Monday, October 25, 2010

The last straw

I found this activity in the March 2008 issue of Family Fun: Constrawction Zone

"Looking for some instant fun on a rainy day? Grab a box of bendable straws and invite your child to try his hand at a building activity that takes all kinds of whimsical twists and turns. Connect the straws by squeezing the end of one and sliding it into the end of another. Kids can also slide straws through one another by snipping a slit (bend straw and cut through the fold, do not cut off the fold). Then they can make twists and turns over, under, and through the structure."

We had some dud straws lying around (cheap 4th of July red, white and blue straws that all seemed to have holes in them when we tried to use them). This weekend I pulled them out and expected my kids to make a few shapes and be done. My older daughter however spent a couple hours going well beyond a triangle and square to create silhouettes of animals.

From now on, I'm going to keep lots of straws around, just in case!

Challenge: Can you name and create multi-sided shapes such as triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon …

Monday, October 18, 2010

Too hard, too soft, just right

Ephesians 6:4 (New International Version)

4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

While it is a good thing to teach and train our kids to gradually take on more responsibility, if you are consistently frustrated with your child's performance at a particular task consider if it is age appropriate. We should expect great things of our kids, but sometimes they are not ready (mentally, physically, emotionally). Compare your child's abilities with your expectations and consider adjustments.

Prayer Suggestion: Talk to God about your expectations, for yourself and your kids.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spreading Seed

Exodus 12:26 (New International Version)

26 And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?'

Not only pray with your kids and read the Bible and or Bible stories together, but also let them see you reading your Bible and praying on your own. Allowing them to see God's role in your life is a living witness to them. It could be contagious.

Prayer Suggestion: A.C.T.S.

A is for Adoration - Praising God for who He is

C is for Confess - Agree with God about your sin

T is for Thankful - Gratitude, thanking Him for answered prayers

S is for Supplication - Making your requests known

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Forget about it

Psalm 103 (New International Version)

9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Kids will make the same mistakes over and over again. Yes, it's frustrating and annoying, but do every find yourself making the same mistakes? Why hold your kids to a higher standard than you can keep? If there are minor offenses, forgive yourself and your kids.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you forget about those minor mistakes and remember forgiveness and grace.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Got 2 B Tru

Colossians 3:23 (New International Version)

23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

Are you trying to be a super-mom or super-dad? Working full-time, being a room-parent, involved in PTA, exercising, cooking everything from scratch, keeping a perfectly clean house …

You can't do it all. You don't have to do it all. Spend some introspective time thinking about what you really enjoy doing. Forget about what you think others think you should be doing. If your child is asking you to do more than you have time or energy for, use this as an opportunity to talk about priorities and choices.

You can be your child's hero without being a super-hero.

Prayer Suggestion: Talk to God about your motivations.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I want to live

Deuteronomy 30:19 (New International Version)

19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

Does anything distract you from enjoying your kids or having fun with them? Is it housekeeping? Try doing it together, involve them. Is it the TV? Can you find time for it when your kids are in bed? Or maybe you're watching too much TV. Is it work? Sometimes this is unavoidable. Sometimes you need to find a way to relax from the stress of the day and leave work at work. Are you tired? Can you find a "playschool" so you can have a break or coordinate with a sitter or other parent (perhaps a co-op situation)?

What's the point of being a parent, if you can't enjoy your child(ren)?

Prayer Suggestion: Talk to God about priorities.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pop culture

John 14:26 (New International Version)

26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Research a popular TV show, movie, video game, book, singer, etc. NOW decide if you would expose your child to it. Don't let it stop there. Inform your child why you choose to watch the shoes you do and why you choose not to watch others.

Then ask your child "What if your friends ask you if you watch/listen to/play …?" Help them form an educated response. As they get older, "Because my parents won't let me" will become uncool; but a "I would rather …" or "I don't like …" response shows they are beginning to think for themselves, giving them confidence. It may not squelch all teasing, but your child will not feel completely out of the loop.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to give your child courage and wisdom in confrontation.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sheltered or Protected

We want to keep our kids safe. It's part of our job description, but there's a difference between protecting our kids and sheltering them. As parents we need to be aware of what is out there (TV, music, movies, books, etc). We can't just hide our heads in the sand. We need to be proactive and plug into resources that help us stay current so we will have a better idea of what our children are dealing with.

If you are keeping your child unaware of all things you deem unacceptable, you are sheltering them. For example, I do not like SpongeBob Squarepants (this is just my opinion and just an example, so no arguments or lectures, please). If I sheltered my daughters, they would not know this show exists, much less why I don't like it and why they are not allowed to watch it. They would not be able to look at anything related to the show. I would have to hide their eyes every time I entered a store. But I try not to shelter my girls. Instead, they know this and other shows exist and why I don't like them and why they are not supposed to watch them. There is some subject matter that my older daughter is not ready to deal with yet. I have explained to her that though her friends watch those shows, that she doesn't need to worry about those topics at this point in her life. I have also told her that it isn't just about the subject matter on the show, but also about making choices. There are other shows and activities (that she can share with her peers) she likes better. This is protecting. I am informed. She is informed, yet protected.

Are all their friends watching or listening to something you don't allow? Why don't you allow it? Can you explain it so your child understands? Can you offer an alternative? When all their friends are doing one thing, and your child must say "My Mommy and Daddy won't let me do that", your child may be teased and called a baby. They may be excluded.
This protective environment is not only evidenced in what shows they watch, but also in the things they do, social skills they have. In a protected environment where a child is not allowed to speak for themselves at appropriate times may be embarrassed in grade school by their undeveloped social skills

Keeping yourself and your child informed will increase their confidence and self-esteem. Your child will be able to deal with why they don't do certain things in the face of their peers. The more confidence your child has, the less you as a parent need to stress about what they are exposed to.

You can't keep your kids so safe, so sheltered that they live in a bubble or under a rock. Otherwise when they are in the real world they 1) won't be able to deal with it and become more withdrawn further stunting their social skills and affecting work and relationships; 2) try everything you told them not to.