Last Updated on June 29, 2022 by Rebecca Huff
Summer break can often be a stressful time for parents and kids. Routines change and pressure is on to take advantage of the limited amount of time together, to keep up with summer learning, and maybe even to have the perfect vacation!
This year parents may also be feeling the pressure to “catch up” on learning after hearing concerns about gaps in learning or the “Covid-slide” after the pandemic. It can be a bit overwhelming.
Kids may be feeling a bit worn out from Zoom School, lack of connection, and too much screen-socialization. Not to mention they may feel stressed, too.
Don't let all of this stress steal your joy; instead, take a different approach. Enhance your child's summer with strategies that don't feel burdensome for either of you! If you're wondering how to go about that or maybe it sounds like “more work” you'll want to listen to today's episode.
Emily Greene, author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic Stricken World, is on A Healthy Bite today to share some key takeaways and ideas that will revolutionize your summer break as well as the upcoming school year.
The giveaway for the list of 65 Boredom Busters Emily mentioned can be found on her site, so make sure you go grab that download!
When you break free from the system and from its constraints, you can approach school with a completely different attitude, mindset, and frame of reference for what learning can be. Freed from the mentality that grades and tests are the be-all and end-all of learning, children can truly understand that learning is not external; learning is internal. That is the ultimate joy in this journey of wonders: the realization that learning cannot be contained in a building or a classroom or a curriculum or a school system. Learning is contained inside.Emily Greene
You'll learn all about fostering your child's sense of creativity, curiosity, and joy in learning. Plus plenty of resources to support your efforts. Checklists, questions to ask, and the big question for us all: what are the differences between school and learning?
Start by answering the questions that will help you assess: is your child losing interest in school? Then explore the Seven Wonders of Learning to help your family navigate school outside the status quo.
Ideas for a Stress-Free Summer
- Play – enjoy doing things with your kids
- Ask questions that lead to more questions and invite conversations
- Set aside a place where your child can work with his/her hands
- Give kids free time
- Encourage them to spend time outdoors
- Allow them to get bored and sit with that boredom (it really does spark creativity)
- Limit screentime
- Address Chronic Stress in Your Life
Grab a copy of School Disrupted on Amazon, available in both paperback and Kindle. You'll love the boredom busters, conversation prompts, and other helpful resources that every parent will appreciate.
This book will help you and your child rediscover the joy of learning.
I especially appreciated the section on putting together a portfolio for students and getting feedback on the spot, rather than waiting until it's time for college applications to do so. This is such good advice and helpful for parents of both homeschooled and traditional schooled children.
(While you're on Amazon, just read through all the 5-star reviews!)
Watch this episode on my YouTube channel here: How to Have a Stress Free Summer and Still Encourage Your Child's Joy of Learning.
Meet Emily Greene
Author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World in which she shares her experience educating her children inside and outside of traditional schools. She inspires parents to think differently about the future of the school, offering practical strategies to help bring back balance and optimism as we reimagine a better way to learn—in the pandemic and beyond. Emily developed the Kiddovate program, working with hundreds of teachers and students to ignite curiosity and creativity in the classroom and at home.
Emily also is co-founder of VIVA Creative, where she and her team create live and digital events that helps to bring people together in innovative ways during the pandemic. In 2020, she received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® award recognizing innovation during the pandemic. She holds M. Ed. in creativity from Drexel University’s school of education.
Read more of Emily's blog posts on her website www.emilygreene.com
Transcripts: How to Have a Stress-Free Summer
Transcripts: How to Have a Stress Free Summer
[00:00:00] Rebecca: [00:00:00] Yeah. So what actually makes a summer break so stressful for us parents.
[00:00:06]Emily: [00:00:06] I think as parents, what makes summer break stressful is when we feel like we have to continue being in school. You know, we're so excited to have that reprieve and everybody's talking about summer break. And now this year, we're, we're inundated with messages about gloom and doom learning loss.
[00:00:24] And the COVID slide, but really we know intuitively that we need to step into, to a summer to recover and restore our energy and our joy in learning
[00:00:36] Rebecca: [00:00:36] and it's okay if we learn a few things while we're doing, summer break, as long as we're enjoying it. Right?
[00:00:43] Emily: [00:00:43] Absolutely. And I think one of the greatest myths in education is that learning only happens when it's based on.
[00:00:52] The education system standards. Our kids will learn a lot this summer just as they learned a lot the last year. And you know, in my book, I talk [00:01:00] about a lot of ways that kids can learn. I mean, deeply and joyfully learn that might not look anything like the summer packet your child is supposed to complete.
[00:01:11] Announcer: [00:01:11] Welcome to a healthy bite. You're one nibble closer to a more satisfying way of life. A healthier you and bite size bits of healthy motivation. Now let's dig in on the dish with Rebecca Huff.
[00:01:30] Rebecca: [00:01:30] I'm so happy to be here today with Emily Green. She is the author of a book that I think every mom's going to want to get her hands on, whether their children go to public school, private school or homeschool, the title of the book is, “School disrupted, rediscovering the joy of learning in a pandemic stricken world.”
[00:01:48] And I think it's just amazing because in the book, Emily shares her experience inside and outside of traditional schools
[00:01:56] and so today we're going to pick her brain a little bit and the focus of our [00:02:00] conversation is going to be on how we can have a stress free summer break. And I think that's really important coming out of this past year.
[00:02:08] So Emily, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience?
[00:02:13] Emily: [00:02:13] Absolutely. I'd love to, and thank you so much for inviting me on to your podcast. I, like all parents across the world have come off of this challenging pandemic era schooling year with a lot of learnings. My perspective is oriented in having three sons.
[00:02:30] I have a third grader, a ninth grader, and a soon to be 12th grader and all with very different , types of learning and different needs. And so like many parents when we found ourselves, uh, inheriting the responsibility of completely supervising our children's learning, whether we were already homeschooling or not.
[00:02:52] Um, you know, there's a lot to talk about. This is a great topic and how not to carry a lot of the stress from the [00:03:00] last 12 months into the summer, which should really be a time for rest and reflection and learning.
[00:03:05] Rebecca: [00:03:05] Right. And I think this summer is going to be a little bit different than all the summers before.
[00:03:10] And I think that focusing on how to get through the summer with as little stress as possible is going to be so beneficial for so many parents out there.
[00:03:20]Emily: [00:03:20] In previous years, I think we can all agree that one of the priorities for, for parents is thinking about how they're going to keep their kids busy and engaged and , to pass the time in a way that's meaningful.
[00:03:34] And I think what's different this summer is that we have a little bit of this weight on our back as education experts all over the country are asking. What about the COVID slide? And what about the learning loss and how are we going to make up for how, how, how badly our children have fallen behind. And, you know, I think coming into this summer, parents feel the burden, not only to keep their children [00:04:00] busy and entertained, but also to make up for loss learning.
[00:04:05] And I feel like it's , It's not asking the right questions and maybe parents are bearing an unnecessary burden with this weight on our backs.
[00:04:16]Rebecca: [00:04:16] Wow. That is so well-spoken. I think that it is really important to, at all times, continue learning throughout the summer because you know, they do say that there's a certain amount of progress that is lost just in a traditional school summer break.
[00:04:32] So with the past challenging year, not only, some of the time away from school and the disruption in the regular routine, but stress also makes it hard for kids to learn. And they've had a stressful year, not just as moms and dads who are, trying to take on these new responsibilities. So it's been a little stressful.
[00:04:49] I feel like , we do need to encourage that love of learning. So one of the phrases that I feel like moms and dads hear a lot in the summertime is”I'm [00:05:00] bored”. I'm bored , I don't know, maybe not as much with screens available as it used to be perhaps when I was a child. Is it okay for kids to be bored.
[00:05:10] And what do you recommend that parents say or do if their children do become bored? And what about, let me throw this one out there too. What about if kids aren't bored? What does that say?
[00:05:20] Emily: [00:05:20] I love this question. And, you know, as someone who has a master of science degree in education and spent a lot of time, really focused on understanding how the brain works, how the developing brain works.
[00:05:33] I will tell you that educators and scientists today know things that we didn't know a hundred years ago when the old adage about boredom being a pathway to all bad things, you know, came about. We know now that children need to be bored. And the reason why is that it activates a very important neural network called the default mode network in the brain.
[00:06:00] [00:05:59] That can't activate when we're constantly going, going, going on the hamster wheel of activity and tasks. And when this default mode network kicks in, in the brain, it enables imagination, creativity. Self-reflection, uh, it enables a child to reflect on their own morality to contextualize. The world that they live in and their place in it.
[00:06:25] And, you know, I, I know that parents realize coming off of this very challenging 12 months, our children need all of that processing time, more than ever. So this summer, please encourage your children to sit with that boredom, to work through that boredom and just know that underneath the surface really important things are happening in their brains.
[00:06:47] And please don't give them a device, let it happen.
[00:06:53] Rebecca: [00:06:53] Right? Unlimited screen time is not the best way to bust boredom , for sure. [00:07:00] And I think that free time and screen time need to be kept apart. I feel like children should have free time that isn't necessarily , where screens aren't available.
[00:07:12] What do you think about free time? How much free time should children have in the summer? What's best as far as should we be scheduling their summer? I mean, what's kind of across the board. A good idea.
[00:07:23] Emily: [00:07:23] So , just to put a little bit of perspective on it. Um, our generation older generations had way more free time on our hands than our children do today.
[00:07:33] In fact, there's a study that's been conducted since the early 1980s that shows exactly how much children's Free Time have declined by eight and a half hours per week, which is essentially an entire school day and outside time has declined by over 50% for today's kids. And a lot of that is because of, today's society to society is pushed to be busy, busy, busy, and go, go, go.
[00:07:59] And, and [00:08:00] also devices, which, we can talk a little bit more about in a second, but in terms of how much free time and downtime is good for kids, they need a lot. They need, at least multiple hours of free time and downtime per day. And think about it. I, I heard a scientist describe it that it's as essential as vitamin D
[00:08:23] is to the body, you know, it's one of those things that, that you don't realize how much it's helping your child develop process their own life. So don't, don't hesitate to let them be idle. it's really, really good for them. And also moms and dads, it's good for you too.
[00:08:41] Rebecca: [00:08:41] Right. So schedule in some vitamin free.
[00:08:45] Emily: [00:08:45] Yeah, totally. And yeah, your vitamin free time outside in nature. All the better, because we know that outside time is also very essential to the developing brain and the developing body and [00:09:00] reduces, um, all kinds of stress from, from mental stress, physical stress, and actually improves health and wellbeing.
[00:09:07] And coming off of this year, there are more families than ever more people than ever of all ages. I think the statistic is one in three people are dealing with some sort of, mental health, residual effects after the pandemic. So yeah. Putting our kids outside and letting them play and be free is really restorative and will actually lay the foundation for more joyful learning.
[00:09:29] Rebecca: [00:09:29] Mm. Yes. I love that. I guess it's not free time if I schedule in nature walks then for them. Right. That's, that's part of my routine, but I absolutely love to do nature walks, but I think that's a fun thing to do outside and it's I guess if you're not too regimented about it, it could be considered free time.
[00:09:51] Emily: [00:09:51] One of the other things that I work with a lot of parents and kids on is we all of course want our children to connect with their own passion and purpose and [00:10:00] to have a connection to what they want to do and contribute in their lives. And we, we sometimes really put a lot of pressure on them to know that thing.
[00:10:10] What do you want to study? What do you want your internship to be? What do you want to be when you grow up? Yet we don't give them the space and the freedom to to play with their own thoughts and ideas and develop those passions and interests. So when you think about free time, also know that during those hours where their minds are, are idle and wandering and contemplating their, their past and their future.
[00:10:33] That's when they can really start to think about who they are and develop those passions and those interests that then, you know, if they feel safe, they'll voice to you and then you can help them by nurturing them and developing them and really setting them on a path of purpose.
[00:10:50] Rebecca: [00:10:50] Yeah, I don't want to go off on too much of a rabbit trail, but I know that you, during the pandemic, took a year off from public school.
[00:10:59] Right? [00:11:00] And you had observed some changes in your sons. Can you briefly tell us about their interest in learning and what kind of direction that went.
[00:11:12]Emily: [00:11:12] Absolutely. So my two older, older sons, I actually homeschooled, in 2016 and was just frustrated with the th the standardization and rigidity of the system that they were in, and really could see their love of learning, being, being choked and their creativity and curiosity dwindling, , in front of my eyes.
[00:11:33] So, so during that year, we did some. Some things that felt very revolutionary at the time, like, you know, abandoning structured curriculum, abandoning the idea of tests and grades abandoning a structured school day to something more fluid. And, and we really learned the difference between school and learning.
[00:11:56] And it was so liberating. And for my [00:12:00] children, they, they felt so much more empowered and in control of their own curiosity and, and felt the autonomy to, to learn and explore in whatever detail they wanted about all of the topics that they, that they cared about and, you know, their learning flourished and they were able to bring
[00:12:19] that sense of ownership over their own learning back into their traditional schools. And then this year during the pandemic, I homeschooled my youngest child and we, we were lucky to have had that past experience because I felt like we could start without having to go through the, unlearning phase of, you know, sort of deprogramming what school is and creating an environment that was actually built on learning.
[00:12:44] If that makes sense.
[00:12:45] Rebecca: [00:12:45] Right because what, what do you think that you've pinpointed as something that actually ignites that joy of learning.
[00:12:54] Emily: [00:12:54] So there's, you know, I see this in my own children. I see this, I work with a lot of children. I coach Odyssey of the [00:13:00] mind teams. I've been a creativity teacher for children of all ages, the anecdotally.
[00:13:06] I have always noticed that the questions are what ignite curiosity and what drive a deeper learning. Now that I've, I've earned an advanced degree in this topic and studied the neuroscience of it. We actually know that curiosity turns on learning like nothing else. And the traditional education system is
[00:13:26], it's built on a standard model that is driven toward answers. So our children are encouraged to be answer seekers in pursuit of the one right answer, but true learning is much more open and curiosity driven. And it's, it's based on questions and, and questions lead to questions, lead to questions.
[00:13:46] And so that curiosity ignites when questions are asked. Curiosity in the brain, you can see it on the brain scans, literally shuts down the moment a child gets an answer. So I think, you know, in a [00:14:00] nutshell, the way that we've approached homeschooling is really to focus on, on big, exciting questions that lead to more and more and more and more and more questions rather than on a curriculum or a program that defines success as correct answers.
[00:14:18] Rebecca: [00:14:18] Yes. I could not agree with that more and before we started recording this episode, I told you a story about my son , classroom discussion, where the students were encouraged to express their opinion. But at the end of the , discussion, there was only one correct opinion that they were allowed to come to.
[00:14:37] And that really squashed his desire to ask more questions or to even share his opinion. So I feel like it's really important to keep those questions going. And I think a lot of times it's okay to be neutral about what your child's opinion is. Even if it's shocking to you, you know, children change their minds about things all the time, as they get more information.
[00:14:58] And I feel like [00:15:00] as parents, we need to like take a step back and allow them sometimes to work through their own answers, to these questions. So I really liked that. What are some ways that parents can implement, this technique that you just mentioned with the questions, what can we do to use that, to bring back the love of learning for our kids?
[00:15:21] Especially with more of a focus on things that we can do in the summer.
[00:15:26]Emily: [00:15:26] Right. So yeah, tying it back to the idea of having a stress free summer. I think if these were a line of dominoes that could all fall in a beautiful way to lead to a stress free summer, I would say that first, that first few dominoes would be really releasing the expectations that our children need to complete a fixed set of, Traditional curriculum in order to quote, make up for what they've lost.
[00:15:57] You know, first, just a reminder that over [00:16:00] the time of the pandemic, our kids have learned so much, that is not visible to the standardized perspective in resilience, in adaptability and learning new technologies, and self-analysis of how they learn and, and in the creativity and the explosion of new solutions around them.
[00:16:17] So be reassured that your kids have been learning this whole time. So once you let go of that pressure and you can sort of open up to new possibilities for the summer, asking questions is a really great and easy and free place to start. And it it's a switch that needs to go off. in mom and dad's brain just saying like, I'm going to, I'm going to be an instigator and a, and a provoker of thinking.
[00:16:41] And when you see your child looking at something, ask them questions about it, you know, what do you think about that? What, what caught your eye? When you see your child, you know, um, or hear your child sort of grappling with an issue, ask them questions about it. And in my book, I actually have a whole [00:17:00] appendix of open-ended questions that parents can use to sort of get that new mode thinking.
[00:17:06] I play a lot of games with my kids like this there's, there's some, um, sort of creativity games that one might hold up an object and say, think of, you know, a hundred different things that this could be, that is a more of a creativity game. But I like to hold up an object and say, let's think of a hundred different questions about this spatula.
[00:17:26] And you will find that it's really hard for most kids because they have not been trained to exercise the question-asking muscle. They're trained to exercise the answer seeking one, but once they get into it, they have so much fun. So, you know, in my book, you'll find a lot of , really hands-on strategies like this because mom and dad, haven't been trained to do this either.
[00:17:50] You know, we have to sort of embrace a different, a different mindset and it's so worth it to do.
[00:18:00] [00:18:00] Rebecca: [00:18:00] Yes, that is true. And I had never thought what about the fact, you know, with the answers versus the questions, but it's a really good point you bring up and I think it just takes a shift in focus for parents, you know, to kind of guide that.
[00:18:12] So hopefully we can all work on that. And I did look through the appendix and you have some great questions. I actually thought about copying some of them onto little post-it notes and keeping them near the dinner table. So I had have some little ideas course we are always talking about politics at my dinner table.
[00:18:30] So that's now that my children are teenagers and older, it seems to always go back to politics and they all have their opinions and we just let them express.
[00:18:39] Emily: [00:18:39] Great. But even on that, you know, we, we, we have those conversations at our dinner table too. And, and sometimes. We we see all of our, you know, we see ourselves in our kids sort of holding onto a thought or an opinion, maybe a little too tightly.
[00:18:53] And, it's another great back pocket skill just to say, well, let's get curious about that, [00:19:00] you know, and just a little prompt like that. Well, let's get curious about that. You know, tell me more like what's underneath that. Where could we go from here? And, you know, another really great activity is I call it perspective shifting, so, you know, great.
[00:19:13] So, but what if you were 10 years older, how might that be different? You know, what, if you were with a PhD in that subject matter, sitting next to you, how might that be different and just. It's it's just, it's, it's like, you know, calisthenics for their thinking and it really lights them up. I, yeah, I agree.
[00:19:32] Rebecca: [00:19:32] And I think it's a great tool to get kids, to start talking and thinking and looking for different viewpoints on things. So that's, that's a really good tip. something I did notice too, in your book, I think you will, you can tell us the story. You brought up a back room. So I want you to explain kind of what that is.
[00:19:53] And like, give us an example of what a backroom, you know, what some parents might have a backroom. [00:20:00] well, you can just tell us the story. Cause I thought it was really interesting and neat that you shared that.
[00:20:04] Emily: [00:20:04] Sure. Absolutely. Well, you were asking about boredom and, you know, we need to let our kids be bored and yes, it's easier said than done when they're sitting there and you know, they keep coming back to you and saying I'm bored.
[00:20:15] There's nothing to do. Well, we know that that all people, kids included really like to do things with their hands and build and make and, and dream. And a lot of that type of learning is, is very limited in their schooling situations. And so. What my husband and I realized because of his experience as a child, he, he had a back room where he could go to wire electronics and, and learn about audio engineering, which was his passion.
[00:20:49] we, we wanted each of our children to have a quote back room where they could go and make something. And you know that for, it could be different for all types of children. It could be making music. [00:21:00] That's what one of my sons does. It could be. Editing videos, it could be cooking, it could be gardening, it could be drawing,
[00:21:06] it could be , needlework. It could be beading necklaces. It could be literally anything, but having a place for your child, where they have the basic materials that they need just to go and, and quietly make stuff , or not quietly in the case of music. And, and that also activates the default mode network in the brain.
[00:21:28] And something else that you might've heard of called flow. And flow is this mental state that happens when, you know, Einstein talked a lot about it. A lot of artists talk a lot about it, where you sort of are so in your groove that you get disconnected from time and, and you're just, very immersed in what you're doing in a way that just feels like everything else around you sort of suspends.
[00:21:52] We've all had that feeling. And for kids that happens a lot when they're, when they're engrossed in the task of making [00:22:00] things for little kids, it might be Legos or Magna-Tiles for bigger kids. You know, it could be more elaborate things, but we really advocate that every child has a space in a place.
[00:22:09] Could be a cardboard box, could be a folding table, could be a back closet, a space in the garage. Doesn't have to be HGTV worthy. I mean, this is simple where they can just go and don't have to worry about cleaning up the mess and don't have to worry about getting in, you know, people looking over their shoulder and judging them.
[00:22:28]And we've got so much positive feedback about this aspect of the book. You know, parents saying we did this and it's just totally transformed my child.
[00:22:37] Rebecca: [00:22:37] Yes. I thought that was so cool that you had shared your husband's experience with it and how you, you know, use that for your kids. I've done that, but I, I didn't really have a name for it.
[00:22:47] I mean, we have different areas set up for music in different places that are like more. You know, I guess, general for anyone to use like piano or art area. But I do really like the idea of [00:23:00] having a, them specific place where they can leave their little tools out or, you know, have their messy paint brushes and whatever kind of their space that they don't feel like you're kind of needing to micromanage or control because they do need that space for creativity.
[00:23:18] And I think it leads back to how, when your kids, especially, you mentioned the Legos, and I remember as my, all of my children played Legos, they would get so engrossed in it. And if I were like, okay, Lego time's over, it would be a big meltdown. Whereas if I was to say, you've got. 10, 15 minutes to wrap up what you're doing.
[00:23:39] It would go over so much better because then they could kind of come out of that flow and gradually rejoin the world and the rest of the family. So I get what you're saying about the flow and I think it's, it's super important too.
[00:23:55] Emily: [00:23:55] Yeah, just some simple techniques like this, asking questions, fostering [00:24:00] curiosity, having that back room, having, you know, the list of questions.
[00:24:04] I also, in my book have a appendix full of boredom busters I call them there's 65 ideas that, you know, you could post them on the refrigerator and it could go. We in my house actually do boredom Buster bingo, where I have a giant list of, of activities that they could do when they get bored and then, you know, they actually fill out on a bingo board when they, when they match off on that activity.
[00:24:28] And when somebody gets bingo, we go for ice cream or something like that.
[00:24:31] Rebecca: [00:24:31] oooh, I like that.
[00:24:32] Emily: [00:24:32] Yeah. I mean, it's geared a little bit towards the younger kids, but it doesn't have to be, it doesn't have to be, it could be, you know, just some small fun incentives to, to get creative and do stuff other than just sitting there on your device.
[00:24:45] And, you know, one thing. That I always like to share, because when I learned this, I was really surprised. We we've all heard as parents that , electronic devices are very addictive because they release little bursts of dopamine in the brain, which is [00:25:00] why it's not always our children's fault that they want to keep going back to them.
[00:25:03] They actually make them feel really good. But when I learned that curiosity Also releases dopamine in the brain, the same as a slot machine, you know, I thought, wow, this is really, this is really something that would help a lot of parents to know that because this there's science behind igniting and , really nurturing our kids' curiosity, it's making them feel good.
[00:25:29] You know, it's lighting up their brains in the same way that that electronic does. So if we're trying to, to help to, to get them, you know, reduce their amount of screen time. You got that right in your back pocket. It's free.
[00:25:42] Rebecca: [00:25:42] Yes. I can't encourage parents enough to nurture that curiosity. It just does wonders for your child's mood and their attitude, especially as they start to become teenagers.
[00:25:54] You don't want them to lose that curiosity because I do feel like you mentioned with the screens, it can be [00:26:00] very easy to avoid ever being bored as a child and your list that you mentioned, I absolutely loved it. I was like, oh, I can't wait to do some of these. It's it's a very well thought out list. And I was happy that you put that in your appendix.
[00:26:15] I think it will be really helpful for a lot of parents.
[00:26:18] Emily: [00:26:18] Glad you like it. A lot of you, I'm a kind of a goofy person. I like to play. I like to do like wacky things with my kids and, and so some of the other board and Buster lists that I've found, like they just didn't seem that fun. So I kind of went a little overboard there, you know, really trying to make them fun.
[00:26:35] and so I've got some good feedback. , thank you for that good feedback also, you know, it's just, it's got to sound fun for them to, to want,
[00:26:43]Rebecca: [00:26:43] and I feel like it covered all ages. It wasn't just for little kids. I think it was, it was a good balance. So, , so we've got our boredom busters and we've got igniting their love of learning with curiosity and questions.
[00:26:56] what would you say is a really like one of [00:27:00] your top strategies or tips for keeping the summer as stress free as possible? Like if you had to just put one big label on it, what would you say?
[00:27:09]Emily: [00:27:09] So for me, it's a four letter word and it's the word play? This is one of the most underrated, , innately, programmed human, attributes.
[00:27:21] Like we are all wired to play. it's so good for us and it is naturally stress-relieving and our, our children, especially when mom and dad are working, it can seem like the thorn in your side, you know, play with me, mommy, play with me, daddy, play with me my mom, it can feel very exhausting, but if.
[00:27:42] If you can, , just switch into a mode where you think that 15, 15, 20 minutes of great play is so, , therapeutic for everyone in the family. And often it's just that little burst that, that is needed to take the [00:28:00] stress level down in your whole house. So I think it's a very underrated , Yet well-researched stress reduction technique for all ages.
[00:28:09] In fact, there's like remedial play therapy for adults, you know, who sort of forgotten how to play.
[00:28:15] Rebecca: [00:28:15] Wow. I was just about to ask you, what about us adults that are kind of becoming fuddy-duddy, you know, we forgot how to play. So I was literally just about to ask you that. So can you expound on that a little bit?
[00:28:28] Emily: [00:28:28] Yeah. I mean, one of my areas of research is creativity and the creativity of play, and nobody can forget how to play. I think that we, we have a lot of responsibilities. As adults and a lot of priorities that can feel like the most pressing and urgent thing. But play and laughter, can be non-negotiables, they're accessible to everyone anywhere all the time inside, outside, you know, of all ages.
[00:28:58] And so it, it would be a [00:29:00] really great self-reflective activity for sure. For parents also to write down, you know, just five or 10 things that they like to do for fun, playing UNO, , you know, going on a walk and passing a tennis ball back and forth, playing Scrabble, , playing, pun games, telling jokes, word games, , maybe, maybe you're giving me the idea.
[00:29:19] This should be the next list that I write for people.
[00:29:23]Rebecca: [00:29:23] I think so, because, well, when you started listing them, I'm like, okay, I do play Frisbee with my dog and sometimes I play Catan, or Rummikub. So I guess I do have a little play as a little left in me..
[00:29:34] Emily: [00:29:34] Absolutely.
[00:29:35] And you know, it's one of those things that fills you up, even when you feel like it's depleting you and especially the original question was if I could pick one thing to take the stress out of the summer, It would be play, play with your kids more because it's just gonna, it's just gonna create an environment where, , the whole stress level just comes down and there's more openness.
[00:29:58] There's more [00:30:00] laughter. And it's it's so, you know, it's kind of like people saying, go for a walk, like it's so easy, but you just have to make, you just have to make a little time for it.
[00:30:09] Rebecca: [00:30:09] Because I think speaking for myself, I don't know if it's like this for other parents, but I think sometimes I just get to the point where I'm like taking everything so seriously, and I have all these responsibilities and, you know, it's just like check, check, check, check, check, and getting all the things done that
[00:30:23] yes, I do forget to play and I think. I can even see my kids' faces when I go outside and start throwing the Frisbee or playing around in the yard. They always look a little less tense when I do that. So I know that it can definitely bring down the stress level. So I will make a point. If you do make a list, make sure you send it to me.
[00:30:46] Emily: [00:30:46] And also, you know, another, another. Quick, de-stressing technique is simply to be outside. There is abundant research from across many disciplines, but just being in nature , whether you you're reading in nature, walking in [00:31:00] nature, taking a conference call in nature, whatever it needs to be is incredibly de-stressing.
[00:31:06] And so if you can make time for your families to be outside, you know, we've joined the, the 1000 hours outside project. I don't know if you're aware of that. It's, it's sort of a movement , where they're the originator of the movement decided that if kids can be on electronics for one or two hours a day, they can certainly be outside for the same amount of time.
[00:31:28] And it just sort of evolved into this, into this movement with parents saying, yeah, you know, my kids are happier when they spend time outside. I'm happier when I spend time outside. And we can make it a priority, just, you know, eat outside things that you would normally do. Just do them outside if you're home, do it outside.
[00:31:45] So , if you look it up, you'll see, it's, it's quite, it's gained quite a lot of momentum, but so it, it just puts that thought in your head. Okay. Well, if we're going to do that, Why don't we do it outside and, and it, it changes your biochemistry. It lowers [00:32:00] your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure being outside, just as very de-stressing , overall.
[00:32:04] So that's another easy way to. Yeah, ease into that summer.
[00:32:08] Rebecca: [00:32:08] Totally. I can get on board with that movement for sure. And actually the beginning of the summer I went and bought some books because I'm like, okay, I just recently stopped working full time. I'm gonna start focusing on, you know, relaxing a little bit more and spending time with the kids.
[00:32:25] So went and got us all a new book. And my daughters got me this Oura ring for my birthday and it measures your resting heart rate. And my husband had put a hammock in our backyard and I'm like, every day I'm going to go outside and I'm going to lay in the hammock and read a book for at least 30 minutes.
[00:32:44] I'm one of those people that have a hard time slowing down. And so I'm like, I'm going to make it a point. My daughter and I are going to go, we're just going to share the hammock and read books. So we did that. And as I was looking back at the data that my ring had checked, my heart rate lowered [00:33:00] so much that it was like optimal levels.
[00:33:02] Yay. Your heart rates down. I was like, oh my goodness. I'm outside. I'm relaxing. I'm reading, you know, the birds are singing. It's very idealic, but yeah. Proof that it's actually good for your health.
[00:33:13] Emily: [00:33:13] And there is some really interesting research. I think I posted a blog about it on my website, where they, they evaluated , a traditional man-made playground.
[00:33:25] A really nice one. And then they compared that to a natural landscape with boulders and grass and two totally different play spaces. And then they put children outside and they tracked their, their movements and their patterns and their play and how they, how they moved and interacted with both play spaces.
[00:33:45] And what they found was that the natural oriented play space actually was way more enticing and de-stressing for kids because. They didn't have a predefined path, you know, climb the side, come down and climb this. Like it was way [00:34:00] more exploratory, way more fun. They drifted off. They looked at things, they laid on rocks.
[00:34:04] You know, it was, it was a really beautiful study that reinforces that you don't even, you know, for, for kids to play outside, they don't, they don't need a playground
[00:34:13] Rebecca: [00:34:13] right now they just need a yard.
[00:34:15] Emily: [00:34:15] They just need space. You know? So I think as parents, we, we overthink and like overproduce everything because we want to be good.
[00:34:24] You know, we want to want to do the right thing and sometimes it's, you can just let, let it unfold and it's, and it's just as good.
[00:34:32] Rebecca: [00:34:32] That's awesome. If you're listening, make sure that you go to Amazon or another bookseller and get a copy of Emily's book school disrupted, rediscovering the joy of learning in a pandemic pandemic stricken world.
[00:34:47] I cannot tell you how much it's going to encourage you to have a stress-free summer and how many good tips really just for all year long, not even just for summer. It's a great year, round book. I think every [00:35:00] parent can find something in there. Thank you, Emily, for being with us today.
[00:35:04] Emily: [00:35:04] Oh, thank you so much.
[00:35:05] I've loved our conversation. I feel like you and I could go out for coffee and talk for hours.
[00:35:10] Rebecca: [00:35:10] Yeah, definitely , you'll find links in the show notes, everything that you want to know to get in touch with Emily to find her book and some of her blog posts, maybe that she's mentioned, would you care to share the links for those that we could also put those in the show notes for people as well.
[00:35:26] Emily: [00:35:26] Yeah, absolutely. My website, Emily Greene, green has an E on the end .com has all sorts of resources for parents and teachers. And, you know, I really try and bring an uplifting more, um, optimistic and can do message, which I know that parents really appreciate right now. And a lot of resources available there.
[00:35:47] Rebecca: [00:35:47] Yes. It definitely came across in the book. I felt very uplifted as I was reading the book. So you feel you've accomplished your goal. Thank you so much.
[00:35:55]Emily: [00:35:55] Thank you too. This was really great. Have a wonderful day.
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