The weather has been pretty crazy…hot, cold, windy, rainy, and completely and totally unpredictable. Kind of like a child’s moods, right?
Mood swings are hard to predict, but one thing that can help kids regulate and feel more in control of their emotions is to feel more connected to us! At their very core, a child deeply desires to feel connected to their parent/guardian. They want to be seen…heard…valued…listened to…understood…loved. They want to be noticed and they will do ANYTHING to get us to notice them…including misbehave. Behaviors like…
doing things they are not supposed to be doing
getting into things they are not supposed to be getting in to
fighting with their siblings
doing poorly in school
are all behaviors that get our attention. And some kids do these behaviors JUST to get our attention. They are saying…”see me”…”notice me”…”pay attention to me”.
But what if we set aside time each day just to play with them…hang out with them…talk to them…just be with them? How would their behaviors change?
Well, definitely for the better.
are just some of the benefits of children feeling connected to their parent/guardian and to their family.
Here are 5 Ways to Connect as a FAMILY this SPRING…
FAMILY GO-TO-THE-MOVIES NIGHT: Surprise your kids by taking them to the movie theater to watch a movie together. NOTE: To cut down on cost, go before 4pm and bring your own popcorn, candy, and drinks like I do! 🙂
FAMILY BAKE COOKIES NIGHT: Bake some cookies together and then enjoy eating them together too! You could even bake a few extra to share with a neighbor.
FAMILY HAVE-A-PARTY-FOR-NO-REASON NIGHT: Any night can be a reason for a party. One mom of 8 shared that she would randomly do a “Nacho Birthday Party” and have nachos and give each kid a little gift for no reason. How fun is that?
FAMILY PLANT FLOWERS NIGHT: Now that the weather is getting nicer, you can plant some flower together and you can water them and take care of them together and watch them grow all throughout the spring, summer, and even into the fall. Impatiens are $5-$10, and they bush out and grow quite a bit. You could even get a seed packet for a few dollars and plant seeds and watch them sprout and grow!
FAMILY KICK BALL NIGHT: Grab a ball and head to an open area for a friendly game of family kick ball. We just use jackets and shirts for the bases and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
Pick one of these to try this weekend and put Family Time on the calendar each week throughout the spring and do something to connect. If you use none of these ideas…that’s OK. Find YOUR own way to connect as a family. So even if the weather isn’t predictable this spring season…your child will know that Family Time will be!
Here’s to some fun Family Time this spring… Christine
Child Development Specialist
We strengthen families and promote positive parent-child relationships.
For parenting questions, concerns, and support, call or text our non-emergency Parent Support Line: 920-7FAMILY (920-732 6459)
Have you ever just lost your ever-lovin’ mind on your kids? I have. It’s actually quite embarrassing if you think about it—these little kids, these tiny human beings, these people that are decades younger than we are know exactly how to push our buttons so well that can push us over the edge.
We are adults for cryin’ out loud! But yet, I find myself acting like a child sometimes…yelling, crying, pouting, dirty looks, eye rolls, sighs, slamming doors, being annoyed, wanting them to just leave me alone and get the heck away from me IMMEDIATELY!! I don’t know how they do it, but those little button-pushers know how to push so hard that they release anger I never even knew I had!
I’m not excusing these behaviors in our parenting, because I know there are better ways…more loving ways…more Godly ways for us to handle ourselves, but I am giving us the grace we need to accept that we are human. We are not perfect. We will make mistakes. And so will our kids! And the sooner we realize that, the better we will be able to not only bounce back from our adult fits but hopefully be able to avoid them altogether.
Here are 5 strategies I’ve tried that have helped me…I hope they help you too:
1. Take-10 STAT: When kids are in the button-pushing mode, there’s always a reason. And did you know that the reason is almost ALWAYS to get our attention? So instead of losing our cool or allowing them to push anymore of our buttons, look at their nasty attitude as a ATTENTION EMERGENCY! “I’m noticing some grumpies are coming out in your attitude right now, let’s just stop what we’re both doing and do something fun together for 10 minutes. What would you like to do?” Even if the least of your desires is to spend time with them or even be near them, taking 10 minutes of your time can revive your relationship!
2. Positive Self-Talk: If buttons have already been pushed and your mood moves too quickly to anger, try taking a deep breath and say this over and over: “I am calm and confident.” Positive self-talk will help YOU remember with confidence that you are in loving authority over your child. Your reaction does not have to mirror their reaction. They can be as upset as they want for as long as they want. You made the right choice and you can remain calm about it.
3. Get space: Remember do not engage. If they are strong-willed, they will want to try to pick a fight with you (sometimes just for fun), but you can remain calm and confident. If you do feel anger rising, simply excuse yourself and say: “I need a little space to calm down. Please respect my space. We can talk when we are both ready to be respectful.” And when it’s not a yelling and slamming door moment, it’s OK to go to your room or a bathroom and lock the door to get away for a moment.
4. Pray: If they continue to engage…even if they are banging on your door…just say a prayer. Pray for YOUR peace but also pray for THEIRS. It’s OK to let them be upset until you are both calm. And don’t forget the powerful When/Then Tool. “When you’re done being upset, then we can____________(play a game, read a book, go to the park, etc.) Then on your way to the park, you can calmly talk to them about the situation, share ideas about what you both can do differently next time, and hug.
5. Encourage: “We’ll both get better about talking instead of yelling. I just know it! Let’s keep encouraging each other and practicing how to have a respectful conversation, OK? I love you and when two people love each other and are on the same team like we are, it’s important that we learn how to speak respectfully to each other…even when we’re angry.”
One final thought—through that kid who is driving us crazy…God is doing something in us…to shape us and change us to be more like Him. Parenting is a process of growth. Let’s ask ourselves: “Lord, how are you trying to grow me through this child?”
Lord, remind us that we are not children anymore. Yes, we are Your Children and we belong to You. Yes, we can have a childlike faith believing so whole-heartedly in You and Your goodness. But we do not have to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child (or throw fits like a child). We can choose to do away with these childish things. (from 1 Corinthians 13:11) Through You, we can disarm those buttons our kids push so that they will no longer have any power over us! And instead of being buttons that trigger anger and yelling, they will simply release confidence, a calm spirit, and a kind heart.
Whatever behavior we expect out of our children, we should expect that same behavior from ourselves. As parents, we have a wonderful privilege of being our child’s first and most important teacher, and no matter how old they are, they are learning from us every day.
THE MODELING TOOL reminds us we always have little eyes, little ears, and little brains watching, listening, and learning from our every move…every day. Even as our kids grow and their eyes, ears, and brains aren’t so little anymore, they are still learning from us. They see how we treat our spouses. They listen to how we talk to the dog. They are learning how to resolve conflict, handle disappointments, solve problems, overcome adversity, speak respectfully, and love and serve others.
No matter what we do, what we say, how we react, they are learning from us. And they will take these behaviors out into the world—in their classrooms, in their friendships, to work, to their marriages, and ultimately to their own children.
What we model matters.
I remember years ago, I was having trouble with my kids doing things to be helpful. They would do things if we made them or if there was a consequence to go with our request, but doing things just to be helpful wasn’t happening. It made me very frustrated!
But I knew that to teach my kids to be more helpful, the answer wasn’t harsher consequences or raising my voice a little louder when I asked them to do something. The answer was to model helpfulness. Helpfulness had to start with me. So I did a little Helpful Experiment for a week…
I started being more helpful. “Hey, I noticed your laundry basket was full, so I threw in a load for you…just to be helpful.”
I started asking how I could be more helpful. “How can I be helpful with your chores today?”
I started thanking them for being helpful. “I noticed you took your plate to the sink–thank you for being so helpful.”
I started pointing out others who were being helpful. “Did you see that man open the door for that lady? That was really helpful.”
I started saturating our conversations with the word “helpful” and I made sure to do things to be more helpful to them.
And it worked!!!
In just one week, my kids started being more helpful—to me, to each other. Hmmmmm….very interesting!
Observational learning isn’t a new concept, but it is a powerful one. If you want your child to be more helpful, you have to be more helpful. If you want your child to be more respectful, you have to be more respectful. If you want your child to stop yelling, you have to stop yelling.
No matter what changes you hope to see in your child, start with you first. Do your own experiment and see what positive changes YOU can make in your family.
Lord, remind us how much our children are looking up to us, learning from us, and modeling whatever they see. Help us to be a reflection of Your love and light into their lives!
Here’s to building better families together– Christine
Back to school time is hard every year…any year…but especially THIS YEAR!
These past 5 months have been hard—haven’t they? We have all been facing unprecedented circumstances for our generation. And our children are certainly a part of a life-changing pandemic that we have no idea about the true ramifications on their lives.
To make things even more difficult for our family…over the past 5 months, my mother-in-law’s physical and mental health quickly declined and just last week, she passed away. My husband is a teacher and because of the coronavirus and the schools being closed since March, he was able to go up and take care of her and honor her during her last days on earth. He had been gone so much over the past 24 weeks that I had a whole new appreciation for the single parent! Wow–it was exhausting for all of us.
And starting next week, I will be facilitating remote learning for all three of my children even though I was counting on having the time to dedicate to serving, teaching, and coaching families through Real Life Families and taking classes for grad school to get my master’s in Psychology–Child and Adolescent Development.
But I may not have time to do those things. My own family comes first. My job as a parent comes first. I may have to pause grad school. I may have to do less for Real Life Families. I just don’t know what I will be able to do this fall.
I know you’re probably facing some of the same dilemmas and fearing some of the same challenges too.
I have no idea what to expect from this whole remote learning thing nor do I know how long it’s going to last nor do I know if I’m going to have the patience to handle it all. But I do know that as a family, when we face potential problems, crazy challenges, or unknown circumstances, it is critical that we remember that we are a team and we can solve any problem together.
So whether your kids are doing remote learning or actually going to school this year, here are some great tools to help you and your family…
1. THE PROACTIVE TOOL: Let’s think ahead. Identify potential problems or sources of conflict IN ADVANCE. Set up expectations and consequences IN ADVANCE. If your kids are older, get them involved in setting up their own expectations and consequences about their school work. Work as a team to set healthy boundaries and find a system that will set your kids up for success. Don’t wait for problems to fester or continue to break your relationship. Solve the problem as quickly as possible and get ahead of the problems as much as possible.
2. THE ROUTINE TOOL helps you take your expectations about school work and put them into a checklist helping your kids create a routine. Kids thrive on routines. Routines help kids’ bodies and minds get into a rhythm. Routines help their day feel more predictable and provide a sense of safety and security. Plus, putting their expectations into a routine helps kids grow in responsibility and hard work. Checklists can be a great visual reminder of your expectations too.
Here are a few checklists we have used to help establish a strong routine. Feel free to print them off and use them or use them as a springboard to create your own checklist specifically for your kids. You can even get them involved in writing them or drawing or cutting out pictures for them too.
3. THE PRACTICE TOOL helps you focus on your job as a parent–teaching and training your kids…preparing them for life…to be responsible, respectful, capable human beings. If your kids aren’t meeting the expectations that you’ve set up as a team, then that simply means they need more practice. Little kids especially need practice in getting used to their new routines. Practice their routines together as a team until they feel confident to do them on their own. (This may take a while depending on your child’s personality and temperament. Be patient with them as they learn.).
But with older kids, a conversation could go like this: “Hey, I’ve noticed you haven’t been showing responsibility in getting your daily checklist done. Because your’e older and we are a team, is there anything that we need to discuss or change or that I can help you with so that you show responsibility and get your stuff done? Do we need to practice your checklist Saturday morning before you go play with your friends? Or do we need to add additional consequences? Or do you feel you’ve got this and just needed a little reminder about the importance of following through with your responsibilities?” This usually does it. If not, then practice time it is! The Practice Tool reminds us that our kids are learning and need more practice…not more punishments. Just follow through with any consequences that have been set up in advance but focus on helping them practice and improve every day.
4. THE CONNECTION TOOL is your greatest parenting tool no matter how your kids are getting their schooling done this year. Remote learning or in-person learning doesn’t change the fact that your kids will always need time with YOU! The Parent Child Connectedness (PCC) model supports The Connection Tool and is defined as the “quality of the emotional bond between parent and child and by the degree to which this bond is both mutual and sustained over time.” No matter how old our kids are, they value time with you.
Being proactive, developing a strong routine, and allowing your kids to practice that routine will definitely help make this very strange 2020 back-to-school time better. But making sure to be intentional about spending time together, building that strong relationship with your kids, and solving any problem as a team will help anything…including school work…be even better. And these tools may just be able to help you be a little bit more patient too!
Lord, be near us all as we transition to this back-to-school season. Guide us in finding a routine that works for our individual family. Give us patience to be the teacher to our kids that You are calling us to be—not just in school work, but in life work.
Here’s to building better families together–
From COVID-19 to racial division and upset, 2020 has brought a whole new meaning to real-life moments! Our world is really struggling, and Real Life Families wants to be a beacon of hope and encouragement as well as continue to provide you with tools to build a strong family and close positive relationships within your family.
But we also want to equip you and your family with tools to help bring unity to our world and do it in a way that strengthens your family too.
THE FAMILY MEETING TOOL–A family meeting is a very intentional and proactive way of coming together as a family each week. We used to have family meetings that went like this: “That’s it…family meeting RIGHT NOW!!!!” And we would just let the kids have it. It was a very reactive parenting approach and not very effective. But since developing the Teamwork Parenting Approach which helps parents (including my husband and myself) be more proactive, we’ve seen the value in having family meetings on a regular basis (not just when we are ticked off).
And we can use our family meetings to teach—to teach about character, communication, and even current events and community concerns like racism.
In fact, we had an open and honest conversation around the dinner table the other night about racism. It was sweet to see their puzzled expressions when we talked about the fact that some people treat people differently because of the color of their skin. My 6-year-old couldn’t believe it. That’s a good thing because that means we have done our job so far to teach him that as a Leeb, we are to treat everyone with kindness and respect. But it also made me aware that we need to do a better job teaching him about the realities of racism in our world so he can be better equipped to handle situations as they arise when he gets older. This is another reason to have intentional family meetings.
Have a family meeting about racism and talk about what your kids know and don’t know (of course in age-appropriate ways). You may just have some great opportunities for some insightful discussions like we did.
Need help getting a family meeting started? We use the 5 P’s—
1. P—Praise—Start with positives—take turns sharing one good thing that happened in your day or week. I think we could all use to hear some positive things.
2. P—Plans—Share any plans for the week (we’ve been skipping this one lately because we have nothing going on because of COVID-19), but you can use this time to share any family special time or individual kid time stuff you have planned.
3. P—Practice—Use anything you saw your kids struggle with that week and practice it. For example–
if there was a lot of sibling rivalry over sharing, have them role-play sharing a toy.
if there were a lot of issues about listening and obeying, put some silly requests (like run around the table barking like a dog) and/or serious requests (like go upstairs and put your pajamas on) in a cup and have them take turns picking something out that they have to do. Practicing listening and obeying can be fun!
if there were a lot of struggles turning off electronics, have them practice turning an electronic off the first time you ask them.
here is where you can add any other teaching moments pertinent to what’s going on the world like with racism–at our family meeting this week, we had our kids practice standing up to a bully who was picking on someone because of their skin color. They used one of our family phrases: “Hey, leave him alone. Everyone deserves respect.”
4. P—Pray—Sit or stand in a circle and hold hands and pray together. Pray over your family issues and even our community or world issues. Here’s another way we can all help end racism. Imagine every week if every family from every race prayed for racial unity and for wisdom to make that happen! Wow! What a difference that could make.
At the end of our prayer time, we do a big family hug. Then, before we move on to the last P, we all stack our hands in the middle of our circle and do a quick…”Gooooooooooo, Leebs!” (Because remember that your family is your team, let’s build that idea with some fun.)
5. P—Play—This is such a great one. Taking time to play as a family together is so powerful. SO POWERFUL! Not only is play powerful for relationship-building in your family, it’s good for your kids and for YOU! Play helps our brains, our bodies, and our emotions. In fact, in my research for my master’s in Psychology, Stuart Brown, The Founder of the National Institute for Play, shared something profound: “Work isn’t the opposite of play. Depression is the opposite of play.” He goes on to say: “Nothing lights up the brain more than play.”
Play together—play board games, play freeze tag, play kick ball, play cards, play hide and seek. End each family meeting doing something fun together. One of my favorite things to do is have a big family tickle fight. Or better yet…a big family pillow fight (I know I’ve shared this before, but it still feels good to hit my husband with a pillow. And any child who has irritated me that week–and they just laugh and laugh. LOL!)
Use play as a way to connect your family and bring some joy to your life.
And use The Family Meeting Tool to unite, to educate, and to have fun with your family…and that just might be a big step to bringing unity to the world.
It is certainly frightening times…things are so uncertain…there are so many unknowns.
All the mask-wearing, school and event-cancelling, and deadly virus-talking is enough to make anyone anxious.
It’s no surprise that my daughter has started pulling out her eyelashes again. She struggles with an obsessive compulsive anxiety condition called Trichotillomania. We had started to make so much progress through counseling and even tools I’ve developed, and for months, she had completely stopped hair-pulling. And now this…
Sometimes there is no tool and not enough counseling to completely halt anxious feelings or the actions that go along with it. That’s the life of an anxious child. But really, that’s just life. It’s unpredictable. It’s imperfect. And it can be very frustrating.
If you or your kids are struggling during this time, first of all, you are not alone. I’m right there with you!
But there are some tools we can use to make things a little better and ease some of our child’s anxiety (and even our own):
1. The Prayer Tool
God reminds us in Philippians 4:6-7 not to worry about anything, but instead pray about everything. We can come alongside our kids who tend to worry and remind them about the power of prayer. Pray with them. Ask God to protect your family and your loved ones and watch over our whole community and world. What a great example of putting our worry energy into prayer energy.
A simple prayer for worry to teach kids:
God, please take my worries away
and watch over me and my family every day.
You can pray with your child. You can also remind them to pray on their own. You can even give them a journal/diary where they can write or draw out their worries or prayers. Set up a little time every day to pray and talk about their anxious feelings together.
Anxious kids need to get their anxious thoughts and feelings out (otherwise that anxiousness will turn to anger.) Yikes!
2. The Routine Tool
Most kids thrive on routine, but anxious kids especially need routine. Routines are predictable and make kids feel secure. And in such an unpredictable time, why not give them something they can count on. Now that we are all home together all day every day, take time to create a routine in your day together. For our family, our routine basically revolves around regularly scheduled meals. On most days, everything in between is just play time. But when we need more structure in our day, I give them a sticky note of chores. Then they need to complete their checklist before they have any TV or electronic time. And of course, any chore completion is always better with teamwork, so it’s OK to work with your kids to Team Clean their rooms with them or turn on some fun, dance music and do the house-cleaning together.
Your anxious child may complain about the chores (which is normal), but will definitely thrive on having the routine—even if it is a relatively loose one like ours.
3. The Connection Tool
Routine is definitely helpful for chores and schoolwork, but so is intentionally planning on some one-on-one time with our kids as well as time together as a whole family! The best thing we can do with our anxious children is to reassure them of our love and attention. That is certainly one way that God is making all things good in this situation. For more ideas of ways to connect as a family or with your kids individually, you can print out these 2 resources and use them as a checklist:
The more we point our kids to the Source of our peace through prayer, the more we can create some routine and normalcy in their days, and the more fun and light-hearted moments we can provide will not only build our relationship with our anxious child stronger, but will also ease their anxiety longer.
Lord, you are the Source of our Peace…even during times of fear and uncertainty. Remind us that our anxious kids feed off our own anxious thoughts and words. Be our Source of Peace. Remind us to pray about everything and be grateful for what You are doing in our families during this time.
Here’s to building better families together–
I want to make this short and sweet because if you’re like me, you feel very bombarded with information, and “things you must do”, and “things you must NOT do”, and finishing up schoolwork, and work. Oh and also parenting kids who have been cooped up and wonder why they can’t go to the playground or over to a friend’s house.
Life just feels weird right now. All of our emotions are high…and kids are going to share their emotions in quite a variety of ways…some sweet, some annoying…some whining…some raging. And sometimes you just never know what you’re going to get!
It’s hard. This is hard on all of us. And sometimes it’s easy to get angry or yell. But there are better strategies…better tools we can use.
1. THE REWIND TOOL
If kids don’t do the right thing the first time, just simply ask them to rewind and try it again. We do not have to allow disrespect or disobedience in our home, but we also don’t have to issue consequences every time they do anything “wrong”. Our kids are learning, so why not give them “on the spot” training and have them do it again. This way they can experience success right away while also knowing that you are not going to allow their inappropriate behavior. By the way, with strong-willed kids, you may have to rewind many, many times. “Nothing else will happen in your day until you choose to try this again respectfully. Thank you.”
2. THE PRACTICE TOOL
The Rewind Tool is great if our kids say something or do something that needs to be done again to get it right. But The Practice Tool is very intentional time you set aside to practice the skills and character traits you want to instill in your kids. You can do this at a Family Meeting each week where you play a Listening and Obeying game. Or before they get on an electronic device, you have them quickly practice what they will say when you say it’s time to turn it off. For kids to get better at things, they need to practice them. Why not have them practice getting better at being obedient or respectful or helpful or kind?
Now is the time to practice better tools and better reactions. The longer we are all cooped up together, the more time we have to teach them better responses and build better relationships with them. Let’s use this time to our full advantage.
It is my prayer that The Rewind Tool and The Practice Tool brings less anger as well as shorter fits and sweeter moments to your parenting interactions this week! We’re all in this together, parents.
Lord, You know what we each need to be the calm parent You are calling us to be. Bring Your patience and kindness into our homes and Your peace into our hearts.
Here’s to building better families together–
For more tools in the Teamwork Parenting Approach, click here.
My oldest is a 5th grader and was looking forward to his last class trip…now he’s home tripping over his little brother’s Legos. He was excited about his end-of-the-year band concert…now he’s getting to the end of his rope dealing with his siblings purposely annoying him. And he was ecstatic about his final season of Little League Baseball…now he keeps waiting for the final day of this quarantine…but who knows when that will even be!
My husband and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage in July, and we were planning a trip to celebrate. We haven’t gone on a trip together since our 10 year anniversary and we were really looking forward to a getaway together. But now…who knows?
I’m sure you’re seeing some loss in your own life too. Last days of school, graduations, birthday parties, play dates, park time, going out to dinner, going anywhere as a family! It’s crazy.
Here are three things we can all remember here…
1. There are so many other people dealing with deeper levels of loss especially those who have actually lost loved ones to COVID-19. (This sad reality always helps me to keep things in perspective.)
2. Even so…It’s OK to be sad about the loss we are each experiencing. It’s OK to grieve the losses that none of us were prepared for. It’s actually healthy to take time to grieve any loss.
3. And we have to help our kids grieve their losses too.
It’s truly hard to know at this point how all our kids are taking this. But be prepared. Just know that kids will have many emotions wrapped in one big complex emotional ball bouncing around your house.
One minute, they may be just fine, but then they think about missing their friends at school, and they will explode on you or their siblings for seemingly no apparent reason.
Here are few tools from the Teamwork Parenting Approach to help…
The Detective Tool in the Teamwork Parenting Approach reminds us that we can’t always take our kids’ emotions at face value. Remember that anger isn’t really anger. It’s often just fear and sadness disguising itself. Do our kids have a lot to be afraid of right now? Yep. A deadly virus, no doubt. Do our kids have a lot to be sad about? Yep. No school, no friends, no play dates, no outings. Everything is different for them. And it’s hard. They are experiencing a lot of loss too.
So remember to look more closely at their anger and ask them to talk out their fear or sadness or draw pictures of what they are going to miss. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about what they are sad or scared about. Talking it out helps get the fear or sadness out a little each time which will greatly help with their ability to control their emotions later on. They need to know we understand…we get it. Be extra patient here. We are here to help them through this tough time. That’s what families do!
The Emotional Coaching Tool reminds us that even though we can be detectives to help our kids uncover the fear and sadness fueling their anger, it’s also our job to not only help them identify their emotions (“I can tell you’re feeling very frustrated.”) but also coach them through their emotions (“When you feel so frustrated, what’s a healthy thing you can do?”)
A critical part of coaching our kids and teaching them how to handle their emotions is to give them alternatives…provide them with tools they can use instead of allowing their anger to come out in aggressive, inappropriate ways. One thing we’ve found helpful is to review our “Calm Strategies” at breakfast each morning.
Last night my kids had a sleepover together and stayed up and watched movies, so we knew they would be tired today (Note–tiredness…also something that fuels anger—have your kids been staying up way too late these days too, by the way?), so we gave them 5 things to do if they feel angry. In fact, we wrote these down and taped them to the wall where it would be visible.
Go to room and get some space.
Wash face in the bathroom.
Go punch on the punching bag.
Go outside and shoot hoops.
Find a way to be helpful around the house.
You can come up with your own list that meets your kids’ and family’s needs, but the point is to be proactive and give them tools and options so they know what TO DO instead of just being told what not to do.
We are all experiencing some sort of loss these days. Take time to mourn it and help your kids do the same. But I also encourage you to take time this week to write down everything that you have gained too (besides the #quarantine15 lol). Sit down with your kids and have them add to your list to help them focus on the good things about this time together too. And maybe with the positive things in mind, they won’t get quite as frustrated when they step on that Lego!
Lord, you bring healing to the brokenhearted. You lead us to peaceful waters. You restore our souls. You refresh our minds. In all circumstances, we can find joy. We ask for your joy today in our homes, in our hearts, and in our world.
Here’s to building better families together–
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).
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?
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 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.
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.