146 episodes

Camp Director, Mom, Author, and Speaker Audrey Monke and other youth development experts discuss summer camp, family life, raising thriving kids, and ideas for living more connected and happier lives.

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    • Parenting

Camp Director, Mom, Author, and Speaker Audrey Monke and other youth development experts discuss summer camp, family life, raising thriving kids, and ideas for living more connected and happier lives.

    Ep. 124: Promoting Mental Health with Dr. Jess Shatkin

    Ep. 124: Promoting Mental Health with Dr. Jess Shatkin

    Show notes & links available here. In this episode, I'm speaking with Dr. Jess Shatkin, about preventing mental illness and promoting health in children and adolescents. As a clinician, researcher and educator, Dr. Shatkin is one of the country's foremost experts in adolescent mental health, risk and resilience. Big Ideas Extensive research about mental health has led us to a good understanding of what we can do preventatively for young people. Dr. Shatikin offers practical strategies for parents and people

    • 36 min
    Ep. 123: Connection Comes First

    Ep. 123: Connection Comes First

    Show notes & links available here. In this episode, I'm talking about my theme for this month: Connection! All month long, my posts and podcast episodes are centered around this topic, and it's one that I feel is critically important to raising thriving kids. In fact, the first chapter of my book Happy Campers (Secret #1) is Connection comes first. 6 Tips for Creating Connection #1 Ask good questions. As Chris Thurber shared in last week's episode (Ep. 122: How to Connect with Your Teen with Chris Thurber),

    • 22 min
    Ep. 122: How to Connect with Your Teen with Chris Thurber

    Ep. 122: How to Connect with Your Teen with Chris Thurber

    In this episode, I'm speaking with Dr. Chris Thurber, a camp professional and clinical psychologist about how important it for parents to connect with their teens. Chris has developed online training programs for educators and youth leaders around the world and many of the best practices and concepts he teaches apply to parents. We also discuss how the skills kids learn at camp can help them to thrive in life.

    • 39 min
    Ep. 121: The Power of Showing Up

    Ep. 121: The Power of Showing Up

    In this episode, I’m speaking with Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, psychotherapist and the founder and executive director of the Center for Connection, about her latest book, The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become And How Their Brains Get Wired.

    • 37 min
    Ep. 120: Family Traditions & Rituals

    Ep. 120: Family Traditions & Rituals

    In this episode, Sara Kuljis and I discuss the importance of family rituals and traditions. It's one of the topics that we wanted to cover with parents in our Raise Thriving Kids Workshop that we had in September.
    Big Ideas Family Rituals and traditions are important because they: help build a sense of shared identity and deep belonging. help us organize and make sense of an ever-changing world. help teach and impact faith and family values. They may remind us of our cultural backgrounds. provide safe spaces and anchors in an ever-changing world. help us cope with trauma and loss. produce amazing memories, the silly and the sacred. Talk to your kids about what traditions are important to them and let them come up with their own. Quotes Sara: "It has been remarkable to watch how important, year after year, the daily rituals and traditions of summer camp are to our campers and to our staff. I dove in and did quite a bit of research on this and was struck by how profoundly shaping rituals and traditions are in our family cultures."
    Sara: "In our fast-paced world, where people travel for work, where families are going in different directions more often, where we don't necessarily live by extended family, many of the rituals and traditions are falling by the wayside. Kids have fewer of these anchor points than they used to back in the day."
    Sara: "There are things that stay the same when lots of other things are changing and it really does give us a sense of structure and stability and addresses our longing for simpler things and things you can count on. I think that's very important to kids, especially as they're growing, changing schools, maybe moving homes. Maybe family dynamics are changing, but I can count on tradition."
    Audrey: "People like that security of know that things are as they were. Kids need structure, they need to know when bedtime is, but they equally need the ritual of being tucked in and having someone say prayers with them or say goodnight to them or whatever the tradition is in your family."
    Sara: "Children want boundaries. They want a frame around the picture. As they are figuring out how to live life, they really crave discipline. So structure and traditions add to that and it creates a sense of safety and knowing what to expect."
    Audrey: "You almost don't realize some of the practices that you do or don't do that are traditions.  It is anything that you do that is part of your family's life. So many of our rituals are communicating our values."
    Sara: "There are a lot of life skills, really practical stuff, that are embedded in traditions that are helpful for our kids. Traditions provide us safe spaces and anchors in an ever-changing world. The more change, the more rituals and traditions we need."
    Audrey: "When things are tumultuous, you just want these touchstones of things that are still going to happen, that you can depend on still being there, regardless of what else has changed."
    Sara: "I urge you to look back and think about the rituals built into your family. What are the memories that came out of that? What glue to bond a family and help you get through some of the bumpy times."

    Audrey: "Sometimes when you're in it, you don't realize that those are traditions. If there's something that you do as a family that's really fun or memorable, why not repeat it each year?"
    Sara: "As you think of the traditions in your own family, sometimes it feels like a lot of pressure. The big things are awesome but sometimes it's just the daily flow of life things that provide even more anchoring."
    Audrey: "Returning to camp itself, or to the vacation places where your family likes to go, year after year, will help to bring calm back to the storm of life."
    Audrey: "Rituals and traditions are just something that can be going on all year, every day or every weekend or whatever, Friday night, movie n

    • 24 min
    Ep. 119: Year-End Reflection Activities

    Ep. 119: Year-End Reflection Activities

    This episode is a live recording of my chat with Sara Kuljis about some of our favorite year-end reflection activities. Joining Sara and me for this episode is Kate Rader, one of the participants from our Raise Thriving Kids Workshop. Kate is a stay-at-home mom to 3 adventure-seeking and fun-loving kiddos, Lauren and Caroline, identical twins who are 13 and Jack, age 10, wife to her college sweetheart Jeff and curious lover of books, podcasts, and conversations about intentional parenting and living.
    [caption id="attachment_6803" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Kate Rader and family[/caption]
    Here's what Kate had to say about our workshop:
    "It was just so wonderful to be in a room with people who care enough to be intentional about the choices they're making for their families and what they want for their families because it's a work in progress--and we're all working together."
    Big Ideas In addition to parenting books, podcasts, and coaching, workshops are a great resource for parents. Just as most people need continual training and education in their careers, parents can also take the time to learn and connect with others in order to feel invigorated. It is helpful to share what is working and to discuss best practices for strengthening family bonds. We talk a lot about the importance of self-care and modeling a balanced life for our kids.
    Today we discuss the ideas I shared in my recent post, 5 Simple Year-End Reflections:
    Create a Reverse Bucket List. Look back over your life and make a list of the cool things you've already done. 100 Family Memories - brainstorm and make a list of what happened in your family this year. Pick a Quote-of-the-Year. Find a quote that resonates with you, or something motivational, looking back or looking ahead, a quote you want to live by. Select One Word that you want to guide you in the new year. Be authentic and make it a word that is uniquely yours. Remember your Favorite Books or resources from the past year. Take time to let the new things that you have learned (in books, podcasts, workshops) to percolate and apply the concepts or practices to your life. Pick one or two of these ideas that resonate with you. You can do an activity on your own or engage the whole family. Make the delivery of the idea fun and light. Allow people to be silly. Getting the family together over the holidays, expressing gratitude, and setting intentions together are my favorite ways to bring in the new year.
    Quotes Sara: "Sometimes parenting intentionally feels counter-cultural. When we're swimming upstream, to have fishies to swim with is so confidence building. It's reassuring, it's empowering. I've loved all the parents we have gotten to work with through this project because it has fueled me."

    Kate: "The regular accountability is equally as important to me as the one-day workshop. Whether it's via podcasts, recorded conversations, or live conversations, getting together at Starbucks, or whatever it might be, that's really beneficial in maintaining the kind of wonderful feelings that we got coming out of the workshop."
    Kate: "If we're going to develop a true family culture, we need to be intentional about spending time together as a family. And that time is harder and harder to come by."
    Kate: "Just being together, away, experiencing some new adventures has been a neat way for us to firm up our family culture and values and make memories together. That's been a key take away for me."
    Kate: "It's not about those grand gestures. It's about the thoughtful, meaningful moments where people take the time to appreciate their relationships."
    Audrey: "Even if you're not a person who gives affirmations, I really don't think there's a person in this world who wouldn't mind getting a nice note saying something that someone likes about them."
    Audrey: "Sometimes parents start thinking that their relati

    • 33 min

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