Are you a prisoner of your phone?

After spending 2 of the last 3 weeks at our camp, I’m reminded of the benefits of unplugging from cell phones and social media, and especially for adolescent girls. Many girls truly are prisoners of their devices, tethered to them 24/7 with the incessant noise and information that buzzes from them. When they hand over their phones at our check-in table, many girls are a little jittery, not certain if their friendships will survive without them. After a couple of days, they don’t miss their phones a bit because they are having so much fun and because of the sense of calm and peace they experience when they don’t feel the need to constantly check in with everyone. They realize the value of technology breaks, and hopefully they’ll repeat this process during the school year.

I also see girls recognize that despite their fears that everyone is watching and judging them, the truth is that most teens are more worried about themselves and don’t notice their little quirks and weaknesses. That’s why I like the dance like no one is watching poster. It reminds girls to focus on themselves vs. comparing themselves to everyone and worrying about how they are perceived.

Most adolescent girls have a hard time falling asleep because all of the thoughts and feelings they have been avoiding all day by staying and busy and distracted come bubbling up when the lights go out. It becomes extremely difficult to turn them off. I encourage them to have some quiet time before going to bed to release troubling thoughts or emotions by journaling or through art or music. I love Anne Frank’s words of wisdom; expressing gratitude before going to sleep is a great way to end the day on a positive note and create a peaceful night’s sleep.

The why is your dog happier than you cartoon is a good reminder to be more mindful in each moment. The slow pace of our summer camp and being out in nature is conducive to slowing down and being fully present.

Taking the time to really watch a sunset or star gaze brings a sense of peace that’s hard to find during a busy school year. Spend more time out in nature with your kids.

Last but not least, providing girls a safe space to share their stories and to be accepted for who they are frees our campers up to let their little girls come out to play. I love watching high school girls laughing, being silly, singing songs, and just being real. It looks so good on them. That picture perfectly expresses these moments of authenticity. Be sure you set aside plenty of down time to play with your children of all ages.

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