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Childhood is short.
Summer is even shorter.
Eighteen summers are all we get.

How will your family spend this precious summer season?

While June, July, and August may be perfect for lazy days and relaxation, we mustn’t make the mistake of aimlessly drifting through the summer months without purposely making a proactive plan for our family.

What exactly is it that you want and need?

I love that summer provides my teenagers mornings to sleep in and time to rest and recover from their normally stressful high school scheduled programming. Yet, more downtime equates to more screen time if we’re not mindful.

How can we get our kids off screens and make this summer count?

I know this 17th summer of ours matters yet how do we make the most of it despite our realities and circumstances?

We must decide to deliberately design our summers.

9 Ways to Deliberately Design Your Summer

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Over the holiday break, my husband and I continuously threatened to shut off our kids’ cell phone data plans, the wifi, the cable box- anything that might get our relaxing students to do something other than stare at a screen in their downtime.

How badly we want 2018 to be the Year of Successfully Parenting Our Screenagers.

Our family has tech boundaries. We have rules for the devices. We even made a cell phone contract when we allowed our kids to purchase their first phones three years ago. How come it’s so hard for our teenagers to follow the guidelines we’ve set and even more difficult for us as parents to uphold them?

Parenting children on screens can be absolutely maddening. 

Thank goodness for the release of the new book Be The Parent, Please Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning SnapChat- Strategies for Solving Real Parenting Problems because I need all of the advice I can get when it comes to this subject!

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When I was asked if I wanted to receive a copy of Be the Parent, Please to review- they had me at the title alone. Ban Snapchat. Where do I sign up? Be the Parent. Yes, please. I’m all over that. I know it’s my ‘job’ to lead my children well, but somehow I still feel that I’m failing them when it comes to tackling technology.

Author Naomi Schaefer Riley is an acclaimed author and mother of three. She brings her experience, research, and no-nonsense candor to the book to help families retake control over technology’s influence.

I am so grateful for the wisdom I gain from books like Riley’s and other books I’ve read on parenting kids on screens.

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Riley challenges us to examine how we really want our children to interact with the world and gives us realistic tips on how to accomplish those goals. Be the Parent, Please motivates us with oh so many reasons to take back control of the screens in 2018.

The book is full of real-life relatable situations and lots of research to get us thinking about being the parent we really want to be. I love that the author talks about the benefits of technology free sleepaway summer camp. Being in nature without devices for several weeks is just one of the many reasons to consider sending your screenagers to camp.

It’s up to us to lead our children well this year and this book is a perfect start to helping us figure out how exactly we want to do that.

Leave a comment below on why you need to read this book!

One lucky winner will be selected at random to receive a hard copy of Be the Parent, Please by mail. US residents only, please!

Winner will be announced on January 23!

 

We read about various simple traditions created within a glass jar. We love the ideas and we’re inspired to start, yet regular life gets in the way and somehow we never get around to actually accomplishing one ourselves.

Let’s turn our intentions into action and start that meaningful glass jar tradition now.

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Today is Arizona Gives Day and whether or not you will be giving financially today to Arizona’s non-profits, it’s a great day to think about how giving fits in to your family.

Do you have a Family Charitable Giving Plan? 

As parents, we have an essential role to play when it comes to modeling generosity. It’s up to us to make sure volunteering and giving is a priority in our homes.

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When I think of our FAMILY and the word PLAY, I think perhaps that ship has sailed. Our kids are all in middle school, so there isn’t a lot of interest in play time anymore, is there? There’s a lot of playing around perhaps. And the term “playdate” has long been replaced with “hangout.” But, is there a need for regular family playtime?

While listening to Brene’ Brown’s The Gift of Imperfect Parenting audio CD in my car today, the importance of play in families really hit home. It made me realize that our lack of family play is exactly why we pulled out of our normal existence to take a 6 month hiatus around the USA. It was a way to regain playtime in our family. I never looked at it like that. Times of play had been hijacked by long days at school, homework, competitive sports and other extracurricular obligations. Our family had no time for regular play. Play is what our family was missing.

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I think it’s why so many of us love to travel and plan family vacations nowadays. It’s the only time we carve out for downtime to be together. I believe that today’s culture deprives us the regular opportunity for family play and we need to wake up to that fact and intentionally incorporate it back in. Stuart Brown is a leading expert on play who believes that the importance of play is essential through our lifetime. He even wrote a book on the science of play, and its essential role in fueling our happiness and intelligence throughout our lives. We cannot let go of relaxed, silly fun at any age. It is the piece of family life that keeps us joyful and connected.

When you think about your family, what are those activities you enjoy doing where you just lose track of time having fun together?

Here are 6 ways our family PLAYS together.

1. HIKING

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The beauty of hiking Bryce Canyon, Utah

2. BIKING

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Biking the Sites in Washington DC with Bike and Roll

3. GEOCACHING- the kids introduced us to this fun treasure hunt type phenomenon. We always were on the lookout for different Geocaches‘ wherever we went.

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Geocaching near the headquarters in Seattle, Washington!

4. ADVENTURE COURSE CLIMBING 

Our adventurous kids get us out doing things that we wouldn’t normally do.  We did several adventure courses during our travels, but this was one of our favorites.

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Enjoying our day at Whitefish Mountain Aerial Adventure Park in Montana!

5. WHITEWATER RAFTING

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Rafting down the Nantahala River, with Adventurous Fast Rivers, in North Carolina!

6. COLLECTING SEA GLASS

This is a family tradition passed down from my parents. We love to see who can find the biggest piece or the most unique color! We spend hours doing this at the beach.

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Enjoying St. Martin’s Grand Case beach!

The family that plays together stays together!

Make a list of the unique things you enjoy doing together as a family. How will you incorporate PLAYTIME back into your FAMILY if you too find it’s missing?