Boy are these challenging times for everyone. We do not need to be stuck indoors if we comply with social distancing and wear masks when in public. Children need fresh air, daily exercise, and social interaction. Studies do show that being outside is safe if we follow safeguards: social distancing, avoid touching people and man made surfaces, and avoiding groups of people. Take you kids for daily walks or hikes. Good for you and them. Do it rain or shine! Have a routine. Talk to people from a distance. Stay the width of the street apart! Have a routine.
“Joyce & I have raised 6 children and are involved in the lives of our 12 grandchildren. We have learned through experience that we can suggest and guide, but not “tell” any of them what to do. The suggestions set forth herein are based on “lessons learned” both our good and poor parenting decisions, as well as those sent to us by readers of this web site. Hopefully, you will find them helpful.”
- Never threaten a punishment that you are not prepared to carry out. Shortly after one of our sons learned to drive, I found myself threatening to take the car away for a month (driving infraction). We live 20 miles from his school, and he knew that I would suffer more that he would if I carried out my plan. HOWEVER, when I suggested that I was going to ground him for the weekend, we both knew I could do it. P&J
- ALWAYS Tell your children you LOVE them, no matter what they do. Express your frustration about their “action”, and never personalize your criticism. P&J
Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)
Updated on April 10, 2020
Ever hear of the above? I never had until I read a recent article about it. It make sense, we have to get outdoors more (especially children). Sadly, NDD is causing a host of problems such as depression, obesity, and a fear of others. We have to get back to Nature.
Shocking statistics show how little time (especially since COVID) adults and children spend in the out of doors. Not only are we better off emotionally when we walk, run, hike, bike, and swim outdoors, but we are also better off physically. Being outdoors is the easiest, cheapest, and best form of self-care. Studies are showing that physical exercise outdoors has greater benefit than the same exercise performed inside.
Try to establish a daily routine for you and your children that takes you outside where you are exposed to fresh air, beautiful sights, and interesting activities. There is no better way to clear your mind and relax.
Kingsley Pines Camp offers children and adults the opportunity to submerse oneself in a totally natural environment. Our camp in located on 100 lakeside acres of Maine forest. We offer 3 sessions of children’s camp in 2021 and 2 August sessions of family camp. What a great chance to bond with your kids!
Updated on July 11, 2020
The other night I (Pat) was watching a “TED TALK” that featured Diana Nyad. In case you do not remember, she is the woman, and first person, to swim from Cuba to Florida. She made it at age 64, and after a number of previous efforts starting in her 20’s! The essence of her talk was that if a person believes they can accomplish something, they should “never give up.” I recommend listening to her inspiring presentation.
This is a great message for our children. Too often I hear children say “I cannot do it, it is too hard, or what difference can I make”. Such feelings are often understandable, but present a great parenting opportunity. Often what a child is looking for is a “vote of confidence”, or a little support or guidance.
As parents are well aware that life is full of challenges and disappointments. Do NOT be afraid to describe difficult periods in your life, and how you managed to overcome them. Tell a story, do not give a lecture. Another suggestion is to become a team-mate with your child and help her/him work through the challenge. Help guide your child to solutions, but don’t take over the project.
It is amazing what a difference just listening makes! With a few clarification questions, your child is often “up and running” again.
Here is the link to the TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/diana_nyad_never_ever_give_up
Four Tips for Families during Social Distancing
Updated on April 14, 2020
Just when you thought thing were going well, we find ourselves with our family 24/7 which can be a blessing if we manage our time and emotions appropriately. Four things are important:
1) Keeping your sense of humor. Challenging behaviors can be particularly stressing when we are all living in tight quarters. Try to see the humor in these situations even if you have tom laugh at your response.
2) Try to structure you day and your children’s day. Online classes often help if they occur at certain times of the day. If not, set aside “school time” every day at the same time, and at the same location in your house. Encourage your children to single task, not watch TV and the school program at the same time.
3) Set time aside time each day for your children to focus on something fun and participatory whether it is be an interactive podcast, learning a new skill, or connecting with others. Kingsley Pines Camp offers children “5th Period Options” most days where children learn something new each day and have the opportunity to interact with a staff member and each other (It’s open to all children age 8-15.Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested).
4) Be physically active EVERY day. When possible get outdoors, but follow a 10’ separation rule. Even indoors it is possible to exercise. We have a friend in NYC who walks 3 miles EVERY day IN her 1,500 sq ft apartment. All it takes is creativity and effort!
Managing Electronics and Media
Updated on April 29, 2018
Do not kid yourselves! Managing electronics and media with children is one of the most challenging issues facing parents today. Studies universally show that overuse of electronics is “harmful” to children. In our opinion one of the primary impacts is they negatively impact a childs’ ability to develop relationships. Children loose sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and empathy.
Many parents have a reactive approach to managing phones/pads/games. They wait until they are fed up, then over react. This generally results in conflict/yelling and upset. A better approach would seem to be to develop a plan in advance of loosing you patience. Try to involve your child in a discussion involving time limits, times of use/non use, etc. This will not be easy, but if you can get buy in from your child, the chances of having a workable plan will be greatly increased.
Please share your parenting story in comments below. Thank You!
2 thoughts on “Parenting Suggestions”
After EIGHT summers, my daughter will be attending Kingsley Pines as a camper for her last time this year. I remember back to the first year, when I waited for 2 weeks to get one piece of mail, and the one letter I finally got – the day before I was leaving to pick her up – was a full page of “I miss you so much,” “please come get me,” “I’m homesick,” etc. Well, she obviously wrote it during her first few days, because she did NOT want to leave when I arrived to take her home. In fact, she never looked back. Waiting for summer to roll around again, just so she could see her camp friends once more, was something she talked about all year long. When asked by her lower school teacher to do a collage of her “happy place,” she made a full poster board of pictures from Kingsley Pines. She loved that every year she could learn something new. She had independence and fun all in one place. Did she ever get homesick again after that first summer? A little, but she informed me that every year it was less and less, and by the time she became an “older camper,” she wanted to be dropped off the minute the camp opened and didn’t want to leave until the last possible moment. And she also started doing two sessions! No surprise to me — I still get just one letter, but it’s filled with great stories. They will be fun to pull out years from now.
It’s hard for parents to let go of their children, particularly when they are 8-11 years old. At those ages, kids are still sweet and snuggly, and every day with them is a wonder. However, giving them the opportunity to be “on their own,” even when the counselor to camper ratio is so close, is one of the best things you can do for them. This kind of (supervised) independence has more benefits than I can list, but building confidence and self-esteem may be the two biggest I can think of when he/she goes to Kingsley Pines. They learn to live with others, they learn to do things by themselves, they learn to problem solve, they learn to do new things, etc.
Letting go, even for 2-3 weeks, may seem hard to do, but it is truly the best thing you could ever do for your child.
Micromanaging kids’ negatively impacts their Emotional Well-being!
A new study warns that micromanaging kids’ play may negatively impact their emotional growth. Children need opportunities to manage their time, and choose their activities. Youngsters who were told by their mothers what toy to play with and how were less able to control their emotions and impulses by age 5. 10 year olds who lived with “helicopter parents” were more likely to be struggling academically, and develope a poor attitude toward school. Children need to learn to manage their emotions by practicing managing them without direction from their parents. Children must have space and time to play independently!
We all love our children and want to “help” them succeed. This study confirms that children need space to do their own thing, make their own mistakes, and solve their own problems. If you think you are a hovering parent, maybe you need to rethink the way you interact with your children? How can a child learn from their mistakes, you are constantly rescuing them? This does not mean that you should ignore dangerous situations, just a little more thinking before you act.