Category Archives for Parenting

Daily Activities Checklist

Advice & Encouragement for Parents of High Schoolers Modify Gretchen’s Daily Activities Checklist (Google Doc) Use for yourself and/0r your kids.  We recommend having your kids create their own! Step 1: Open this Google Doc file Step 2: Make a copy: Go into “File” and click on “Make a Copy.” Step 3: Add or delete…

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Ready for Adulthood Check-List for Kids

What skills do our kids need in order to be ready for adulthood? Readiness is an interesting concept. Many things we do, like going to summer camp for the first time, starting college or a new job or becoming a parent, we’re not technically “ready” for. We haven’t had any practice yet! We learn best…

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Kids are more capable than we think they are.

Managing your own belongings is one of many skills a responsible human adult needs. Even small humans can learn to be responsible for their own belongings. In order to allow kids to learn new skills, adults need to remember to give them small responsibilities and lots of guidance starting at an early age. We also…

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What are you going to do?

One thing I taught my kids last year was to ask “What else can I do?” to help them learn the important skill of finishing a job well. They still use it at the end of kitchen clean-up after dinner, and the question is music to my ears. And one of my favorite new questions…

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How to Respond to Bad Behavior

Bad behavior from other people is an inevitable part of life. While we would love to protect our kids from every mean comment or action by another person, that is impossible. What we can – and must – do is help our kids learn how to respond appropriately to bad behavior. That’s a life skill…

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Giving Kids Our Full Attention

Rapport feels good, generating the harmonious glow of being simpatico, a sense of friendliness where each person feels the other’s warmth, understanding, and genuineness. These mutual feelings likely strengthen the bonds between them, no matter how temporary. -Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence: The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships After conducting research on children’s social skills…

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The Best Gifts for Kids

The best thing you can give your children, next to good habits, are good memories. -Sydney Harris Most tangible, material gifts we give our children are outdated, broken, lost, or unused within months of the gifting. I (and my kids) can hardly remember what the gifts from past years were. Like most parents, I realize there…

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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 ahead. Because I’ve been a journaler and list-maker since I was very young, I’ve always loved this time of transition and chance to start fresh. If you read my life-changing books post, then you know…

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Growing Gratitude

There’s nothing that triggers me worse than one of my kids acting entitled and ungrateful. Some of my least favorite phrases: “Why do we have to eat (whatever’s for dinner)?” “Why can’t I have the latest (iPhone, shoes)? Everyone else has them!” “Our Wifi is so slow.” Ugh and double ugh. Lack of gratitude definitely flips my…

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A Grateful Family is a Happy Family: 5 Gratitude Practices

Creating a grateful family culture is a challenge in our entitled, indulgent age. Yet research has confirmed what we intuitively know – Practicing gratitude and being grateful are keys to a happier life.  It’s well worth our consistent and continued effort as parents to model and teach our kids to practice gratitude. Although I’ve researched…

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Sticky Note Solution: Chore Reminder

In my book, Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults, each chapter ends with a “Bringing Camp Home” section with five different ideas ranging from simple to more indepth to address the character trait or practice covered in the chapter. In each “Bringing Camp Home” section, I offer a…

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Smile!

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. -Maya Angelou One simple way to create happier and more connected families (and schools) is to remember to smile! In my book, Happy Campers, I share this “One Simple Thing” tip in Camp Secret #3: Positive Practices Produce Optimistic Kids:…

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