Family Fitness in 36 Seconds
One act. Three seconds. Twelve times. Equals 36 seconds a day. What’s the magic moment? A hug.
According to family therapist Virginia Satir, “The recommended daily requirement for hugs is: 4 per day for survival, 8 per day for maintenance, and 12 per day for growth.” A family’s emotional fitness can be aided by a mere 36 seconds a day.
But, the real trick, says neuroeconomist Paul J. Zak, is that the hug has to be associated with a “signal of trust”. Having some sign of confidence in the relationship, or potential connection, accompanied with the hug insures moods more at peace, security increased, and stress released.
Efforts can be made to remind us, and family members, of the 36-second hug habit. To strengthen the attachment process and hug therapy in your home I made 2 versions of the Hugs & Kisses Kit. (I threw in the kisses for good measure.) The idea is that the kit has chocolate candies and every time one is taken out, then a hug has to be given to someone as ‘payment’. The kit really isn’t necessary, just a fun reminder to get your family counting and keeping track of heart healthy hugs.
Here are a few other times to wrap your head (and arms) around.
• hug in morning
• hug at night
• hug to greet
• hug to congratulate
• hug to warm
• hug to protect
• hug to connect
• hug to apologize
• hug to energize
• hug to support
• hug to strengthen
• hug to surprise
Thirty six seconds to increase family fitness of heart and mind. Do you have the time today?
Get the DIY downloadable here @ Idaho Women's Journal for $2.
There's a crafty version and a quick version. I had the quick version of the Hugs & Kisses glass jar out during a party and there were hugs everywhere.
Try it out in your home and let me know how you like it.
1) Do acknowledge them
Talk to them when they come in. Show some interest. Get to know them.
2) Do show respect
Kids want to be treated like an adult, this is one area in which that works.
3) Do provide food
Food always works. Feed them. Even let them have access to the kitchen.
4) Do be some fun
Do something unexpected from the normal routine. Be a little playful.
5) Do avoid confrontations
This isn't the time to correct your kid. Do that later, where you can discuss.
6) Do remember them
Names, siblings, & unique things about them. Also, how your kid knows them.
7) Do make it peaceful
An environment that's void of contention makes a place people want to be.
8) Do leave a little space
Give them some room. Not the bedroom. But, some talking space to be private.
9) Do like them
Everyone has annoyances. Overlook them. See what your kid sees. Be open.
10) Do keep long hours
It doesn't have to be 'open all night' but kids like late nights. Especially weekends.
Bonus: Do treat them like family
Everyone wants to belong. Somewhere. Make it you and yours that they think of as 'family' when they need to connect. How you interaction with your kid's friends, and your kid, will benefit everyone.
What do you do?
10 Don'ts When Interacting with Your Teen's Friends
1. Don't try to be cool.
And painful. It never works when a parent tries to be cool.
2. Don't compete.
You lose when you make it about competing with your kid. Join a ball team.
3. Don't make fun.
Never use your kid (or their friends) as the punch line for a joke. Laugh at
4. Don't always jump in.
Let them figure a few things out. You don't always have to share the answers.
5. Don't look for friends.
Don't make your kids friends your friends. On FB or at home. Find your own.
6. Don't be pushy.
It doesn't have to be my way or the high way. Let some things ride.
7. Don't be fake.
Embrace & express who you are & be authentic. No need to use a bull horn.
8. Don't take over the conversation.
Be a small part of the conversation, don't be the conversation. Sometimes,
don't even talk.
9. Don't be sensual.
Do I even need to say anything? Sadly, yes. Turn your sexual brain off. Period.
10. Don't try to outshine.
The spotlight shouldn't be on you or how you feel. Your kid is the star.
Bonus: Don't embarrass.
This isn't about you. Then, again, it's all about you. Kids don't want to be embarrassed at all costs. You have the power to make sure that doesn't happen to them, or their friends. Make them comfortable, and keep them coming around. You won't end up being the jerk parent, or any of the above kind either.
What other "don't" would you add to the list?
At church we have a program for young women (12-18 years) to develop character. They have various activities they can perform. One of the experiences they get to have is a chance to "strengthen your relationship with a family member by showing love through your actions". To help the girls I made up this Hugs & Kisses Kit.
I did this around Father's Day so the girls could have a chance to focus on their relationship with their Dad if they wanted to. Since it's close to Father's Day I thought I'd share it with you.
This activity lasts two weeks so I gave simple suggestions of what they can do to interact each day. Some of the activities are
Day #7 Make a treat for this person,
Day #11 Text a nice comment to this person,
Day #2 Find out their favorites,
Day #8 Talk about your favorite things to do in Summer.
I designed these into 1/4 sheet handouts. They can put it on a ring to help them remember. I call it The Ring Thing™. I've made several for different topics to go on the Ring Thing which I'll share periodically. Here's a photo of my Ring Thing.
Here's a PDF to download if you'd like to use it for some activity you have. It's a black and white PDF that you can print onto colored paper. Then you can cut it into 1/4 sheets.
It was the end of another school year. Except this one was different for me because I've been part-time teaching all year. The woman I worked with has been wonderful in sharing her art room and showing me how things go. I wanted to give her a going away gift and thought about the times that we have had emergency drills. (We live in Tornado Alley) I came up with this bitesized classroom emergency kit. It's not a comprehensive kit, more of a make the kids feel good while they're in emergency positions kit. So I filled it with a few things, designed and printed an insert label, and tied a bow. One box, one label, one shopping trip, one gift. Easy peasy. I've included the steps and downloads for you if you'd like to give this gift a go. (It doesn't have to be just for a classroom, you could use it for an office or some other place.)
Start off with a clear pencil box, the long ones found in WalMarts & Targets. (It's about 13" long)
Then download the label and print on a legal size paper. (I've left the name off and your content area blank on the templates.)
I use a paper cutter to cut the printed label.
Fill the kit. Here are the contents for this classroom emergency kit. (But add whatever you'd like.)
30 light stick bracelets • 1 large black trash bag • 2 small trash bags • 2 packages of tissues • 2 sticky note pads • 2 ink pens • 1 paper tablet • 1 small red sharpie • 1 large black sharpie • 1 lighter • 4 bullnose clips • 4 thick rubber bands • 1 bottle hand sanitizer • 1 spray hand sanitizer • 2 hand warmers • 16 wipes • 13 tie wraps • 10 safety pins - You could fill it with anything really
Here are the downloads below, in several versions for legal size paper (8.5" x 11").
When my daughter Alisha was almost due with her baby, I was invited to the baby shower given by her school co-workers. We had planned a family/friend shower and I already had a gift in mind for baby Caeden to give then. So, for this shower I wanted to give a gift that would be fun for her. But, of course I waited until the day of - nothing like a little self-imposed pressure to get the creativity going.
Trying to think of something, I mentally went back to my baby hospital stays and remembered that after deliveries I was always starving. My friends would then smuggle in a burger or pizza – contraband. Then I thought, “What if you planned for the contraband before going into the hospital?” As a result, I came up with the idea of a Hospital Contraband Kit.
The Hospital Contraband Kit is a clear make-up bag with a printed label inserted inside that is then filled with personally tailored contents. For my daughter, I chose chocolate contraband and she loved it! Shortly after that, another friend’s daughter had her baby. It was Christmas Eve afternoon and I didn’t want to fight any crowds at the stores. I remembered that I had an extra make-up bag and quickly printed the label then headed out the door. On my way, I stopped at a convenience store (more expensive but worth it to miss the Christmas chaos) to pick up the contraband. It was a pretty effortless gift and she thought it was great.
Here are the fast and easy steps for you to put together your own kit. Print. Fold. Fill.
#1 Print the free download #2 Fold on the printed lines #3 Fill with 1 of 3 options
You don't really need to get sick to have or make one. Here are the different things you can put inside.
To Do -
• Print - PDF Download on 8.5 x 11 white cardstock
• Fold - printout on light grey lines
• Buy - clear make-up bag approx $6 (Modella Brand WalMart)
• Buy - contents, your choice
• Fill - and give
So, what would you put in a Hospital Contraband Kit?
Did a little surfing down memory lane and came across an article that I contributed to a long time ago and forgot about. It was about TV viewing and what can be done to curb the amount of time watching it. (We've never been big television watchers. There's just so many other really fun things to do.) I'm glad to report the things I said yesterday (relatively speaking) are still valid today. You can see if you agree.
If you've got going back to school on your mind, here is an article at OnlineSchools.com that might give you some inspiration. It also happens to quote me and tell a little about my experience going back to school. (I'll share a few more tips another day, after I know which ones aren't going to be used for another article.) Going back to school was really hard but very worth it. An investment in me and our family.
PS Other articles I've contributed to.
Last year I read an article and did a post about my New Year resolutions going in a new way. Here is part of what I said in 2011, "...after reading this article I realized that Christine's idea of picking a word as a guide for the year, something to "become", was a better fit for me now." This year I am looking back on that to see how it went.
My guide word last year was "FOCUSED" and I found that is was simple and it became a sort of mantra for me. With whatever I did I went back to "focused" for guidance because that's what I was looking for in my life. It was helpful and the first 8 months went really well. The last few got a little, unfocused. I think the thing I would do differently to avoid that is to put the word up for me to see, somewhere, and so I could remember near the end of the year. Maybe by the 8th month "focused" was just more ingrained and less conscious. Whichever way, I liked it and I'm going to try it again this year. So I have a new word for 2012...
It's "finish". On New Year's Day I went through many words thinking about what I wanted to have guide me and I am really in a need of finishing things. When I think of this guide word it makes me think about what I am going to take on, because I have to finish it. It makes me think that if it will help me be more thoughtful and balanced. It makes me think of what is on the table now, and finish it.
Kind of ironic because this post sat here for several days before I actually finished it, to post it. So, my guide word "finish" is very fitting.
Well, yesterday I talked about gift giving. Today I have something else on my mind. This morning I read an article about a NYC public school teacher who told her class of second graders, during a geography lesson, that there was no Santa. She was discussing the North Pole and the children assured the teacher they knew where the it was because Santa lived there. The teacher decided to clarify that myth and said that there was no Santa. Also, she felt a need to tell them that it was their parents who put presents under the tree for them, not Santa. What exactly that had to do with geography I don't know.
After the article, there ensued a back and forth in the comments section about whether kids should be told the truth, if they should even be told to believe in Santa at all, and every opinion in between. I have issues with Santa myself. I've never told my kids there was and never told them there wasn't. When they asked me I would always respond with, "What do you think?" Sometimes they'd say what they thought and sometimes they didn't. I let them talk. So, the belief in the man Santa has been perpetuated very little, if at all, in our home. But, the spirit of Santa and Christmas has.
As an artist I'm very aware of symbols and their use. We use symbols in society all the time. Santa Claus is a symbol. A collective symbol of the intangible attributes of joy, wonder, mystery and surprise that we have few other means to share and pass on. For most of society we have mutually agreed to do that. Just as we've nationally decided that the American Flag is a symbol of patriotism, wedding rings a symbol of fidelity and love, and yellow ribbons a welcoming back home. Whether we choose to embrace these icons and the ideas they represent are personal choices.
A lot of times people get so emotional that they miss the mark about what the problem is. The real issue with this situation is that this teacher believed, and acted on the idea, that it was her RIGHT to tell these children. She decided that Teacher usurps Parent. Put another way, Teacher displaces, supplants, confiscates, or cuts out Parent. This is a policy that is being perpetuated in some schools - teacher has more right than a parent to decide - on many issues like gender, sex, and religion. The problem with not seeing the core issue is that Parent then relinquishes, surrenders ands hands over their right to Teacher.
This teacher decided in that moment, without care, concern, nor consensus of others, that she would take on the role of Parent. In her "truth-telling" did she really have regard about how the truth was told? How the children might respond to it? That it might shatter their (not her) belief system? Is this truth age appropriate? Did she let parents know that she would be busting this tradition so that they could be prepared for the aftermath? Did she let the parents know after the fact with a note home? Did she teach about symbols in society? Did she teach about the different methods of gift giving? Did she teach about celebrations? Did she teach any historical context? These are things a real parent are concerned with. That differentiates Teacher and Parent. This teacher didn't care enough about the children, nor was she willing to take on the real role of parent, to consider the outcome and welfare for those children. I for one want to be a real parent, not some make-believe one that this teacher is trying to be.