Fall Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt

One of the greatest ways you can provide a child with a sense of belonging and establish a team environment in your home is to do fun things together.  Whether it’s establishing a new tradition or trying something new together that you may never want to do again, it’s always a good idea to connect as a family. Family connection time allows you to not only be together, but create fun memories together.  Talking, laughing, exploring, teamworking (yes, I just made that up), fighting (wait, what? Let’s just be real here–anytime you get family together, there is going to be some of that). But even the fighting within our families provides an opportunity for us to grow as a family and learn how to handle conflict and differences in opinions in respectful ways.  

Because family connection is so important, over the next few weeks, I will be sharing a fun fall outing or activity for you and your family to do together.  This weekend, how about a Neighborhood Fall Scavenger Hunt. We have done these in our own neighborhood, but we may shake things up tonight and go to another neighborhood to try this one out.  

PRINT YOUR COPY HERE

This fall, take time to connect as a family as least once a week!  Your relationships will grow; your laughter will increase and maybe…just maybe, the fighting will be minimized. ūüôā

Here’s to building better families together–
Christine

Seeking Racial Unity As a Family


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.

Here is a PDF of the 5 P’s of a Family Meeting.

Lord, it is good and pleasing to you when Your people live in unity. Show us what we can do in our families and in our communities to make that happen.  

Here’s to building better families together–

Christine

What Our Anxious Kids Need During COVID-19

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–
Christine

Let Kids Grieve Their Losses over COVID-19

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.

  1. Go to room and get some space.
  2. Wash face in the bathroom.
  3. Go punch on the punching bag.
  4. Go outside and shoot hoops.
  5. 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–
Christine

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‚Ķ” 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. ūüôā

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‚Äôs 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

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

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

14 Ways to Love Your Wife Like a Girlfriend Again

Ok husbands…can we be real for a moment?¬† How have you changed since you got married?¬† Do you still woo your wife with cards, letters, flowers?¬† Do you still shower her with love and affection?¬† Or has kids, bills, stress, and life gotten in the way a bit?

We get it!

Well, here at Real Life Families, we believe very strongly in the power of teamwork in families.  And the best way to build a strong family team is to first build a strong marriage team.

Starting February 1st, we are inviting all husbands to join us in a 14-Day Challenge to love your wife like a girlfriend again by bringing some fun and romance back to your marriage in easy, practical ways.¬† If you’re not sure what that looks like, don’t worry.¬† Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day, we will send you a short email with a fun idea!

Let’s focus on our wives and build stronger families!

THIS CHALLENGE HAS ALREADY BEGUN.  WE WILL DEFINITELY DO THIS AGAIN NEXT YEAR.  IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN SIGN UP TO RECEIVE OUR WEEKLY EMAILS WITH PARENTING TIPS INCLUDING OUR POWERFUL TEAMWORK PARENTING APPROACH.

SIGN UP HERE!