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Helping Kids Grow In Gratitude This Summer

I realized the other day that I have about 4 summers left with my oldest before she graduates high school and goes off to collage. UUUGH! That really puts things into perspective.

I want to create a magical summer and do fun things to create core memories but let's be real, teens do not want to hangout with their moms, they want to be with their friends.

If you are like me I go into every summer with a new chores chart and have high hopes of getting some help with tasks at home. But then comes all the sports and I thought cheer was non stop with practices all summer long...... Volleyball is everyday and in the evenings too, but my youngest loves it and is having fun. Then comes high school cheer, a summer college course, driver's ed, teens are tired and I do want to honor them and let them have down time too.

So how do you balance the desire to make summers fun, but not over scheduled, not feel like you are being pushed out of your kids lives because they want to hangout with friends and they are too cool for their moms?

Recently after a very fun night in Detroit seeing the amazing Taylor Swift Eras Tour and hearing for a week how they want to go to the next concert and want and want and want, blah blah blah, I decided to try something new. The Summer Of Gratitude.

This summer I really want to focus on nurturing a sense of contentment and gratitude in my daughters and myself. Compared to much of the world, we live in luxury. We live in an upper middle class suburb, we are able to travel and take vacations, we have food on our table, we have a boat, they get almost any outfit they want, nails done all the time, Starbucks on the reg, and an almost endless assortment of entertainment options at their disposal.

I do not want to have entitled kids but more so, I want them to appreciate everything, even the little things. I want them to foster a sense of gratitude and appreciation. I do not want them to live for the next amazing thing. I want them to be happy just being them, not happy because of the name brand they have and a social status of financial things.

As Tony Robbins said, " Energy flows where attention goes." basically if your brain is focused on what you don't have, then you'll always be unhappy.

I think at some level, we all want our kids to be happy and with some parents we don't have great boundaries and need to learn it's ok for them to not be happy all of the time. I'm hoping that focusing on gratitude instead of consumption will help them develop a sense of deeper happiness that is long-lasting and more meaningful.

I want my girls and myself to feel like it's enough to just enjoy nature, a movie, the sunset, the lake, hanging out with family and friends this summer.

In the age of social media many posts are filled with aesthetically pleasing beaches and everything classmates are doing and influencers on their big Yachts in the south of France and Amalfi Coast in Italy ( Okay maybe that one is what I keep seeing on Instagram). This year, I have decided to put together something different.

This year I'm going to create a summer gratitude list, playing on an article I recently saw called the reverse summer bucket list; this is a list of things you have done in the past that they loved. The catch, this was an article being done with little kids, not a teen and a tween. So I am putting my own spin on this.

Summer of Gratitude and Reverse Bucket List:

  1. Go swimming

  2. Movie outside at the pool or just outside

  3. Kayaking

  4. Camping

  5. Start meditating with mom : )

  6. Practice Yoga with mom

  7. Practice Pilates with mom

  8. Play board games or card games

  9. Watch the sunrise at the lake

  10. Swimming with friends

  11. Watch the sunset on the boat floating in the middle of the lake

  12. Cousin sleepover

  13. Go to an amusement park

  14. Water balloon fight

  15. Go out for coffee

  16. Roast marshmallows and make S'mores

  17. Go hiking

  18. Go to the drive in movies

  19. Go to the farmer's market

  20. Make our own pizzas at home

  21. Start a journal practice

  22. Even better a daily gratitude practice and nightly brain dump

  23. Tie Dye

  24. Volunteer. Volunteering can be so much fun and open their eyes to the world around them.

  25. Give to others. Make someone else happy. A surprise, a note, paying it forward. A study led by Martin Selgman, known as the father of positive psychology, found that a one-time act of thoughtful gratitude produced an immediate 10% increase in happiness and 35% reduction in depression symptoms.

  26. Start a positive affirmation practice.

Wish me luck this summer : )

Let me know if you decide to create your own Gratitude and Reverse Bucket List this summer. What is on your's?

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