Monthly Archives: June 2014

Summer Kindness with Kids

I received a group email from a friend on the first official day of summer for our children. The email simply read: “How many days till school starts again?” My response to this was:

“Lol…That Bad? I’m so glad you said something! I actually got out every parenting book I own today trying to arm myself against the ensuing chaos and at the same time I was trying to tell myself, the first week is the hardest! Glad I’m not alone! xoxo”

The truth is, like many others, summertime can feel like a mixed bag of excitement, relief, anxiety and maybe even dread for some. Or maybe it’s just that first day of summer, where most people are coming down from the roller coaster of the last two weeks of school where there seems to be an endless amount of parties, potlucks, celebrations, noxious amount of sugar consumption and little sleep.

For me, that first day of summer was especially difficult because my two kids were arguing, fighting and generally bugging each other.  I am hopeful that that was the low point for the entire summer and the rest of the long, warm days of summer will be harmonious and full of joy!

I have to admit, I was feeling more than anxious and a bit annoyed with my children that  first day, but then I tried to change my perspective to a kind one. What I mean, is first I needed to stop thinking of them as “little adults” and remember that they need some structure and they need to be engaged in something, anything other than trying to bug each other.  With a little desperation I grabbed the kids and headed down to Lake Shore Learning Center with the plan to purchase bridge workbooks for the summer.

Lake Shore Learning Center was amazing, not only did I find the bridge workbooks and buy a few birthday presents for upcoming parties, but the kids also loved the outing and all the cool things the store has to look at and even try out.

Once home, I sat the kids down and explained the plan for summer: “During the week, you will complete 2 pages in your bridge workbook, 20 minutes of reading for Alex (my 8 year old), 40 minutes of reading for Bella (my 10 year old) and 10 minutes of typing, all to be completed in the morning before 11 am swim practice.  We will leave the afternoons free to play outside  and/or play with friends. I will also take both of you on bi-monthly field trips to local museums, science centers, mini-golf, movies, etc.  And lastly, you will each receive 1 free hour of electronics, this includes, T.V., computer and ipad.  Any additional time on electronics will need to be earned by reading, a minute for a minute.”

I was actually surprised by the lack of complaints.  They seemed to almost be relieved by the fact that I made a plan. Just goes to show me that the parenting books are correct: Kids need structure!

Structure with Kindness.

Please share your summer plans for your kids.

Thank you,

Jenni

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Self Kindness

Self Kindness.  What does it mean to be kind to myself?  I think it means many things and comes in many forms and evolves and changes over our life time.

Here’s my ideal Self Kindness: Self Kindness for me comes down to nurturing my mind, my body and my soul. I nurture my mind through reading, writing, experimenting with a recipe and helping my children with math (not my strong suit!). I nurture my body by playing tennis with my friends, swimming, practicing yoga, teaching yoga, eating and sleeping well.  I nurture my soul by listening to my intuition, making sure I get time to be alone, spending time with my girlfriends, snuggling or playing with my kids and getting quality time with my husband. This is the ideal. I do attempt the above and in many ways I succeed, however, I still feel like I need more kindness, thus this blog, this adventure and this journey through kindness.

Okay, so here is the reality, some days I am actually kind to myself, but many days the negative behaviors take over. Negative self-talk, self-doubt, gossiping, self-judgement and judgement of others. I could write an entire book about self-doubt and indecision, but I don’t want to bore you! (I’ll save it for another day). Gossip, the big one. I have to say I love to gossip. I try to justify it, by telling myself that I like to figure people out and to be fair, I do like to “figure people out”.  I like to think about what makes a person tick, but sometimes it just boils down to gossip.  I try to remember the difference between discussing opinions and full-blown gossip.  The tell for me, is whether I feel bad after talking with a friend about another person.  Ideally, I wish I would stop and think, is this kind, is this necessary?

Judgement is basically the same thing as gossip. It’s what we do while we are gossiping, we are judging! My therapist used to warn me about judging others, she said for every outwardly judgement I made, somewhere deep inside me, I was actually judging myself.

Oh, and one more way to cultivate self kindness, is to let kindness happen, let people help or give compliments. For some reason, I have a very difficult time accepting compliments. If someone pays me a compliment, 9 times out of 10, I will have a witty come back that puts me down or an excuse as to why I’m not deserving of the particular compliment.  I’m not sure what purpose this serves?  I have even had people point this behavior out to me.  So, why can’t I accept a compliment?  What is it or what happened that makes me not worthy of a compliment. Low self-esteem?  Bad habit? I don’t think I struggle with self-esteem at 38. Sure, I have my bad days, maybe once a month, but I’m happy with myself and have learned to accept me as I am.  But for some reason, I just cannot accept compliments.

How can I cultivate more kindness in my life and in myself?

What are my 4 acts of kindness today?

How can I go deeper? How can I feel kindness and pass that onto my children?

Let me know how you create self kindness.

Thank you,

Jenni