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38 Ways to Connect with Our Kids

Kids don’t need one more toy…one more TV show…one more activity…nor one more minute on an electronic device.

They need more time with US!

They are craving it.  They will do anything to get it…including whining, fighting, bickering, moaning, groaning, complaining, fit-throwing, etc.  Even laziness, disrespectfulness, disobedience…you name it! In fact, most misbehavior can somehow be linked to the desire for our attention.

The truth is that if we give our kids more attention in positive ways, they won’t try to get our attention in negative ways.  Here are positive ways to intentionally connect and build a close, positive relationship with our kids (thank you for our board members for helping with this list)…

  • Each day (or as much as you can), ask them: “What do you want to do for our (Take-10 Time, Special Time, Our Time, etc.)?” Then do it for 10 minutes. For older kids, each time, take turns doing something they like and then having them do something that you like.
  • Leave a note that says “You’re awesome because…” on their pillow, on the bathroom mirror, at the breakfast or dinner table, etc.
  • Each month, do something special with them on the day of the month they were born.  (Do something special with your spouse on the day of your anniversary!) You could let them pick the dinner for that night, stay up later for one-on-one time like a movie or game night.
  • Find a book that has a movie to go with it. Read the book together. Then, watch the movie together. (Charlotte’s Web, Benji, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Wonder, A Dog’s Purpose, etc.)
  • Make a special meal together.
  • Learn something new—play the guitar, learn a new language, learn how to draw cartoon characters, etc.
  • Rub their back at night while you do the same 4 bedtime questions
    • I always ask:
        • 1. What was your favorite part of your day?
        • 2. What was your least favorite part of your day?
        • 3. How did you show kindness/love/teamwork/integrity (choose any character trait you are working on) today?
        • 4. Do you have any questions or anything else you would like to share about your day?
  • Give them a high five.
  • Tell them what makes them unique and why you love that about them.
  • Do a puzzle.
  • Memorize Bible verses.
  • Look through photo albums or make a new photo album.
  • Dig through the attic or basement relics.
  • Get outside and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. (Vitamin D is so good for our mood!)
  • Try to recreate a science experiment you find/watch on YouTube or create one of your own.
  • Pop popcorn and watch a kids’ movie together.
  • Bake cookies.
  • Try a new fruit or vegetable. (Bonus–Eating healthy keeps our immune systems strong!)
  • Build or create something—sand castle, Legos, mud mountain, artwork, an invention, a rocket, a model airplane, a play-doh creation, etc.
  • Make a list of your top 10 things you love about them and share it with them at dinner time. (Have them do the same for you!)
  • Have a special notebook for writing back and forth with each child.
  • Go around the dinner table and share your high and low of the day.
  • Make a special breakfast on Saturday mornings.
  • Tell them a story about your favorite childhood memories at bedtime.
  • Read Bible stories together every night.
  • Snuggle and read a book side by side.
  • Do a house project–rearrange furniture, repaint a room, etc.
  • Color or paint a picture. You could even draw a silly picture of each other.
  • Learn how to sew on a button together.
  • Take turns telling jokes.
  • Play “Don’t laugh” where you tickle them and tell them not to laugh.
  • Tickle their “Grumpies” out.
  • Have an “I Love You the Most” Contest–where you take turns shouting “I love you the most.” “NO—I love YOU the most.”
  • Have a staring contest.
  • Play “Rock, Paper, Scissors”.
  • Leave little gifts at the breakfast table on Saturday mornings.
  • Make homemade slime.
  • Hug them every day and say “I love you” every day.

You can print this out as a checklist— 38 Ways to Connect with Our Kids

Here’s to building better families together–

Christine

27 Ways to Connect as a Family

The Connection Tool

Even though I don’t like the circumstances behind this social distancing, and I do not take how scary this virus is lightly, I do believe that God makes all things good. And the good I see already happening is that we are getting back to the basics…family time. Not always on the go, not frantically running around from activity to activity. Just taking time to breathe…to connect…and for some families…to reconnect.

I believe that we’ve all been sucked into this “rat race” of busyness and have been made to feel that this is how our lives should be. In a sense, over the years, our society has gotten into the habit of family-distancing. We’ve been running around pouring our energy into our work, into kids’ activities, and even into volunteer activities instead of pouring our energy into our families and into building close relationships with our spouse and with our kids.

So again, even though I do not like that something like this virus is the reason behind families being forced to spend time together, I do believe that God is going to bless this time for all of us…if we make the most of out it. I’m seeing families out on bike rides…I see families walking around our neighborhood together. And I think–“Yes, this is how things should be more often.”  Maybe this time can be spent not only reconnecting but also reprioritizing our time and learning to put more time into our families.

Together, let’s turn this social-distancing into family-connecting!

Here are a few ways (thank you to our board members who helped with this list) to put The Connection Tool to good use and connect as a family—

  • Have a family movie night and pizza night.
  • Create a new family recipe.
  • Design a Family Flag.
  • Come up with a new family motto.
  • Start a new tradition—the crazier, the better!
  • Play Board Games.
  • Build a fort and watch home videos.
  • Make a family photo album or scrapbook or picture video.
  • Make up a family rap, poem, song, or rhyme. Bonus points for coming up with hand gestures. Extra bonus points for performing it! Extra extra bonus points for posting it on Social Media!
  • Have a “Taste the Rainbow Night”—where you buy fruits and vegetables of every different color of the rainbow and try them together (healthy food = healthy bodies)
  • Pretend to travel to another country—make food, listen to music, learn some new words, and imagine you are there! (We recently went to “Jamaica” as a family)
  • Have a dance party and each make requests of your favorite dance songs.
  • Put on a family concert (with actual instruments or with pots and pans and other household items).
  • Make up a skit and perform it.
  • Take donations to your local food pantry.
  • Have a Nerf Gun fight (Please wear your safety goggles)
  • Go on a Weird Nature Walk where you try to find weird things.
  • Have a family devotional time.
  • Design a family t-shirt. Come up with a team name, logo, and motto. Bonus points–order shirts for the whole family!
  • Get a head start on yard work or plant a garden – start with seeds in a cup.
  • Take turns letting each family member be the “teacher” where everyone gets to teach something they enjoy doing.
  • Do a “Show and Tell” time where everyone gets a few minutes to share their favorite item in the house.
  • Make a list of how your family can make the world a better place.
  • Start a “Wall of Gratitude” where you write down everything that you are grateful for.
  • Have a pillow fight. (Have safety rules in place—no heads or necks).
  • Come up with a secret family handshake.
  • Do a big “I love you” family hug every day.

Here’s a print-out 27 WAYS TO CONNECT AS A FAMILY in case you want to use this as a checklist. 🙂

Put on love which binds them together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14

Here’s to building better families together–

Christine

4 Tools to Help Keep Your Cool

I was yelling back and forth with my daughter last night.  In fact, we were screaming at each other.

“I love you!”

“No, I love you more!”

“No, I love you more than that!”

“No, I love you infinity!”

We were laughing, yelling, and yes, arguing at how much we loved each other and I thought…”This is the only reason parents should be arguing with or yelling at their kids.”

Now, let’s be real for a second.  Kids push our buttons.  Kids tick us off.  Kids frustrate the heck out of us.  Right?  And sometimes our “go-to” is to yell.

So don’t worry–I never want you to think that I’m this perfect parent who has never yelled or lost her cool.  Um, no.  There have been so many times I’ve beat myself up at the end of the day for losing my mind on my kids. We all have moments like that.

But hopefully, we can all learn from our mistakes and improve for next time, right? We don’t have to let these patterns continue over and over. And with the Teamwork Parenting Approach, I’ve learned to apply simple tools that help keep me more calm…
The Connection Tool

1.  Spend more time spending time with them.  This right here will make all the difference.  If you don’t do anything else I share, do this…spend time with your kids!  The Connection Tool reminds us that when we work on developing a close positive relationship with them and just delight in being with them, there isn’t as much time to argue. Our kids also feel less of a need to argue (especially if they are arguing just to get attention or get a rise out of us.  Remember, kids will seek our attention no matter how they can get it!)

Proactive Tool (1)

2.  Set expectations and consequences up in advance.  The Proactive Tool reminds us that often kids misbehave and arguments ensue when expectations and consequences aren’t clear and fair and agreed upon in advance.  Together, you can come up with a list of expectations and consequences BEFORE they go to the store or restaurant or to a friend’s house or get a phone.

Practice Tool (1)

3.  Take time to practice the expectations you’ve set.  The Practice Tool reminds us that kids need practice!  Whatever the “hot buttons” are in your home…whatever causes the most amounts of arguments…you don’t have to take it.   Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of an argument. Do it during a peaceful time of day.  Practice kind words. Practice respecting the “no”. Practice sharing.  Practice getting out of the house on time or a new bedtime routine. Over and over and over.  Practice how to do things right—even if they don’t have time to play on any electronics or watch TV.  “Kids your age should be able to ____________________________, so we will keep practicing it until you get it.  I know you’ll get this. We are a team and I’m here to encourage you.”
Character Tool (1)

4.  Point out the good.  The Character Tool teaches us that during a quiet, non-angry time–point out the good character traits they are demonstrating. Our entire parenting focus should be on teaching character. How about let’s take time to thank our kids when they choose not to argue.  Thank them when they choose to be respectful of your “No”, when they choose to listen and obey, when they choose kind words.  If they are having a bad day, give them space and grace.  Encourage them by saying:  “Tomorrow is a new day. And I know you’ll improve.  I’m always here to help. We are a team and we love each other!”  And then pray together for more team unity in your home!

Remember that we are on the same team as our kids.  We are in loving authority over them, and God is trusting us to teach them well.  It is my prayer that when you apply these teamwork tools, you will find more positive interactions in your home and maybe someday you will soon find that the only time you and your kids argue is about how much you love each other too!

Lord–remind us every day that as parents and God’s servants, we must not be argumentative, but gentle listeners and teachers who keep our cool, work firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. 2 Timothy 2:24 The Message

Here’s to building better families–

Christine

3 Ways to Teach Kids to Be Patient

I’ll admit that I am not the poster parent for patience.  And while we’re at it…our world isn’t advertising patience to our kids either.  In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Everything is instant.  Hello—snap chat, instant messaging, and Amazon 2-day shipping.  I mean, right?  If I have to wait more than 2 days for something to be shipped to me, I’m all like….WHAT???

Well, patience may not be expected in our world all the time, but it sure should be expected in our homes and from our kids and while we’re at it…from ourselves.  The Character Tool in our Teamwork Parenting Approach teaches us to focus our parenting and our expectations in our family on character traits and patience is a big one! But how do we teach patience?  Especially when we may not be a patient parent?

Well, it takes teamwork.  I believe that everything in our homes takes teamwork.  Here are 3 ways to work as a family to encourage more patience…

1.  Define patience:  When we say “Wait” or “Be patient” to our kids, it’s like they hear us saying: “You’re never going to EVER get what you’re asking for.”  And that’s not fun for kids to hear.  So we just simply need to train them on what “Wait” or “Be patient” actually means.  Yes, at times it may mean that they may never EVER get something they’ve asked for–especially if they ask to play with a knife or eat 8 suckers.  But in general, it means that they will get what they’re asking for but that they are simply being asked to wait.

2.  Present patience as a skill:  Once they understand the concept of waiting, then, we can really pump it up as something they get to practice and get better at. “You’re 4 now.  When mommy/daddy asks you to wait, you can practice being so patient now that you’re older.”  When it’s a skill that they can always improve on, then it’s more empowering for them to “get better at it.”  It turns patience from something you’re just asking them to do into something that they can do for themselves and be good at it.

3.  Give examples of patient behaviors:  Take time to introduce moments in life when they will use the skill of patience–restaurants, doctor’s offices, God’s timing, etc.  Don’t give examples while they are in a fit because you’ve said “no” or asked them to wait because they won’t hear you. But wait for calm moments throughout your day and find opportunities in your daily life to point out patience—you can say: “Look at the spider patiently waiting on his web for a meal.” Or–“It’s so frustrating when we have to wait for a train, but it’s a good thing we can be patient.” And the best part is to point out moments when your kids do choose to show patience so they can recognize patient behaviors in themselves.

Then, as a team, you can make a list of things they can do when they are asked to wait so they can look at being patient as an opportunity to do something else with their time.

Working with your kids to encourage patience in waiting will help your whole family be more patient in waiting too.  Because dang, I’ve learned to be more patient simply because I know my kids are watching and learning…and so are yours.  😉

Lord, we live in an impatient, high-speed, fast-expectations world.  But through You, we can be still.  We can be patient.  We can be kind.  And that’s the kind of love we want in our homes. 

Here’s to building better families–

Christine

What Kind of Parent Are You?

Take a minute to think of one of your favorite teachers from school…
What were his/her qualities?  What did you like about him/her?

Make a list.

  • Made learning fun
  • Had high but well-communicated expectations with room to grow
  • Always encouraged us to do our best
  • Saw the good in us
  • Created an atmosphere of teamwork and respect
  • Silly and downright goofy sometimes
  • Truly loved their job
  • Truly cared about us

How did students react to or treat this teacher?

  • With respect
  • With love
  • They wanted to please him/her

Now think of the worst teacher you had in school…
What were his/her qualities?  What didn’t you like about him/her?

Make a list.

  • Made learning a chore
  • had ridiculous unattainable expectations with no room for error
  • always had a discouraging word to say
  • saw the worst in all of us
  • created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty
  • grumpy and yelled a lot
  • hated his/her job
  • didn’t seem to care about me at all

How did students react to or treat this teacher?

  • with fear
  • with lying and disrespect
  • They wanted to either get revenge or just stay as far away from him/her as possible

Or what about this teacher?

  • didn’t have many rules
  • chaotic classroom environment
  • was really “nice” but not very effective
  • not much learning got done
  • seemed frazzled at times but never did anything to solve problems

How did students react to or treat this teacher?

  • with disrespect and manipulation
  • Kids felt insecure
  • They didn’t listen and obey

The teacher can make all the difference.  

A friend of mine shared with me that last year, her daughter did awesome in Spanish class because she had an awesome teacher.  This year, however, she isn’t doing well in Spanish.  Why?  She has a different teacher who makes learning impossible and is “hard to be around.” Last year…As and Bs…this year…not so much.

The teacher can make all the difference.

So my question to you is:  What kind of teacher are you?

Yes, I know our kids push our buttons, roll their eyes, talk back, throw fits, scream, yell, and sometimes appear to TRY to drive us crazy, but we have a choice in how we react.

In our homes, we are a team. We can choose to have high expectations with love and grace. We can choose to be learning-focused with a balance of rules and respect. We can choose to invite our kids in to solve problems with the idea of teamwork and having fun.

“How can we stop throwing toys so you and I can have more time to play with them together?”

We have the choice to view our role as parent as that of a teacher…a “good” teacher–creating an atmosphere where kids learn, laugh, and love.

And that’s what the Teamwork Parenting Approach is all about!

I truly believe that the style of teacher that we choose to be can make a difference in an “A student” or an “F student”.

And I’m not talking about grades.

Lord, open our eyes to the ways You want us to grow and change as a parent. Give us wisdom to parent our kids like the Teacher that You are to us–with high expectations but full of patience, grace, and abounding love and joy.  

Here’s to building better families–

Christine

We Use Teamwork Words

Our words matter.  Whether we want to admit it or not, the power of our own words matters in our homes.  Our kids are listening.  The scary part is just how closely that they are listening.

Just to give you an idea…the other day, my oldest son was working on his Math Stars homework.  I heard him say to my husband:  “Daddy, I don’t like to do this work.  It’s like: ‘Great! You’re smart in math…let me give you more work to do!” 

I just chuckled in the other room because I had said that exact thing…word for word…about his Math Stars homework the other day.  And my son was listening.  I only said it once and yet he could quote me WORD FOR WORD!  And he said these words as if they were his own.  I could share more stories like this…could you?

That’s exactly what happens.  Our words become their words. 

The Modeling Tool is so important in our parenting. We must model the kind and respectful words we want our kids to use. When we talk to our spouse…when we talk to our friends…when we interact with strangers…when we make comments, observations, and pretty much say anything about anything, they are listening…and learning!

In our home, we focus a lot on being a team.  That’s why we created the Teamwork Parenting Approach. We want our kids (and every kid) to have a sense of belonging in family.  We want them to value unity and togetherness.  And we are well aware that this starts with our words!

Any change in our homes that we desire to make must start with our words.  First and foremost, words of prayer.  That’s how true change will happen.  Then, we must be mindful of the words we speak on a daily basis.  If we want our kids to speak life, our words need to speak life.  If we want our kids to speak kindness, love, respect, compassion, joy, and peace, our words need to do the same.

We want more teamwork in our home, so we model Teamwork Words.    Teamwork words are always welcome in the Leeb home.  And through the Modeling Tool, we intentionally use them.  And our kids are learning to use them too.  That’s just how it works.

And that’s just the power of our words.  Our words matter!

Lord, death and life are in the power of our tongues. (Proverbs 18:21)  Let us speak words of life.  Set a guard over our mouths, Lord; keep watch over the door of our lips. (Psalm 141:3)  Give us wisdom to use words that reflect You to our children. 

Here’s to building better families together–
Christine

The 5 P’s for Family Meetings

“That’s it!  Family Meeting RIGHT NOW!”  This is how our Family Meetings used to come about.  They were mainly a we-can’t-take-this-anymore type of meeting where we basically ripped them a new one.  Our Family Meetings used to be more out of desperation for control in the chaos than anything else.  Now they are more intentional.

Over the past few years, as we have developed the Teamwork Parenting Approach, we have been implementing The Family Meeting Tool by having regularly scheduled Family Meetings.  Every Monday night after dinner, bath, and pajamas, we gather around the kitchen table for a little snack and our weekly team meeting.

They have been so helpful and powerful–especially with the 4 P’s we focus on each time to help our team…our family…be stronger…

  1. PRAISE:  It’s so important for any strong team to focus on what they’re doing well.  This is simply a time to focus on the positive things about our family.  We all take turns sharing what we’ve enjoyed doing together, what we feel has been going smoothly, or any ways we have improved as a family over the past week.
  2. PLAN:  Strong teams take time to plan ahead.  Families who know what’s coming up in their week can work better to get the things done that need to get done.  We share any events, birthdays, special occasions, school outings, or activities. We also make a point to have one special family time on the calendar. I truly believe that the key to a strong family is spending time together.  Oh and we also share with our kids when we have a date night coming up too.  It’s so important for our kids to know that we invest in our marriage and make it a priority.
  3. PRACTICE:  All great teams need practice.  Our families need practice too. I keep a Family Meeting Agenda sheet on our refrigerator so that any family member can jot things down that our family needs to practice.  Some recent items on our agenda? Respecting the “No”, Things I Can and Can’t Control, Listening and Obeying, What To Do and NOT Do While We Are on the Phone, What To Do Instead of Losing Your Cool, etc.  It’s been incredibly helpful to give our kids these tools in advance during calm times instead of feeling out of control and resorting to anger and yelling during the crazy times.  It’s really about being more proactive instead of reactive.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to keep my cool and say: “Remember what we practiced at our Family Meeting. How can you Respect her ‘No’?”  And then they remember that they have the tools to Respect her ‘No’ by saying “Ok, I’m disappointed you’re not going to play.  If you change your mind, I will be in the basement playing something else” because we’ve practiced it together in advance!  How awesome is that?  Giving kids the tools they will need to resolve conflict, stand up for themselves, solve problems, and respect others will help them in our family teams, but will also help them in life!
  4. PRAY:  A family who prays together…stays together. I love it when my team…my family…holds hands around the table and prays over our week.  We take time to pray over the skills we practiced, over any requests the kids have, and we always pray that the Leeb family would be God’s love and light in this world.
  5. PLAY: I also believe strongly that a family who PLAYS together…stays together. After each family meeting, we play a game together. It’s a great way to end our meeting–laughing and having fun together.

After our meeting is over, we always huddle together, put our hands in the middle and say: “Go Leebs!”  Then we do a big team hug.

Our meetings aren’t perfect.  Sometimes we’ve had to end them early and send the kids to bed and try again the next night, but we keep going.  We keep meeting.  We keep gathering together as a team each and every week.

If you’d like to get started on your own Family Meetings, here are a few quick tips:

  • Let your kids know that these meetings are a chance to make your family a better and stronger team.
  • Start small–especially while your kids are small. You can start with just 3 P’s–Praise, Pray, and Play and build from there.
  • Assure your older kids that they will have a chance to share what concerns they have too.
  • Set up clear and firm expectations and consequences for behavior at the meetings in advance.
  • Keep the meeting on the same day and time each week if possible.
  • Keep it short, light-hearted, and as encouraging as possible.
  • Always have a snack.  LOL!

Lord, Your word reminds us that where two or more are gathered together in Your name, You are with them. (Matthew 18:20) Provide the opportunity for our families to gather in Your name and unite, talk, share, laugh, learn, and grow to be all that You created them to be.

Here’s to building better families together–

Christine

Respecting the “No”

The Phrase Tool is an important tool in parenting. Using the same short phrases over and over to teach a character trait can help us be able to be more effective in our parenting. Instead of reaching for the right words to say or instead of using long lectures, we can just use the same words and phrases over and over and then take time to practice what they mean.

  • “Gentle hands, please.”
  • “Use kind words, please.”
  • “Work as a team, please.”

“Respect the ‘No'” is a phrase we have had to use a lot lately in our home.

Why is “No” such a tough word for our kids to hear? Sometimes when I say “No” to my kids, you would think that I told them that I was going to pluck every hair off of every square inch of their bodies with tweezers.

Why is “No” so difficult for kids and how can we help them respect it more without melting down and losing their minds…and making us lose ours?

Here are 5 ways to use the Teamwork Parenting Approach to teach our kids to “Respect the ‘No'”:

  1. Use “No’s” Sparingly:  I’m certainly not a “Yes” parent, but I do watch how often I say “No”, and I also make sure that I’m not just saying “No” because it’s an inconvenient or annoying request.  Sometimes I will go out of my way to say “Yes” more often even if it is just in saying:  “Yes, in a little while…” instead of “No, not right now.”  See what I did there?
  2. Respect their “No”:  When we respect our kids “No’s” and their own personal boundaries, they will be more likely to respect ours.  When they ask us kindly to stop doing something, we should stop.  In fact, we can also say:  “You’re right.  I’m going to Respect your ‘No’.” What a great example we can set!
  3. Help kids recognize the different kinds of “No’s”.  The two phrases we use to teach our kids the different kinds of “No’s”are: “Never No’s” and the “Not-Right-Now No’s”.  A “Never No” can be more difficult to overcome, because what they are asking for will most likely never happen and that can be devastating to a child…even when their request is to run out into the street naked.    A “Not-Right-Now No”, however, is a great “No” to get because our kids will be able to do what they’ve asked to do…eventually.  Learning the difference will help them discover that they actually receive more “Not-Right-Now No’s” than they do “Never No’s.”
  4. Teach coping strategies:  With a “Never No”, you can empathize with them and teach them strategies to cope:  taking deep breaths, asking for a hug, getting some space in their room, washing their face, getting a drink of water, etc.  With a “Not-Right-Now No”, focus on the wonderful opportunity they have to exercise the skill of patience.  We even keep a Patience List  with some ideas of constructive things they can do with their time while they’re waiting.  We even say: “Thank you for Choosing Patience (another phrase we use often).  What did you choose to do with your time while you waited?”
  5. Teach them what to say:  Time and time again, “Respecting the ‘No'” is on our weekly Family Meeting agenda because our kids need constant practice in what to say when they hear a “No”.  We will give them this example:  “You ask your brother to play and he says ‘No’.  How can you Respect his ‘No’?”  We listen to their ideas and lead them to say something like:  “Ok, I’m disappointed.  I’m going to play something else.  Let me know if you change your mind.”

No matter what kind of “No” our kids receive from us, from others, or from this world, let’s equip them with some powerful strategies to handle to be able to “Respect the No.”

Lord, you ask us to wait often.  We don’t always get what we want when we want it and neither should our children. Remind us that we are not only teaching our kids about living in this world when we teach them to Respect the “No’s”, but we are also teaching them about living a life of faith.  We are not just teaching them to live under our loving authority, but we are teaching them to live under Yours—respecting Your “Never No’s” and “Not-Right-Now No’s” too. 

Here’s to building better families together-

Christine

The 4 A’s of Making Mistakes

It’s so important to make our home into an environment where kids feel comfortable making mistakes.

Because our kids will ALWAYS make mistakes!  We still do, right?

Why not teach them strategies on what to do after a mistake is made?  Teaching them these steps will not only show them that it’s OK to make mistakes but it also equips them and empowers them on what to do when they know they’ve blown it…when they’ve really messed up…or even when they have a small “Oops”.

Here are the 4 A’s of Making Mistakes we can teach our kids:

  1. Admit Your Mistake–Everyone makes mistakes.  No one is perfect.  Admit what you did.  Build trust instead of break it.
  2. Apologize–Say: “I’m sorry.”  Ask for forgiveness.  Be sincere.
  3. Always Offer to Help Fix It–Take ownership.  Solve the problem.  Figure out a solution and follow through.
  4. Avoid Making the Same Mistake–Learn from your mistake.  Mistakes build character and can make you stronger and more wise.  Learn, grow, and move on!

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Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if we all did this?

After we teach these steps and we walk our kids through them over and over, then we just have to be there for them without judgement…without punishment…and without any “I told you so’s”.  So the next time our kids come to us with a mistake, we can say—

  • “Thank you for admitting your mistake. That really builds trust between us.”
  • “Thank you for apologizing for it and yes, I forgive you.”
  • “Thank you for offering to help fix the broken window because yes, you will pay for it out of your own money.”
  • “And I know you feel badly and will not throw the ball in the house again.  I love you.”

Lord, check our hearts for perfectionist ways and perfectionist expectations of ourselves and of our children.  Fill our hearts full of grace–especially in our words and our reactions.  Remove the pressure of perfection and remind us that Your word and Your ways are perfect and flawless NOT OURS…and certainly not our children’s. 

Here’s to building better families–
Christine

3 Ways to Help Our Kids Be Good Mistake-Makers

Spills, homework errors, unmade beds, forgotten backpacks, lost sweatshirts, classroom warnings, and sassy tones.  These are just a few ways my kids have messed up this week alone!

Kids make mistakes!  Heck, we make mistakes too.

It’s hard for this perfectionist to admit, but EVERYONE makes mistakes.  And it’s so important that we teach our kids how to deal with them because they have, do, and always will make them.

3 Ways to Help Our Kids Be Good Mistake-Makers…
1.  Keep a calm voice:  Don’t lose our cool.  As much as we want to yell (and I have made that mistake many times), let’s try to take a deep breath and stay calm.  Sometimes just our reaction alone can create fear and anxiety over mistakes.  They may even try to hide them from us if we go all crazy on them.  Mistakes help them learn.  Mistakes are simply teachable moments.  Let’s repeat that to ourselves over and over.  It certainly helps me!

2.  Use teamwork:  What if they forget their backpack?  Do we rush it to school for them? No. We let them forget it and ask:  “I noticed you forgot your backpack today.  How did you solve that problem?  And how can you solve that problem for tomorrow?  Can I be helpful in any way?”  This puts the problem-solving power on them but also lets them know that you are there to help if they need you!  Kids must learn to figure out how to fix their own mistakes.  Teach them.  Don’t punish them.  Empower them.  Don’t embarrass them.  Oh and my favorite checklists are perfect for helping with forgetfulness by the way.

3.  Admit your own mistakes:  One of the most beautiful things my kids have said to me when I’ve apologized for a mistake I made (which is often, I might add) is:  “It’s OK, Mommy.  Everyone makes mistakes.”  Adults are mistake-makers too and the more kids see how we tell the truth, apologize, and problem-solve to “fix” our mistakes with confidence and without panic, the more they will become great mistake-makers too.

Lord, you call us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us. (Ephesians 4:32)  As we guide our kids in making mistakes, give us grace to be kind, patience to be tenderhearted, and love to be forgiving.  And always give us the wisdom to teach.  Mistakes help us learn and grow to be more like You!

Here’s to building better families—

Christine