I have a big question for you - where will your kids be 10 years from now? Picture in your mind how old they will be, and what phase of life they will be in. Mine will be 18, 16 and 12. The older two especially will be making decisions about schools, and potential future careers. It’s crazy to think about them being independent adults, not kids. But that’s our job as parents, isn’t it?
When I think of my kids in this way, it shifts my focus from the day to day craziness to the big picture of my role in their lives. It moves my decisions from efficiency based “gotta get through the day” mindset to viewing time spent as an opportunity to empower them and invest time & energy in our connection. Here are three ideas for mindful activities that will help you engage & empower your kids this summer:
Make a Summer Family Fun List
Sit down and brainstorm ideas together. No idea is too outlandish, and write down all ideas (including the road trip to the moon) without dismissing them. Pick a manageable number to run with, like 8-10 activities if you’re aiming for once per week. You can lead your kids to discuss what is & isn’t possible logistically. Maybe lockdown has eliminated all road trips but you could still visit a splash pad close to home? Throughout these conversations, we can be talking about what we’re grateful to have access to, and how fortunate we are. As a bonus empowerment tool, you can also ask for their help to research and plan the activities. They’ll be learning how to mindfully set priorities, practicing gratitude and growth mindset. (Bonus tip: let them use your cell phone camera while you go on the adventure, and you'll have the memories captured from their perspective).
Start a Family Journal / Book Club
This activity is wonderful to do with kids ages 5-10. Whether it's daily or weekly, setting aside a specific time to write in a journal will help build this therapeutic habit. We aim for weekly, and let the kids choose a page from their Heart of a Hero journal with a prompt that is appealing to them and resonating that day. If you are using a blank notebook, you can tailor your prompts to your kids and encourage them to reflect on specific events in their week. Sit with them while they get started to connect about their ideas. Another bonus tip - once they’re settled, that’s a great time to grab your journal, and work on your own gratitude practice.
Choose books that reflect the values that you want your children to demonstrate. Choose books that reflect them, and also books that are different from their lived experiences to introduce them to other points of view. Choose books where they can learn something new, go on an adventure, or discover more about history. Next time you can physically take them to a bookstore, have them lead the way and let them choose so you can see what they’re curious about. After you read, ask questions that encourage critical thinking and connection to their own world.
You are raising the future.
You are raising kind people who care about others.
You are raising future leaders who will make a mark on the world around them.
By engaging kids, encouraging curiosity and critical thinking, we can empower them to confidently change the world. That’s why this work of parenting is so important. Changing the world starts at home.