It’s the end of May and everyone is getting ready for the school year to end. Students are thrilled and looking forward to summer days, teachers might be as well, but parents often worry about how to occupy their children for an entire summer. How do you keep the kids busy so that they aren’t complaining that they’re bored and so that they aren’t having 21 hours of screen time each day?
The Quadrants of Wellbeing can help us even with this schedule planning. It might sound a little out there, but let us show you how it works.
The Quadrants of Wellbeing
The Quadrants of Wellbeing are a framework for understanding and managing our health. It gives us a way to understand the four aspects of our health and wellbeing so that we don’t focus on our health as only whether we can run a mile. Instead our health is about how these Quadrants overlap and show up in our lives.
If we think about our children’s time and activities this summer, the Quadrants can guide us to choose activities that will hit each of the areas of health and wellbeing. They will lead us to plan a well-rounded summer and can help our kids feel healthier and happier all summer long.
The Mechanical Quadrant focuses on our physical bodies and their health. In the Mechanical Quadrant, we focus on exercise, sleep, and listening to our bodies.
There are a variety of activities that your children can get involved in that would place some emphasis on the Mechanical Quadrant. For example, the Y in Kansas City offers a variety of classes and programs for children of all ages all summer long. Choosing something that allows your children to get physical exercise can be as simple as signing up for a weekly swimming lesson.
WIN is the Women’s Intersport Network and their mission is to involve women and girls in sports. They sponsor the WIN for KC triathlon every summer. With the triathlon, they offer “Tri Girls” and allow girls from 6 – 12 years old to participate in the triathlon. It would be wonderful to sign up together and train for the race together.
The Chemical Quadrant focuses on the chemicals we consume and the chemicals in our environment. In the Chemical Quadrant, we focus on eating real food, staying hydrated, and eliminating harmful chemicals from our environment.
Even younger kids can get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of learning to cook. In Kansas City, The Culinary Center of Kansas City offers cooking classes to children, teaching them a variety of age-appropriate skills. The youngest children learn to stir and pat, while teenagers can take a full cooking class.
Another way to incorporate the Chemical Quadrant into your summer plans is to get your kids involved. They can plan some of the family meals, choose the healthy menus, help shop, and help with the preparation. This can help get your kids excited about food and can help start conversations about healthy food.
The Energetic Quadrant is about the energy that we all have and how the energy of other people and our environment affects us. In the Energetic Quadrant, we focus on grounding our energy, taking breaks from things that stimulate our energy, and how we can share positive energy with others.
With children, two types of activity can be used to tap into the Energetic Quadrant.
For the first activity, plan times to be outside in nature. One of the best ways to ground our energy is to step away from all the devices (phones, computers, TVs) and be in nature. This could mean that you plan a short vacation to the lake, the beach, or the mountains. You could also choose to take the family to a nearby park to walk the nature paths every week. Even playing outside in the backyard or at a park will help kids be outside in nature.
For the second activity, plan times to connect with people who love your children. Hugs are so important in the Energetic Quadrant because we share energy when we hug. Plan a visit to the grandparents, or aunts and uncles, or friends who can all take some time to love up on your kids.
The PsychoSpiritual Quadrant is about the connection between our mind, body, and spirit and our connection to a higher power and purpose outside of ourselves. In the PsychoSpiritual Quadrant, we focus on our tribe, our mental health, and our connection to something outside of ourselves.
As we think about our minds and mental health, summer is a great time to learn something new. It’s free from the pressures of school, but can spark a new interest. STEM camps that are being developed for kids. There are a variety offered, including STEM camps by the Girl Scouts, that introduce kids to science, technology, engineering, and math concepts in a fun new way.
Another part of the PsychoSpiritual Quadrant is meditation. Meditation can be practiced by anyone of any age, and there are classes offered for kids. Meditation can teach us to concentrate, to deal with difficult emotions, and to pause before we respond to something happening to us. In Kansas City, Cornerstones of Care offers meditation classes for kids.
Making the Plan
Many of the programs and classes mentioned here are specific to the Kansas City area, but you can find versions of these programs in your own area. Think about applying the Quadrants of Wellbeing for a new approach to your summer plans. And as you make plans, get your kids involved and see what excites them about the Quadrants of Wellbeing.