A Checklist of Summer Fun

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Now that we’re about half way through summer, you may be starting to hear “I’m bored!”… does that ring a bell?  Good heavens, what are we, our kids’ personal social planners? I was recently chatting with a friend about our kids, and how for some reason they think we are responsible for setting them up to do something “amazing and fun” with friends everyday!  What happened to playing outside with the kids on the street, riding your bike or skateboarding to the park, or just simply jumping in the pool?

In search of ideas, I found this “Fun Summer Activities Checklist” on the Real Simple website. http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/entertainment/summer-activities-00100000082747/index.html

I love it!  I actually pasted it into Word and added a few select activities of my own, then  allowed each of my kids to make a checklist of their own, using this one as a guide.  Of course I had to set some boundaries or my son would have added a Travel category and expected a 4 day weekend in Rome!  All joking aside, I’ve found that my children tend to keep it simple when they feel empowered to be adventurous and “in control” of their time. Along the way, inject some lessons of gratitude… for summer, free-time, ladybugs and butterflies, a sense of adventure, popsicles, whatever!  There’s no shortage of things for our children to be grateful for, but as you know, sometimes they need to be reminded:)

Give your kids a chance to be their own social planner and see what they come up with… you may be surprised!

Have fun!

The Pledge – Part 8: Love and Compassion

My World PledgeWow!  It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the last verse of the My World Friends Pledge!  When broken down line by line, you can easily see that the collective impact of small gestures and behaviors can be quite powerful.

Today we’re looking at “Living with Love and Compassion in our Hearts.”  I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. Compassionate acts are generally considered those which take into account the suffering of others and attempt to alleviate that suffering as if it were one’s own. In this sense, the various forms of the Golden Rule are clearly based on the concept of compassion. As adults we can quickly give everyday examples of what compassion might look like, but the ideas and examples that inspire kids are often much simpler.

Here are some great examples you can use to assist your kids in identifying ways that they can naturally show love and compassion:

  • Sending your friend a get well card – Compassion
  • Helping a classmate clean-up a work area that they’re responsible for so that they still have time to participate in recess – Compassion
  • Sharing your ice cream with a friend because they dropped theirs on the ground – Compassion
  • Offering to walk an elderly neighbors dog – Compassion
  • Picking out a special treat for your sibling at the grocery store because you know it will make their day – Love
  • Creating a special, homemade banner or card to welcome a family member back into your home – Love
  • Praying for a friend or family member when they’re injured, sick or just simply feeling down – Love

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama ~

I can’t wait to hear about all the ways that you and your kids have been living “The Pledge”.  I strongly believe that small steps in this direction can change our world!  If you are Living with Love and Compassion in your Heart please share with us how it’s impacted your life and the lives of others.

Next week I’ll begin talking about the concept of “intent versus impact” .  This will prove to be a great tool in guiding our kids to think before they act/speak and therefore, assist them in making better, kinder choices.

In gratitude,
Renee

The Pledge – Part 6: Taking Care of our Planet

My World PledgeAs we continue to navigate the My World Friends Pledge, today we focus on ways that Kids can “Help Take Care of our Planet.”

Are you raising eco-savvy children?  Caring for our planet has been a much talked about topic in recent years and one that your child should be familiar with.  From composting to conservation there are many ways for your child to contribute to the longevity of our planet.

Here are some behaviors you can model and promote that will set them on their way:

  • Recycle everything possible!
  • Turn the water off when brushing teeth – constantly look for ways to conserve water.
  • Composting – not only does this help take care of our planet but it’s a great way to promote responsibility.
  • Turn off & unplug! Computers, small kitchen appliances and chargers are great places to start.
  • Minimize the use of disposable items. Plastic water bottles (use refillable containers), paper plates and paper towels; use eco-friendly grocery bags.
  • Ride your bike if your destination is close and casual.
  • Carpool when possible.
  • Set a good example within your community and spread the word!

Check out this link to an article on eartheasy.com that highlights fun and appropriate environmental websites for kids.  Eartheasy is a site I love that promotes solutions for sustainable living.

And mark your calendars… April 22nd is Earth Day!  Be proactive and plan an activity for your family or identify a local event to participate in.  The more our children learn about taking care of our planet, the more sustainable we’ll become.

Enjoy Earth.  Enjoy your environment.  Enjoy each other!

In gratitude,
Renee

The Pledge – Part 2: Treat Everyone Equal and with Respect

My World PledgeLast week, we began the process of breaking down “The Pledge” line by line, to examine it’s key words and how we can use them to guide our children towards a lifetime of living the pledge:)

This week, we’re focusing on the word Equal. The Pledge uses the word in its noun form. The definition is simple and one that your kids can easily understand:

Equal (noun) a person or thing considered to be the same as another
in status and/or quality.

For discussion purposes, this is also a great time to introduce the concept of equality. The definition of equality is very similar to the above definition of equal, with the addition of “equal in rights and opportunity.”

I truly believe that kids see each other as equal. It’s seemingly the adults that aren’t always of this mindset.  However, I believe the topic of treating everyone equal and the idea of equality is important to talk with your kids about.  Here are some questions to assist in starting the conversation:

  • What do you think treating everyone equal means?
  • Have you ever felt like someone didn’t treat you equal?
  • Have you ever seen somebody else not being treated equally, and if so, how did it make you feel?
  • Why do you think it’s important to treat everyone equal?
  • Do you think that the way a person looks or how they dress changes their status or their rights?

If we have ongoing dialogue with our kids about everyday life issues, as well as select topics of importance, they’ll feel quite natural talking to you about other, concerning issues that they may face.  As long as you’re not reactive or judgmental when your kids share things with you, you’ll find they want to share more and more…

Next up, treating others with respect!

Until then…

In Gratitude,
Renee

The Pledge – Part 1: Celebrating Differences

My World PledgeI introduced you to the “My World Friends Pledge” last month.  This is a great way for your kids to start off the New Year.  You can find the Pledge at myworldmedia.net.  Imagine how different our world would be if everyone lived by the Pledge!  Over the coming weeks, we’ll be breaking down the pledge line-by-line and talking about ways to weave these topics into conversation with your children.

On that note, let’s start at the top with “I will Celebrate Differences”. That’s another way of saying “I will be tolerant and kind to those that are different than me”.  What a great thing to talk to your kids about!  Here are a few questions that you might ask your kids:

  • What does Celebrating Differences mean to you?
  • Do you have friends that are different than you?
  • In what ways are some of your friends different than you?
  • Do you think that it’s good when people are different?
  • What are the differences in your friends or classmates that you notice the most (ie. glasses, braces, skin color, eye color, etc.)?
  • What are some reasons you’re happy that we’re not all exactly the same?

It’s simple to weave this topic into conversation about everyday life, and when you have regular, on-going and open dialogue with your children they will know that the door is always open for a chat.  If something is bothering them, something is going on at school, peer-pressure or a dispute with a friend, or they recognize behavior in a friend that is not appropriate, they will feel like it’s natural to talk you about these things.  How important is that?!  As parents we all want our kids to know that we’re here for them and we will listen and help when help is required.  Sometimes just being a good listener is really all they need. When your children confide in you and trust that you will listen without judgment or reaction, it will change the level of your conversations with them.

So, talk-it-out! And then share how your conversation of Celebrating Differences went.  We can’t wait to hear from you!

In Gratitude,
Renee

Book Reading and Signing on September 20, 2013

StarbucksFlierTopPlease join us from 4:00 – 6:00P as Local Southern California author, entrepreneur and mother, Renee Carter, reads and signs the second book from her inspirational My World Friends Series. Continue reading

Back to School Series, Part 4 – Let’s Talk About Accountability

Doing the dishesAs we inch closer to the first day of school, there is much to be done to prepare our children… school clothes/uniforms, backpacks, and school supplies are some of the standard checklist items.  What about mentally preparing our kids to jump back into the routine?  Are you talking with your kids about your hopes and expectations for them this year?  Accountability is an excellent topic to touch-on.

Definition of Accountability
n.
1. the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.

Last week we talked about responsibility, the relative synonym of accountability.  Let’s be sure and understand the difference between the two:

“Accountability” is being answerable to others for your actions, or lack thereof.
“Responsibility” is being liable and dependable when it comes to tasks or actions.

Accountability leads to responsibility. Last week, I used my daughter forgetting to write down her homework assignment, as an example.  I can encourage her to be resourceful in hopes of getting the information she needs, but I will also need to remind her that it’s her responsibility to come home with the assignment.  Further, she needs to understand that the consequences for not getting the information and completing the assignment will be accountability to her teacher the next morning.  What that “accountability” entails is up to the teacher… sitting out of recess to complete the assignment, being given extra math problems, writing down 5 things that she’ll do in the future so it doesn’t happen again, etc.

Essential Questions:
How can we help our children think about accountability before they
take (or don’t take) action?

Being the “A Type” gal that I am, I like lists and charts!  I think a great way to get your children thinking about being accountable for their actions (or non-actions) is to lay it out for them in the simplest format possible and include them in tracking their actions day to day.  The more we talk to them about being accountable and reward them with our time and attention in tracking their progress, the more natural accountability will come to them.  They will also exhibit a great sense of pride in their accomplishments… I call that a “win-win”!

What are some ways that you’ve created a culture of accountability with your kids and in your home?  Do tell!  Let’s keep the dialogue going.  By sharing our thoughts and ideas we can help each other nurture accountability in our young citizens!

Until next time…

Much love,
Renee

Back to School Series, Part 3 – Let’s Talk About Responsibility

iStock_000009781215XSmallAs we prepare to send our children back to school, another excellent conversation to have with them is on Responsibility.

It’s clear that depending on age, responsibilities and our expectations of such will vary. Continue reading