same of September: The Magic Relationship Ratio October: Why We Need to Unplug to Connect with Our Families November: 7 Reasons to #optoutside December: 100 Family Memories Related Posts/Podcast Episodes 5 Simple Year-End Reflection Activities Ep. 30: How to Raise a Durable Human with JJ Madden 31 Days of Happiness Focusing on the Gain not the Gap
Show Notes Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources.  Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  This is an encore presentation of one of my favorite episodes. Enjoy! In episode 108, I'm chatting with Natalie Silverstein about her new book, Simple Acts: The Busy Family's Guide to Giving Back. We talk about the importance of instilling the value of service and acts of kindness. She shares how she created a resource of volunteer opportunities for parents and children in her community and what led to her writing this book for families. It is full of ways to make time in your family's busy life for service and suggestions for making service part of your family's culture. Big Ideas Doing service, acts of kindness, helping others is a wonderful way to grow empathy, compassion, and open-mindedness in young children. Studies show that people who volunteer with their families as children are more likely to do so as an adult. Studies also show that volunteering makes you happier and healthier. There are many ways to give back which don't require scheduling, spending a lot of money, or volunteering formally. It can be incorporated into the things families are already doing: playdates, holidays, vacations, etc. Involve your kids when deciding who to help, how to serve, and which charities to support. You can follow their lead and they will be more invested. When we make service a priority, we find the time to make it happen. There are people in need all year long, not just during the holidays. Social media can be a helpful tool for people to promote positive messages and acts of kindness. It can also be a way to get family and friends involved in service. Quotes Natalie: "All of these life skills that kids get a camp are values that parents want to demonstrate and model at home." Natalie: "I do believe that this work begins at home with very young children. Anything we can do to incorporate these acts of kindness into camp life, into extracurricular activities, and most importantly, into our weekends in our free time, is really so important." Natalie: "It creates a foundation, a moral base for kids, from which they grow." Natalie: "Everybody has a laundry list of extracurricular activities and tutoring and sports and ballet and instruments and all of these things. We don't necessarily prioritize taking time out to say 'no' to some of those things and 'yes' to service and acts of kindness and volunteering together." Audrey: "It's a partnership. It starts at home and then you try to find places like schools, religious organizations, and camps, that also support and reinforce those values that you're trying to teach your kids. Audrey: "We can't do it alone. If we're all trying together to promote these things, it works so much better and our kids turn out a lot better, too." Audrey: "As individuals, we all have different things that bring us flow. I think just like regular work, our volunteering should also be something that's in our wheelhouse, things we enjoy doing." Natalie: "We are all moving through our days, interacting with other human beings. Teach your child to make eye contact with the person behind the counter, hold the door, thank the postman. There are things you can be doing at every moment, almost every day." Natalie: "This is not rocket science. I think the theme of my book is you don't have to change the world to change the world. You don't have to fly to Africa and build a school to make an impact on someone else's life." Natalie: "Give (your children) the opportunity and don't make it negotiable. Say, 'This is what we do. This is how our family operates. Find the thing that really speaks to you and then let's find a way for you to give back in that realm.' It just builds on itself for kids." Natalie: "Instead of saying you don't have time for something, change it and say it's not a priority and then see how that feels." Natalie: "We want to model our values. We want to live our values, perform service and acts of kindness, and just treat people the right way out in the world." Natalie: "These are all things that people can be doing if they're mindful of it. It needs to be intentional. Just like everything in parenting. We need to be thinking about what it is that we can show our kids every day as we walk through our lives that this is how we care about others because we hope that they care about us in the same way." Audrey: "If you find something that you really enjoy doing, then you'll keep doing it and it will bring you a lot of joy, too." Natalie: "You're helping others in the community, doing something substantive. But you're also creating really nice warm family memories and I think those are the things that people remember as adults." Natalie: "There are so many little things that kids can be doing You just have to keep your mind open to it and your heart open to it." Natalie: "You don't have to go out and do this huge, enormous, time-consuming, expensive thing. It's just the little things and they're like drops in a bucket. They add up and they fill the cup of your child's emerging character. It makes a difference in who they are." Natalie: "It's about mindfulness and keeping an open heart and an open mind and really just reminding your children to think outside of themselves." Natalie: "If we can get young people on social media channels to turn the narrative around such that we are putting up instead of putting down--promote the good and spread the good--that can be very powerful." Natalie: "If I'm hosting a play date and these kids are already drawing or painting or making cookies, that can have a service or kindness element built into it. Then even better, go for a walk in the community and deliver those cookies to the local firehouse. This is all part of making it social, making it fun, doing it with other people." Audrey: "It's just so important. We need to counter the negative. Cyberbullying is at an all-time high. If we can just get our kids to flip this and be more focused on what good they can do, then that would make this a kinder world." Natalie: "All of these life skills we learn are tiny drops in the bucket of a child's developing character. If you're not modeling this behavior, if you are screaming at the person behind the counter or the other driver in the car, the way you show your child how you hold the door, how you greet the postal worker by name, it's really powerful. By showing kids 'how we do it in our house', it sticks. It just sticks." About Natalie Natalie Silverstein is an author, volunteer and passionate advocate for family service. After a 15-year career in hospital administration, managed care and healthcare consulting, she now works as a freelance writer and editor with a particular focus on the non-profit sector and community service. Her first book, Simple Acts: The Busy Family’s Guide to Giving Back, was published by Gryphon House on April 1, 2019. In September 2013, Natalie launched the first local affiliate of Doing Good Together (, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit with the mission of helping parents raise kids who care and contribute. As the New York area coordinator, she curates a free monthly e-mail listing of family-friendly service opportunities that are distributed to thousands of subscribers. Natalie is a frequent writer, speaker, and consultant on the topic of family and youth service, presenting to parents, educators, and children across New York City. She is also a contributor to parenting blogs,, and Along with her husband, she is the co-founder of The Silverstein Foundation for Parkinson’s with GBA (, a nonprofit focused on finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease in GBA mutation carriers, and serves as Executive Director and a member of the Board of Directors. Natalie earned an undergraduate degree in health policy and administration from Providence College and a master’s degree in public health from Yale University. Links Doing Good Together #CampKindnessDay Simple Acts Facebook Page Related Posts & Podcasts Ep. 125: Transforming Schools with Positivity Ep. 117: Raising Good Humans Is Kindness the Secret to a Successful Life? Ep. 46: #CampKindnessDay with Tom Rosenberg Why My Family is Celebrating World Kindness Day Focusing on Kindness  
Show Notes If you enjoy learning from Sara and me, consider bringing our Raise Thriving Kids live workshop to your community or participating in our online course. Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources.  Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  This is an encore presentation of one of my favorite episodes. Enjoy! This episode is a live recording of my chat with Sara Kuljis about some of our favorite year-end reflection activities. Joining Sara and me for this episode is Kate Rader, one of the participants from our Raise Thriving Kids Workshop. Kate is a stay-at-home mom to 3 adventure-seeking and fun-loving kiddos, Lauren and Caroline, identical twins who are 13 and Jack, age 10, wife to her college sweetheart Jeff and curious lover of books, podcasts, and conversations about intentional parenting and living. Here's what Kate had to say about our workshop: "It was just so wonderful to be in a room with people who care enough to be intentional about the choices they're making for their families and what they want for their families because it's a work in progress--and we're all working together." Big Ideas In addition to parenting books, podcasts, and coaching, workshops are a great resource for parents. Just as most people need continual training and education in their careers, parents can also take the time to learn and connect with others in order to feel invigorated. It is helpful to share what is working and to discuss best practices for strengthening family bonds. We talk a lot about the importance of self-care and modeling a balanced life for our kids. Today we discuss the ideas I shared in my recent post, 5 Simple Year-End Reflections: Create a Reverse Bucket List. Look back over your life and make a list of the cool things you've already done. 100 Family Memories Brainstorm and make a list of what happened in your family this year. Pick a Quote of the Year Find a quote that resonates with you, or something motivational, looking back or looking ahead, a quote you want to live by. Select One Word that you want to guide you in the new year Be authentic and make it a word that is uniquely yours. Remember your Favorite Books or resources from the past year Take time to let the new things that you have learned (in books, podcasts, workshops) to percolate and apply the concepts or practices to your life. Pick one or two of these ideas that resonate with you. You can do an activity on your own or engage the whole family. Make the delivery of the idea fun and light. Allow people to be silly. Getting the family together over the holidays, expressing gratitude, and setting intentions together are my favorite ways to bring in the new year. Quotes Sara: "Sometimes parenting intentionally feels counter-cultural. When we're swimming upstream, to have fishies to swim with is so confidence building. It's reassuring, it's empowering. I've loved all the parents we have gotten to work with through this project because it has fueled me." Kate: "The regular accountability is equally as important to me as the one-day workshop. Whether it's via podcasts, recorded conversations, or live conversations, getting together at Starbucks, or whatever it might be, that's really beneficial in maintaining the kind of wonderful feelings that we got coming out of the workshop." Kate: "If we're going to develop a true family culture, we need to be intentional about spending time together as a family. And that time is harder and harder to come by." Kate: "Just being together, away, experiencing some new adventures has been a neat way for us to firm up our family culture and values and make memories together. That's been a key take away for me." Kate: "It's not about those grand gestures. It's about the thoughtful, meaningful moments where people take the time to appreciate their relationships." Audrey: "Even if you're not a person who gives affirmations, I really don't think there's a person in this world who wouldn't mind getting a nice note saying something that someone likes about them." Audrey: "Sometimes parents start thinking that their relationship with their child is supposed to be like a normal, reciprocal relationship. Expecting that you pour into this child and they're going to pour back to you, is not how parenting works. However, I'm seeing that once they're adults you may get more of the reciprocity than when they were kids. I get very filled up now by my adult children when they give me affirmations or send me a nice message--it's really great." Audrey: "You keep encouraging, even if you don't think it means something because I think it really is landing somewhere." Audrey: "Another activity could be taking a year's worth of fun texts, cards, and nice messages and putting them somewhere like in a scrapbook just as a great boost." Sara: "I love the idea of sitting down with the whole family and saying, 'let's look way back' because there is a chance that something that I didn't consider very bucket-y might have been really significant to my kids. I think it will remind us that it has been a rich life of experiences." Audrey: "I would challenge you to focus on yourself for your own reverse bucket list. Sometimes it's good to just think about for your own self-awareness and self-worth and knowing that you're enough just the way you are. I would suggest that the bucket list idea is more of a personal thing because it is recognizing the goals you've already achieved and the cool things that you've done, whereas the 100 Family Memories would be the things you're grateful for." Audrey: "The goal is to try to remember (as many as) 100 things so you get down to some of the minutiae and those are some of the funny, random, individual things that happened. It's been a really fun practice." Kate: "I think when you allow each family member to share their treasured memories from the year, it gives us insight into their personalities and their level of value and priorities, as well." Audrey: "I like spending time at the end of the year, really thinking through what my one word is, thinking about what was good this year and what is it that I want to take into the new year and feel more of, or do more of--I love the process." Audrey: "Determine the kind of person you want to be in the next year. Identify the characteristics of that best self. When you're being your best self, what does that look like? It has guided me a lot because once I pick a word, I then seek out resources and ideas to help me live that word better." Kate: "It's a neat way to put the focus on how you're going to spend your time, your energy, your reading, and research--all that good stuff. When it is meaningful, it really does carry you through the year and it gives purpose to how you're spending your time." Audrey: "It really hit me that my best contribution to my family, to the world, comes when I focus and take the time to do some research, reading, writing, thoughtful time, which is not a normal part of life anymore. You have to actually build in focus." Audrey: "There are so many new ideas and things you can do, but to really move the needle, all you need to do is just one. I am challenging myself this year to slow down on the consumption of new information and instead get out the books I've read, look at my highlights and just recap." Related Posts & Podcasts 5 Simple Year-End Reflection Activities Learning to Enjoy the Little Things 100 Family Memories #oneword My One Word for 2019: Focus 15 Books for a Happier, More Purposeful Life Stop & Celebrate Ep. 68 12 Parenting Tips for Happier, More Connected Families Ep. 105 Live Above the Noise with Rob Reiher Resources Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist How to Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp Finding Fred Podcast  
Show Notes Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources.  Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  This is an encore presentation of one of my favorite episodes. Enjoy! At its core, the Enneagram helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge.- The Enneagram Institute Website In Episode 104, I'm chatting with my daughter Meredith who--like me--enjoys learning more about herself and other people. The tool we discuss most is the Enneagram, which Meredith discovered last year through her employer and introduced to me and the rest of our family. Big Ideas It is important for parents, and anyone who works with kids, to be self-aware. Understanding personality types can help us to create healthier relationships because it affects the way we view the behavior of others, as well as our own reactions in different situations. Empathy increases when we are more aware of other people's tendencies. Each relationship is unique based on personality types. It is the parent's responsibility to adjust and to figure out where the child is coming from. Noone can be defined by one personality test or type but learning about the different characteristics and identifying with types can be extremely informative. We can't accurately assess other people's types just by observing their behavior. Personality test results are personal and best used for self-reflection. Being self-aware helps us identify our weaknesses and strengths in relation to achieving our goals and in our relationships with others. The Nine Enneagram Types in their Family Roles Ones: family perfectionists Twos: family helpers Threes: family stars Fours: Shed light on family problems Fives: family experts Sixes: move between building family unity and rebelling against the family unit Sevens: family cheerleaders Eights: family protectors Nines: family peacemakers   Quotes Audrey: "The theme of this podcast is about the importance for parents and anyone who works with kids to know themselves because your own self-awareness has a huge impact on how you view the behavior of others." Audrey: " You can have more compassion when you understand where other people come from and it changes your view of why they do something that may annoy you or that kind of thing." Audrey: "As parents, we are different with each of our kids because our kids each have different personalities. It's our responsibility to adjust and not our kids." Meredith: "I do think that the Enneagram, and with most personality quizzes once you find out what you are, you sometimes don't want to be that. I think its easier to focus on the downsides of that personality type and look at the good sides of other personality types." Audrey: "Remember, 'Comparison is the thief of joy.'" Audrey: "The more I've read about my type, the more it has freed me from some of my frustrations with myself. It has given me a better understanding of why I've done some of the things I've done and why I am the way I am. It actually makes me feel a little better." Audrey: "I like the whole idea that there are some things that just make me kind of unique and just because I don't do something the same way or view things the same way, it's still okay." Audrey: "I just think that self-awareness is a really important part of social intelligence and a lot of us don't have it. I really don't think I did until a few years ago when I started doing more strengths testing, this Enneagram, and the four tendencies. It's like all this stuff kind of comes together like a puzzle of self-awareness." Meredith: "It's a tool for yourself and maybe for your close family members and friends so that they can understand you better. It's not something that you go around asking people, 'What's your Enneagram number?' because sharing your numbers, sharing how you think, your weaknesses, the different lies you believe about your self, is actually quite personal." Audrey: "You really have to read the book to understand for sure the one (type) you are because oftentimes depending on how healthy you are and what you're doing, you may look like a different number." Audrey: "You really can't tell about someone else because you don't know what's going on inside of them." Meredith: "Being aware of Enneagram numbers has helped me to empathize with the way other people were thinking and for them to understand me, as well. It has made me more aware of myself and for example, how I can come off to others, even when I don't think I'm coming off as critical." Meredith: "It is helpful to be aware of the way my brain is wired, that I need to actively work to give myself grace, to be aware of my thought patterns so that I can see when I'm starting to be in a state of stress or a state of health because I'm taking on those qualities." Audrey: "For me, I'm prone to not rest in my emotions long or deep enough and that came out in the last few years with problems in my body. Like in my shoulder, my knee, I would always have some huge pain and it was because I had internal pain that I wasn't dealing with." Meredith: "Read an introductory level book. It's most helpful to read the descriptions in-depth and identify with one. I think that's more helpful than just taking a quiz and having it spit out an answer for you." Meredith: "You move around on the Enneagram a lot, sometimes to lots of different ones depending on if you're in a state of stress or security. So it's not like your number is locked in. You move around to your wings and then to other numbers too. It's normal to identify with lots of different qualities, but I think it's when you really identify with one number, you found the right one." Audrey: "It's fun to take them because any little insight that you gain is just more self-awareness." Meredith: "You have to give yourself grace because it's not like you can know what Enneagram or personality types all your kids or family members have, especially when kids are changing and forming in different ways. I think it's good just to be aware, but don't be too hard on your self." Audrey: "There can be certain personalities that may bring out your not-great parts, like when your kid has a personality that's so different from yours or one that clashes with yours. That can be really hard as a parent." Audrey: "A lot of parents have pain when they don't feel their relationship is really strong with one of their kids. But there is always reparation, especially if you take the time to learn a little bit more about each other and figure it out."   Books We Discussed     Different Personality, Strengths, and Tendencies Assessments The Enneagram is one of many different assessments that can give you more self-awareness. Here are some other popular options: Myers-Briggs Read more about Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies or take her quiz to find out yours! Related Posts & Podcast Episodes Ep. 28: Focusing on our Kids' Strengths 4 Ways to Focus on our Kids' Strengths Celebrating Strengths Ep. 75: Begin with the (Parenting) End in Mind Ep. 59: 5 Ways to Help Kids Thrive during their School Years and Beyond Ep. 97: Parenting the Challenging Child #oneword My One Word for 2019: Focus Want More Sunshine? Subscribe to my email newsletter to keep up with my podcasts, events, book club & resources, including favorites like my Ready for Adulthood Checklist. “It is remarkable to witness what happens when kids think and talk about a strength, often for the first time identifying it in themselves, and then learn how they can use that strength in different settings. When given a name to a part of themselves they recognize and intuitively know, kids gain a vocabulary to talk about themselves more positively.” #happycampersbook
Show Notes Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources.  Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  This is an encore presentation of one of my favorite episodes. Enjoy! You don’t have to adopt or foster a kid to help kids in the system. There is so much need. You can volunteer. Especially for older kids, you can provide scholarships or skills training… Don’t forget these children in your communities. Just think about some way you or your family can contribute. It can even be as simple as taking a meal to a foster family. Audrey Monke In Episode 61, for November’s National Adoption Month, I’m chatting with Anne Driscoll, owner of Branches Books & Gifts in Oakhurst, California. We talk about our families’ experiences with adoption and share advice for prospective adoptive parents. Big Ideas We compare and contrast international adoption and domestic foster care adoption. Which route to take depends on many factors, including the family's preferences, composition, and timing. Many view the adoption process as a path to parenthood. For others, it is a way to offer assistance to children in need. For all adoptive parents, it’s an emotional road and involves a lot of preparation, vetting, and waiting. Advice for prospective adoptive parents: Be honest about what you can handle. Identify what strengths you have to pair with child’s needs. Be gentle with yourself. Expect many highs and lows. Volunteer Opportunities: Independent Living Programs (ILP) for foster kids as they age out of the system Teaching skills (cooking, financial management, hobbies, auto care, etc.) Become a CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates  There are many ways to help! Quotes Anne: "It’s a huge decision, not to be taken lightly because no matter what the scenario, there is still a sense of loss because they are not with their biological parents. There is a visceral emotion tied to it which you have to be aware of." Anne: “When you see (your child) succeeding and feeling good about themselves and hopefully starting to heal, it is the most rewarding thing ever." Audrey: “It has been one of my life’s greatest joys and also one of my biggest challenges.” Audrey and Anne: “We both love our kids dearly and they are such incredible human beings – so resilient, amazing and strong. They are going to do great things. It has been a privilege to have them in our families.” Audrey: “The more years in, the better things get!” Links National Adoption Month. 2018 theme is: "In Their Own Words: Lifting Up Youth Voices." Today’s Hoda Kotb Opens Up about her adoption 20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis (recommended for all parents) The Whole-Brain Child and The Yes Brain by Tina Payne Bryson and Dan Siegel CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates Related Posts & Podcast Episodes Ep. 97: Parenting the Challenging Child Ep. 95: Raising a “Yes Brain” Child with Tina Payne Bryson Ep. 123: Connection Comes First Ep: 136: Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. on Showing Up for our Kids During COVID-19 If you liked this episode, you might want to listen to Episode 31, where I interview Tosha Schore, co-author of Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges. Listen to Episode 55, my podcast on Raising Kids who Love to Read with Anne Driscoll. Read my blog post, Learning to Breathe. Adoption Resources AdoptUSKids Adoption resources at Heartbeat International About National Adoption Month Show Hope
SHOW NOTES Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources.  Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families. Kindness is a character trait we value highly in our friends, family members, and co-workers, and yet our kids may not know how much we want them to be kind, considerate, contributing members of their community. For World Kindness Day (November 13 - the day this episode is being released), I'm doing a deep dive into simple ideas for raising kinder kids and creating a kinder world. Let's focus on kindness, not just today but every day. BIG IDEAS 80% of the youth surveyed agreed with the statement, “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes then if I'm a caring community member in class and school." We need to focus on raising kinder humans. Giving a compliment is a really simple way to spread kindness and also to show our kids a really, really important social skill. "Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree." It is really important that we have a growth mindset about the character trait of kindness and realize that it is a trait that we can cultivate in ourselves and in our children. Something that we can control is ourselves and how we interact with and show kindness to other people. LINKS & RESOURCES Random Acts of Kindness - World Kindness Day QUOTES "Take a few minutes to write uplifting, positive encouraging messages in a sticky note pad, then start leaving those messages around, whether it's in your own house, at a neighbor's house, on people's mailboxes, on windshields. You can leave these uplifting positive messages around as a simple and fun act of kindness." "Camp Secret #8 in my book, Happy Campers is, Make it Cool to be Kind. In the chapter, I talk about the importance of us focusing, in our families, in our schools, in our camps, everywhere, on creating a culture where kindness is embraced and encouraged." "Set an alarm to go off three times, when the alarm sounds stop what you're doing and call, text, or email someone simply to tell them how awesome they are." "Compliment the first three people you talk to." "Another act of Kindness that is something that kids can do is to write a handwritten note to their teacher." "Just saying good morning to the people in your family or the people at work when you're in a meeting is so important." "A really good way to do a family activity of kindness is to pick up some trash. Even if you just spend 10 minutes picking up some trash around your neighborhood." "Leave encouraging notes around." "Spend 24 hours or dedicate 24 hours to spreading positivity on social media." "Giving an extra generous tip to a service worker is another way to do an act of kindness." "Send flowers to a friend and I would just expand this that you can also just send a note to a friend." "Really anything that you send or give that just shows someone that you're thinking about them is such an act of kindness and really can brighten their day and yours." "Get your kids to focus a little bit more on kindnesses that they have seen others do by asking them to point out kind acts that they have witnessed or done themselves." "It's also a great idea to talk with your kids about how they feel after someone has done something kind for them or after they've done something kind for another person." "How do you want to be remembered by your classmates and friends?" ONE SIMPLE THING From pages 189-190 in Happy Campers (Camp Secret #8: Make it Cool to be Kind): RELATED POSTS & EPISODES Ep. 46: #CampKindnessDay with Tom Rosenberg Ep. 138: Unselfie with Dr. Michele Borba Ep. 114: Precursors to Gratitude How to Respond to Bad Behavior 30 Days of Kindness Is Kindness the Secret to a Successful Life? Ep. 46: #CampKindnessDay with Tom Rosenberg Why my Family is Celebrating World Kindness Day Focusing on Kindness
SHOW NOTES Raise Thriving Kids  Join my PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources!  Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  In Episode 164, I’m chatting with my friend Sara Kuljis of Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp and Emerald Cove Day Camp. We talk about family gratitude practices and lessons from camp for having more grateful families. At Thanksgiving, it's easy to remember to be grateful, but the habit of gratitude -- practiced at camp, at home, and in the world -- helps us to be happier all year long. BIG IDEAS Gratitude is a muscle. We can build it with practice. Research has shown that those who express gratitude daily have a more optimistic view of life and a healthier well-being. Developing relationships with the people around us makes it easier to share authentic gratitude. Model respect by thanking others, especially those who serve us. Use their first names when possible. Make eye contact Ways to show gratitude at camp or at home  Flower Sunday -- the practice of handing a daisy while sharing an affirmation or gratitude with another person. You give your flower away and receive a flower from someone who acknowledges an action or quality they appreciate. Using a token such as a flower makes a difference. WOW Bulletin Board -- staff and campers send and receive notes to build each other up and express thanks. Thankful Thursday -- a note, text message or phone call to someone expressing thanks can become a helpful habit. 3 Good Things -- share three good things that happened at the end of each day. Commit to sharing them with friend or family member via text. It helps with accountability and makes it easier to remember. Go around the dinner table and share with your family or friends. Write them down in a journal before bed, or share three things you are thankful for first thing in the morning. This habit can not only strengthen your gratitude muscle but also deepen your relationships and improve your outlook on life. Gratitude Jar -- keep slips of paper for family write down things they are grateful for and collect the scraps in a jar. Share the memories collected over the year at New Year's Eve or at Thanksgiving or anytime. Attach the messages to a bulletin board or even to the Christmas Tree! Warm Fuzzies -- Take a sheet of paper for each person, write their name on it and pass it around. Have everyone write down what they appreciate about that person. Be specific. It is nice to recognize precise actions or character strengths we appreciate in others. Go around the table at mealtime and share 3 good things, something you are grateful for (besides friends and family) or something you are grateful for about yourself Ask children to think of ways they would like to show gratitude for others. Children have really good ideas themselves. QUOTES Audrey: "We cannot raise grateful kids if we are not promoting our own gratitude." Audrey: "It's important to remember that it's not just about completing a task, like sending a text or writing in your journal. It's about taking the moment to feel thankful. We need to take the task out of it and feel the gratitude." Sara: "At the end of the day being grateful makes me kinder and softer to those around me." Sara: "There's a lot of not-feeling-good-enough in the world. I enjoy helping people identify their natural talents and the natural goodness that is built in them and being intentional about building those into strengths for making a positive impact in the world." More Gratitude Resources and Ideas My Pinterest "Gratitude Board" 5 Ways to Avert Thanksgiving Disappointment Raising Grateful, Not Entitled Kids A Grateful Family is a Happy Family Gratitude Revisited Feeling Thankful 3 Reasons to Give Your Kid a WOW Today Grateful Campers are Happy Campers Learning to Enjoy the Little Things Teaching Kids Gratitude Rather than Entitlement: Berkeley News/Christine CarterGiving Thanks can Make you Happy, Harvard Health The Science of Gratitude: More Benefits Than Expected; 26 Studies and Counting, Happier 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round, Forbes 30 Days of Gratitude, Kind over Matter Why Gratitude is Important One Simple Thing TAKE A THANK YOU WALK (Jon Gordon) "It’s simple. It’s powerful and it’s a great way to start feeding the positive dog. How does it work? You simply take a walk... outside, in a mall, at your office, on a treadmill, etc and while walking you think about all the things, big and small, that you are grateful for. The research shows you can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time so when you combine gratitude with physical exercise, you give yourself a double boost of positive energy. You flood your brain and body with positive emotions and natural anti-depressants that uplift you rather than the stress hormones that drain and slowly kill you." -Jon Gordon My Favorite One recent December, at age 53, John Kralik found his life at a terrible, frightening low: his small law firm was failing; he was struggling through a painful second divorce; he had grown distant from his two older children and was afraid he might lose contact with his young daughter; he was living in a tiny apartment where he froze in the winter and baked in the summer; he was 40 pounds overweight; his girlfriend had just broken up with him; and overall, his dearest life dreams--including hopes of upholding idealistic legal principles and of becoming a judge--seemed to have slipped beyond his reach. Then, during a desperate walk in the hills on New Year's Day, John was struck by the belief that his life might become at least tolerable if, instead of focusing on what he didn't have, he could find some way to be grateful for what he had. Inspired by a beautiful, simple note his ex-girlfriend had sent to thank him for his Christmas gift, John imagined that he might find a way to feel grateful by writing thank-you notes. To keep himself going, he set himself a goal--come what may--of writing 365 thank-you notes in the coming year. One by one, day after day, he began to handwrite thank yous--for gifts or kindnesses he'd received from loved ones and coworkers, from past business associates and current foes, from college friends and doctors and store clerks and handymen and neighbors, and anyone, really, absolutely anyone, who'd done him a good turn, however large or small. Immediately after he'd sent his very first notes, significant and surprising benefits began to come John's way--from financial gain to true friendship, from weight loss to inner peace. While John wrote his notes, the economy collapsed, the bank across the street from his office failed, but thank-you note by thank-you note, John's whole life turned around. 365 Thank Yous is a rare memoir: its touching, immediately accessible message--and benefits--come to readers from the plainspoken storytelling of an ordinary man. Kralik sets a believable, doable example of how to live a miraculously good life. To read 365 Thank Yous is to be changed. Like listening to Audrey and Sara? Here are more of our episodes: Ep. 114: Precursors to Gratitude Ep.115: Giving Kids Meaningful Compliments Ep. 132: Creating Structure, Fun, & Connection Ep. 160: Cranky Young Adults Stuck in the COVID Vortex Ep. 153: Rethinking School & Education During the Pandemic Ep. 152: Putting on Your COVID Mask First Ep. 57: The Importance of Adult Friendships Ep. 28: Focusing on Our Kids' Strengths Ep. 23: Peaceful Mornings Ep. 15: Traits of Parents Who are Great to Work With Ep. 7: Family Pace & Space Ep. 3: Raising Resilient, Independent Kids
SHOW NOTES Join the Sunshine Parenting PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources! This month's Patreon resource: 31 Simple Things: 31 of my favorite tips for happier, more connected families. Join Audrey's email subscriber community for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  Wondering what to do about your personal - and our world's - current struggles? Niki Spears has practical strategies for finding the opportunities within our struggles. Niki is a former school principal who now works as an educator and change leader. She shares her passion and enthusiasm for creating positive school culture based on shared leadership. Niki is leading the charge to develop positive schools by sharing the importance of embracing a leadership mindset. Niki Spears is the co-founder of the Energy Bus for Schools Leadership Journey. She started this organization to bring the positive messages of Jon Gordon’s book, The Energy Bus, to schools everywhere. Niki has spent over 15 years working in education. Once an elementary school principal, she now works full time as a teacher educator and change leader. The Beauty Underneath the Struggle: Creating Your Bus Story Book Description Life if full of struggles and challenges. Are you ready to use these moments as opportunities to grow? Join Niki and learn how to find the beauty hidden beneath. Often the darkest moments in life are the ones that motivate us to move out of victimhood and walk into our purpose. Beneath the personal struggle lies a chance to discover meaning and bliss. It’s a matter of knowing how to transform challenges into impassioned change. On this journey to self-enlightenment, motivational speaker and author Niki Spears shares strategies to help you embrace struggles and recognize them as opportunities for self-discovery. Personal stories and testimonials from people like you, will motivate and inspire you to see struggles in a new way. The workbook feature will help you apply these techniques to your life right away, and by using the step-by-step guide, you can capture your own unique BUS story as you find the Beauty Underneath the Struggle. Struggles and challenges don’t have to be negative components of life. Join Niki on this journey to help you write the next chapter as you transform the meaning of struggle to create your masterpiece. BIG IDEAS • We can view our struggles and challenges as opportunities to move into our purpose. • We each have a different lens through which we view our life stories, and changing the lens can change our life outcomes for the better. • Challenges and setbacks may be caused by other people or events in our past, but we can choose to stop spending our timing blaming and take responsibility for creating our positive future. • In the most challenging of circumstances (like this pandemic), we can improve our own lives by helping others. LINKS & RESOURCES • Connect with Niki and find out more about her work at • The Map of Consciousness Explained by Dr. David R. Hawkins • The Success Principles  by Jack Canfield QUOTES Niki: "What I explore in the book is talking about our perceptions, and rewriting some of those negative perceptions, our stories that we tell ourselves." Niki: "When I was a little girl, I grew up in a family where I didn't always feel valued and appreciated. And that story I was telling myself was really controlling everything that was happening to me in my adult life. I was blaming my parents. I was blaming my upbringing, and it was keeping me stuck." Niki: It's like I woke up and I said, 'You are going to have to start owning everything in your life.' If you continue to blame, you're giving the situation, you're giving the person, power over your happiness and your ability to create the life that you want. Once I started to take personal responsibility, everything around me started to change." Niki: "I want to teach people how empowering it is just to own your life experiences and embrace the struggle." Niki: "You create your world. So that could be a positive world based on your perceptions of what's going on, or it could be a negative experience." Audrey: "It's a really challenging time. And a lot of people are feeling very negative about their lives, about our country, about everything." Niki: "I want you to look at struggle in a new way, as an opportunity that's going to propel you to move into purpose. Because struggle is not a negative term at all. If we look at struggle, and we break it down, struggle is a verb that says that we're still moving in the face of adversity." Niki: "We have to look at things that are happening around us as an opportunity for us to showcase our best selves." Niki: "In these moments of challenges, there are great opportunities for us to show up and to show out. And so that's what I want to encourage everybody to do. Instead of looking through a negative lens, look and see, where can you help?" Niki: "We cannot compare ourselves to someone else. Our journey is totally our journey." Niki: "And so it's not necessarily always something that you do, but just to contribute a positive self, to smile, to say hello, to write a nice letter to someone, those are, those may be small things, but they serve in a big way. So even recognizing the people who are doing the big things and just being their cheerleader could be part of what you do in your story." Niki: "I think you need to look at what are some things in your life that you're unhappy with right now, think about those. Be honest with yourself, be willing to go there with yourself, be vulnerable. What are those things in your life that don't bring you the love, peace and joy that you want? Then ask yourself, who's responsible. And if you're holding someone else responsible, or you're holding some event responsible, I want you to cross it out and put "me." You put yourself there and you have to practice that." Niki: "You've taken ownership. You're no longer blaming your parents, blaming your bosses, your friends, or COVID. But now you understand that even though these things may not be your fault, it is your responsibility to do something about it." Audrey: "Even in families, it's like, you know, the conflicts are happening and people have misunderstandings over sometimes silly things because we're spending so much time together. So it's just being able to, again, just take that pencil and just say, wait, I can still be calm. I can still be loving. And I don't have to like take in something that someone saying perhaps out of anger or whatever it might be." Niki: "And I think that in this moment now that we're so divided, that it gives us the opportunity to kind of test ourselves in that area where we can listen to different points of views without feeling angry, and all these other emotions that can come into it, but just listen, and let it flow through, but don't let it impact, you know, your mood and how you feel and, and those kinds of things." Audrey: "I really hope other people will pick up your book or hear your words and really find the beauty underneath their struggles. Because as you've inspired us, there is always something to be learned or to be gained, to come out the other side stronger, more resilient, even with the worst of stuff." IF YOU ENJOYED THIS EPISODE, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE... Ep. 125: Transforming Schools with Positivity Ep. 108: Simple Acts of Giving Back with Natalie Silverstein 9 Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults The Power of Compliments ONE SIMPLE THING Pick a 30-Day Challenge to do for the next 30 days (or a designated month) Pick something that, if you do for 30 days consistently, will improve your well-being or move you closer (small step by small step) to a goal you have. It can be anything! Ideas include something creative, intellectual, relational, spiritual, or health-related. Some tips: Be realistic - make sure it won't take you more than 5-10 minutes max to do or it's likely that you won't get it done (especially as you're building the habit). Pick something enjoyable, that you've been wanting to do but just haven't fit in to your daily routine yet. Here are some ideas: Read for a certain amount of time or a certain number of pages, every day for 30 days. Call or text a friend every day for 30 days. Walk a minimum number of steps every day for 30 days (use a fitness app to keep track). Drink a minimum amount of water every day for 30 days. Practice some kind of mindfulness for 5 minutes every day - can be staring out a window, meditating, listening to music, or using a meditation app (like Calm or Headspace). Work on a creative project for 10 minutes every day - drawing, sewing, woodwork, painting, needle work, baking, etc. Write down 3 things you're grateful for every day. Use cash only for 30 days. Do one Random Act of Kindness per day for 30 daysSome popular, challenging 30-Day Challenges: NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writers Month Whole 30 MY FAVORITE The Pomodoro Technique The Pomodoro Technique helps you resist all of those self-interruptions and re-train your brains to focus. Each pomodoro is dedicated to one task and each break is a chance to reset and bring your attention back to what you should be working on. The core process of the Pomodoro Technique consists of 6 steps: Choose a task you'd like to get done. Set the Pomodoro (timer) for 25 minutes. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings. When the Pomodoro rings, put a checkmark on a paper. Take a short break. Every 4 pomodoros, take a longer break. SUBSCRIBE TO SUNSHINE PARENTING THANKS FOR LISTENING! If you enjoyed this episode and know of others who would be encouraged by the ideas we talked about, please share! Would you consider leaving a review for the Sunshine Parenting Podcast on iTunes? Reviews are very important for helping podcasts find their audiences, and I would love your support in helping people find Sunshine Parenting! Would you like access to bonus podcast episodes & resources? Join my squad on Patreon! Here's to raising a generation of kids who become thriving adults AND modeling for our kids what thriving adulthood looks like!
SHOW NOTES Join the Sunshine Parenting PATREON squad for special perks, including bonus podcast episodes, exclusive posts, and resources! This month's Patreon resource: 31 Simple Things: 31 of my favorite tips for happier, more connected families. Join Audrey's email subscriber community for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  Frustrated with your kids' (or your partner's) behavior? Dr. Catherine Pearlman discovered, over her many years of coaching parents, that often the best way to curb an undesired behavior is to give it less attention. In this episode, I talk with Catherine, who is the founder of The Family Coach and author of Ignore It! How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction, about the helpful strategies Catherine has shared with countless parents in her columns, speaking, and coaching practice. In Ignore It, Pearlman outlines the occasions when ignoring behavior is appropriate, how to reengage when the behavior stops, and how to praise and reinforce desired behaviors. I was, of course, happy to hear that Pearlman also has vast summer camp experience as a camper, counselor, and director! IGNORE IT! Book Description This book teaches frustrated, stressed-out parents that selectively ignoring certain behaviors can actually inspire positive changes in their kids. With all the whining, complaining, begging, and negotiating, parenting can seem more like a chore than a pleasure. Dr. Catherine Pearlman, syndicated columnist and one of America’s leading parenting experts, has a simple yet revolutionary solution: Ignore It! Dr. Pearlman’s four-step process returns the joy to child rearing. Combining highly effective strategies with time-tested approaches, she teaches parents when to selectively look the other way to withdraw reinforcement for undesirable behaviors. Too often we find ourselves bargaining, debating, arguing and pleading with kids. Instead of improved behavior parents are ensuring that the behavior will not only continue but often get worse. When children receive no attention or reward for misbehavior, they realize their ways of acting are ineffective and cease doing it. Using proven strategies supported by research, this book shows parents how to: – Avoid engaging in a power struggle – Stop using attention as a reward for misbehavior – Use effective behavior modification techniques to diminish and often eliminate problem behaviors As Pearlman says, the book is for parents of kids from 2-21, but the techniques might also be useful in other settings, including with adults who have difficult behaviors! BIG IDEAS • Pay more attention to what our kids are doing right than what they're doing wrong. • Know when to ask for help is a parenting strength. • Ignore bad behavior to make your parenting more enjoyable. • Ignore (and don't comment on) certain behaviors to improve the parent-child relationship, especially with teens. • Sleep is crucial for our kids (and for us) and impacts mood and behavior. LINKS & RESOURCES • Where to connect with Catherine and find out more about her work: The Family Coach Website Facebook Instagram • Ignore It! How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction.  QUOTES • Audrey: "I didn't think it would be as applicable in my own life. Since my youngest kids are now 13 and 16, but I found it really applicable." • Catherine: "It's not how it looks on Facebook. Everybody really is going through something. They just don't talk about it, but I see it. So I know that everybody's going through stuff." • Catherine: "When our kids start whining or complaining or arguing with us after we've already said no, and we've explained why, then we ignore their behavior and as soon as they stop, we reengage with them. It's very simple." • Audrey: "Once you know what you do want them to be doing, you can reinforce that and really get it to happen more often." • Catherine: "I think it's nice in my adult life when I do something nice for someone and they say, 'thank you.' It's nice when I do a great job at work and my boss says, "Wow, you did a really great job." All of those things help motivate me to continue to do a good job so if we're realistic, we all need that." • Catherine: "What happens is when parents aren't on the same page, kids use it to their advantage always. They know exactly how to work the system, how to get mom and dad against each other and to basically get what they want or to get forgotten about while mom and dad are arguing over the little thing." • Catherine: "Kids are really chronically overtired and that can account for a lot of mood issues. It can account for academic performance, depression, lots of issues for kids, just not getting an extra hour or two of sleep." • Catherine: "There's nothing my kid can say that will let me have them keep their devices in their room because I know exactly what's happening on them and nothing good is happening at 3:00 AM on their phones." • Catherine: “I live for camp. I was a camper. I was a counselor. I was a camp social worker and a Camp Director. I love camp. I send my kids to camp. I'm a big believer in the wide variety of benefits for camp.” IF YOU ENJOYED THIS EPISODE, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE... Raise Thriving Kids Parenting Course Ep. 97: Parenting the Challenging Child Ep. 95: Raising a Yes Brain Child with Tina Payne Bryson Catch Them Doing the Right Thing Focus on the "Do"s ONE SIMPLE THING "Try to live every day as if it was the final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life." -Tim (main character in About Time) Learning to Enjoy the Little Things A Grateful Family is a Happy Family: 5 Gratitude Practices MY FAVORITE How much sleep do we really need? SUBSCRIBE TO SUNSHINE PARENTING THANKS FOR LISTENING! If you enjoyed this episode and know of others who would be encouraged by the ideas we talked about, please share! Would you consider leaving a review for the Sunshine Parenting Podcast on iTunes? Reviews are very important for helping podcasts find their audiences, and I would love your support in helping people find Sunshine Parenting! Would you like access to bonus podcast episodes & resources? Join my squad on Patreon! Audrey
Join the Sunshine Parenting PATREON squad for bonus perks, including bonus podcast episodes and exclusive posts and resources! Join Audrey's email subscriber community for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  This week on the podcast, hear directly from my kids about their thoughts about my parenting. My guests are my oldest and youngest kids, Gretchen (age 26) and Owen (age 17). They happen to be the only two of our kids at home with us during quarantine. We talk about life at home together during COVID, how my parenting has changed over the years, and their thoughts on rules, fairness, screen time, early bed times, siblings getting along, independence, and much more. BIG IDEAS • Parenting can get more "relaxed" over the years so that sometimes kids in different birth order positions have some different experiences. • Understanding different family member's personalities can help you better understand areas where there are repeated arguments and learn how to better respond to each other. • The oldest child often feels the burden of doing everything first and not having anyone to "follow." • Sleep is so important! • Seek support and advice from parents with kids your oldest child's age so that you can better understand and relate to what they're going through. Photo Gallery LINKS & RESOURCES • Ep. 135: Advice & Ideas from Teachers During COVID-19 • Ep. 82: Sibling Conflict, Part 1 • Ep. 86: Conflict Resolution Skills for Siblings (and Everyone Else!) • Ep. 104: Know and Love Yourself AND Your Kids with Meredith Monke • Ep. 34: Advice on College, Transferring, and How to Support Your Kids with Their Decisions with Charlotte Monke • Ep. 139: Doing Life with Your Adult Children with Jim Burns • Raise Thriving Kids QUOTES • Audrey: "I actually went to boarding school for high school and I really credit that experience with why I even ended up wanting to run a camp." • Gretchen: "I remember when I was 13, almost every PG 13 movie I watched was researched beforehand if I was going to go to the movies with friends, I felt like there was more investment in what I was going to see." • Gretchen: "Even when I did have a phone, I remember truly keeping it off all day at school, all through high school and middle school, unless I needed to contact anyone. But because it wasn't a smartphone, it was purely for communication." • Owen: "I remember the big thing was probably limiting screen time on the computer. When I would come home from school, it would just turn off after 30 minutes." • Owen: "Video games, I think for a while I had my video games screened before I could buy them." • Audrey: "One of the things all parents really want is for their kids is to at least eventually get along." • Gretchen: "Historically, it's like a ton of teasing, which fortunately I've turned out fine." • Owen: "There's a lot of advantages. I think there's, what I just feel like, there are a lot less rules." • Audrey: "Do you think there might be a correlation between being more responsible and mature and independent because you had these older siblings?" • Gretchen: "I feel like because you're just dragged around in the car so much. I feel like you do need to be a more flexible person when you're younger." • Audrey: "Well, you guys both know how important sleep is, right? If there's anything I've taught you in life, don't you feel better with a good night's sleep?" • Gretchen: "The positives would for sure be reading every night and consistent family dinners, at least for some days of the week, depending on what works for people." • Gretchen: "And for sure bedtimes too, at least when people are younger, I can't think of a major parenting fail." • Audrey: "It tends to be a firstborn thing, I think, although not, I'm sure it's not always, but really trying to set a really high standard." • Owen: "We stay connected. It's just I'd rather be at school." • Gretchen: "It's been awesome. I think as someone who lived very independently for seven or eight years, I was very surprised by how much I love being home. And I love having this time with my parents and my brother. It's just such a unique opportunity that oftentimes you don't get in the middle of your twenties, to have family time again. So I'm definitely appreciating it and not planning on leaving anytime soon." • Audrey: "Selfishly, I'm really enjoying it too, but mostly I feel bad for Owen because I know it's not as enjoyable for him." • Owen: "It's not terrible." • Audrey: "'It's not terrible.' By the way, that's like the highest form of a compliment from a 17-year-old." IF YOU ENJOYED THIS EPISODE, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE... Raise Thriving Kids Parenting Course Ep. 139: Doing Life with Your Adult Children with Jim Burns Ready for Adulthood Check-List for Kids Who's Not Ready for College? ONE SIMPLE THING This week's One Simple Thing tip is to set short term, one-week goals rather than lofty, year-long ones. MY FAVORITE Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live, Too, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish SUBSCRIBE TO SUNSHINE PARENTING THANKS FOR LISTENING! If you enjoyed this episode and know of others who would be encouraged by the ideas we talked about, please share! Would you consider leaving a review for the Sunshine Parenting Podcast on iTunes? Reviews are very important for helping podcasts find their audiences, and I would love your support in helping people find Sunshine Parenting! Would you like access to bonus podcast episodes & resources? Join my squad on Patreon! Audrey
Check out Sara & Audrey's Raise Thriving Kids Course! Join the Sunshine Parenting PATREON squad for bonus perks, including bonus podcast episodes and exclusive posts and resources! Join Audrey's email subscriber community for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  This week on the podcast, Sara Kuljis and I talk about the challenges of having young adults (high school and college age) stuck at home during a season of their lives when they are most wanting to separate from us and be with their peers. In this episode, we talk about how to better understand and cope with our young adult children's behavior, especially during COVID. ABOUT SARA KULJIS Sara is a good friend, fellow camp professional, and a regular podcast guest on Sunshine Parenting. Sara is the mother of three young adults (two college students and one high schooler) and a Gallup Strengths Coach. She is the owner and director of Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp and Emerald Cove Day Camp. Sara offers popular parenting workshops in Southern California, including one we do together (Raise Thriving Kids). BIG IDEAS • COVID has in many ways, robbed young adults of the opportunity to really lean into where they naturally are in their developmental stages. • Parents can help honor losses. I think it's important to name, What makes me sad? What makes me frustrated? Why do I feel angry? And not all young people know how to identify where those feelings are coming from. • Feeling the loss with them, holding it with them or telling them that it's okay to feel yucky about those things. I think that's a really important role that a parent can play, hold losses without judgment. I think it's also important that we need to acknowledge our own losses, • This COVID season might be a season for some of us to be thoughtful and to kind of step back and look under the waters, even reach out for some professional help if necessary. • We as parents, for some of us, we may need to let go of some of the smaller battles or the smaller concerns. It's not about the GPA perhaps this semester or this year. It might be more important to focus on a healthy relationship and how to manage stress and how to be supportive. LINKS & RESOURCES • Ep. 139: Doing Life with Your Adult Children with Jim Burns • Jim Burns "Doing life with Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out" • Raise Thriving Kids QUOTES • Sarah: "You know, for some young adults, older teens, and college students, COVID has ended up being kind of a gift for them." • Audrey: "Knowing that this is not something that as an adult, we can say, ‘Oh well, I didn't get to go on this vacation this year, but we can go in a couple of years so we can get it back.’ For these kids and that age, they won't get it back. So that's sad. That's a real loss that is hard to even fathom because we didn't go through this at their age." • Audrey: "I think that's one thing that we need to remember through all this, even though their behavior and their response might irritate us, I think really digging deep to that empathy of realizing how different it is for them going through this then it is for us as adults." • Sarah: "I really felt compelled to kind of remind myself of the developmental stages that these young adults are in and go back to the root. Why and how is this young adult needing to behave this way? Where's this coming from? And it's great to realize and to remember that the developmental stages that these young adults are in are times where they are searching and ready and wired for autonomy and self-reliance and some new independence." • Audrey: "I've talked about this a lot with parents is that you have these children and you nurture them and you raise them and really your goal is to make yourself not necessary. Which is a weird job. Have a job where the end goal is to not be needed anymore." • Audrey: "We need to recognize that we have some ambivalence about our kids growing up and becoming their own people." • Audrey: "I think that's on both sides, we have to really do some adjusting and thinking about how this is impacting us and our families." • Sarah: "As best as we can remember not to take their crankiness, their uncooperativeness, their irritability, maybe their silence, or their anger personally." • Audrey: "It's really the same kind of communication stuff that we need to be doing all the time with our kids regardless of their age. That whole validating things, sometimes parents get it wrong. Where if our child is sad about something, even if it seems unimportant to us, we need to validate the feeling and not undermine what they're going through." • Audrey: "If we want our kids to keep talking to us about things we can't diminish what's important to them, which is maybe different than what's important to us." • Audrey: "That's what I think a lot of times we do that as people, whether it's with our children or another relationships, we react to what was said or the eye roll or whatever it is. And then we've missed that opportunity to connect over something much more important." • Sarah: "As parents, we start as caregivers and then they get a little older and then where their coach and then we move into that consultant stage." • Sarah: " To sum up everything, this is messy. But with thoughtfulness and with a real partnership with our young adults, I think we can be okay." • Audrey: "Many adults are going through hard things right now. So I think we can also model for our kids in terms of if we need some counseling or some support to show them that it's okay to do that. And that lots of people are doing it right now." • Audrey: "So I just want to encourage people that everyone's going through a hard time. And even if people are posting happy photos, there's some strife going on inside homes everywhere right now. And we need to just realize that that's human nature when you're stuck together for a long time. And especially when kids who are meant to be out and about and spreading their wings have had their wings clipped." IF YOU ENJOYED THIS EPISODE, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE... Raise Thriving Kids Parenting Course Ep. 152: Putting on Your COVID Mask First Ep. 153: Rethinking School & Education During the Pandemic Ep. 132: Creating Structure, Fun, & Connection Ep. 139: Doing Life with Your Adult Children with Jim Burns Ready for Adulthood Check-List for Kids Who's Not Ready for College? ONE SIMPLE THING This week's One Simple Thing tip is to start (or continue) a Daily Family Sharing practice. You can read about it more in this post: How to Have a Closer Family in 5 Minutes a Day MY FAVORITE A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens, Katie Hurley, LCSW Description of A YEAR OF POSITIVE THINKING Transform your thoughts and find the confidence to navigate your teen years with positive thinking Being a teen can be an emotional roller coaster. When you’re overwhelmed by unrealistic expectations from your friends, family, social media feed, teachers, and even yourself, it’s normal to have thoughts and feelings like This is too hard or I'll never measure up. With A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens, you'll discover how to overcome these anxious thought patterns, and build a happier, more positive mindset to achieve your goals. Let go of stress with relatable prompts and reflections―all grounded in positive thinking and positive psychology strategies. Find a daily dose of motivation through insightful quotes and affirmations designed to encourage you to embrace happiness one day, one thought, and one year at a time. This guide to positive thinking includes: Pockets of joy―Practice positive thinking in the moment with this beautiful, easy-to-navigate, and portable book. Achieve your dreams―Insightful quotes and affirmations will help you remember your strengths, stay motivated, and reach your goals. Teens like you―From self-esteem issues to social media stress, you'll discover prompts to help you through a wide range of issues teens face every day. Find confidence, courage, and clarity on the road to adulthood with positive thinking. SUBSCRIBE TO SUNSHINE PARENTING THANKS FOR LISTENING! If you enjoyed this episode and know of others who would be encouraged by the ideas, please share! Leave a review for the Sunshine Parenting Podcast on iTunes! Reviews are very important for helping podcasts find their audiences, and I would love your support in helping people find Sunshine Parenting! Would you like access to bonus posts, resources and podcast episodes? Join my squad on Patreon! Audrey
 SHOW NOTES Join the Sunshine Parenting PATREON squad for bonus perks, including bonus podcast episodes and exclusive posts and resources! Join Audrey's email subscriber community for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.  Jean Rogers is the Director of the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, where she leads a coalition of practitioners, educators, advocates, and parents who collaborate on practical methods to reduce children’s time on screens and digital devices, mitigate the dangers, and preserve childhood in the digital age. Jean is the host of Action Network Live!, a webcast bringing experts to parents on how screens impact all aspects of child development. She writes a weekly blog and speaks widely to parents, teachers and activists, empowering them to implement simple solutions to a complex 21st century parenting challenge. Jean earned Masters’ degrees in Education and Parenting Education at Wheelock College, where she took up the mantel of Susan Linn and Diane Levin, trailblazers in media literacy, play-based learning, and avoiding a commercialized childhood. Prior to working at the Action Network, Jean was a freelance marketing writer, illuminating products and services for nonprofit and business clients. She was also a music teacher, director of a large church school, and a college writing center consultant. Her greatest role is mother to 5 children. BIG IDEAS • The Social Dilemma is fantastic because it helps you understand that social media apps were designed for profit for the companies that designed, not for the benefit of the users (a good term because of the addictive nature of the apps). • If you have preteens or teens, we encourage you to have them watch The Social Dilemma with you. They'll understand more at the end, they'll maybe see themselves or their friends in it or their cousins. They'll understand it from the perspective of one of those ages. If you have young children, the film is really a cautionary tale. It's something that if you watch it now you can prevent some of these things from happening. • While we do have the children's online privacy and protection act, that has not translated into the regulations for social media that you would expect, and kids are still able to scroll. They're able to find things. • For our kids, it's so easy for them to believe everything that they see and for us to need to explain that not everything is real on the internet. Fake news and stories spread much faster than true ones. LINKS & RESOURCES • Where to connect with and find out more about Jean and the Children's Screen Time Action Network: Website Facebook Book: Kids Under Fire Action Network Live • Jean's interview with Audrey and Lenore Skenazy on Action Network Live. Happy Campers at Home: Navigating Summer with Children during COVID-19 from CCFC on Vimeo. • "The Social Dilemma" • Cyberwise • "The Great Hack" • Cal Newport • Digital Wellness Collective • Wait Until 8th • Turning Life On QUOTES • Audrey: "I had heard that a long time ago about Steve jobs, that his kids weren't allowed to have iPads." • Audrey: "These tools that have been created are starting to erode the social fabric of how society works." • Jean: "The Children’s screen Time Action Network is a project of Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood." • Jean: "Creating routines reduces stress." • Jean: "I think one of the things they say in the film is, it's not like a bolt of lightning that happens. All of a sudden your kids are converted to this world. It's a gradual change in their behavior. And so we don't want to wake up someday and not know our kids." • Jean: "There are studies that say, we learn a lot more. We absorb a lot more by reading the real book." • Jean: "You can't change it. That only the industry can change it, but you can change what's going on in your own home." IF YOU ENJOYED THIS EPISODE, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE... Ep. 156: The Tech Solution with Dr. Shimi Kang Ep. 148: Connecting with Nature & Each Other During COVID with Ariella Rogge Ep. 144: Raising Happy, Durable Kids in the Digital Age Ep. 116: Why We Need to Unplug and Connect with our Families ONE SIMPLE THING This week's One Simple Thing is one from Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults. MY FAVORITE Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport I think we’re only scratching the surface on the damage caused by our current technology habits. As I argued in Digital Minimalism, these tools are both powerful and indifferent to your best interests. Until you decide to adopt a minimalist ethos, and deploy technology intentionally to serve specific values you care about, the damage it inflicts will continue to accumulate. -Cal Newport, Do Smartphones Make Us Dumber? SUBSCRIBE TO SUNSHINE PARENTING THANKS FOR LISTENING! If you enjoyed this episode and know of others who would be encouraged by the ideas, please share! Leave a review for the Sunshine Parenting Podcast on iTunes! Reviews are very important for helping podcasts find their audiences, and I would love your support in helping people find Sunshine Parenting! Would you like to have access to bonus posts, resources and podcast episodes? Join me as a supporter on Patreon! Audrey
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