Let Them Play

iStock_000021122207XSmallWell, Here we are about halfway through summer.  Looking back over the past few weeks… which by the way have flown by… I’m feeling reaffirmed in my thought process of kids just needing to play.  I stumbled across this great article “Why Free Play is the Best Summer School” written by Jessica Lahey.

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/for-better-school-results-clear-the-schedule-and-let-kids-play/373144/

The article states, and I quote:  “Unscheduled, unsupervised, playtime is one of the most valuable educational opportunities we give our children.  It is fertile ground; the place where children strengthen social bonds, build emotional maturity, develop cognitive skills and shore up their physical health“.

My kids are both very sporty, and therefore, typically over-scheduled with practices and games.  While I try to strike a balance, it’s sometimes tough, and it’s article like this that bring it back to center for me.

Check out the article and share your thoughts.

Until next week… it’s time to Play!!

Intent vs. Impact – Part 2

iStock_000019965393SmallThis week we continue to focus on Intent vs. Impact.  This concept is so important and can’t be stressed enough when it comes to good, effective communication… with our children, our family members, our friends, even strangers!

When our words are heard to mean something other than what we’ve intended that is a problem.  When we’ve hurt someone, whether we meant to or not, what matters is how we repair the situation. Last week we identified some steps that can be taken towards accepting responsibility for the impact of our words to make things right.

Now, let’s think about getting to the point where we think about impact first.  At what point does the “intent” conversation stop mattering?  After all, what does the intent of our actions really matter if our actions have an impact other than what was intended?

Please share your thoughts so we can continue the conversation.  Let us know how you’ve been able to communicate more effectively and avoid misunderstandings by focusing on the impact of your words.

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”
~ Pablo Picasso ~

For fun, check out our Pinterest board ~ intentionally put together for your pleasure!! :)

Happy Friday!

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

Team Work

iStock_000021836977XSmallWith the MLB playoffs in full swing, the NFL season in week 6, NHL going strong and the NBA season getting ready to tip-off, the competitive spirit of our country is in full swing!

As a former competitive athlete myself, I’m always inspired by the level of teamwork displayed amongst teams we watch night-in and night-out, and how somebody (rarely the same person repeatedly) always steps-up to get the job done in clutch situations for the greater good of the team.

It got me thinking about all of the positive qualities and characteristics that come from being an athlete and being part of a team. You’re all familiar with the saying “there’s no “i” in team”… clearly that’s true, but lets examine how this selfless statement can have a positive impact our kids.

It’s a wonderful thing for kids to learn that they can rely on others to have their back, hold them up and cheer them on… this promotes trust and a willingness to put themselves out there, knowing that doing their very best is good enough, no matter the end result. What about sportsmanship? Think of all the great characteristics that come from learning and demonstrating good sportsmanship. Let’s take it a step further… what about the confidence that can be built in kids due to athletics and overall health and fitness.  Not to mention how as they grow older the dedication and drive that results from training to improve their game, whether its in a team format or individual sport like golf or tennis, impacts your life.

Trust, comfort with vulnerability, grit, tenaciousness, good sportsmanship, self-confidence, dedication, determination… wow!! These are all great qualities, and I bet there aren’t many parents out there that wouldn’t want to develop these qualities in their kids.

I personally believe that girls, specifically, get something out of team sports that they can’t get any place else. All of us parents of girls want to develop strong, confident and determined young ladies. When they’re teens and find themselves being challenged to give-in to various forms of peer pressure (drinking/drugs, sex, cheating, stealing, lying, etc) which ultimately they’ll all face, don’t we want to know that they have the strength and character to make the right choice and feel great about themselves while doing it? In my opinion, sports helps with all of that!

There are many ways as parents to demonstrate a team player mentality. I’d love to hear about things you do to inspire a sense of teamwork and sportsmanship in your kids. I’d especially be interested in hearing about these developed qualities in older kids that you feel came from participation in athletics and team environments.

Until next week… go team!!

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

Back to School Series, Part 2 Let’s Talk About Empathy (2 of 2)

iStock_000003283930XSmallIn last Friday’s post, I began on the topic of Empathy.  Let’s continue the dialouge…

Back in April, I read an article in Forbes magazine titled “8
Ways to Cultivate Empathy in Kids”.
Continue reading

Kids React

Mother and daughter eating cereal and fruitI am admittedly not a TV watcher… if it’s not sports related, I’m pretty clueless.  However, I did happen to see a General Mills, Cheerios commercial back in May that made me smile.  At the time, I didn’t think of it as controversial, but sadly, that’s what it has become!  Perhaps some of you saw it?  Continue reading

Summer Reading

iStock_000010234350XSmallNo matter what school you’re kids attend or what grade they’ll be entering in the fall, there is always recommended summer reading.  Some kids love to read and would rather be reading than swimming, Continue reading

Hooray for Dad!

iStock_000011769829XSmallMost men will agree that being a father is the most rewarding relationship that they will ever have. I think we are all familiar with the saying “Thank Heaven for Little Boys!”  It couldn’t be more true, as our “little boys” grow up to be men, and in most cases, Dads:-) Continue reading