Friday, July 21, 2017

Fun Reading Ideas to Help Your Family Thrive

After the festivities of the 4th of July fizzle out, we have the long hot days of summer ahead of us. What is your survival plan?...And why just survive? Why not thrive….AND have FUN!
The one thing we all can do and it really does not cost any money at all is read. After all, the family that reads together, grows together.

I heard an author comment on his approach to reading in his family recently on the podcast “Think Out Loud” (OPB/ NPR). He recommends that you think of your kids’ reading in the summer like time at the amusement park. Letting them pick the ride correlates to letting them pick what they read in the summer.  When I think about it, it makes sense. If they pick the item/topic to read, they will read it. He keeps it simple by making sure they all read together twice a day. Around breakfast time—a luxury for him he acknowledges as he starts the day with the family due to his ‘hallway commute’ of a flight of stairs to his writing office. And they read together in the evening – all electronics off. Yes, we all have books on digital devices, but I like his approach. Unplug and use the time to read aloud to each other, or read around the fire pit or in comfy hammocks or chairs. Your children will thank you for this delightful and delicious summer time routine that can be a tradition they practice all lifelong. To ensure there is enough to read during the evening reading time, his family goes to the library once a week—sometimes more.

There are a lot of fun ways to make your summer enjoyable and thriving.  Intentional, easy, fun activities to add to the daily reading ritual will make for a summer that sparkles with interest instead of frustration. With this basic EASY, Low or NO Cost plan in place, your week will go by fast as you share with family and friends wonderful slow connecting activities like taking walk, playing a board game and perhaps a game of tag or corn hole.  

What would it be like if you and your family friends went to the library together? We have long been advocates of the local library here at Fine-Tuned Families (listen to our Wise Parent Wise Kids conversation with our local librarian here:

Share with us over on our Facebook page how you and your family are choosing to thrive this summer by sharing reading time together. What is the book or topic that is hot for your young readers? We are wondering what we should read next… let us know how your summer amusement of reading and connecting plays out!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Great Conversation Starters

There is a great gift for Dads (and all the family) on my website -- Great Conversation Starters…
These powerful conversations start with questions that are positive and encourage a response beyond a ‘one word’ answer. Knowing how to ask a question is important so you can open the door to dialogue and conversation.
AND, when you ask your child a good question for a conversation starter—you should practice your good listening skills to ensure your child learns to value sharing their thoughts and feelings with you. Good listening is an important resiliency skill to model. You have to practice…not just preach.

My free gift ( gives you the conversations starters directions and examples around:
•Asking an open-ended question (to dream, problem solve, or to forecast).
•Asking a specific conversation question (to connect, to get information, or to plan).

Here are two simple guidelines on how to use great conversations starters:
Guideline #1: You have two ears and one mouth.
This is the perfect ratio to help you remember to listen twice as much as you talk.
Ask the question, then be quiet. Sit so you can lean in and share your interest in hearing the answer.
            A. Make sure your phone is off/ put away or in another room.                                                                   
Obvious…and yet time and time again I remind folks to practice electronic free conversations…the old fashion way face-to-face.
            B. Mind your ABC’s of good listening:
                        Attend with genuine attention
                        Be responsive to what is said
                        Care about the other person
                        Don’t interrupt
                        Encourage the person to say more ….
Guideline #2 Active Constructive Response builds, strengthens, & maintains important relationships.
            A. Ask follow up questions that show enthusiasm and the desire to hear more
            B. Choose constructive responses over destructive response.

                 This handy chart explains what active listening is and is not:
Show authentic interest & support
Bring up negative points, or correct their version of the sharing
Distracted or understated support
‘One upping' distracts from the sharing

 Check out  my free gift now at 

Happy Father’s Day…may all your conversations with your kids be great today!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Celebrating Milestones

In our household we have some significant milestones to celebrate: graduation from college, successful job placements, and a wedding! As we start our 100 days of summer we will UNPLUG from electronics to enjoy these moments face to face.

Rest assured, these celebrations are a culmination of many "innings" in the "game of life." And these major, significant life events are occurring because those involved stayed committed to setting goals and working hard to modify and adjust as life and circumstances threw us some "curve balls." Our "team" had to dig deep and lean into the shared values, beliefs and long 7th inning stretches of unconditional love. When a curve ball changed our "at bat," we adjusted the plan, not our values or beliefs. On our "bench" were many friends and family to support and encourage us to stay in the game. 

Not every inning in life is a "home run." Often foul balls and strikeouts occur. Keeping the eye on the big picture (taking a long view) helps to get through the "innings" in life that are a challenge. When life plans are achieved, it is because resilient families plan, adjust and admit that practice comes before good enough and some form of perfect. Most importantly, the ability to "pinch hit" and laugh and love each other through all the phases and stages of the "game of life" makes the "home run" celebration season like the one we are experiencing, a real joy to share with all of the team.