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Tag Archives: kids

5 Ways To Have A Great Summer With Your Kids


“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair . . . ”
—Susan Polis Schutz

Summertime has arrived . . . again! Nature doesn’t disappoint. I loved summers as a child, and I carried this love into my adulthood, which made—and still makes—spending time with my daughter, Michelle, especially fun in the summer months. Because I love this season so much, it took me many years to outgrow the notion that everything about the summer had to be perfect. I felt pressured to make sure we were all having a good time and enjoying this special time of year. We all know where trying to make something perfect leads! Now, I set the stage for fun and smooth sailing and just trust that everything else will naturally unfold.

Let’s face it: Summer is a time when daily routines often take a different turn, possibly sending what has become the norm upside down. Creating new routines can feel a bit stressful, especially if both parents work. But somehow, year after year, it all seems to work out. Plans are made, the kids might go off to day camp or sleep-away camp, or maybe they will stay at home and spend time with friends and family.

Whatever the summer plans may be, with school out, kids have the opportunity to wind down, pursue fun, life-enriching activities, and spend quality time as a family. The positive experiences children have this summer can help shape their lives in many beneficial and truly magical ways. Summer vacation has the built-in feeling that we can “slow down to catch up with ourselves,” so this can be a perfect opportunity to just be present with your kids, notice them, feel their energy, and relax into each other. Take a look at these 5 ideas for making this summer with your kids a mindful one:

  1. Plan a trip. If you can schedule some time away, going on a family trip can be a wonderful, memorable experience for everyone. Brainstorm with the whole family about places you would like to visit—even if they are just a short drive away. During your brainstorming session, have everyone share his or her ideas and come up with a unified, doable plan. It’s all in the going, doing, and being together that’s important—not so much the destination.
  2. Practice Focused Attention. When your kids have something to share, make it a point to fully listen. In other words, give them your Focused Attention. This may feel difficult to do when there is a lot on your plate, so if you cannot be fully present, let your child know you need to finish something up, and you will be available to listen with all your attention. If you are doing something that can be put aside, why not make practicing Focused Attention with your child a priority?
  3. Keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes young children may go and on about something that seems trivial. Keep in mind that if they are talking about it—whatever it is—it is important to them. Ask questions to better understand why it is important, and encourage your child to share his or her feelings on the subject matter. On the other hand, older children sometimes keep things in as they try to process their feelings and make sense of new experiences. Be open, receptive, and available if you’re feeling that something is up with your child—let him or her know that you are there, unconditionally always.
  4. Create family time. Summer can mean we’re all going in opposite directions, so it is especially important to carve out time spent as a family as often as is possible. Maybe play a game together after dinner instead of watching TV, cook and then share a meal, or gather everyone together and take turns reading aloud before bedtime. This is a chance to get creative. Use your imagination to bring your family together in a way that makes everyone feel that they are a beautiful part of something larger than themselves.
  5. Get outdoors. Being in nature with your children can feel refreshing and rejuvenating, even if it is just for a few hours. I have lived in Florida for the past thirty-five years. My daughter was born and raised here, so we went to the beach often. To this day, she will absolutely say that being at the beach on the water is her most favorite thing to do! Your outdoor choices might be a community pool, a lake, a park, a playground, a nature trail, a hike in the mountains, or your backyard—all of these places encourage playfulness, grounding, nurturing, and a sense of adventure. I would say put the cell phones on silent for this time outdoors and truly appreciate being with Mother Nature . . . and each other.

* * *

I leave you with this parting quote as a reminder to all of us how precious each moment of this summer can be. Choose to be present!. Let’s make this a great time, together!

“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”
—George R.R. Martin


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

The Practice for Teens


Kids of all ages amaze me. Sometimes they seem wise beyond their years, teaching us adults a thing or two about life. But most often, they need our guidance and our unconditional love to help them make sense of the world and their belonging in it. We can take many steps to ensure their safety and happiness, but I think Ann Landers said it best when she wrote:

“It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”

While there are many lessons we are here to teach our children and they certainly learn much of what they need to know throughout their school years, I absolutely believe there is nothing more important than showing them how to get in touch with their innermost selves. This connection to self is where they will hear the guidance of their hearts, the secrets of their souls, and little by little know deep within that they are magnificent beings in this world.

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to begin sharing aspects of my book The Practice with students at a high school in my area. In my conversations with these teens, what stands out most to me is that they are all seeking ways to be happy and to deal with what one teen called “the unbearable stress” that comes with being a teenager today. They are bombarded by technology and media messages suggesting that what they are looking for can be found in the newest gadget, other material items, or a coveted accomplishment. They feel that they don’t measure up or that they need to do this or that or even that the life they are leading won’t amount to anything. And, last, they feel scared and hopeless about many of the circumstances surrounding them today.

It’s a search we can all relate to…
I write about my struggles as a teen in the seventies, and although we certainly didn’t have the technology back then that we have today, I know very personally how it feels to be stressed out, unhappy, and wanting to feel smart enough or good enough to fit in. What teenager hasn’t felt this way at some point in their lives? It probably comes with the territory. But what I have discovered since my teenage years in my search for happiness, security, and meaning is that there are tools children of any age can use to access their inner strength and feel accepted by the most important person in their lives: themselves. This will make an extraordinary difference in everything they do.

Using the tools…
Meditation, focused attention, mantra repetition, and reflection are the tools I teach in my workshops and in my book The Practice. An overview of each of these tools is available on my website, and in-depth discussions can be found in my book. These tools are easy to understand and implement, but I work to further simplify them with teens. For instance, I explain mantra repetition as turning to a Focus Phrase first thing in the morning for one minute to start the day and then using it throughout the day during stressful times to reconnect to their inner source of peace, confidence, and courage.

I am so happy to say that kids are really open to these ideas. In my talks, they’ve expressed genuine eagerness to try my suggestion: “Wake up, leave the cell phone for one minute, close your eyes, and focus your attention on your breath. Let the thoughts in your mind come and go and just breathe, connecting to your heart, your soul, your quiet within.”

Kids are just like us—they truly want to feel happy and know they really are okay. I believe that sharing your meditation practice with your children—even just a few minutes a day—and teaching them to connect within will provide a solid foundation from which they can step into the lives they came here to live.

Our kids know how to solve math problems, they’ve experienced the fun and mysteries of reading, and they understand the usefulness of knowing a second language. But, most important, they also must know who they are. They can only discover this with a consistent practice of “checking in with themselves.” Once they have the tools, they can tap into their never-ending source of inspiration, intuition, self-love, self-confidence, and support whenever they need or want to.

I would love to hear your insights on helping our teens live their best life!


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

Off to College: 3 Steps for Letting Go


By now, most of us have probably figured out that the only thing we can be sure of in life is that everything changes. And of course we can’t stop change from happening, but it doesn’t stop us from trying sometimes. We tend to hold on to things, memories, ideas, situations, and even people, wanting them to remain the way they are or the way they used to be. But truly, in order to become what we desire for ourselves and to let others be who they are meant to be, we have to let go; we have to give up the notion that we can control outcomes, situations, and people. In this letting go, we make room for new experiences, growth, and the unfolding of the life we came to this planet to live.

One of the greatest examples of this is letting go of our children. In the case of a soon-to-be mom, her first experience in letting go is giving birth to a newborn life. From a child’s first steps to heading off to college, this experience of ebb and flow, of holding on and letting go, continues throughout our children’s lives—step by step.

My greatest lesson in letting go was in 2004 when I packed everything up in the car and drove to Bloomington, Indiana, to take my daughter, Michelle, to college. I was sad, nervous, and incredibly excited for her. I wanted to do everything I could to make sure she would be safe, happy, and successful. Knowing deeply that she was a young, well-prepared, thoughtful adult didn’t stop the feeling that things were out of my control. I felt powerless. As we parents will agree, this is not a good feeling when it comes to our children’s well-being, but it is the natural order of life.

With the beginning of the new school year, you may be facing this same situation. I’m happy to say that both Michelle and I not only survived her college years, we thrived! I offer my personal experiences and advice below that may help you get on the path of this big “letting go” experience.

  1. Relinquish control. Let’s face it, your child is leaving the “nest,” and you are completely and positively not in control from this day forward! Continue to offer advice and guidance, of course, but understand that you are not the one who is making the day-to-day decisions anymore. Allow your child to make his or her own choices. If you try to maintain control over your child’s life, you will be setting yourself up for major disappointment and resentment.

    What I discovered was that the act of trying to control Michelle’s life actually sent her the message that I thought she wasn’t capable. She said to me once, “Mom, do you think I’m not smart enough to know what to do in this situation?” What a wake-up call! I was sending my daughter the message that she didn’t measure up, that she wasn’t capable, so she couldn’t really trust herself. This is a big one: Trust and have faith in your child completely, and he or she will step up to the challenge and shine!

  2. Develop Trust. Step one concluded with trust, so let’s explore this idea a little more. Real trust means knowing that you’ve done your best to prepare your child for the start of his or her adult life. That’s trust in yourself. It also means knowing that your child will set out on his or her unique life’s path, wherever that may lead. That’s trust in your child. And last, it means knowing that life’s lessons will be presented to your child so that he or she can grow from the experiences, just like you have. That’s trust in the universe. Trust doesn’t mean everything will turn out the way you’ve planned, but that everything will turn out the way it’s meant to be.
  3. Continue to Love. Sometimes loving our children is all we can do. And this is no small thing! As I wrote in my book The Practice, I sent love, good thoughts, and well wishes to Michelle while she was in college by writing my Sacred Mantra for her. I did this in the form of mantra art, which I sent to her from time to time. It was such a big hit that her friends asked me to create mantra art for them as well! I no longer felt powerless—I was able to work through my feelings of worry or just plain missing her by doing something that nourished my heart and hers.

I know that letting go of our children is difficult. I’ve been there. This act of letting go is absolutely what helps them grow into the magnificent people, the great adults, they have come to this planet to be. Of course, we sometimes become disappointed or concerned that our child’s life is not going as we had hoped, but we have no way of seeing the big picture or knowing what the future holds. Quite simply, we place our trust in the outcome by letting go of our expectations of how their lives should unfold and continue to be our children’s steady source of love and support.

For more information on Sacred Mantra art, you can take a look at samples on my website by clicking here.


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.