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Sunshine Parenting

Jun 28, 2019

In Episode 94, I talk about why I wrote my new book, Happy Campers- Nine Summer Camp Secrets For Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults, why I changed to a 'less is more' style of parenting, how the book is set up, who I wrote the book for, how I want people to use the book, and what we're going to be doing in the Happy Campers Book Club this summer!

Why I wrote Happy Campers

I wrote Happy Campers because I've had a lifelong interest in child development and positive psychology, and just understanding what makes people flourish.

A lot of the things we do at summer camp can be taken home and used at home to help kids just connect with each other and with their parents, and have a lot more fun at home.

I realized, about five years into parenting, that I needed to bring more of my camp techniques home. And really simple things that we train our camp counselors to do, parents can easily bring home.

I've been noticing in the past few decades, it just seems like kids and parents are struggling a lot more with all kinds of different things.

You don't have to do any crazy big changes in your family to get some really positive outcomes.

I tried to synthesize into this one book some of the higher-level ideas and really simple strategies that I really think that parents and teachers, and really anyone that works with kids, can use to build a stronger relationship with kids and help them develop the character traits and skills that they need in order to be thriving adults.

Why I changed to a "Less is More" parenting style

Even the volunteer thing can go awry when you do too much of it.

Working parents are trying so hard to do everything well that we do a little too much of everything.

One of my fundamental philosophies that I've learned is that less is more, and the famous put on your own oxygen mask first.

I'm so glad that I learned before it was too late, that to be a great parent doesn't mean that you have to be doing this stuff all the time.

Read more about my philosophy in my post 10 Ways to do LESS and be a MORE Effective Parent.

How is Happy Campers set up?

The first chapter is Connection Comes First and that's the foundation of the book.

The last secret is Coaching Kids To Better Friendship Skills, so the bookends of the book are both about connection and relationship.

We've learned at camp that kids won't listen to us or even follow our advice, unless they first know that we really care about them as people.

Sometimes we get so fixated on all the things our kids need to do, and we want them to do, and we forget that in the end what's really important is that we just have this great relationship that will last.

One Simple Thing, at the end of each chapter, is really just about a change in yourself in either something that you can try to think differently about or a little thing that you can do that will help you relate better to your kids.

I've found that oftentimes writing a note is more effective than repeatedly saying something. And it's not overwhelming or daunting to write a sticky note.

I wanted to make the book just really simple little things that are really do-able and don't feel too daunting. And I also really don't want people to try everything in the book.

Listen to my interview on the Mom Writes podcast where Abby shares her sticky note story.

How do you want people to use Happy Campers?

The way that I want people to use this book is the way that I've read some of my favorite books, which is- I just keep them around as a resource. I don't think even that this is necessarily the kind of book you need to read cover-to-cover.

I'm hoping that it will be a book that will resonate with people.

The secret that "Kids Are More Capable Than Parents think they are" talks all about responsibility and having kids get more involved with household chores and things like that.

The book is about things that I've learned at summer camp that can be applied in other settings.

Who I wrote the book for

I really want teachers to read this book. I know from a lot of the teachers who I know that their time at camp, as camper counselors, and their experiences working in the setting of camp, really helped them be amazing teachers.

I really wish that every parent would have the opportunity to spend at least one summer as a camp counselor.

Join the Happy Campers Book Club

In the Happy Campers Book Club Group, we'll be sharing bonus videos, downloadable resources, article and book recommendations. Most importantly, we'll have the opportunity to share ideas and collaborate with each other.

Step 1: Pick up your copy of Happy Campers wherever you buy books:


Barnes & Noble




Step 2: Download your Summer Read-Along Schedule and Discussion Guide from the Happy Campers Book Hub.

Step 3: Join the Happy Campers Book Club!

I invite you to join me to read the book this summer and as we read along just learn from one another and collaborate on even more ideas that we can all share, to help raise this generation of kids to overcome the issues that a lot of kids are facing.

"We really want our kids to be super resilient and able to make it through the ups and the downs and the challenges they're inevitably going to face.

The 9 Summer Camp Secrets

Watch the video version of this episode:

Want to hear me talk more about Happy Campers? Check out these interviews on other podcasts!

TiLT Parenting

Best of Both Worlds

Campfire Conversation

We Turned Out Okay

Dr. Sears Family Podcast

Author Accelerator's Mom Writes

The Pickup Line