Back to nature

It may be scorching hot outside, but keeping in touch with nature is still important. More and more tweens and teens are so plugged-in to technology and social networking that they aren’t spending nearly enough time outside. Exploring nature is beneficial to kids because it decreases stress, increases a sense of community and belonging, and provides meaning and purpose that can increase tween’s self esteem, confidence and sense of place in the world. 

Since it is 100+ degrees on Texas summer days, you may have to get a little creative! We’ve collected some ideas to get you and your child started so you can get some fresh air this summer and stay cool at the same time.

  • Bring her and her friend to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 

    on Thursday nights for Nature Nights 6-9pm

  • Visit local watering holes

  • Visit Breed and Company or your favorite local nursery to pick up inexpensive clay pots, some dirt, and plants. She and her friends can decorate the pots and plant some flowers to put in their rooms or on the front porch!

  • Go to East Austin Succulents (These plants can actually survive the Texas heat, and you will find some really cool looking cacti! Be on the lookout for a Living Social Coupon or a Groupon from them!)

  • Rent a kayak off of Town Lake (aim for early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the heat)

What are some ways you stay cool while keeping connected to nature?

Tech Savvy: Using Apps for Relaxation

We recently stumbled across a great website devoted to kids and relaxation, and their recent post about apps for your smartphone or tablet caught our eye. Many tweens now have their own smartphones, and these apps can be a way for parents or teachers to connect with tweens in their own language while giving them some tools for relaxing their minds and bodies.

While screen time before bed can delay sleep, daytime use of smartphones doesn't have to be all about Angry Birds and fast-paced distractions. We particularly like the suggestion for a gratitude journal app that you can use with your tween daily to help them stay grounded and have a break from all the drama.

The Take a Chill app is a tween-friendly way to help your child practice mindfulness by giving gentle reminders on how to stop, breathe and de-stress. Something we could all use!