208 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 • 90 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. 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
    [ENCORE] Ep. 37: 8 Tips for First-Time Camp Parents

    [ENCORE] Ep. 37: 8 Tips for First-Time Camp Parents

    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 37, Sara Kuljis (of Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp and Emerald Cove Day Camp), and I share tips and ideas for parents sending kids to overnight camp for the first time.
    Camp Preparation Topics We Cover  Forms: What parents need to do now, including reading through camp information and filling out all your camp forms thoroughly and completely.
    Why camp staff needs the forms well in advance of your child's arrival.
    Importance of letting camp directors know any special circumstances that might impact your child's stay.
    Medications: Why it's never a good idea to make any changes in prescription medication right before camp.
    Importance of sending all medications in their original prescription containers.
    Thoughts on whether to continue vitamins.
    Encouraging Your Child to Reach Out to Camp Staff: Talking about and role-playing with your child how they can talk with trusted adults (counselors, directors) at camp.
    Packing for Camp: Importance of camper being involved in the packing process so they know where everything is!
    Packing as a life skill and a way to build responsibility.
    Make sure you know what items are not allowed at camp (so that those don't go to camp).
    How to pack (rolling outfits, using ziplock bags, and other methods).
    Not to bring expensive clothing items or ones that require special laundering.
    Bringing a comfort item, photo album, journal, and/or books.
    Sending Letters: Send a letter ahead of time so your camper has one at first mail call!
    Let friends and relatives know your camper's address at camp and any mail policies
    Planning for Downtime before and after Camp: Allow some margins in your family's schedule so your child can be well-rested before camp.
    Familiarize Yourself with your Camp's Online Services: Find out where to get news, photos, texts, etc.
    Opt-in to anything that isn't going to automatically come to you!
    The Gift of Letting Your Child go to Summer Camp: Why letting your child go to camp is a great way to set your child up for future independent experiences.
    Related Ep. 39: How to Handle Your Camper's Homesickness
    Ep. 10: Homesick and Happy with Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
    Countdown to Camp
    5 Essential Summer Camp Packing Tips
    5 Fun Ideas for Letters to Campers
    Messages for an Anxious Camper
    How Camp Helps Parents Raise Adults
    Label Daddy
    More information about Audrey’s book is here: Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults.
    In Happy Campers, Audrey shares what she’s learned from three decades of creating a culture where kids become happier while gaining important social and emotional skills. The book is based on her thousands of interactions with campers, camp counselors, and parents, her academic research in positive psychology, and interviews with camp directors from across the country.

    • 42 min
    [ENCORE] Ep. 111: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World

    [ENCORE] Ep. 111: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World

    Join Debbie's TILT Parenting book club (Spring, 2022).
    In this episode, I'm talking with Debbie Reber, creator of TiLT Parenting, the host of the TiLT Parenting Podcast, and the author of Differently Wired: Raising and Exceptional Child in a Conventional World. While this book was written mainly for parents that need extra support, I think it will resonate with all parents of all kids.
    Big Ideas Every child deserves to be understood and accepted for who they are. We are all wired differently. Some differences are more visible than others. Each kid needs different tools to thrive in life and we can help them figure out what they need for their individual journey. When parents and children communicate their needs and explain their differences to others, people are more understanding and accepting. 3 Key Take-Aways: Find a community and resources Find the right kind of support (parent coach, couples counselor, online communities) Embrace and accept kids' strengths; teach them to articulate their needs. Gifted kids also have special needs that can be addressed and supported in schools and at home. As a parent, set aside what you think your child's (social, academic, physical) life should look like, and respect your child's own timeline. Quotes Audrey: "Sometimes people are just kind of under the radar. Maybe they aren't diagnosed with something, but their parents just sort of know that they don't move through life the same way that other people do."
    Debbie: "Many of the kids in my community may not have a formal diagnosis but a lot of them are extra sensitive, have heightened anxiety and are more tuned in and the world is an intense place for them."
    Debbie: "I wanted to cast a wide net and include any sort of narrow atypicality because there are so many of us. But when we stay in our little buckets, we don't get to tap into the collective and recognize the power in our numbers and why things really do need to change."
    Audrey: "Sometimes our biggest challenges become our biggest gifts."
    Audrey: "You did this journey together with your son, learning how to help him navigate the world and then how to help you navigate the world as a parent. You figured out how to embrace your son and all of his strengths and his uniqueness and help him become his best self. And you helped him be able to articulate to the world who he is and what he needs."
    Audrey: "I've always loved delving into all the personality type inventories that just help us learn how the way we see the world or react to things is different from other people and being a little more empathetic and understanding of that as opposed to thinking it's wrong."

    Debbie: "We're really looking at this person as an individual human on their own incredible journey. I think it can be really hard when we're just kind of on this treadmill of life, doing what everybody else is doing. Take a conscious step back and say, 'wait a minute--who is this kid and what do they need to do to really thrive?'"
    Debbie: "It's not easy to take that pause and to really shift your focus."
    Audrey: "Even for people with different interests, the concept that there is one path is so flawed. Kids who aren't academically inclined or school isn't their thing are left feeling like they don't fit in. Often, it beats them down to the point where they don't have the opportunity to explore their interests."
    Audrey: "The impact of not letting kids be who they really are and exploring that is coming out in the rise of mental health disorders, substance abuse, and suicide among adolescents and young adults. All of these things can be traced back to the same idea that if you don't fit into some prescribed thing, the world is hard."
    Audrey: "We all have a lot of parental shame, insecurity, guilt, worry and often loneliness when we are kind of embarrassed by our kids' behavior or confused or just don't get it."
    Debbie: "There's a lot of judging in parenting. It's pervasive and it's really harmful. It hurt

    • 33 min
    Ep. 175: The Happiness Workbook for Kids with Maureen Healy, Ph.D.

    Ep. 175: The Happiness Workbook for Kids with Maureen Healy, Ph.D.

    Check out Audrey's book, HAPPY CAMPERS, for insights and ideas for raising thriving future adults. Now available in audio, digital, and print formats. Visit Maureen Healy's website, Growing Happy Kids, for more about Maureen's work and books. Visit Sunshine Parenting for more resources & episodes.
    In this episode, Maureen Healy, Ph.D., and I talk about her new book, The Happiness Workbook for Kids, which is her brand new, kid-friendly workbook with ideas based on her many years of experience helping children improve their happiness and well-being. We previously discussed The Emotionally Healthy Child, which we discussed back in Ep. 80: The Emotionally Healthy Child with Maureen Healy.

    • 34 min
    The New Adolescence with Christine Carter, Ph.D.

    The New Adolescence with Christine Carter, Ph.D.

    Visit Sunshine Parenting for Show Notes & Links. ENCORE NOTES: This incredible book came out just prior to the start of the pandemic. I was privileged to read an early copy and hear Christine speak about it in February, 2020. If you have (or will eventually have) an adolescent, I highly recommend this book. Things have changed since we were their age, and Christine offers her trademark, research-backed wisdom in this must-read.
    In this podcast episode, I'm joined by my friend Christine Carter, a sociologist working out of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center and author of some of my favorite parenting books. We are talking about her newest book, The New Adolescence, Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distractions.
    Big Ideas As your kids enter adolescence, parents should change their mindset from being their manager to being their coach. As they get older, kids need to be their own manager and take care of more things independently. Kids need less practical support and more emotional support. As their "life coach" you can help them to clarify what outcomes they want and be there for them, without being over-involved. 3 Core Skills Kid Need for the Digital Age: Focus Connection Rest Parents should try to model a life full of focus, connection and rest. The New Adolescence offers tips and talking points on some difficult topics such as sex, drinking alcohol, drugs, and money, and ways to discuss them with your child. The earlier kids start drinking alcohol, and the more they drinking in high school, the more likely it is that they will develop a substance abuse disorder. It is important to note that marijuana today has higher THC and less CBD than in years past and pot use in adolescence has proven to hinder brain development. Real-life social connections are a good antidote for depression, stress, and anxiety. Quotes Christine: "As parents, we haven't adapted to the massive changes (in our culture) and we're not continuing to adapt as things continue to change."
    Christine: "If we're used to doing everything for our kids and we find meaning and a sense of purpose in being somebody's chief of staff or manager, then it's hard. It's a loss of a role."
    Christine: "Kids need coaches to ask them to clarify what it is they want, what outcomes they are after and to help them to get those outcomes. You can be as emotionally supportive as you want but not over-involved."
    Audrey: "Our kids will have setbacks and make mistakes and sometimes get themselves into bad circumstances. These things are going to happen."
    Christine: "We can only do our best. I understand why parents are not engaging in some of these harder issues because it's hard to even understand what's going on."
    Audrey: "Your book is a great guidebook and it's a great start for people who are struggling. There's this balance that sometimes parents have a hard time finding, between letting your child grow up, gain more responsibility, more independence, trusting them, and changing your relationship."
    Audrey: "I think it's very simple to think about changing from being a manager to a coach. You're there for advice. You want them to come to you when they're struggling with something or need some help, but you are not going to, for instance, make their dentist appointment anymore. You share with them the phone number and make sure they know how often they need to go and that kind of thing."
    Christine: "We are living through an age of great distraction. At the same time, we're seeing a real change in the type of work these kids are going to be asked to do. Most of them will be paid to think...and focus."
    Christine: "They're not developing focus as a skill because they're multitasking all the time. They're constantly interrupted. They never learned to value focus or have the experience of doing deep work."
    Christine: "Focus is the superpower of the 21st century. That is the most important thing that they need for their success and h

    • 43 min
    Camp Secret #1: Connection Comes First (Happy Campers)

    Camp Secret #1: Connection Comes First (Happy Campers)

    Audio excerpt from Audrey Monke's book, HAPPY CAMPERS: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults.
    Now available at Audible.

    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
90 Ratings

90 Ratings

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!

CMuchnick ,

Sunshine in my life

This podcast brings on a variety of interesting guests who are hosted as though they are friends of Audrey’s. What they share in their conversations about parenting makes listeners want to do better. So many terrific, timely and helpful topics. I love this podcast.

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