5 Action Steps With Kids

Now that summer is in full swing, let’s look at 5 Action Steps you can take With Kids.  Summer is a great time to work on the communication with our kids.  To help them enjoy being with the family by engaging them physically, and mentally.  Here are five steps that will help towards that goal.

One, Engage with them as Adults.  Think back to when you were a child, one thing you likely really disliked was when other adults treated you like you were a small child.  Now, you might not have been as “adult” as you thought you were, but still, you wanted to be treated like an adult.  Even seventh and eighth graders often think they are fully grown.  By treating kids as adults, engaging in adult conversations, helping them to see how to adopt perseverance and determination in their life, we add to their personal confidence immensely.

Two, Engage them in Activities.  I was a high school band director for many years, and I always noticed that many of the very best kids in the school were in the band program.  That is true of most activities, the kids that stick with developing their abilities in soccer, football, and playing an instrument, are in it for the long haul.  They already know that perseverance will pay off and they are with other kids who think the same way.  Find something that you child is interested in and talk with them about how to keep going when the “newness” wears off.  Sometimes kids want to play tennis, for example, but then when it gets hot and their arm hurts from hitting the ball, they’re ready to quit.  Help them to adopt perseverance, to have a vision about being really good at something and being willing to put in the personal effort to get there.

Three, Engage them in Civic Activities.  By setting an example on this as an adult, you can also hook your kids into volunteering for a good cause within your community.  It might be working at a 6K running event, or actually working with the homeless one Saturday a month.  As a kid, I learned this through Boy Scouts and later in DeMolay, both civic minded organizations that help others.  Teaching our kids to do this and being willing to also model it for them as adults, helps to expand their personal concerns to others and suddenly their concerns don’t seem to big.

Four, Engage them with Others.  With technology being so prevalent as it is, it is far too easy to just stay indoors with our electronics and feel like we’re engaging with others.  It is actually quite the opposite.  Research shows that over reliance on technology actually produces depression.  Many of our young people struggle with depression, and at least part of the answer here, might well be to get them out with others.  Some options include summer camps, youth camps, summer sports groups in the community, music, drama, dance organizations, martial arts, sports camps, church or faith based camps, all of these help to add a new dimension to their world and help them to feel more a part of it.

Five, Engage them in Mindfulness Personal Work.  This does not have to be faith based, although faith based is very effective.  It can be simply helping them to learn meditate, or encouraging them to take a Yoga class at the local gym.  It may include some type of journaling just for their private use.  With technology always stimulating our mind, or eyes and our senses, it is extremely important for their well-being and particularly their future well-being to learn how to just stop and allow our mind to drift into its own agenda.

Pick one or two of these and work with your young person to implement it this summer.  When we take time as parents to teach these centering activities to our kids, we give them skills that will last a lifetime.

Yours for Better Parenting,