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In this month's article, Aunts and Uncles, I talk about the often overlooked value that aunts and uncles have in a child's life.
In Tips for Timing Yourself Out , I suggest ways to unplug and restore ourselves.
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Aunts and Uncles
We all know about the importance of moms and dads and grandparents in the lives of our children. Why is it that we often underestimate the unique, valuable and indisputable contribution of aunts and uncles?
Aunts and uncles can be more than an extra set of loving, helping hands when kids are very young, or as baby sitters as the children grow older. To many nieces and nephews, they are trusted confidants, role models and well, loving people who are different from mom and dad but still an integral part of the family. They may live a totally different life style from the rest of the family, thus providing a glimpse at another way to live. Their attitudes, beliefs or values may or may not be the same as their siblings, but they can still offer love and acceptance in ways that children need. Just by their presence, aunts and uncles can enhance and expand family connections.
They are also storytellers. They share memories (even if their remembrances are inconsistent with their brother's or sister's). When they are different, the children get another perspective of a story they may have heard before. A whole family talking about an event, with several perceptions, helps kids understand many facets of their family history. A grandparent's stories are different, and their other parent just does not know those stories.
As storytellers, aunts and uncles assume a unique and valuable role when a child's parent dies. Nobody can share stories of the parent's life like an uncle or an aunt. Although their shared history may not be the same history, it is valuable nonetheless.
Children hunger for stories about their parent's childhood. Who better than a loving uncle or aunt to communicate them? When a child grieves the loss of a parent, hearing about their mom or dad's childhood, teenage secrets or escapades gives that child a fuller picture of their parent. Learning that their dad never slept the night before a big swim meet; or that mom sewed herself into her own Halloween costume and her brother had to cut her out of it; or that dad woke up to a bear sniffing around the campfire while he and his brother slept under the stars at Yellowstone; or that mom wouldn't touch an orange or a banana until she went to college; or that dad was petrified of going to the dentist but held his sister's hand during surgery, gives texture to a life that is otherwise inaccessible. These memories are lifelines for kids.
Children who are young when their parents die do not have the benefit of creating memories and often fear they will forget what their parents looked like or smelled like or felt like. Even with plenty of photo albums, and the familiar scent of Dad's after shave lotion, it is tough to keep "sense" memories alive. But when Aunt Denise recall about how she and your mom repeatedly watched the "The Sound of Music" learning all of the lyrics; or how your dad and Uncle Mark worked as handymen every summer to make money, or when Aunt Barbara recalls the origin of each Christmas tree ornament and when it came into the family, that parent's memory remains alive.
A Good Daily Habit
Set Online Boundaries.
It's easy to get drawn into the online world of status updates, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, and other links embedded in emails from our friends. Before we realize it, hours have passed and we have not accomplished what we hoped to cover during our day. And don't even talk about the night, when we think we will "just have a look" and two hours later we are still on line -- and those two hours cut into our much needed sleep!
Establish a daily habit to create specific timeframes during the day to check email or social media accounts. Setting such a boundary allows us to respond to what needs responding, and gives us important uninterrupted time to focus.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips for Timing Yourself Out
Are you overdue for time off? Vacations are supposed to be time away to restore and rejuvenate, but it is becoming harder to accomplish this if we insist on being away with a cell phone or iPad or laptop. Whenever we do manage to get away, we need to be sure to take some real time for self-care. We can begin by losing the schedule we follow when we are at home or at work. We can create a vacation schedule that is filled with only those things we really want to do that will relax and refresh us. A dictionary definition of Vacation is "a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday."
Here are some tips to guide you:
Travel and Relax. - Take time on the plane or train to read for pleasure, listen to music, or just enjoy the view of the clouds. Bring an eyeshade to relax and DO NOT work on the laptop. You can make it your goal to arrive at our destination relaxed and ready to explore.
Set a Different Pace. - Try a slower pace. Plan a session at a spa during a busy tour, take time to study the types of offerings and carefully select and plan time between activities. Listen to your body. It will guide you towards what you need. It's best not to book every moment so that there is room to be spontaneous.
Tune In to the Natural World. - When we tune out the links to the digital world (turning off cell phones, tablets, and laptops) we are more available to "connect" with people and "be" in the environment.
Taking time to restore ourselves happens when we take time off. It allows us to return with a new and refreshed point of view which benefits us and others in our lives.
TODAY Show (NBC), and HLN.
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.
Jumpstart for Young Children
May 7th, 7PM - 9PM: NYC "shopping party" to benefit Jumpstart.
Theory, 1157 Madison Ave. (at 85th St.)
May 12, 6:30-8:30PM: Panelist. Topic: Wealth -- Blessing and Curse: How Much is Really Enough?
Harvard Club of NY
27 West 44th St.
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
May 15th, 11:45AM - 12:30PM: Speaker. Topic: Caring for the Caregiver - How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout.
New York Hilton Midtown.
I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is filled
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in year-long mentoring relationships. Jumpstart also partners with families, preschool centers, institutions of higher education, community groups and a variety of other groups and individuals to make certain that every stakeholder in a child's life is working to provide them with a high quality early education.
Jumpstart's Scribbles to Novels is an annual fundraising event that celebrates the power of the written word. This year, we will hold our 10th Anniversary gala on April 16 at Pier 60 Chelsea Piers, NYC. Highlighting a theme of joy, we are excited to feature Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our keynote speakers, Brooke Shields as our special guest, former NFL running back and Giants Superbowl XXV MVP, Ottis "O.J." Anderson as our live auctioneer and several award-winning authors including Lucy Ferriss and Sarah Mlynowski.
We look forward to an exhilarating night and hope to see you there!
Click here to find out more and to support Jumpstart: http://www.jstart.org/campaigns/scribblesnewyork1
"Choose to be optimistic, it feels better."
Dalai Lama XIV
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on NBC's Today show.
She has more than thirty
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, creating and maintaining healthy relationships, parenting, aging well, caregiving, and managing stress, life and work transitions.
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
A Practical, Helpful Exploration of the Intimate and Complex Bond between Female Siblings From the
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works