Do you have summer memories from your childhood that you will remember forever? These are much more important than you may think. The reason those memories are burned into your mind and heart is they were experienced at a high emotional level. These deep emotional connections are so important for the development of a child. To better understand and appreciate what a deep emotional connection and experience is just think of anything that makes you ball yours eyes out crying, or makes you roll on the ground in a big belly laugh you cannot stop. You want your child's life to be rich and full of these. Many believe that in today's fast paced and technologically drive world, kids today are missing out on this. Too much "screen time". These screens cannot give children the rich emotional experiences they need. But more alarming is they cannot give them the personal one-on-one "human" connection with others. They say that the real reason being with others is a human need is because sharing events with others is the "ultimate magnifier of the human experience". To illustrate this just imagine going on a huge rollercoaster by yourself. Now take that same rollercoaster ride and put 12 of your best and craziest friends with you all screaming their heads off!
So what can you do? Here are a few suggestions: - Limit Screen Time: Make it intentional and controlled. Enough said! - Quality over Quantity: Intentionally spend time with your kids FULLY present. (Put away the smartphone and laptop). But here is the good news. You do not need to spend a ton of time with them but make your primary objective to spend quality time with them. Get creative and do new things. Go to places you have never gone before. Meet new people. Get a little crazy. Have your kids involved in researching and finding things to do. - Make Memories and Magic Moments: Make life long memories! And, it does not have to be elaborate or expensive. It can be as simple as catching fireflies in a field or running through puddles during a warm rainstorm. A camping or fishing trip always make memories. Traveling is another great one and you do not have to travel far. Maybe research Michigan and find things you never thought of doing in our own backyard. In our family traveling has always been at the top of our list. Interestingly, our fondest memories have been around things going wrong. It is the most amazing feeling when something big goes wrong, then all you do is laugh and solve it! - Make a New Family Tradition: Remember the word "culture"? This is your family identity, who you are as a family. A fun thing to do is make some new family summer traditions. A common one is an annual camping trip or family reunion. Or a place you visit every summer. But anything you do on a regular basis will work. Until our kids went off to college one of our top family traditions was going over to Cedar Point just before school let out for the summer. We always rewarded them for top grades with this trip. We love rollercoasters! So, get your kids involved and make some life long memories this summer! Summer is short . . . their childhood is even shorter! See you at the dojo, Sensei