Sunshine Parenting Insights On


Happiness Habits
“Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in[...]
Family Photos 2004 & 2019
There was a time, not so long ago, where it was common for us to get together with my sister's[...]
Boston Strong
I spent the past weekend in Boston. It was my husband and my fourth trip to the Boston Marathon in[...]
Live Like Nigel
Yesterday was such a great day, because I spent it doing a few things I really enjoy - connecting with[...]
My One Word for 2019: Focus
Focus on what  matters. I love the annual process of thinking about what I want for the coming year and[...]
15 Books for a Happier, More Purposeful Life
    I love books, especially ones that give me ideas for how to live this one precious life just[...]
100 Family Memories
100 Family Memories Every December our family makes a list of 100 family memories from the year. This year marks our[...]
Ep. 63: Growing Gratitude with Sara Kuljis
Enjoy the little things because one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things. In Episode 63,[...]
7 Reasons to #optoutside
Next to unplugging, one of my favorite things to talk about is spending time outside. In fact, I believe the[...]
Ep. 57: The Importance of Adult Friendships with Sara Kuljis
"The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in[...]
Ep. 56: Off the Clock with Laura Vanderkam
In Episode 56, I'm chatting with Laura Vanderkam about her book Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More[...]
The Magic Relationship Ratio
I recorded this month's One Simple Thing during a retreat this weekend at 1440 Multiversity I attended with my daughter, Gretchen[...]
Feel like you don’t have enough time to do what you really want to do? Read Off the Clock!
Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’ve been obsessively[...]
The Wisdom of High School Girls
One highlight of my summer has been meeting with our oldest female campers to discuss relationships, goals, and life. These[...]
4 Ways to Focus on our Kids’ Strengths
One of my highlights of last week was meeting with our Junior Counselors (17-year-olds heading into their senior year of[...]
Ep. 40: Frientimacy with Shasta Nelson
We're craving those few people who know us and love us no matter what. -Shasta Nelson   In Episode 40,[...]
Ep. 36: Project Me for Busy Mothers with Kelly Pietrangeli
"It soon hit me that all of the best parenting classes in the world are not going to work if[...]
Being Boss
“You have to build a life you love as if it’s your job. Because it is.” Kathleen Shannon & Emily[...]
My 24 Hours Unplugged
It was fitting that I finished reading The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier(Susan Pinker)[...]
What did you love when you were 13? Rediscovering Your “Authentic” Self
For my thirteenth birthday, I received a Canon AE-1 camera. And while I’ve long-since moved on to a digital SLR,[...]
36 Questions to Get Closer to Someone You Love
The art of asking good questions, and listening carefully to the person’s response, is one important key to forming and[...]
Dear Audrey, I am the early childhood/camp director at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas (and parent of 4) and[...]
5 Simple Year-End Reflection Activities
The end of one year and beginning of the next offers a unique opportunity to both reflect back and plan[...]
Book Review: Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health
This is a guest post from Leslie Seidner, a writer who researches and writes about positive psychology, anxiety, and brain[...]
The Four Tendencies: An Obliger’s Story
I’ve been enjoying Gretchen Rubin’s books since my oldest daughter (also named Gretchen) gave me The Happiness Project (Revised Edition):[...]
10 Fun Ways Teachers Can Help Kids Connect with Other Kids
My oldest daughter started her first teaching job about a month ago. She’s teaching high school English to 9th and[...]
Learning To Put My Own Oxygen Mask On First
Last week I did something unheard of during my first 32 years as a camp director. I took a full[...]
Good Things Come to Those Who Breathe
My 2016 ended with a bang – two trips to the ER on New Year’s Eve. My son needed a[...]
Focusing on the Gain not the Gap
Last week, I was listening to a podcast from one of my favorite leadership and motivational speakers (Michael Hyatt's This[...]
Five Ways to Avert Thanksgiving Disappointment
The one area of parenting where I am incredibly consistent is in my unrealistic expectations for how family together time[...]
Quick Friendship Activities
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Earlier this year I reached out[...]
“SASHET”: A Connection Tool
I just returned from my favorite annual camp conference. Spending time with this group of camp owners and directors refocuses[...]
10 Ways to Teach Kids to Calm Down
Being able to resolve conflicts is one of the most important social skills our kids need in order to thrive[...]
Ep. 1: Raising Happiness with Christine Carter
In episode 1 of the Sunshine Parenting podcast, I talk with best selling author Christine Carter, Ph.D., about her book, Raising[...]
Learning to Enjoy the Little Things
September is my “new year.” The busy summer is over, and I have some time to rest, reflect, and regroup[...]
10 Ways to Create a Happy & Connected Class
Part of the “magic” of camp is that from the first moment, we focus on building relationships and getting our[...]
Play, Hygge, and other Good Ideas: A Review of The Danish Way of Parenting
I was recently talking to a friend who spent a year in Spain, and she shared with me how different[...]
Hop on The Energy Bus!
One of our treasured camp traditions is reading to campers each evening at bedtime. We adopted the tradition more than[...]
The Power of Positive Words
Well, I don't know the child that was returned to me on Saturday. It definitely wasn't the child I dropped off[...]
Helping Kids through their “Low Point”
During one of our final training sessions with counselors, we ask them to think back to their “low point” as[...]
Celebrating Strengths
What are the qualities you like best about yourself? If you’re like me, I’ll bet you haven’t thought about that[...]
7 Reasons to Get Outside
Next to unplugging, one of my favorite things to talk about is spending time outside. In fact, I believe the[...]
Learning to Breathe
I learned to breathe a few weeks ago. Let me explain. While I’ve been breathing my whole life, I found[...]
The Perils of Perfectionism
When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness[...]
Surviving and Thriving (in High School and Life)
Many kids struggle with their sense of worth and forget who they really are during high school. For high achieving[...]
The Power of Compliments
I saw this video last week, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the power of compliments: Isn’t[...]
Five (MORE) Reasons Great Parents Send Their Kids to Camp
There are so many reasons great parents choose to send their kids to summer camp. Two years ago, I shared[...]
How Camp Helps Parents Raise Adults
“The movie Stepford Wives came to mind as I watched my students live their college life still somehow looking to[...]
5 Ways Camp Grows Grit
"It turns out that grit predicts performance better than IQ or innate talent. Grit makes our kids productive and successful[...]
5 Ways to Teach Kids to Live Life Well
As I started writing this, I realized that my title is inaccurate: “5 Ways to Live Life Well” would be[...]
3 Simple Year-End Reflection Activities
The end of one year and beginning of the next offers a unique opportunity to both reflect back and plan[...]
10 Life-Changing Books
Are you looking for some inspirational reads to help you switch some things up? Over the past few years, I[...]
5 Fun 30-Minute Family Activities
With more of my kids away at school than still living at home, I have lofty ambitions for our family[...]
10 Surprising Things Kids Learn at Camp
I would not be the person I am today without camp. -15-year-old camper My three decades of camp experience, coupled[...]
A Grateful Family is a Happy Family: 5 Gratitude Practices
Creating a grateful family culture is a challenge in our entitled, indulgent age. Yet much research has confirmed what we[...]
5 Tips to Start Running
“I’m not a runner.” “I can’t run.” I’ve heard variations of these statements many times when running comes up in[...]
Choose Wisely: 8 Questions to Ponder Before you say “I Do”
Do you ever get an anxious feeling when you’re on the way to the airport, leaving for a trip? You’re[...]
Does our Family’s Schedule Reflect our Values?
A few weeks ago, one of our children (who shall remain nameless to avoid incrimination) made the choice not to[...]
The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy, Jon Gordon
The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy I listened to The Energy[...]
A Happiness Boost
This morning I was on the receiving end of a telephone call that made me view my day and my[...]
Parent Top 10
As I prepare for next month’s camp counselor training, I find myself reflecting—once again—that parents should get at least this[...]
5 Mid-Life Lessons
“Every laugh line on your face made you who you are today.” This One’s for the Girls (Martina McBride) In[...]
One Simple Way to Increase Happiness
In two weeks, I’ll be graduating with my master’s degree in Psychology. Why at 46 did I decide to go[...]
Focusing on our Kids’ Strengths
Every Monday morning I get an email with my kids’ current grades. Typically, I scan over them for any assignments[...]
Study Finds Campers Really are Happy
Camp is basically my happy place, and I love being here more than any other place in the world. -Camper,[...]
Super Mom or Super Bomb? Modeling a Balanced Life for our Kids
“First and foremost, we need to be the adults we want our children to be.” Brené Brown Books have an[...]
3 Ways to Make Family Dinner like a Campfire
Most of us know the importance of family dinners: Kids who regularly eat dinner with their families are more emotionally stable, are[...]
Three Character Traits Kids Develop at Camp
While it’s easy to think of ways to teach our kids to do laundry or solve math problems, finding a[...]
Living Life in our “Sweet Spot”
I usually slog through these kinds of non-fiction books over a few months, interspersed with some “fun” reading. With this[...]
7 Ways to Foster Relationships Using Social Media
No human on the internet can miss the flood of articles about how bad all of our screen time is[...]
Five Reasons Every Teen Should go to Summer Camp
Being at camp gives me this sense of belonging that I've never felt anywhere else. I know that I can[...]
Top 3 Posts of 2014
Dear Sunshine Parenting Reader, Thank you for reading my posts this year! In 2007, I read a book called Writing[...]
15 Books that Inspire my Parenting
As a fun, year-end activity (at least for a book nerd like me), I've pulled some of my favorite books[...]
Raising Grateful – not Entitled – Kids
grate•ful:  feeling or showing appreciation; thankful. en•ti•tiled: believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. An interesting juxtaposition[...]
Why my Family is Celebrating World Kindness Day
Like most families, we are constantly on the go between school, sports, and other activities. But as I inventory where[...]
The List: My Best Parenting Tip
Before I had kids, there were several things I said I would never let my kids do. Once I was actually a[...]
Screen Overload: 5 New Family Rules
I have a love-hate relationship with my screens. I know how important it is to get unplugged, and I enjoy many[...]
Stop Dreaming, Start Doing: 5 Steps to Finding Your Career
This post is dedicated to the fabulous young adults who choose to forgo privacy, sleep, and social media to work 24[...]
4 Ways to Make School more like CAMP
My dream is for my kids to attend a school they love as much as they love camp. Two years[...]
3 Life Lessons Learned on a Tow Rope
The recreational sports we teach at camp include sailing, water skiing, rock climbing, and many more fun outdoor sports. But[...]
It’s Not All Bullying
  A few summers ago, a ten-year-old camper wrote a letter home telling his parents he was being bullied at[...]
One Important Thing
I overestimate what I can do. Every day. You would think after nearly five decades of living with me, I[...]
Why Kids Flourish at Camp
Campers often describe camp as their “happy place”” or “the best two weeks” of their year. And, from my own[...]
“Pay it Forward” Day is April 24
No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. -Aesop I usually rush through the day thinking about what I[...]
Making Friends: Developing Emotional Intelligence
Why should we care so much about our kids making friends? Because children with friends show many positive characteristics that[...]
Five Reasons Great Parents Send Their Kids to Camp
My shy, quiet nine-year-old went to camp not knowing a soul. Two weeks later, she came home transformed.  She blossomed.[...]
Making Friends: Managing Difficult Emotions
Here are a few tough questions: • Has anyone ever accused your child of bullying or being mean to another child?[...]
Friends: Finding Gold in a Plastic Era
“Friendship is the gold of childhood.”   Michael Thompson’s statement stuck with me long after I attended his session on the[...]
Making Friends: 3 Communication Skills Your Child Needs
Leaving a soccer game last fall, a teammate called out to my son, “Great game today!” My son didn’t turn[...]
Why Family Dinner is Important
I almost changed the title of this post to “Why my Kids won’t be Olympians,” since it seems appropriate this[...]
Enjoy Your Teen Daughter
2014: Inspired by an email from a friend last week asking about parenting her soon-to-be-teen daughter, I found this post[...]
Practice What I Pin: Get Organized!
I’m like a lot of other moms in that I have A LOT of different projects and tasks going on[...]
5 Reasons to UNPLUG
Oh, how I love my nightly Pinterest sessions.  I look forward to that mindless scrolling and pinning of recipes I'll[...]
Hug Your Teen Today
“The most important assignment a mom has is to nurture her children.” Tim Sanford, M.A. (Losing Control & Liking It)[...]
4 Parenting Challenges and How Camp Can Help
In today's digital, fast-moving, ultra-competitive world, raising kids who grow into happy, independent adults has become more challenging for parents.[...]
My SMART Goal: Encouraging Notes to my Kids
I love thinking about and writing down my goals for each year.  I used to set unrealistic, vague, way-too-big goals[...]
Two Ways to Be a Better Parent
This weekend, I had the pleasure of listening to Madeline Levine, PhD. (author of The Price of Privilege, Teach Your Children[...]
Are We Having Fun Yet?
I have a confession to make. My family, as of late, does not have much fun together.  Yes, there are[...]
Making Family Dinner like a Campfire
An activity we do at campfires at camp has been helpful in our family at getting our kids to communicate[...]
Focusing on Kindness
“Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree.” -Marian Wright Edelman This summer’s[...]
Finding Flow
“The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task...” -Wikipedia definition of flow While[...]
Grit, Goals, and Growth
Gold Arrow Camp has taught me to be brave and reach my goals. If it wasn't for GAC, I wouldn't[...]
Gratitude Revisited
I couldn’t let this year end without revisiting the theme of gratitude, which became an important focus this year for[...]
That’s Why We’re Here!
We finally got out of our pajamas and headed to the ice rink late Christmas afternoon.  My natives were restless,[...]
Good Gifts
The best thing you can give your children, next to good habits, are good memories. -Sydney Harris Our home is[...]
Way Too Much of a Good Thing
Anyone who's been reading my blog knows that I'm a big proponent of getting kids "unplugged."  I love that they[...]
Sharing our Highs, Lows, and Buffaloes
What do kids choose to share with their parents about their camp experience, or, for that matter, about any experience?[...]

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