Dinner · Family life · Parenting

Making Dinnertime Family Time

It’s easy to get so caught up in the necessities of life that we forget to really live each day.  We may feed hungry people but forget to enjoy the process.  We don’t take the time to make mealtime Family Time where we look eye to eye, talk, listen and laugh.

Maybe you wonder how in the world you can do that with the schedules and time constraints of your family.  I’d like to offer a few suggestions, if I may!

Continue reading “Making Dinnertime Family Time”

Parenting

The Greatest Responsibility of a Parent

Parents have a huge role to play.  From provider, protector, and nourisher, we know that we are the ones who will help our children grow up to be healthy, responsible, wise adults.  But if we stop there, we are missing the most important role we play in their lives.  There’s something even more valuable than teaching them to share and be kind.  Continue reading “The Greatest Responsibility of a Parent”

children · Motherhood · Parenting

Why Talking Isn’t Enough In Child Training

Imagine yourself walking along with your child in a grassy field.  As you walk across the deep growth, you hear a noise.  You look a few feet in front of you and see the source of the sound – a rattle snake shaking its tail, ready to strike a venomous blow.

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You stop your child, point towards the reptile and say,

That is a rattlesnake!  Rattlesnakes are poisonous.  They can hurt or kill you.

Then you proceed forward with your planned walk, leaving your child and yourself open to true danger.

You’re shaking your head right now because you know you would hever do that.  You know that on sight of the poisonous snake, you would REMOVE both your child AND yourself from its presence just as quickly as possible.  Even if your child didn’t understand what was happening and didn’t want to leave, you would drag him off, knowing you were saving him from sure disaster.

Now let me ask you – if you would do that with a snake, why won’t you do that with your child’s sin?  What is keeping you from doing whatever is necessary to get them away from their sinful/deadly behaviour?

So often I see parents look at their child after they’ve disobeyed, spoken disrespectfully or been defiant and say something that sounds like the parent describing the poisonous snake –

That is not nice.

Those are ugly words!

You are not obeying!

Then they continue to walk towards “the snake.”  No action is taken to stop the forward movement – the continuation of their sin!

Proverbs 29:15 reminds us how to train a child to “run away from the snake.”

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame.

You can use words to teach, but it needs another element added to it to get the lesson across – it’s a rod, a paddle.  Loving, firm discipline connnected with teaching them what God’s Word says about their sin is the only way to get them to understand the danger of going their own way.  Words alone will not get the job done because children are foolish.

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

This is what God tells us! He made our children and He knows their sinful hearts.   Why do we think we can try to discipline another way – a way that eliminates a spanking?  No one enjoys having to spank their child, but the end result is rest (v. 17).

After the rod AND reproof are given, your child will be on the lookout for snakes himself because he doesnt’ want to “get bitten” again.

To really love your child, you must care enough to not only point out their sinful behaviour, but punish them when it shows itself.  Don’t leave that child on their own.  God gave them a parent to teach and train them…and that blessed person is YOU.  Be on the lookout for the poisonous snakes in their path!

With love,

children · Discipleship · Parenting

Family Friday – Training in Discipline

“Go to your room.  I’ll be there in a minute.”  Those words spoken to our daughters when they were growing up were serious words.  They knew that it meant one thing – a S-P-A-N-K-I-N-G was coming!  Sometimes they would hear our footsteps soon after they’d gotten to their bedroom.  Other times, we would have to go off and pray and collect ourselves first!

In our home, discipline always took place in a private place.  If we were at home, it Continue reading “Family Friday – Training in Discipline”

children · Family life · home · Parenting

Family Friday – The Happiest Place On Earth

 

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I just heard a comment from a high school senior on her senior trip to Disney World say, “This has to be the happiest place on earth!” Having been there I can understand her sentiment. With beautiful flowers everywhere, light-hearted music, Mickey and Minnie, fun food, fun rides and fun times. of course it’s a happy place!

 There is another place that should be one of the happiest places on this earth – home. Home should be the most loving, secure and fun place for a child. What will you do today to make it that way for your children? Are you homeschooling? Are you sending your children off for the day?  Dealing with adult children living at home?  What can you do to make this the BEST place to live in or return to? Don’t get so caught up in the day-to-day routines that you forget to make more than a house – make it a home…a place to nurture, love, accept and have FUN!!
For your little ones – Change things around today or even on April Fools Day. Let them eat their dessert first! Have lunch under the table instead of on it. Go to the library and get new books – perhaps books about spring, baby lambs or even a child’s cookbook. Read together in a new place – build a comfy spot on the floor with pillows and cushions or make a tent using all the kitchen chairs as props.
Play uplifting music – Patch the Pirate, The Donut Man, Veggie Tales, etc. Let the atmosphere of your home be encouraging for them. It’s easy to play what we like instead of what they would enjoy.
How about some fun food? Cut their sandwich into shapes using cookie cutters. Peanut butter and jelly can take on a whole new taste when it’s cut differently!

For your older kids = 
be there for them. Sit and listen to them.  Do something fun together.  Cook.  Bake.  Shop.  Scroll through Pinterest for ideas and then rearrange her room. Stay up late with them.  Watch their movie or ball game.  Talk. Nod. Love. Pray.
Make your home the “happiest place on the earth” by taking time to be with your children, using creativity and thoughtful action to make each day one they won’t forget!
What are you doing to make your home the HAPPIEST place on earth?
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children · Motherhood · Parenting

Training Children To Be Independent

 

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The baby’s  sitting up!

Now he’s crawling!

He’s feeding himself finger foods!

He’s been potty trained!

Those are all happy steps of progress in our children’s lives.  We look for those initiatives and celebrate their arrival, don’t we?  We have to keep in mind as our children grow older that taking ownership of more and more responsibilities is crucial, both for their good and our own!

As our children mature, we must continue to hand over the things we did when they were infants, so that we eventlually “work our way out of a job!”  Moms always want to be moms, but trust me, even though you’re not running their bath water and folding their laundry, your role in your children’s lives will still be necessary, but just not for the day to day responsiblities.

So how are you doing, Mom?  Are your children learning to take responsibility for their personal needs little by little? If you’re not sure, let me ask you a few questions so you can evaluate your offspring’s level of responsibility and where improvement might be needed.

  • Do you find yourself having to repeat commands like, “Brush your teeth,” or “Do your homework?”
  • Do you take care of most of  the daily needs of your child that is more than 5 years-old?
  • Does your child have a list of responsiblities – household chores they are to care for daily?
  • If your child is more than ten years-old, can they take care of themselves if you are gone for a day and night? (I don’t mean they’re left alone!)
  • Can your eight-year old (or older) take care of preparing a simple breakfast or lunch (no cooking on the stove) for themselves? Will they make wise choices?
  • Can your school-aged child that is reading have a time of devotions on their own?
  • Can they also get showered, dressed and ready for the day on their own before school or church?

Every child is different, of course, but you as the parent know what your child is capeable of, and the truth is, they might even be able to do more than you know!  Here are some suggestions of responsiblities and ages in which you could expect them to take over:

  • Pre-school – 3 – 4 years old –
    • Put toys into a toy bin or box
    • Help set the table
    • Fold wash cloths
    • Pull sheets up over bed
    • Take trash to central household trash can
    • Dress themselves with clothes laid out for them
    • Put dirty clothes into clothes basket
    • Feed themselves
  • School-age – 5 – 7
    • Keep room cleaned by putting toys, books away
    • Take dirty dishes from table to counter
    • Set the table
    • Make bed completely
    • Brush teeth
    • Wash themselves in tub (with supervision)
    • Hang up, put away clothes in closet or dresser
    • Read short Bible passage and pray
    • Separate white laundry from colored
    • Fold towels and washcloths
    • Sweep floor
    • Dust
    • Begin to pick out appropriate cothes
    • Help unload groceries from car and put some things away
  • 8 – 10 years-old
    • Keep room clean
    • Clothes hung and put away
    • Strip sheets and put clean ones back on bed
    • Load and empty dishwasher
    • Shower and dress independently
    • Fold laundry and put away
    • Clean bathroom sinks and toilets
    • Choose clothes and dress independently
    • Be responsible for gathering school items – backpack, homework, lunch
    • Have a time of Bible reading, simple sentence journal and prayer
    • Order their own food at a restaurant
  • 10 – 12 years-old
    • Load washer, do laundry
    • Vacuum
    • Be completely responsible for books, homework, and belongings
    • Have devotions with Bible reading, prayer and journal
    • Boys – help with outdoor chores in yard
    • Be completely responsible with showering, dressing, and picking clothes out, getting them clean and putting them away
    • Able to prepare simple meals, graduating to cooking
    • Pack suitcase for vacation
    • Take responsibility for a job like babysitting or cutting grass

Again, these are only a few suggestions, and they’re all probably able to be done sooner than suggested for most children.  A wise parent will allow their children to share the load and will supervise and inspect what is expected.

Why would you want to enable your child to learn these things?  To help them be responsible, independent adults who know how to manage in the world and be able to serve the Lord because of their skills.

How do you get there?  Little by little.  Add more and more responsibility and expect the child to follow through.  I found that rewards are excellent teaching tools.  A chart with stickers for a small child works well.  There are lots of ideas on Pinterest you could try, but the point is, do it!  Don’t allow your children to be “drinking from a sippy cup” all the time they’re at home.  They’ll be grateful – if not now, when they’re older, and you’ll have more time to focus on the other facets of mothering as each one of these responsibilities is released into their hands.

What makes it difficult for you to release responsibilities to your children?  

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children · Encouragement · Motherhood · Parenting

A Rope of Encouragement For Young Moms

Each day as a parent can be one of extreme highs and lows, can’t it?  Your child finally gets a truth you’re trying to teach him, and he obeys as a result!  You are rejoicing!  Then an hour later, he has spray painted the cat blue, dumped a liter of red soda on the carpet, and dropped your cell phone in the bath water! Since you really can’t lock yourself in the bathroom for the rest of the day (we’ve all wanted to!), what is a mother to do?
  • Gather your children around you, sit down, and pray.  Ask God to calm your heart.   Ask Him to help the children to obey. Ephesians 6:1 Ask for His help and guidance. James 1:5
  • Administer the discipline necessary for the disobedience.  Proverbs 19:18 Note, this comes after you’ve calmed down and gotten your focus right.  It’s easy to want to dismiss it due to your weariness.  (We all know how much time and energy it takes to discipline properly!)  However, if you let the disobedience or rebellion pass unnoticed, things will not get getter – they will only get worse.
  • Look for an opportunity to have a brief break.  If your children are of napping age, you rest while they’re napping.  Don’t use this time to attack your list of “to-do’s!”  Read a passage of Scripture, listen to some encouraging music.  Drink a cup of tea, read a magazine, or do some little something you enjoy (scrapbook one picture even, make a card, work on a puzzle or crossword).  You need to refresh yourself in a way that will help you to be ready to face motherhood again.
  • Keep things structured for your children.  If they have too much free time, trouble will ensue.  You don’t have to plan out every minute, but keep a close tab on your children.  Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from what’s going on in their world.  Stay connected so you can stay on top of any attitudes or problems, and lovingly correct them.
  • Plan for something fun to do with your children each day. Make a craft, bake something, take a walk while the children ride bikes, go to the library, take lunch to the park.  These activities will give you and the children something to look forward to.
  • Once every couple of weeks, get away from the house and the children.  If you can’t leave the children with your husband, take turns with another mom so you can both have a morning away from parenting responsibilities.  Go do something you love while you’re free!
  • Make sure you’re getting up before the children and spending time with the Lord in His Word and prayer each day.  Even if it’s 15 minutes, it will prepare your heart better than a three year-old waking you by poking their finger in your eye!
  • Keep the children to a regular bedtime schedule.  If they’re in bed by 8:30, then you and your husband will have time together, they’ll get adequate rest, and you can prepare some things the night before that will make mornings unfold much easier.  Get the coffee ready, start breakfast by making muffins, or setting out the cereals and bowls.  Pick up things around the house before heading to bed.  Waking up to a clean, orderly home will help jump-start your day!

These things won’t make your days perfect, of course, but they’ll help things to run smoother.  Take it from a mom who learned from her mistakes – you have to be a step ahead to win at the motherhood woes.  The good news is, with God’s help you will make it – with a few extra wrinkles, maybe, but you will make it!

What are the most difficult times of your day as a mom?

With love,

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