Parenting

10 Ways to Show Your Children Love

Good Morning

How do you wake your children up?Do you stumble bleary-eyed into the kitchen and point them to the cereal? How about instead waking them up with a cheerful good morning in a happy voice. Or even with a good morning song. I love Wake Up you Sleepyhead by Rappin Rabbit. Make sure they know you’re glad to see them.

Say I Love You

Even your teens need to hear this. And the prickly one who doesn’t want to be close to you, they need to hear it more than most. Tell them I love you frequently.

Encourage Them

Encourage them every day.  I heard from Nancy Cambell at Above Rubies to make a chart and put a check mark each day when you encouraged them. That way you didn’t forget. And let’s face it, even Mom’s need a reminder sometimes.

Model Good Behavior

There’s a saying more is caught than taught for a reason. Because children follow in our footsteps and copy us. Are you modeling what you want your child to copy?

Feed Them Healthy Food

Make family mealtimes a priority. Have healthy meals for them so they will grow up liking to eat salads and vegetables. We’ve always had a garden, even in an apartment. And the children will want to et what they grow. That goes for cooking too.  Your child will develop an appetite for what you feed them so if you want them to grow up with a love for wholesome foods, serve them instead of chips and soda.

Treat them as an Individual

None of my 10 children are the same. As a matter of fact, people are surprised at how diverse they actually are.  Each child has a special purpose made by God that is different than any other. Your job as a parent is to discover what that is and give them the resources to develop that talent. Each child is different in how they respond to ways of discipline, encouragement and they all have different gifts and love languages.  For instance, one child is sent to his room as a punishment. I have another child who tried to get sent to her room because she liked being sent to her room. So we had to find a different method for her.

Look, Listen and Touch

Please put the cell phone down and look at your child while they are talking. Really listen to them. I know sometimes I hear the same story over and over but it’s important to them. I have trouble too sometimes.  Look them in the eye. Touch is important too. A hand on their shoulder while your talking, a hug. As our children get older, we forget they need to be touched too.

Spend Time One on One

Make time to spend one on one with your children. They need to be valued as an individual not just as a group. This morning my son and I got up early and went to Walmart. Another time might be doing nails with my daughter or going out. When we had 8 children at home we used to rotate errands and grocery shopping with one of them. There are times you will seek them out, times they would rather withdraw. These are the times that they need you most. Even if they don’t think so.

Make Home a Happy Place to Be

Make home a great place to come home to. Make their friends welcome. Be happy and smile. Smiles are contagious you know. There’s another saying “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t’ nobody happy.” Are you a happy mom? Can other people tell it? I love being a mother. People always guess my age as younger than I am and I tell them “My children keep me young.”  Do you have a home they want to come home to?

Pray with Them

I know you pray for them, I know I do too. But there is something very special about praying with your child. It’s something we do when they are younger but as they grow up, it’s easy to lose track of this habit. I know with jobs and activities it is harder and harder to keep any kind of schedule with them. There are times I’m in bed before my children. Even if you can’t do it every night, try and do it once in a while. And let them know you’re praying for them. Ask, what specifically can I pray for you? even adult children.

10 Ways to Show Your Children Love

I know I don’t do all of these perfectly all the time. But these are the 10 ways to show love to your children. I hope they’ve been a blessing to you. What other ways have you found that show love to your children?

 

 

 

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Using Reminders to Train Children

Using Reminders to Train Children

Do any of you have children like mine? Ones who put their backpack on the floor instead of the hook for it? Ones who run up the stairs and slam the door on their way. Or plop on the couch, “forget” where their shoes and coats go and how to make their bed? This is where using reminders to train children comes in handy. It’s time for us to work on new habits and those need lots of practice.

Practice, Practice, Practice

When I know that I’ve given them direction on what they are supposed to be doing and they aren’t doing it this is where the reminders come in. I give them the reminder and then they practice them. My son had a hard time getting his backpack on the hook in his room, put there right where he wanted it. So I reminded him and then had him practice it 20 times. Taking his backpack off the floor, going to his room putting it on the hook and then taking it back to the living room floor and doing it all over again. 20 times. We’ve done this for a lot of different things. Practiced sitting on the couch, up and down until 20 is done properly. Going in and out the door and closing it correctly.

Make it easier to do it right

Why am I doing this 20 times? It’s not actually meant as a punishment, it’s a training exercise.  By practicing good behavior it gets ingrained. They know what’s expected and how to do it correctly. Also, it needs to be more work than just picking up the backpack and putting it away. It needs to be much more work to do it over. Putting a book on the shelf where it goes is much easier than straightening an entire shelf. Putting silverware away correctly is much easier than emptying and reorganizing the entire drawer.

This is how I am using reminders to train my children. Repetition. Practice. What do you do?

 

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The day my perfectionism broke my son’s heart

The day my perfectionism broke my son’s heart

They’re gone, I can’t find them anywhere.” my son cried. All his handmade Christmas decorations were gone. Every one of them from grade school, all the little ones with his handprints, his pictures and immature handwriting. And it was my fault. My perfectionism caused this and broke my son’s heart. 

I wanted it Perfect

The day before we were decorating the tree in the living room  All my silver, gold and bronze ornaments twinkling in the lights. Then my son put his handmade decorations up. Right in the front of the tree! I felt horrified. My beautiful tree! The red and green handmade decorations subtracted from all my sparkly loveliness.  Son, why don’t we put them on the tree in your room? I had gotten small trees for the boys and girls room after Christmas sales just for that reasons. They could decorate them to their heart’s content and I could keep my beautiful color coordinated tree.” No, I made them just for your tree”, my son said. After coaxing and finally sternly telling him he could either put them on the back of the tree or on his tree he took them down. I did feel a little bad then but consoled myself with the knowledge that he would love them on his tree.

Missing

I spent the next morning while he was at school cleaning up, putting boxes away and throwing out the torn ones. He came home from school and after supper and homework, he asked me to help him decorate his tree. His ornaments weren’t there! I thought he had put them in his room. He hadn’t. He had put them in a box. The boxes had been stacked and went to the trash and so had his ornaments. I felt horrible. He felt horrible. My husband thought if I hadn’t been so fussy about the tree the ornaments wouldn’t be gone.

Gone Forever

The trash dumpster was empty. His ornaments have gone forever. His little kindergarten ones with his handprints, his little angel one with his picture. The ones made of popsicle sticks and all the rest. Gone. Just because I wanted a perfect tree. Why? I’m not perfect. This definitely proves it.

Forgiveness

My son forgave me for throwing out his ornaments. It was an accident but still my fault. We are planning on making some new ornaments to replace what we can. I have pictures of when he was little. But it won’t be the same childish handwriting. It won’t be the same, period. But he gave me forgiveness.

Grace

So why is it so hard to forgive me.? I have berated myself over and over for this. I cried tears and my son cried tears. If only…. How many times do we say this to ourselves?  If only…I need to forgive myself. My son forgave me just as The Son has forgiven me. I am forgiven. I am forgiven. Do you have something you need to forgive yourself for? What has your perfectionism cost you? Be kind to yourself. Show love, not only to others but to yourself.

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Evaluating Material for our Children

Evaluating Material for our Children

“Do I consider the material I am examining essential for my children’s pursuit of God and godliness, or is it merely peripheral? Is this idea or that thought indispensable for their walk in the Spirit, or is it only incidental? And most important, will it stir within them a thirst for God, a hunger for His Word, and a desire to represent Him well as salt in the earth.”

Changed into His Image by Jim Berg

Making Choices

I wrote this when I have been laid up for almost a month with pneumonia. The pneumonia is now gone from my lungs but it really messed up my asthma and I am on different meds to try and get it back under control. Through all this I haven’t had a voice above a whisper so I have to choose very carefully the things I need to say since I can’t say it all. I also have paper and pen but I still don’t write as fast as I could talk. It is very limiting. But also, I am limited to the necessary. My children have been wonderful about pitching in together and meals, housework. They have brought me tea, water, books and movies. But I have looked at the superfluous that I have been doing. When it is hard to breathe, many,, many things are unnecessary. So I am looking for what changes I need to be making. Where do I need to cut and what? What are the best choices I can make for my life? Am I evaluating what my children are seeing? 

Good, Better, Best

When you go into a store they have listings for items; good, better and best. We have those same choices. But so many times we fall into a pattern or a rut and just do what we have always done. So God has given me this time to evaluate the good, better or best in my life and I am planning some changes. I want things in my life, my husbands, life and my children’s lives that will stir up a thirst for God, that will cause them to pursue Him and represent Him all of our lives and I am willing to do whatever I can to change that. Examine your life, don’t wait for God to take you in hand so you are dependent on Him for your next breath. We are anyway but you don’t have to sound like Darth Vader doing so. Ask Him where you need to change.

 

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Top 10 Tips for Toddlers in the Kitchen

 

Top 10 Tips for Toddlers in the Kitchen

As I was talking recipes on the phone with my daughter,  she was laughingly coaxing her 20 month old son to let go of her leg while cooking.  So I shared my tips for toddlers in the kitchen that I had used when she and her siblings were little.  It’s important that even toddlers feel helpful and included and as they get older they will actually be a help. You need to put the time in now and it’s almost all one way.  I do think you get paid back in hugs and smiles. Then later they are a little help and at about age 10 or so it pays back in big dividends.

Their Own Place in the Kitchen

Have them their own cupboard for their dishes and Tupperware. I had small plastic or unbreakable dishware so that they could get their own dishes out. I also had  a Tupperware ( mismatched) cabinet for them with wooden spoons  so they could mix too. One child had a habit of crawling into it and playing in the cabinet instead of the Tupperware.

If They Can Get It Out, They Can Put It Away, with Help

Also, if they are old enough to get it out, they are old enough to put it back. Now please realize they are not actually just going to put it back. It is you getting on the floor with them and taking their little hand and showing them piece by piece how to put it back. Yes it will be incredibly faster if you do it yourself. However time spent investing teaching them will return many times over. Not only will they learn to be a help to you they will become wonderful self sufficient adults.

It Takes Longer

Add more time. For each child I added 15 minutes to whatever I was doing per child. That way they don’t think hurry up is your favorite phrase. You have time to enjoy the activity with them if you’re not thinking how far behind you are. When they are totally able to get themselves ready then you can subtract that 15 minutes.

Chair Time

High chair time. If you are working on the stove and can’t have them near, use the high chair.  I’ve given them pudding to “paint” with on their chair. Remember, if they still put things in their mouth, then everything needs to be safe and edible.  Edible play dough is great. 1/3  nut butter, 1/3 honey. 1/3 powdered milk. Put in a container and keep in the fridge. I’ve given them tape before rolled so it’s sticky on both sides and they move it from one hand to another. Some days the cost of a half roll of tape is worth 10 minutes. They can string cheerios on a spaghetti noodle or a piece of licorice.

Little Copycats

Let them copy whatever you’re doing. When I made biscuits or bread I gave them part of the dough to make their own mini loaf. Give them a bowl to stir or let them help.  They can help put toppings on pizza or sandwiches.  As they get older you can give them a lettuce knife to help cut lettuce, cheese, pb sandwiches, etc.

Close to You

Keep them near you. Young children are happier when they can be close to you. They are happier and learn work is normal.  We’ve taught them phrases such as “We love to help, We work before we play.”  Teaching them to work at a young age is so much easier than breaking bad habits of sitting in front of the tv as a baby sitter and then changing that pattern later.

Be Creative

When my little girls were 2 and 3,  they so badly wanted to wash dishes. Now I had let them once before and I knew what a mess they had made. Everything was wet, the floor, counters and most of all them.   But I didn’t want to discourage them so  came up with a creative solution. Trash bags. I cut out holes for their head and arms and it kept them dry. Look for creative ideas that can help you in ways to engage your toddlers.

Make it Fun and Purposeful

If you make work fun, it doesn’t seem as much like work. Don’t complain about the work you have to do. It is a privilege to be able to care for your family. I know in the past years when I couldn’t do as much I missed it. Sing while you work. Pray for whom you’re doing it for. I know when I fold clothes I pray for the person I’m folding. I told them when they were little we’re making this to bless daddy, he works so hard for us. Or if it was a special dish. this is Sam’s favorite. If someone was down, let’s cheer them up and help them. Everyone has to work so it might as well be fun, plus they learn to bless others.

Nurture Them

Engage them.  I would talk to my children while we cooked. We would sing and I would teach them songs. I’ve keep scripture cards or song lyrics on the inside of my cupboards and would work on memorizing them and so would they.  Children learn memorization at a faster rate so don’t get discouraged if they learn it faster than you. I had a board book when they were younger that had a short  verse for each letter. Instead of A is for apple it was A- All have sinned. It was amazing how fast they picked up on it.

Be Mindful of Where You’re Taking Them

As you’re putting these tips for toddlers in the kitchen in place think about where you’re going. You are training their habits while they are young. These are the same habits they will have later. Now if they have bad habits as toddlers, they can be retrained as younger children. I know, I’ve done it. But it takes a lot more work.  Get in the habit of starting with them as toddlers and working together. As they get older children will share a lot of things on their hearts while working side by side. But you have to put the time in first.

 

Please remember these years are fleeting but the memories are forever.  They really do go fast. I know when mine were little I was told how quickly it goes. With many little ones I really didn’t believe it and it really really didn’t feel like. But time passes and they grow up. Enjoy them.

I hope these tips for toddlers in the kitchen have helped you. Let me know which one is your favorite or another tip you have.

 

 

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