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Sunshine Parenting

Oct 29, 2019

In Episode 54, I'm chatting once again with my long-time friend and camp colleague, Dr. Jim Sears. I've known him as Camp Doctor  "Bones" for the past 14 years, but he is better known by his patients at his family's pediatric practice as "Dr. Jim." You might have caught our previous episode (Episode 51), where we talked about building kids' self esteem. In this episode, we talk about some of the benefits of camp and what we think parents can learn from summer camp to bring home some of the benefits of the experience. We touch on topics related to our kids' well-being, including positive behavior management, health tips, encouraging kids to be themselves, gain autonomy, and unplug!

Positive Behavior Management

Catch them doing the right thing

Attention seeking behavior

"Give the good attention to specific positive behaviors." Dr. Jim Sears

Health Tips

"Wow! What's different about my daily living up here at camp?"

Quite active - more walking

Incidental exercise- walking and chatting with friends from one activity to the next

Meal structure - specific times for meals - not much snacking. Stay busy not bored

"It's okay to be hungry." Dr. Jim Sears

"How do I get my kids to eat the chicken and broccoli for dinner?"

Healthy snacks available and the only option

Discovering new foods through experiences away from home (like camp)

Our kids need to be around other people besides us who are making healthy choices

"Sometimes another mentor or adult can make really big strides with your kids." Audrey

Being Themselves

Clothing choices

It's cool to be independent and do your hair a little bit differently

Cool to be wacky-be your own self

Get dirty

Developing Autonomy

"One of the best things about camp, for kids, is that, for the first time for many of them, they get to make their own choices and decisions about a lot of things, and they're not getting as micromanaged about all the details of their existence." Audrey

Opportunties for independence when children are young- give small practice opportunities

Being discerning about the world without being fearful

Learning how to deal with little discomforts

Unplugging/ Break from Technology

No phones at lunch in school

Meals at home unplugged

Screen addiction

"When you're on your phone, generally it's information going in, in, doesn't allow stuff to come out." Dr. Jim

"Car rides are one of your best chances with teens for meaningful conversations." Dr. Jim

Navigating uncomfortable social situations without a phone is good

About "Dr. Jim"

Dr. Jim spent several years as a co-host on the Dr. Phil hit spin-off series called, The Doctors, a nationally syndicated hour-long daily talk show that is informative and entertaining!

Dr. Jim earned his medical degree at St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1996 and completed his pediatric residency at Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine, Tod Children’s Hospital in Youngstown, Ohio in 1999. During his residency, he received the honor of “Emergency Medicine Resident of the Year.”

Dr. Jim has been featured on’s “Ask the Experts,” and has written for “Parenting” and “BabyTalk” magazine. Dr Sears’ medical advice has been featured on “Dr. Phil” and the PBS parenting series, “Help Me Grow.” He is an active contributor to the content of, and is a co-author of The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood (Little, Brown 2006), Father’s First Steps – Twenty-Five Things Every New Father Should Know, (Harvard Common Press 2006). The Premature Baby Book (Little, Brown 2004), The Baby Sleep Book (Little, Brown 2006) and the best selling The Baby Book – Updated and Revised Edition (Little, Brown 2013).

Dr. Jim’s personal passions include endurance cycling, triathlons, sailboat racing and musical theater with his daughter, Lea. His favorite role has been Harold Hill in “The Music Man.” Other recent favorite productions include “Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat” (French brother), “The Wizard of Oz” (Cowardly Lion), “Annie” (Rooster), “Fiddler on the Roof” (Lazar Wolf) “Oliver! (Mr. Bumble) and Big River (King). In his free time, Dr. Jim enjoys snow skiing, hiking, and mountain biking (especially during a beautiful sunrise!).


Ask Dr. Sears