211 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.

Sunshine Parenting Audrey Monke

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.8 • 91 Ratings

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. 179: Middle School Superpowers with Phyllis Fagell

    Ep. 179: Middle School Superpowers with Phyllis Fagell

    HAPPY CAMPERS: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults is now available on Audible!
    Visit Sunshine Parenting for more episodes & resources.
    Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.
    In Episode 179, I chat with Phyllis Fagell about her amazing book, MIDDLE SCHOOL SUPERPOWERS: Raising Resilient Tweens in Turbulent Times.
    When things don’t go right for a tween, it often feels HUGE: failing a test, being left out of a group chat, struggling with body image or identity, getting cut from a team. Middle school is often one of the rockiest times in a child’s life, even without today’s added challenges: a pandemic, the fear of school violence, divisive politics, and the scourge of social media. It’s filled with physical changes, social pressures, transitions in family, friend, and school dynamics, and countless new experiences that can be overwhelming and scary.
    In MIDDLE SCHOOL SUPERPOWERS: Raising Resilient Tweens in Turbulent Times (Hachette Go, August 1), Phyllis Fagell—a school counselor, Washington Post education column contributor, and the author of the definitive guide to this age group, Middle School Matters—offers a practical, evidence-based, and compassionate guide for parents and educators to help today’s tweens navigate these always-formative years.
    Phyllis L. Fagell is a licensed clinical professional counselor, a certified professional school counselor, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post and other national publications, and author of Middle School Matters and Middle School Superpowers. She is a school counselor at Sheridan School in Washington, D.C. and provides therapy to children, teens, and families at The Chrysalis Group Inc. in Bethesda, Maryland. Phyllis also speaks and consults on issues relating to parenting, counseling, and education.

    • 40 min
    Ep. 178: Connecting More Deeply with Gretchen Ruch

    Ep. 178: Connecting More Deeply with Gretchen Ruch

    HAPPY CAMPERS: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults is now available on Audible!
    Visit Sunshine Parenting for more episodes & resources.
    Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families.
    In Episode 178, my daughter Gretchen and I share a few tips for connecting more deeply with friends, co-workers, family, and people we just met.
    Have a bold, specific purpose for every gathering In Priya Parker's The Art of Gathering (which I recently listened to on a two-day binge), Parker talks about the importance of being really clear on why we're gathering - whether it's a work meeting, a birthday celebration, or a walk with a friend or two - and to have a specific, bold purpose for every gathering we host.
    "Celebrating a birthday" or "Having a weekly check-in meeting" are not bold purposes, but are what Parker calls "categories." She makes a compelling argument that as hosts we often spend so much time and energy on food, decor, and logistics but we neglect determining why we are gathering. And that purpose or why is what makes the event memorable.
    Here are some examples I've come up with with for events with more specific purposes:
    Having dinner together to celebrate the past year and share our best tip for the next one.
    Sharing our projects for the next week and setting up accountability and encouragement partners.
    Telling stories about ourselves that others don't know so that we can get to know each other better.
    Celebrating a birthday by bringing (and reading aloud) notes of what we appreciate about the person.
    Parker notes that it's important to tell guests the specific purpose before the gathering, so as not to put anyone on the spot. A simple inclusion on the invitation will suffice.
    How are you really doing? In this episode of Greg McKeown's podcast, he talks about simple tweaks on the normal "How are you?" question that help get us beyond the usual, "fine," or "great!" He suggests instead using either,
    How are you really doing?
    or a three-part series:
    How are you doing on the surface?
    How are you doing in the middle?
    How are you doing deep down?
    Ask (or provide) Great Questions One of the most important skills for making and keeping friends is asking questions. I've written and talked extensively on the topic (see links below).
    In my book Happy Campers I provide a resource list of questions that are great to use with groups of kids (including in your own family). These are questions we provide to our camp counselors as we train them to connect with their campers and help campers connect with one another. You can read more in Connection Through Questions & access the free PDF here.
    Even with people we are close to, there are still things we don't know about them. Consider using good questions - and great listening - to grow deeper connections.
    Audrey & Gretchen's other chats The Magic Relationship Ratio
    Ep. 161: An Inside Look at Sunshine's Parenting
    Ep. 135: Advice & Ideas from Teachers During COVID-19
    Links Loneliness in America
    The Pandemic of Loneliness
    The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker
    The Greg McKeown Podcast Ep. 157: See Through People's Masks
    Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown
    Ep. 40: Frientimacy with Shasta Nelson
    Camp Secret #1: Connection Comes First (Free audio chapter from Happy Campers)
    Connection Through Questions (PDF resource from Happy Campers)
    36 Questions to Get Closer to Someone You Love
    Making Memories at Mealtime (Goodwin University)
    Mealtime Conversation Cards (Goodwin University)
    50 Family Dinner Conversation Starters (Six Sisters Stuff)

    • 35 min
    [Encore] Ep. 119: Year-End Reflection Activities

    [Encore] Ep. 119: Year-End Reflection Activities

    Show Notes
    Subscribe for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families. 
    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.
    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 relationship with their child is supposed to be like a normal, reciprocal relationship. Expecting tha

    • 33 min
    [ENCORE] Ep. 63: Growing Gratitude with Sara Kuljis

    [ENCORE] 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, I’m chatting with my friend Sara Kuljis of Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp and Emerald Cove Day Camp. We talk about family gratitude practices and lessons from camp for having more grateful families. At Thanksgiving, it's easy to remember to be grateful, but the habit of gratitude -- practiced at camp, at home, and in the world -- helps us to be happier all year long.
    BIG IDEAS Gratitude is a muscle. We can build it with practice. Research has shown that those who express gratitude daily have a more optimistic view of life and a healthier well-being. Developing relationships with the people around us makes it easier to share authentic gratitude. Model respect by thanking others, especially those who serve us. Use their first names when possible. Make eye contact Ways to show gratitude at camp or at home : Flower Sunday -- the practice of handing a daisy while sharing an affirmation or gratitude with another person. You give your flower away and receive a flower from someone who acknowledges an action or quality they appreciate. Using a token such as a flower makes a difference. WOW Bulletin Board -- staff and campers send and receive notes to build each other up and express thanks. Thankful Thursday -- a note, text message or phone call to someone expressing thanks can become a helpful habit. 3 Good Things -- share three good things that happened at the end of each day. Commit to sharing them with friend or family member via text. It helps with accountability and makes it easier to remember. Go around the dinner table and share with your family or friends. Write them down in a journal before bed, or share three things you are thankful for first thing in the morning. This habit can not only strengthen your gratitude muscle but also deepen your relationships and improve your outlook on life. Gratitude Jar -- keep slips of paper for family write down things they are grateful for and collect the scraps in a jar. Share the memories collected over the year at New Year's Eve or at Thanksgiving or anytime. Attach the messages to a bulletin board or even to the Christmas Tree! Warm Fuzzies -- Take a sheet of paper for each person, write their name on it and pass it around. Have everyone write down what they appreciate about that person. Be specific. It is nice to recognize precise actions or character strengths we appreciate in others. Go around the table at mealtime and share 3 good things, something you are grateful for (besides friends and family) or something you are grateful for about yourself Ask children to think of ways they would like to show gratitude for others. Children have really good ideas themselves. QUOTES Audrey: "We cannot raise grateful kids if we are not promoting our own gratitude."
    Audrey: "It's important to remember that it's not just about completing a task, like sending a text or writing in your journal. It's about taking the moment to feel thankful. We need to take the task out of it and feel the gratitude."
    Sara: "At the end of the day being grateful makes me kinder and softer to those around me."
    Sara: "There's a lot of not-feeling-good-enough in the world. I enjoy helping people identify their natural talents and the natural goodness that is built in them and being intentional about building those into strengths for making a positive impact in the world."
    More Gratitude Resources and Ideas My Pinterest "Gratitude Board"
    5 Ways to Avert Thanksgiving Disappointment
    Raising Grateful, Not Entitled Kids
    A Grateful Family is a Happy Family
    Gratitude Revisited
    Feeling Thankful
    3 Reasons to Give Your Kid a WOW Today
    Grateful Campers are Happy Campers
    Learning to Enjoy the Little Things
    Teaching Kids Gratitude Rather than Entitlement: Berkeley News/Christine Carter

    Giving Thanks can Make you Happy, Harvard Health
    The Science of Gratitude: More Benefits Than

    • 33 min
    Ep. 177: Story Teaching with Sarah R. Moore

    Ep. 177: Story Teaching with Sarah R. Moore

    Visit Sunshine Parenting for additional resources mentioned in this episode. Check out Audrey's book, Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults
    Sarah R. Moore is the founder of Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting and author of Peaceful Discipline: Story Teaching, Brain Science & Better Behavior. She’s a public speaker, armchair neuroscientist, and most importantly, a Mama. She's a lifelong learner with training in child development, trauma recovery, interpersonal neurobiology, and improv comedy. As a certified Master Trainer in conscious parenting, she helps bring JOY, EASE, and CONNECTION back to families around the globe. Her heart's desire is to bring greater peace and healing to the world through loving and respectful parenting. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, & Twitter.

    • 32 min
    Ep. 176: Summer Camp & COVID with Dr. Heather Silverberg

    Ep. 176: Summer Camp & COVID with Dr. Heather Silverberg

    Sunshine Parenting host Audrey "Sunshine" Monke & pediatrician (and camp doctor) Dr. Heather Silverberg talk about how COVID is impacting kids this summer at camp.
    Want encouragement & simple strategies for raising thriving future adults? Check out Audrey's book, HAPPY CAMPERS: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults.
    Happy Campers on Audible.

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
91 Ratings

91 Ratings

JLL_underscore ,

Fun and informative

Some podcasts are all about the fun - some chit-chat that's nice to listen to but doesn't do anything useful. Some are all about the informative - but take themselves a little too seriously. Audrey's sense of humor navigates both of these worlds effectively to make a useful podcast that's a joy to listen to!

Dpippen ,


Audrey's joy is so contagious. I'm so grateful to be connected to someone who takes parenting seriously but doesn't live like a martyr. I love how she always thinks in terms of possibilities!

wmgossett ,

The only Parenting podcast you will need!

Audrey “Sunshine” Monke that’s up to her name with her positive outlook and velocity on how she works with kids. Since she works with thousands of kids and has raised five of her own, she KNOWS kids and what is happening in the current landscape. The guests she has on her show are relevant and give tangible advice for younger children as well as adult children.This podcast will infuse your parenting with sunshine!

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