Easy Things a Busy Mom can do to Enjoy Time With God

Finding time with God is a daily struggle. Because I know that this is probably a struggle for you too, I want to share with you 7 easy things you can do to enjoy time with God.

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As all moms do, I fulfil many roles. But I am determined to not let my busy life cause me to neglect my most important one, which is “child of God.”

I am a busy mom of three. My kids are 6, 5, and almost 2. The eldest is 6-year-old and in kindergarten. She is also a girl scout and wrestler. My 5-year-old is a preschooler and a ballerina.  Then, I have an almost 2-year-old, well, she’s a toddler. Enough said. In addition to my three little girls, I have a house to maintain, a part-time job, and a full-time blog. Oh yeah, we have two dogs too.

In the chaos of life, I have sometimes let my relationship with God become an afterthought. But about 2 years ago, I decided to carve some daily time with the Lord into my schedule.

I have no doubt that if I can do make this part of my routine, so can you. Let me share with you how even busy moms can enjoy a daily quiet time with God.

7 Easy things a mom can do to enjoy time For God

1. Wake up 30 minutes earlier.

I can almost feel the moms roll their eyes at this suggestion. 

Many of us are sleep-deprived as it is.

It’s true that we need an adequate amount of sleep because it’s crucial to our health and well-being.

But most of us could spare 30 minutes— ­especially when it means the opportunity to spend time with our Creator. When you can, get to bed earlier. 

Tips for Waking Up Earlier

  • Go to bed 30 min earlier
  • Set your alarm across the room so that you need to get out of bed to turn it off
  • Have everything you need ready to go
  • Prepare lunches/clothes and so on the night before
  • Put your phone down
  • Don’t drink coffee before bed

2. Be flexible.

For one reason or another, waking up earlier might not work for you. That is ok. The perfect time for you might not be the morning.

If that’s the case, don’t give up.

Change the time of day that you do your reading, not your commitment.

Other times that might work for you

  • If your kid’s nap, take some of that precious time to spend with the Lord.
  • Maybe you can ask your husband to give you 20 minutes of alone time in the evening. If he’s a believer, share with him why this is important to you.
  • You can also take your quiet time with God after you put the kids to sleep.

If these times don’t work for you, please don’t worry. I promise, there is time, you just need to find it and then make the most of it.

Related Posts

3. some basic tools ready

I go into my quiet time prepared with some basic items.

I use a prayer journal because I love writing out my prayers. It keeps me focused and it’s amazing to look back and see how God has responded.

Of course, I keep my Bible nearby. I am currently digging deep into my Bible, which involves lots of annotating, so I also print out double-spaced pages that have plenty of space for writing. I keep them in a three-ring binder, along with a fun pen that has different colour settings.

You could use highlighters or coloured pencils if you prefer. I also like to keep my phone nearby in case I want to turn on a worship song.

The tools you use are up to you, but you should have them ready before your quiet time begins.

4. Don’t stress about perfection.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could start out every day with some praise and worship, then uninterrupted silence for prayer and in-depth Bible study?

That’s what my ideal morning with the Lord looks like, but it doesn’t happen often.

You may not get the same amount of time every day.

Some days you may get 30 minutes, others you may barely get five.

But remind yourself that five minutes with the Lord is better than zero, and then try to make some more time the next day.

Some days you may read the Bible and other days you may only have time for a short prayer.

Do your best, and don’t stress about perfection. After all, perfection isn’t for achievable for us, and that’s why we need Him.

5. Set up some accountability.

Accountability is a useful tool for reaching any goal, including spiritual ones.

Ask your husband or a friend to check up on you.

A weekly text from a close friend that asks, “How was your time with God this week?” may be just what you need to stay on track.

Determine what accountability will look like. How often will you check in? Will the check-in be a phone call or text?

Try to find someone who has a similar goal and then you can hold them accountable as well.

If you need some accountability, please join my Facebook page. There, I post regular encouragements and bible verses. I would love to be able to help you with having a closer relationship with God.

6. Keep going

When you start a new routine, you’ll need discipline. But if you can be consistent until you create a habit, you’ll see your new routine get much easier. 

Soon, you’ll be enjoying your quiet time with God without needing to think about it!

There’s a lot of disagreement between experts about how much time it takes to form a habit, but the answer is probably somewhere between 21 and 66 days.

So, when you’re just starting out, don’t be discouraged if it seems hard to make the time each day. Soon it’ll be much easier and be a regular part of your day.

7. Ask God to help.

As with anything in our lives, we should be depending on Him. We need His help and it’s OK to ask for it.

Ask Him to help you stay on track with your goal of meeting Him daily.

Ask for reminders on the days that you’re sidetracked.

And ask Him to help you stay focused during your time together.

Recently, I started to feel like I asked for too much help from the Lord. That same day, I felt a gentle inkling that told me not to feel guilty about depending on Him, because it’s what I’m created to do. Thank you, Lord! So, I urge you, don’t feel guilty for asking God for help in this area or in any other.

Remember: His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

I hope this was helpful to you and that you take the time to commune with God daily.

The time you spend with Him will deepen your faith and your relationship with Him.

Need more support?

If you need more help having a daily time with God, click here to get your free quiet time planner.

In the comments below, share the steps you take to make sure you have a daily time with God.

Please share this post with friends and family.

Thank you to my guest writer who knows how busy life can be. Mandy Youtz is a mother of 3 and a certified life coach. You can find her on her blog, Pinterest and Instagram. The learn more about her, check her bio below.

As a moms  I fulfill many roles. But I am determined to not let my busy life cause me to neglect my time with God. Here are 7 things you can do to have a daily time with God.  #biblereading #timewithGod #christianliving
#bible
As a moms  I fulfill many roles. But I am determined to not let my busy life cause me to neglect my time with God. Here are 7 things you can do to have a daily time with God.  #biblereading #timewithGod #christianliving
#bible

What to Do when your Child Lies

My middle daughter lies all the time. Right now, I am not sure what to do when my child lies.

Today’s post is written by Brynn Burger. She is the mom behind the blog The Momma on the Rocks. To find her online, check out her blog, Facebook, and  Instagram. You can also read her bio at the end of the post.

In this post, Brynn will share the troubles her family has faced with her son and His ADHD and the 6 things they are doing to help stop the lying.

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I have never met a grown adult who hasn’t told a lie; usually within that same hour. It happens. We might fib because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, but could it be possible that children with ADHD are habitual liars? I know this feels true in my own home.

What to Do when your Child Lies

Lying and ADHD

Our son is six and he has been diagnosed with: severe ADHD-combined, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Twice Exceptional, and Sensory Processing Disorder.

We know him to be a loving, thoughtful, rambunctious little guy. But depending on the day, he can make you see red. It feels like he lies about everything.

“Honey, did you just hit your sister?”

“No.”

“But I just watched you do it.”

“Nope. That wasn’t me.”

“Briggs, there is literally no one else in the house right now.”

“I didn’t do it!” (Cue rage episode.)

Friends, we have gone over The Boy Who Cried Wolf scenario so many times that I feel like the wolf actually lives next door. Nothing seems to phase our son. We aren’t talking about your everyday, run-of-the-mill white lie here.

It has become so difficult to believe even the simple things he tells us because he almost never tells the truth.

Stories Our Son Has Told

In full transparency, our son has told the following stories in such complete, impeccable detail that my husband and I had to think twice to make sure we were the ones on the side of the truth:

  1. We told him that going to his room on punishment meant that he couldn’t eat or drink anything for an entire day.
  2. We told him we were going to have another baby after his little sister and it would definitely be a boy this time.
  3. He convinced another boy on the bus that Michael Jackson was, not only alive and well, but also his older brother.
  4. He told us that, when they behaved, his teacher let them pull a rope to the roof of his elementary school that made a giant dinosaur head roar.
  5. That he and a neighbour boy found a killer groundhog with a hook in its mouth, which we were later told was put there when the neighbourhood boy “caught him while fishing but let him go.”

Y’all, I can’t make this stuff up.

4 typical behaviours for a child with ADHD

What we are finding is that our son sincerely wants to tell the truth. The lies spring from his inability to manage some of the symptoms from his ADHD behaviours such as trouble with memory, inability to manage tasks to completion, aversion to boring assignments, and impulsivity.

1. Inability To Balance Multiple Tasks:

Let me paint a picture for you.

We are running around to get out the door to school and work (this would be before we downsized to tiny living and road schooling). I tell our son he needs to wear his black jacket to school today because his favorite ninja turtle coat is in the wash from yesterday’s mud puddle jumping session.

He nods as he crams his breakfast bar in his mouth and ties his shoes. Moments later, I am in an epic tug of war with my then five years old who incessantly swears I never told him that, but that I said he could choose his jacket today.

Did he lie? Did I lie? Seriously, it happens so often it makes me question my own sanity.

Neither of us are at fault. I thought I was preparing him for a change in the routine that might throw him off, but I did so while he was already attempting to finish two other tasks-eat breakfast and tie his shoes.

He nodded and seemed to acknowledge my directive, but he never actually processed the words I spoke.

This is typical behaviour for a child with ADHD. We must slow down, speak to them while they are giving us their undivided attention, and prioritize tasks so they accomplish what is most important, leaving the less important items to fall by the wayside.

2. Avoiding the Mundane:

Another way kids with behaviour diagnosis tend to tell mistruths is when they make something up to avoid tasks they’d rather not do. Our son is a grandmaster negotiator.

I am telling you he could make millions as a defence attorney by age eight. If he tells us that he needs to do XYZ before he takes out the bathroom trash (one of his typical chores that we always do on Saturday mornings), then his behaviour needs to be addressed. We cannot excuse made up tasks to avoid what he finds mundane.

However, the best practices approach to managing ADHD behaviour might be to explain why his story will not be acceptable in our home because we each pitch in around the house as that is the responsibility of any family member.

We should then allow him time if he needs to calm down and go on to explain a fun way to accomplish the task he is trying to avoid. This might mean shooting the tightly closed trash bags into the can like a basketball outside or seeing if he can finish his tasks in an allotted timeframe to race against mom and dad.

Making the boring more fun is the key to undoing the storylines of distraction.

3. Finishing What He Starts:

On what planet is it acceptable to have no less than 17 projects or tasks launched but zero finished?

Welcome to our house. It is an ongoing dialogue in our home to remind Briggs to pick something up before he gets something else out or to finish doing this thing before you start that other thing over there.

It isn’t a problem of irresponsibility as much as it is his insatiable attraction to distraction. If he is in the middle of completing a Lego build outside for a road schooling lesson and he sees something shiny near our pond, forget it! He is gone.

These kinds of distraction-impulsivity dances that occur by the minute at times, tend to breed some of his most whopper stories of dishonesty.

“Did you finish putting your trucks away outside, buddy?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure, because I can see at least three of them sitting in the driveway right now,” I say as I look at them out the window. “I also see all of your swords and dress-up clothes beside the trucks. What happened? You were just supposed to clean up the trucks.”

“Oh well, I started to do it but then this bald eagle flew down (we live in Ohio, not Alaska), and it tried to steal one of my dump trucks. I think it was going to take it to a secret lair where its nest is! So I had to defend it.

I got my sword out and stabbed it but it flew away and I put on my costumes to scare it away because I love you mommy. I was defending you.”

Really!? Yes. Hand to the Lord Himself.

My husband and I are totally guilty of this too. This is why my planner is riddled with post-it notes and my phone with alarm reminders! The ability to mentally prioritize reminders is almost nonexistent for most people with ADHD. Their lack of focus tends to make them scatter-brained and requires them to set reminders or write things down. Since our son is only six, it puts that burden on us.

4. Memory Trouble:

If I ask my son before leaving for work in the morning, “Baby, be sure that you brush your teeth, clean up your toys, and finish your homework with daddy today,” he can hug me and give me the smile that convinces me he has got it this time. In truth, he may have only heard one thing I said.

Children with ADHD don’t benefit (at least in our experiences) as much from reward charts as they do from interactive lists.

So, much like how I totally add “grocery shopping” to my adult to-do list just so I can check it off since I already did it yesterday, he needs this interaction too.

In our house, we use a chore chart that has pictures and magnets he can move. This allows him to feel accomplished when he is able to move tasks from the “to-do” side to the “finished” side as well as for him to take ownership in negotiating the daily list with us before it is completed.

He then feels responsible for the tasks and is more likely to remember them. Otherwise, we will end up with the common scenario of, “Mom, you never told me to do that.” Or, “No, Dad, I remember you said to clean up my toys, but you didn’t mention homework so I’m NOT DOING IT!” And we have a meltdown on our hands.

6 Strategies for Consequences

Nothing can hinder the beautiful bond between parents and child or put as much strain on a marriage as the issue of discipline and consistent consequences, especially with regard to honesty. So, here are some rules we live by that have helped us “mend the fences,” so to speak, and really make headway with our boy.

1. Set Up Boundaries Ahead of Time

Our son knows what to expect before we arrive somewhere before he is expected to clean things up, even before his regular bedtime each night. This simple step allows us to navigate difficult transitions more peacefully. It also gives him some ownership over his own behaviour.

Be aware that time boundaries don’t mean much to kids too young to fully grasp the concept of time so be sure to set boundaries they will understand such as, “We will be leaving the park in five minutes.

That is enough time for you to go down the slide four more times.” Be sure they are looking at you, process what you are telling them, and they are able to repeat it back to you. Trust me on this. It will save you a lifetime of meltdowns!

2. Admit When You Are Wrong

This one step goes a long way! Our kids need to see that adults make mistakes too. And, not only that but that it is okay to mess up; encouraged even.

Kids with ADHD feel like they spend more time being ridiculed and told they are wrong than anything else. It can be very encouraging to see that we are on their side. They aren’t the only ones.

It is also important to apologize publicly if the infraction was made publicly. If I correct my son for something and find out later I was wrong, I will be sure he hears my apology in front of the people he was chastised in front of.

It is our hope that our son will feel less pressure when he messes up and feel like he can count on his parents, to tell the truth even when it is difficult.

3. Be Consistent

It is so unbelievably important to be on the same page for discipline with your spouse or partner. Even if this person is your ex or someone whose household you are not a part of, including in-laws or others who are a part of the village who raise your kids.

If you want something enforced one way, everyone should be on board. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for the, “well daddy doesn’t make me…” Um, no thank you, sir.

Have a conversation often about consequences and what you are and are not comfortable with because these things will ebb and flow over time. Be sure to talk to your significant other before allowing or disallowing your kids to do something major so you didn’t get “mommy-daddied” as we call it; the infamous, dad says no so I go ask mom trick.

4. Follow Through

This is crucial for kids who have ADHD. Our son also has ODD so it may be the most important parenting decision we ever make in a day.

We can’t say to him, “Well then just go find a new family to live with if you don’t like it,” because our son will first exit our home and begin hoofing it to said new family, and two, he will never let us forget it.

It is so important to only offer consequences that you are capable of following through with; so think it through, moms and dads. If you are a TV household, you may want to rethink the no TV rule if it will actually punish you more than them.

Our son thrives on attention from others so sending him to his room is like a death sentence. That is something simple to follow through with and is effective for him, individually.

5. Praise Honest Behavior

As I mentioned before, reward charts are pointless for our son, specifically. Because of the combination of ADHD and ODD, you can offer him the world or threaten to take it all away and his reaction will likely be the same.

However, he absolutely lives for the kind, heartfelt recognition from the people he loves. It is so critical for us to notice when he does something kind or honest and pour on the compliments. These are things he will remember and we want him to strive for those in the future as well.

Conversely, the scary truth is that kids with our son’s diagnosis are up to 80% more likely to suffer from depression, substance abuse, and suicide.

So, investing in our kids at a young age, showing them our own humble honesty and vulnerability, and pouring on the praise at every opportunity could make all the difference, long term.

6. Talk It Out, Always

This is important for our kids to see us model. If I have an issue with my husband–especially with regards to behaviour–our son should see that it is healthy for adults to disagree, but that we do not resort to things like lying,  yelling, throwing things, etc to solve our concerns.

Allowing our kids to see us peacefully settle disagreements is so important.

Likewise, our son should experience us approaching him to talk about situations after the dust settles. It makes no sense for me to try to rationalize with our son when he is at level five of a four-level meltdown.

You don’t approach an alcoholic to talk about his addiction while he is at the bar. Too late, captain! We wait for the calm after the storm and then approach him kindly and calmly.

It is imperative that our son understands his actions, the consequences that follow, as well as why we did whatever it was we felt necessary at that time. He should know that we love him no matter what and that we are in this thing together.

Parenting is messy and hard and doesn’t come with a one-size-fits-all instruction manual. However, the dishonesty train is parked at our station far too often. It is important that we, as parents, unite so we know we aren’t on this crazy journey alone.

Our kid lies too…a lot. However, because of his different needs, it will serve our sanity well to understand the why behind his struggles, and the motivation behind his story-telling, so we can craft a better approach from our end the next time.

parenting tips of how to handle lying, what to do when your child lies
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9 ways to save money on date night

My husband and I have 3 kids and live on one income. We don’t always have money to spend on date night. But we have found ways to save money and some tricks to having a cheap date night. Click to read: 9 ways to save money on date night – One Determined Life #datenight #dateideas #cheapdateideas #chapdate #marriage

We all know that the best way to keep a marriage healthy is by having a regular date night.

In this post, I will share with you 9 ways you can save money on date night!

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When we were first married and had our first child, we had very little money. Having a regular date night can do some serious damage to your wallet if you’re not careful.

So, what is the solution?? How can you make sure to have a date night but afford it at the same time?

Continue reading to see the 9 ways we save money on a date night

9 ways to save money on Date night

1. Make a budget

Every couple has a different household income. Before you start to plan a date night, sit down together and decide how much money you can spend per month.

Once you know how much money you can spend, plan your nights accordingly. Date night does not need to be expensive to be romantic or fun. 

For my husband and I, we have kept to a few simple guidelines that save us money.

2. Reduce the nights out  

Since having kids, we have found that we enjoy our special nights at home just as much as the nights we have out.

In the span of a month, we try to have 3 date nights at home per month,  and one night out.

This still gives us the nights we get to have outside the house without the need for us to spend $$ on babysitting or activity on a regular basis. We have found this to be the best way to save money.

3. At-home Movie

One of the best investments we made this year was getting a big-screen tv. Before purchasing the TV  we would watch everything on a computer screen. That worked for a while, but now it’s so much better. The size of the screen and the quality of it makes it so we can watch movies we love in the comfort of our living room.

Since movies are released so quickly for rental or purchase, we just wait for movies to be available to us and rent them off our tv. We like to use the google play or cineplex app. We also have a monthly subscription to Netflix and use that as well to watch many movies. <A rel=”nofollow” HREF=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=CA&ID=V20070822%2FCA%2Fannemarkey-20%2F8010%2F37ab21f7-2d24-411e-9024-f362cd000c67&Operation=NoScript”>Amazon.ca Widgets</A>

This way, we pay $5 per movie instead of $20 or more and can pick a time that works for us.

4. Game night

My husband and I love playing games. So sometimes we love to stay in, eat some snacks and play games. We buy a few new games a year and play them together.

Our favourite 2 people games are:

If you want to buy any of these games or get any information, just click on the images (all are affiliate links, please see disclosure policy)

Having a game night is a great way to save money and spend quality time together. The games you purchase are not only good for date night but for a friend get-together and family game night. These are one-time purchases that can be enjoyed over and over again.

5. At-home chef

My husband and I love food. Sometimes going out for dinner is too much for our budget. Instead of purchasing a dinner out, we will spend less money and make a special meal at home.

We stick to things we know how to make, but you can expand your abilities by trying to make something new.

Not only will this save you money, but cooking together is a great way to spend quality time together.

6. Free activities

My husband and I are pretty fortunate with his job. The type of industry he is in provides us with the occasional free tickets to hockey games, festivals and other events. There are also galas and fundraisers that we can go to.

All of these events are free for us and are a great opportunity for us to get out and save some money.

To save some money, try to take advantage of the free things you have access to. For you, it might not be events, but maybe your city has really cool free things. These make great date nights and you save tons of money.

Over the years we try to only pay for the activity or for babysitting.  If the activity is free then we pay for babysitting, if the babysitting is free we pay for the activity.  This idea helps us save money and also helps us not take advantage of friends who would look after our kids for free. 

7. Get family and friends to babysit

Sometimes the most expensive part of the night is the cost of babysitting. If your fortunate enough to have family in town, ask them if they would be willing to babysit for free.

Some grandparents can’t due to health, but you can also ask aunts, uncles or your siblings. Any family you have is a chance to get free babysitting. Close friends may also be willing to babysit.

When asking a family to babysit make sure that your ur not taking advantage of their generosity and pick times that work for them.

8. Swap Babysitting

We don’t have much family in town. The family we have has a schedule that is the complete opposite of us so finding times that work for both of us for them to babysit is hard. We have a few friends who are willing to babysit for us, but we don’t want to ask too often.

So, if you don’t have much money for a night out and you want to save some money, consider swapping babysitting with a friend.

If you have friends in town with kids, then chances are they need babysitters as well. Set up an arrangement with them so that when you go out they babysit and when they go out you return the favour.

If you can’t babysit maybe offer other services for free such as a haircut, music lessons, cleaning, whatever you can think of that they will agree to.

9. Make it simple

Date nights don’t have to be complicated. They are just night’s set aside to spend quality time together.

Sometimes, my husband and I are not creative with a date night and it’s just us getting chips and candy and watching a movie together.

When my husband and I had no money, we would often just make a pot of tea. We would sit in the kitchen and drink tea together. Those date nights were just as special than any other date night we have had. They were sometimes better because we would just sit and talk for as long as we wanted.

More ideas

To get more cheap date night ideas, click here to get a free download called: 25 cheap date night ideas.

If you don’t have lots of money to spend on date night, don’t!!  Just focus on spending time together.

In the comments below, let me know how you save money on date night. Please share this post with family and friends. Thank you.

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Positive Ways to React When Your Child Misbehaves

As a mommy to a one-year-old, I know that my child misbehaves.

I sometimes wonder if it’s way too soon to introduce the concept of discipline.

Today, I will share with you 5 positive ways to react when your child misbehaves.

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Could there really be a way to introduce him to the idea of ‘yes and no’ or ‘right and wrong’ at such a young age? Needless to say, I was determined to find a way to gently nudge him in the right direction.

Research shows that how we react to our children’s behaviour has a profound effect on how they behave in the future.

Reacting too strongly (or not strongly enough) to misbehaviour can lead to repeated issues which can last indefinitely.

I mean, think about it. they look up to us, not only to tell them how to but also to teach them by modelling the desired behaviour.

If you’ve been wondering whether or not to introduce the concept of discipline to your little ones, consider the following advice to correct your child’s behaviour, but remain a positive influence at the same time.

This week, I am honoured to have a guest blog written by Kermilia.  She’s the mama behind The Millennial Stay-At-Home Mom blog. Read the bio at the end of the post to find out more about her. Connect with her on her blogtwitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

5 Things to do when your child misbehaves

1. Keep Your Cool

I know we all have had days where we’ve had it ‘up to here’ with our kids. However, the most important thing to keep in mind when your child misbehaves is to remain calm.

Losing your cool while trying to improve your child’s behaviour doesn’t set a positive example of how to act in stressful situations.

In fact, it does the exact opposite.

Children are extremely observant and the last thing you would want is for your child to become anxious or timid around you due to fear that you’ll lose your cool.

Instead, if you’re feeling upset or overwhelmed with your child, try talking it out with them. I’m a huge advocate for verbally communicating with young children.

Baby talk is cute and all but by communicating with them in a normal tone of voice works wonders for their rapidly developing language and speech skills.

2. Don’t Highlight Misbehaviour

Children often act out because they are looking for attention, whether it’s positive or not. If yelling or throwing a tantrum proves to be a good way to get your attention, they will undoubtedly keep doing it whenever they see fit.

Of course, you can’t ignore misbehaviour completely – you need to make sure your child stays safe. But, try to avoid showing extra attention to them because of negative actions.

For example, if your child throws a tantrum because he wants a toy at the store, try telling him that you won’t talk about it until he calms down. If he continues to cry, browse the store as usual and remind him that you won’t talk about it until he calms down.

As tempting as it may be to yell or ‘nip it in the bud’ to avoid a crying spell in the store, I’ve found that my son calms down much quicker when I ignore his misbehaviour and suggest an alternative instead

3. Take Special Notice of Good Behavior

It’s been found that children react very positively to encouragement, affirmation, and approval. Not only that – praise also makes your child feel more capable, which is good for self-esteem.

Therefore, when a child misbehaves, you want to make sure that you are intentional about giving praise to your children for good habits and behaviour.

If your child gets no encouragement or attention from positive actions, they may turn to misbehaviour in order to feel noticed.

4. Stay Firm

Usually, when parents clearly and firmly demand that their child do something, it’s safe to say that the child generally knows that there aren’t any other options.

However, this isn’t always the case.

Nevertheless, it’s important to use a calm tone of voice when speaking with your child but remember to remind them that you mean what you say.

Of course, being firm doesn’t mean yelling or being mean to your children.

It just means not to give in to them so easily.

5. Learn to Accept Mistakes

Children make mistakes in how they behave, just like adults sometimes do. It’s important to remember that kids aren’t tiny grown-ups and they lack much of the knowledge and experience that many adults have picked up over the years.

Misbehaviour may not be desirable, but it is a perfectly normal part of being a kid.

By modelling desired behaviour for your child, rather than simply scolding them for bad behaviour, you help to make sure they understand what they can do to behave better from that point forward.

Need More?

As parents, it’s our job to teach our children how to navigate the world around them. For free parenting resources, click here.

Reacting negatively to misbehaviour can affect your kids during their childhood and later when they become parents themselves.

However, if you apply the above tips, and remain patient and positive, you can be sure that your kids will develop positive habits too.

In the comments below, share how you react when your kids misbehave. Please share this post with family and friends.

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How to Make Family Traditions

Like all parents, our lives are busy and we always have something on the go so its not always possible to have quality time with my kids. To help me have time with my kids on a regular basis I have created daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly family traditions. Click to read how to create family traditions that last. #familytime #familytraditions #parenting #family

The best way for children to remember their youth is to establish family traditions.

In this post, I will share 6 things you need to create family traditions.

BONUS: CLICK HERE AND GET A FREE WORKSHEET TO HELP YOU PLAN AND SCHEDULE YOUR TRADITIONS

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The best part of my day is when all 3 of my kids are snuggled up in bed with me.

I absolutely love being close to them all. This time is nice because the kids are usually talkative and I get to ask them questions about their day and also have some silly time with them.

I love any time I get with my family. Even though the days can be long and I sometimes want personal space, I treasure the time I have with my kids and am pretty selfish about it.

Like all parents, our lives are busy and we always have something on the go so its not always possible to have quality time with my kids. 

To help me have dedicated time with my kids on a regular basis, I have created daily, weekly, monthly and yearly family traditions. 

Why family traditions

Family traditions are things you do over and over again that bring special meaning to your family.

These traditions are ways for families to spend time together, create memories and have fun.

Doing these things together builds a family bond that will help withstand the trials of life. Building family unity also brings a sense of belonging and safety. These feelings are extremely important for kids to have and helps them develop.

How to establish traditions

You might be sitting there and thinking: we have no family traditions. But I think if you stopped to think about what you do every day you might realize that you already have things in place.

Ask yourself: is there something we do on a regular basis is the same every time.  

You might be surprised to find out that you sing the same song every time you eat dinner together, or you sit down every year with your family and have a large meal.

If you are newly married or don’t have kids yet you might not have traditions in place.

To establish traditions: pick something you enjoy doing and do it again. This thing can be done every day, every week or once a year.

Related Posts

6 things you need to create family traditions

1. Get your kids involved

When your kids are young, they won’t know that they are involved in a family tradition. They won’t have an opinion.

As children get older, they start to love consistency and also have their favourite song or story.

When forming traditions make sure that your kids have a say. By getting your kids involved they will feel more connected and feel part of the family.

One of the traditions we have that we do every day is read stories. We have set the time for storytime and that stays the same every day. For us, before bed works really well.

When I put the kids to bed, I will let the kids decide what story they want us to read. Sometimes it’s the same story every night for a week. Other times, it’s a different story every day.

2. Make sure you love it

If you want to set a family tradition make sure you pick something you love.

When I was sleep training my babies, the first advice people give is set a bedtime routine. This routine is something you will be doing every night for YEARS. If you pick a routine that is 30 min long and you hate every minute of it you are setting yourself up for failure or continued resentment.

If you hate the activities you are doing then your kids will catch on and things will start feeling like chores instead of family fun.

So, when you pick something to do over and over again make sure you love it. 

3. Be flexible

One of the things I enjoy about parenting is the opportunity to be flexible. Choosing to be flexible teaches our kids that even though we love our traditions,  they don’t rule our day or our schedule.

Just because a tradition is set does not mean it has to be done the same way every single time. You can be flexible.

We love to read with the kids before bed. Early on, we decided that we would read 3 books to the kids and then send them to bed.

Our children love to read so this is not a struggle. Even though we do this most nights we sometimes don’t.

Some nights my children are playing so well together that I don’t want to interrupt. I let them play together latter and then we send them off to bed without a story. If they ask for a story or complain, I can explain that I let them stay up to play and we can read together tomorrow. 

Other nights they ask me to read them 4 or 5 books and I happily indulge them.

This flexibility encourages me to be aware of our family dynamics and focus on my family as opposed to the specific tradition.

4. Traditions can change

The most important thing to remember when making traditions is that they can be changed.

When my husband and I first got married, we wanted to make traditions that would last a lifetime. On our first New Year’s Day together we decided that we would go to a specific restaurant and that would be the place we would go every year.

So off we went. We enjoyed our dinner but came home and starting feeling sick and uncomfortable.

At that point, we looked at each other and decided that maybe that specific restaurant was not a place we wanted to go to celebrate a new year.

We loved the tradition but changed where we would eat.

If you try something and hate it then change it. If you have been doing the same thing for 20 years and want to try something new, then do.

5. You can add a tradition anytime

The best part of forming traditions is that they can be set anytime. When forming traditions it’s hard to know ahead of time what your family will enjoy or what will truly resonate with your family.

As parents, my husband and I  looked at our lives and found that we were missing opportunities to teach our children about giving. So, we set about setting a family tradition that would help us together as a family on a weekly basis. 

Sometimes things come up. When they do, you can add a tradition. Or, maybe your kids grow out of a certain tradition. Maybe they are too old to sit in your lap so you decide to let that one go.

Instead of giving up opportunities to connect, replace that time with something else.

Traditions you can try

Daily Traditions

  • Bedtime routines:  read and sing before bed
  • Daily prayer time
  • Cook together
  • Dance party
  • Hug and kiss
  • Special sayings
  • daily family meal

Weekly Traditions

  • special meal: Waffle Wednesday
  • Family date night
  • Bath time
  • Grocery shopping
  • Trip to the library
  • Giving
  • Allowance

Monthly Traditions

  • parent/ child date
  • Special Family outing
  • Dinner out

Yearly Traditions

  • special trip
  • Christmas traditions
  • Halloween traditions
  • Easter traditions
  • Valentine traditions

Free worksheets 

To help you think through some of these things, I have created some free worksheets that may help you. Fill in the form below and get your free worksheets. 

In the comments below, share with me some of your family traditions. Please share this post with friends and family.

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9 things to do to have a close family

One of my goals as a parent is to have a close family.

In today’s post, I will share with you 9 things you can do to have a close family.

BONUS: CLICK HERE TO GET FREE PARENTING RESOURCES.

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My parents and family are some of my closest friends. I respect their opinion and like their company. My goal as a parent is to have the same relationship with my kids. But how do I foster that type of relationship with my kids?

Today, I am honoured to have Sarah Wall as a guest writer for my blog. She has 6 kids and knows what it takes to build those relationships. To connect it’s Sarah, you can read her blog here, or connect with her on Facebook, and Pinterest. To get more info, read her bio at the end of the post

9 things to do to have a close family

1. Friendship is important

Having friends is vital to our well-being as people. But it should start at home. One of the keys to parenting successfully is fun and friendship.

The reason my friend and I couldn’t seem to get together was that we were both prioritizing our families, and protecting that valuable family time.

Family time is essential to good parenting. I talked about in a previous post the necessity of being present to parent. You can’t parent at all if you aren’t there. But being present doesn’t always mean time spent as a family.

2. The family that plays together stays together

It’s a cliche saying, but it’s so true. If you want a relationship with your kids once they are grown and gone (and I think most of us do!) then you need to create those bonds and memories now.

A great way to bond with your kids is to have fun with them. Learn what they love to do and do it with them.

Turn up the music and have a dance party. Play games and have wrestling matches. Anything that makes your child smile and have fun with you is a great idea. These moments create bonds that last a lifetime.

How do you have fun as a family?

3. Family traditions

One of the best ways to connect with your kids is by forming family traditions.  You know — Saturday morning pancakes, or Friday night movie night.

Those rituals that you always do with your kids, from the daily good-morning hug to the yearly trip to the Christmas tree farm. These are the memories that create family bonds and memories, and that holds your family together.

One of our favourite traditions in my family is our yearly Christmas ornament. I started this when my first child was born. Even though she was only a few days old, I took her to the store, and chose an ornament with her, for our Christmas tree.

And every year since, I have taken my children to choose ornaments. I label them with the name and date in sharpie on the bottom somewhere. And every year, my kids get excited about unwrapping their ornaments from our boxes, remembering the year we bought it and hanging “their” ornament on the tree. They discuss for weeks what kind of ornament they’ll get this year. It’s a family bond that I treasure.

Types of traditions you can start

There are many types of traditions you can start as a family.

Daily, it could be the bedtime rituals you put your kids to bed with — storytime or night prayers.

Maybe it’s a weekly family board game night? Or a specific kind of meal you have once a month, that everyone helps to make. It could be as small as the “I love you” game my oldest daughter and I have.

We used to say it to each other when she was little, and now we do it via texting! (Teens and technology lol) Or it could be a huge thing that you plan for every year, such as a summer barbeque that you invite the whole neighbourhood too.

Click here to learn more about how you can make family traditions.

Create traditions with your kids. Have fun with them. They’ll remember it for the rest of their life.

Related Posts

4. Choose your family

There’s an old saying that says you can’t choose your family, but you choose your friends. Having fun as a family helps create these bonds between the members of the family. We have fun, and we develop a friendship. Family fun makes friends out of our family.

One of my favourite things about homeschooling my children is seeing how they are each other’s best friends. They are sisters, of course, and like all siblings, they squabble and bicker at times.

But if you were to ask them who their best friend is, every single one of them would answer with their sisters’ names.


You may not choose who your family is, but you can choose to make friends with your family. One of the best ways to do this is to have fun as a family.

5. Foster friendships between your kids

I love seeing the friendship between my children. There is an ebb and flow to who plays with who, and who is getting along better right now, but the genuine liking that my kids have for each other shines. They love each other, of course. But they also like each other. A lot. And that’s huge.

I don’t have that relationship with my brother. Growing up, even though we were very close in age, we were so very different, that we did not get along. And my parents mostly concentrated on keeping the peace (I don’t blame them! Squabbling kids are no fun!) Today, my brother is an amazing man, husband, and father. I admire him — from a distance.

I hope for more for my children. Ideally, I want them to be close as adults. I’d love it if when one gets engaged, or gets a new job, or wins a scholarship, that the second person (after me) they called would be a sister. Or all their sisters! I want them to have big family gatherings, long after I’m gone. I want my children to be friends.

6. Be your kids’ best friend

My teenage daughter and I are friends. But I’m not her best friend. Yet. We’re working on it. It’s a huge part of parenting, and she is my firstborn, so I’m still learning how this is going to work. Because, while I want to be her friend, I’m also her mother.

When your children are little, they love being around mom and dad. They copy us, they tag along and get underfoot, and they listen and watch everything we do. We parents are their best friend.

It doesn’t always stay that way unless you work at it. I didn’t always do that with my oldest daughter, concentrating too much on being “in charge” and not enough on the relationship I wanted to have with my child. Being their friend means honouring their own choices, and inviting them, not dictating to them.

Yes, we’re still the parent. And there are times, especially when they are young and too immature to understand, that I need to make choices for them. But friendship means I listen to what they say, and even if they don’t like my choice, they feel heard. Friendship starts with respect.

7. Your kids are not your best friend

Even though I want to be my children’s best friend, it isn’t wise or even appropriate that they be my best friend. As their parent, I need to protect my children, as much as I can, from the dramas and hard choices of adulthood. It is not fair to them to use them as my support when they are too young to handle that pressure.

It would be like expecting a sapling to hold up the weight of a treehouse. You don’t build treehouses in young trees. You build them in mature trees because only mature trees can support the structure without breaking. Children can’t support adults the way other adults can support each other.

As parents, we need to find our support and our friends outside of our children. Ideally, that would be your spouse, of course. But those of us without spouses must be extra vigilant to connect with other adults, and not put our children in the role of being our best friends.

8. Fun and friendship

Being a good parent is really about the relationship you have with your children. Yes, being consistent and truthful is important. Yes, obviously, you need to be present.

And just as obviously, you need to check-in and check up on your kids. But it all boils down to the relationship. Is there friendship in your family?

Be your kids’ friend. Have fun with them. And watch your relationship grow.. and your parenting becomes easier and better than ever.

8. Take a break

Having time together as a family is important. But, to truly enjoy the time you have together it’s important to take a break once in a while.

Recently, it was one of those days. It had been coming on for a while, but I needed a break but it was hard to find the time and place in our schedule.

I wanted to connect with friends of ours, and it just seemed we couldn’t coordinate our calendars. We’d each proposed several trips, playdates, or other get-togethers over the course of several weeks. And it never worked out.

Finally, we both managed to make time for fun.  It was soo good. I spent a morning with friends, getting in a good adult conversation with other women I knew wasn’t going to judge me, who liked me and appreciated what I had to say — while my children and theirs played happily together.

Need More?

My goal is a parent is to have close family ties. This does not happen overnight and takes intention and time. The good news is that all the work does pay off in the in. To help you get started, I created a free planning guide. Click here to get it.

I the comment below, share what you do to build a close family. Please share this post with family and friends. Thank you.

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Parenting Alphabet Challenge

I have been nominated by Coralie at My Life as a Mom to take the Parenting Alphabet Challenge.

The idea is to use all 26 letters of the alphabet to describe what parenting means to you.

This post at my take on the Alphabet Challenge.

Here are the answers that I’ve written. I bet you can relate to most of them.

Top of image says: A to Z What Parenting means to me, click to read. 
Then below is a picture of a mom who is throwing her child in the air. They are both sitting under a tree.

Parenting Alphabet Challenge

A for Affection

I have three children and all 3 love to give me hugs, kisses and snuggles. Since my oldest daughter was born, I have been sharing my personal space with one to three kids.

The sweetness and love given to me are amazing. But, also the affection I feel for my kids is sometimes overwhelming. The love of a mother is amazing and has no comparison.


B for Blood

I know that nobody like to think about blood or talk about it. But, if you are a parent then you know that there will be blood— I will just leave it at that

C for Compromise

My children are the king and queens of compromise. They can compromise their way into almost anything. My husband and I try not to feel too bad about this since we believe we are raising future lawyers or hostage negotiators.

D for Doll

I have two daughters and one son. When each of my daughters was born, they looked like porcelain dolls.

They had fair skin, bright blue eyes and pink cheeks. I would regularly be stopped so that people could look at my babies.

E  for Energy

The amount of energy needed for parenting is like nothing I have experienced before. I would compare it to running a marathon— but I have never done that.

But, this is not just about the energy I need but also the energy my children have. My husband and I are trying to figure out how we can bottle our children’s energy and sell it.

All that to say, if you have kids then you know how much energy a child has.

F for Falling

I think that at least one of my children has fallen at least once a day for the past 9 years.

No….. that is not an exaggeration. I am not sure it’s normal, but for one reason or other, falling happens all the time. Every time I think that maybe we could have just one day without a fall, someone falls…. Oh well. We will try again tomorrow.

G for God

As a Christian, I try and live a life that is glorifying to God. That includes parenting. I am not the perfect parent, but I have God who is the perfect father. God gives me wisdom, patience, direction, and love– all the things I need to be the best parent I could be. I would not be able to parent without His help.

H for Help

Parenting is hard work and no one can do it alone. Everyone needs help to parent children. It is so important to make friends and be connected. It’s even more important to ask for help when you need it and accept it when it’s offered to you.

I for Isolation

As a stay-at-home mother, parenting can feel lonely and isolating. Even though I am surrounded by kids all day long, I still feel alone. The best way to bear isolation is to make some mommy friends.

J for Jokes

My children love to hear jokes and tell jokes. We will often just tell each other jokes and ask if the kids have new ones to tell. The funniest thing is listening to a 3-year-old trying to tell a joke. They try so hard and are so sincere about it that it’s hard not to laugh.

K for Kisses

I give my kids kisses all day long. I also receive kisses from them on a regular basis. There is nothing sweeter than receiving kisses from your babies. (ps, I still consider my 10-year-old my baby)

L for Laughing

One of my favourite sounds in the world is the sound of my children laughing. There is no better sound in the world. What I love about my children’s laugh is how contagious it is. When one of them starts to laugh, we all end up laughing. We have had many sweet memories of laughing together.

M for Markey

Markey is my last name. I can’t look at the letter M and think of anything else. Not only does my last name start with an M, but I have two daughters and both of their names start with the letter M. So, the letter M is very special to me.

N for NO

If I got paid for every time I said the word no, or one of my kids said it to me I would be a gazillionaire. Yes, I know it’s not a real number, but I think it makes the point. The word no is said in our house so many times, I have lost count.

It always amazed me how many different ways the word no can be said.

O for Overwhelming

As a parent, there have been many days that I have felt overwhelmed. Parenting is a hard long journey with changing stages and challenges. Every time I feel like we are on the right path we are faced with a new challenge.

P for Patience

Lord, grant me the patience I need to raise these children. I love my children…. But they have a way of driving me nuts and to the point of crazy.

Those are the moments when I have to dig down deep and use every single ounce of energy to show patience and love.

Q for Questions

The word Questions make me think about this song.  The song is one that my husband and I listened to together before we were even dating and it seems to have become a theme in our marriage and in our parenting.

As a parent, it’s important to ask questions and to get to know your kids. They won’t always what to chat, but that does not mean you give up.

R for Relaxation

Is relaxing even possible as a mother? I know it might sound crazy, but I have found ways to relax and take a break from my kids when I needed to. Each and every parent needs to take some time away and relax. It only makes you a better parent.

Other Blog Posts

S for Songs

I love to sing and often say that my life might as well be a musical. If you lived with me, you could hear me sing all the time. My kids also sing all the time. I actually almost named my 2nd daughter Robin because of how much we sing in our house. Not only do I love to sing, but I love to listen to music as well- certainly when I’m upset. I made this playlist to listen to to help change my mood.

T for Tantrums

I am very familiar with tantrums. Every single day, there is one child (and sometimes all 3) that finds things to be upset about and then has a tantrum. These are sometimes hard to handle, but I have found that the best thing to do is to be calm and not respond in anger.

U for underappreciated

As a mother, I often feel overworked and underappreciated. I do so much around the house and I barely get a thank you. But, even though they don’t appreciate me now, I know that there will be a day when they understand everything I did for them. Because I still call my mom and say Thank you and I’m sorry.

V for Victory

Every day there are small victories. It is so easy to look at all the bad things that happen every day, but there are also victories. These can be small: like my child getting an A on a math test. Or, it can be big– like not backing down after giving consequences for bad behaviour. Either way, there are victories every day and it’s good to take note of them.

W for War

Some advice that people like to give is to pick your battles. Well, for me, it was more like having to choose what war I was willing to fight.

I have very independent and strong-willed children. So, most days I feel like I am preparing for war.

X for (E)Xtreme

Okay, so I couldn’t come up with a word that actually begins with X so this will have to do. There is nothing in our house that is experienced normally. Every emotion is taken to the extreme. This might sound bad, but it’s not just for the angry and frustrated emotions but also for the happy and exciting ones. It seems like everything is at the extreme.

Y for Yuck

Kids are messy! They poop, throw up, have runny noses and so much more. There have been many times when all I can think of is: YUCK!!

Z for ZZZzzzzz

ZZZzzzz for sleep (or should I say lack of sleep). When babies are born, they sleep for about 20 hours a day.. But just because they sleep that long does not mean that moms get that much sleep. As a mom, I am either sleeping or fighting kids to go to sleep on a regular basis.  I now regret every nap I never took.

I hope that you have enjoyed my A-Z on parenting. Some were negative because parenting is not a walk in the park. But, there is so much I do love about being a mother. And, no matter how hard it is, or how tired I am I love being a mother and would do it all over again.

Need More

Parenting is hard and we all need help sometimes. Click here to get free parenting resources.

Please share this post with family and friends. Thank you

Nominations:

Part of this Challenge is to now nominate people to make their own list.

If you want to be part of this challenge, then please say so in the comments below and I will contact you about how to make this list for yourself.


3 Steps to having Time With God

One of my biggest struggles in life is having a daily time with God. In this post, I give you 3 simple steps to having time with God.

Every year, I would make a new year’s resolution to spend more time with God. And Every year I would fail.

My biggest obstacle was myself. I just made it too complicated.

I thought I needed lots of time and I needed to be . So, I let those things get in my way.

I failed to realize that I was letting all those things get in between me and God.

Don’t overthink it

The biggest thing that has helped me overcome my struggle was to not overthink things.

All I need is a few minutes and a bible.

Yep, it’s that easy.

Related Posts

3 Steps to having time with God

an infographic with the title: 3 steps to having time with God. 
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To read more about this, read this blog post: How to create a Quiet Time with God

Do you want more?

Do you want to read your bible more consistently? Do you want to know how to study the Bible on your own and know how to apply it to your life? 

You are a Christian woman who is dedicated to living a life for Christ. You want to read your bible every day, but sometimes you get distracted or are too tired to collect all the resources you need. 

It can be hard to figure it out on your own. 

That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about The Christian Growth Hub

The Christian Growth Hub is an online, monthly membership focused on helping Christian women read the Bible, understand it, and apply it to their lives. 

The Christian Growth hub helps you in your faith by: 

  • Providing monthly Bible reading plans so you never have to think about what you’re going to read in the Bible next
  • Giving you on-demand training on how to understand the Bible and new monthly training on how to apply the Bible to a particular area of your life. 
  • Connects you to an online community to give you encouragement, support, and accountability

There are so many more features. Click here to learn more about them, and see what The Christian Growth Hub offers.

a picture of all the products in the Christian Growth Hub

6 Family friendly movies that start spiritual conversations with kids

Family friendly movies are hard to find. But, movie night is always a highlight in our home.  

In this post, I will share 6 family friendly movies that can lead to deeper spiritual conversations.

BONUS: CLICK HERE TO GET FREE PARENTING RESOURCES.

We get excited as we hear and smell the popcorn popping.  Sometimes we even get a little crazy and put candy and chocolates in our salty snack. The kids can hardly wait to press play.  We really do enjoy a good family movie.

But what if Family Movie Night could be more than just popcorn and entertainment?

What if we could use the movies we watch to spark conversations with our kids about Christian spirituality?

This week, I am so happy to be working with another guest blogger. Brad Klassen is a writer, storyteller, and public speaker.  His passion is to bring the Bible to life for all ages. He also enjoys helping others grow in their walk with Jesus.   

Brad shares with us 6 family-friendly movies that you could use to have spiritual conversations with your kids.

You can receive his parenting PDF called 17 Ways to Grow Your Child’s Love for Jesus here

**This post contains affiliate links please see Disclosure Policy** Click on the pictures for more information about each movie.

6 family friendly movies that can start spiritual conversations

1. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

This franchise of family friendly movies starts with The Lion, The Witch, and the wardrobe. It is a movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ classic brings the world of Narnia to life.  

There is a great scene where Peter and Susan meet with the Professor to talk about the younger two siblings, Edmund and Lucy.  As they discuss the issue of the stories being told, they have a great conversation about logic.  Through it, they determine that if Lucy is not a liar, and she is not mad, then logically she must be telling the truth.  

This movie s a great visual of how we can logically confront misbeliefs about Jesus.  Many people believe that Jesus was a liar.  Others believe Jesus was a lunatic, or crazy.  Yet, through a logical search of the gospels, one can see that neither is true.  Therefore, logically, Jesus must be who He says He is: Lord.

This movie and conversation may be more appropriate for kids a little older (around 9 or 10). At that general age they begin to be able to understand this a little better.

You may want to start the conversation by asking how your child felt when Peter and Susan didn’t believe Lucy. Then, you can see how they respond.  You can then transition into a discussion on how similar it is for believing in Jesus.

In their lifetime our children will come into contact with doubters.  This is a great way to equip them to know that what they believe is very logical.

2. Monsters Inc

One of my favourite family friendly movies is Monsters Inc. This Pixar animated movie is about two worlds. One world in the monster world and the other being the human world.  Both worlds exist, but it is only when Sully accidentally allows a child into the monster world that the two come face to face.

When they do, the encounter has a greater impact on each other.  It is subtle, but the movie also accounts for the fact that as the children get older, they are less impacted by the monster world.

Same goes for our world and the spiritual world.  Both are real.  Both impact the other.  But it takes the faith of a child to truly see the one.

In Matthew 18, Jesus’ disciples are asking who is the greatest in Heaven.  In response, Jesus brought a child into the inner circle of adults and said:

“unless (they, adults) change and become like little children, (they) will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

(Matthew 18:3, NIV, (brackets mine)

What a great reason for us as adults to enter into a child’s world and ask them how they see the kingdom of God.

This can be a great bridge to discuss the reality of heaven. We can explain that even though we can’t see Heaven we can know it is there.  

Then we can ask questions such as:

  • How we can get to heaven
  • How to have full trust (like a child) in the One who gave us away.

3. Tangled

All of my children love thes family friendly movies. It is the modern version of the old tale of Rapunzel. The premise is that the kingdom’s princess has been taken by a woman who raises her as her own.  

As Rapunzel grows up, she does not know how deceived she has. She does not realize the truth until she discovers her real identity and to whom she really belongs.  It is only after she gains this understanding that she also gains her true freedom.

What we can learn

 This movie can lead to a conversation with your kids our true identity in Christ. We can compare the devil to the evil mother. This will lead us to talking about Satan and how he can lie to us. How the lies of Satan can make us believe things that are not true. We can then lead the discussion to our true identity. In Christ we are children of God, and they are children of True Royalty.

Our enemy would love nothing more than to destroy our sense of who we are. We are children of God, created in His image.  He does this through deception, twisting of the truth, and outright lies.

In his gospel, John writes this to let the reader know to whom they belong:

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

John 1:12, NIV

Our kids carry too many negative thoughts about themselves.  Let’s remind them that they belong to the King of kings.

4. The Incredibles

One of my favourite family friendly movies includes The Incredibles. In this animated superhero flick, the Parr family seems to be a normal family living in the suburbs.  The only difference is that they all have superpowers.  

Through the choices they make, they learn that the only way they will win in the end is if they work together.  This is a great starting point for talking with your kids about spiritual gifts.

What we can learn

We all have a desire to do something amazing in our lives.  As believers, God has given all of us different gifts.  

We need to help our kids discover how God has wired them and what gifts He has given them.  Then teach them to be a part of the Body of Christ (the Church).  This is where their gifts will grow and they will be a part of something bigger than themselves, and bigger than this life.

Paul writes it this way in 2 Corinthians 12:11:

All these (gifts) are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” (NIV)

God gives each believer gifts, even children.  Let’s show them that by working together, we can accomplish a lot for God’s kingdom.

Related Posts

5. Frozen

In this winter wonderland, we find the story of two sisters who journey through grief, power, separation, love, and, ultimately, restoration.  

The ultimate climax of the story comes as the younger sister sacrifices herself in an act of true love to save her sister.  

What we can lean

This is a great picture of how Jesus gave Himself up for us so that we can know Him.

In John 15, Jesus is encouraging His disciples just before going to the cross.  As He pours out His heart for them, He tells them that

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

(John 15:13, NIV)

Then He went on to actually do that. He laid down His life. For them. For us.

Jesus knew what He was doing when He went to the cross.  It was His choice.

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”

(John 10:17-18, NIV, emphasis added)

Our kids need to know that when Jesus laid down His life for us. He showed us what the ultimate act of true love is.

6. The BFG

To end our list of family friendly movies, we have the Big Friendly Giant. This is a feel-good, heartwarming story of a little girl who befriends a Big Friendly Giant.

 As they first meet, she has a lot of fear, and rightly so.  Soon she realizes he is not who she had thought him to be. She learns that he is not who the other giants want him to be.  Both she and the other giants had judged him from his outward appearance.

What we can learn

 Just like these characters, we as humans too often judge from outward appearances.  This can be a great introduction to talking with your children about how God doesn’t judge by what is seen. God judges us by what is unseen: the heart.

In 1 Samuel 16, the prophet Samuel is sent to Jesse’s house to anoint the next king of Israel.  When Jesse’s oldest son comes forward, Samuel is excited and ready to anoint him. But God had other plans.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

(2 Samuel 16:7, NIV)

After Samuel has seen all the sons there, he asks if there was anyone else.  That’s when David comes into the picture.

David wasn’t invited to the party.

His own family didn’t see what he would be one day.

But when Samuel saw him, God declared

“Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”  

(2 Samuel 16:12, NIV)

Even though David was described as a handsome young man (2 Samuel 16:12, NIV), it was his character that God saw.

We live in a world where appearance determines too much for our kids.  We need to teach our children that we should judge each other by our actions and not our looks. Even though there is nothing wrong with looking good, it is the character that should define them.

More Movies

Of course, there are many more family friendly movies that could be used this way.  

My challenge to all of us is to revamp Movie Night and see where the conversations can go.

In the comments below please share your favourite family friendly movies that can be used to learn a deeper meaning.

Please share this post with family and friends. Thank you.

family friendly movies that can be used to explain larger spiritual ideas to kids, family movie night, #movienight, #familytime, #christianparenting
family friendly movies that can be used to explain larger spiritual ideas to kids, family movie night, #movienight, #familytime, #christianparenting

8 ways to foster the love of reading in kids

All three of my children love to read. Every time they pick up a book I think: how did we do that?? How did all 3 of my kids love reading a book? Today I want to share 8 ways to foster the love of reading in kids.

2 boys sitting next to each other in a feild. Both boys are wearing overalls and bucket hats. They are both reading a book. Over the picture are the words: 8 ways to foster the love of reading in kids. www.onedeterminedlife.com

8 ways to foster the love of reading in kids

1. Make books available

We have books all over the house, even the bathroom. Not only are there books in every room, but the children’s books are also easy to reach and always accessible.

We spend the majority of our day at home. With limited toys and limited TV, the children are easily drawn to the books that we have.

2. Lead by example

I think that children learn by doing but also by seeing. My husband and I love to read. Most days, you can catch us on our phones or reading a book. My husband likes business books while I like novels of all sorts.

Since my children were young, they have seen us read and they naturally want to copy mom and dad.

**This post contains affiliate links, please see my Disclosure Policy**

3. Read to them regularly

We read to our children every day. We don’t have a set amount of time and sometimes we do miss this. But on most days, we read to our kids.

We follow the reading program from our kid’s school but we also read other books. Most educators suggest reading at least 20 min a day.

4. Take them to the library

We are so fortunate to have an amazing local library. Edmonton’s library was voted as the best library in North America in 2016. Not only do they have amazing books, but have great programs and access to a variety of online resources as well.

We take our kids to the library about once a month. When we take books out, we can keep them for 3 weeks, so that seems to be the cycle we keep.

At the library, our kids have access to so many books and get exposed to new cultures and authors that we may not have discovered had we not gone to the library. We often come home with our favourite books, but every so often we discover something new and it’s amazing.

5. Let them choose their book

Whether we are at home or at the library, I always let my kids choose what books they want to read and bring home. My kids have a general understanding of what I don’t want them to read and they know that I have the final say.

With this system, my kids choose books they are interested in and I have a way to make sure its appropriate content.

By having kids choose what they read, they feel more ownership over the book and there is a higher chance that they will read that book over and over again.

There have been many times that I picked books up for the kids that they never even looked at,  but will spend hours flipping through books they picked. 

6. Talk about stories and reading

When we read stories to the kids, we ask them questions and try to relate that story to our own lives. We don’t do this all the time, but when we do it’s a great way to connect with our children.

Not only do we talk about what we read to our kids, but we answer questions about what we are reading.

My eldest daughter is almost 8. Lately, she has been very interested in the books my husband and I are reading. She often asked what they are about and if I like reading it.

I will often answer these questions with enough information that answers her question, but not too much to give away or story or scare her.

Example: I just finished reading the Harry Potter book series. I love them but think that the content is too old for her. So when she asked me about the books, I told her the general content of the book without any of the details.

7. Don’t make it a punishment

I believe that reading should be a joy and not a chore. I think it is our job to make reading fun and interesting. To encourage children to read, reading should never be a punishment.

There are many consequences we can give our children, but reading should not be one of them. If we make reading a punishment then reading becomes related to negative feelings and memories and children might grow to hate reading.

8. Don’t rush them

My eldest daughter is in grade 2. In the middle of the year, we were told that she was below reading level. Instead of stressing and worrying about her reading level and we stayed the course.

We found books that she was interested in we set a goal. She wanted to be able to read a chapter book by the end of the year. Now, close to the end of the year, she has met her goal and is able to read simple chapter books. By not rushing her and making her feel bad about her ability she read at her own pace and caught up.

I believe that if we had rushed her or made her feel bad or pressured her then she might have stopped reading or grown to hate it.

9. Make a comfy spot

My kids love building a fort and then bringing in a bunch of books and reading them inside the fort. Making fun and comfortable places your kids can read in will not only encourage them to read more but will make reading so much more fun. My youngest son likes to sit in a box to read 😉 

In the comments below, share your tips on how to foster the love of reading in kids.

Please share this post with others. Thank you.

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4 things I wish I knew before Marriage

I have been married for over 12 years and there are a few things I wish I knew before marriage.

In honour of that, I am writing a series of posts about marriage.

Last week, I focused mostly on the Lessons I learned in the first year of marriage.

Today, I want to look at what happens after year one.

In this post, I will share some of the struggles we faced over the years and 4 things I wish I knew before marriage. 

A picture of white shoes next to a bouquet of white roses. Over the picture are the words: 4 things I wish I knew before marriage. At the bottom of th picture are the words: onedetermindlife.com

Before I got married, most people would give general marriage advice and would give you warnings about the first year, but nobody actually told me what specific struggles they faced and how they overcame them.

So, I want to change that. 

5 things I wished I knew before Marriage

1. Hard times do come

I was told over and over that the first year of marriage was the hardest. So after having an easy first year, I was naive to think that things would only get easier.

But that’s not how things work.

Within weeks of our one year anniversary, we started being hit with some hard stuff.

It’s not that our marriage became harder, but that life started throwing things at us that we were not ready for.

It sort of felt like we were being hit over and over again for 4 years straight.

Some of the things we faced in those 4 years:

  • a miscarriage
  • Close mentor dying
  • Full-time school
  • First-time parents
  • Unemployment (2 different times)
  • Mental illness
  • Moving across the country
  • and I am sure there is more than that.

Even as I read this list, I ask myself how we lived through all that. I know there’s not much detail, but that’s for another time.

I just wish knew before marriage that we would face so many struggles. There might have been a way for me to be more prepared or not as naive as I was.

2. Enjoy today

Now that things are going better in our lives we have time to reflect on the past and just enjoy the days we have.

The past struggles have taught me that things can change at any time.

It’s not something that I fear, but something that reminds me to enjoy each day.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
‭‭James‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I wish I knew before marriage how to enjoy the moment. We spent too much time focussing on what we did not have and what I wanted. I forgot to enjoy the present and to enjoy each small moment.

3. It’s ok to ask for help

My husband was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder in the fall of 2011.

He has been dealing with anxiety since he was at least 9 but did not know what it was until 2011.

Before his diagnosis, we had no clue what was wrong.

I could tell that something was off and that he was struggling with something.

I could just not put my finger on it.

When I asked him how he was feeling or what he was feeling, he didn’t know how to tell me what was going on.

We did not have the vocabulary or the knowledge to know what was going on.

His anxiety also kept him from sharing with me what was going on.

In his anxiety, he feared that I would leave him and stop loving him if he told me what was on his mind.

During this time, I felt extremely alone.

I knew my husband was struggling but felt like telling anyone about it would be showing him in a negative light and speaking badly about him and it made me feel disloyal.

These were all lies! 

I wish I knew before marriage that I could ask for help without making my husband look bad.

Had I known what we were dealing with, I would have fund help so much earlier.

4. It’s ok to Share Your struggles

I want you to know that it’s ok to share your struggles and your pain.

We don’t have to tell everyone and we certainly don’t even have to share details.

But, we do have to learn ways to communicate with others that make us feel safe without feeling like we are throwing our spouse under the bus.

As Christians, it ok to struggle! It’s even normal.

We need to do a better job to show others that we sometimes lack faith, wisdom, patience, and love.

If this had been the Christian culture we had grown up with, we might have spent less time feeling ashamed and more time getting help.

Related BlogPosts

5. The hard times bring blessings

As much as I was not ready for the struggles, I was not ready for the blessings that would come out of it.

“And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I knew these verses and knew what they meant but had not really seen the truth of these verses for myself.

As ridiculous as those 4 years were, we would not give them back. If it was up to me, we would have skipped them completely.

But The Lord used those years. He redeemed them for good.

Not only did these times grow character in me, but also in my husband.

We both grew in our faith.

The best thing to come out of all of it was God giving us peace about us sharing our story.

We had never had real discussions about mental health before. We had no clue what it looked like. It was not until a friend (who had experienced mental health in the past) saw the signs and intervened that Greg got help.

So now, we are very open about Greg’s health, his struggle, and how God has helped us through it.

With our openness, we (mostly Greg) have been able to help and bless many others in their mental health struggle.

What advice would you give?

If I was able to go back in time, I am sure I would read this blog post and still not really be ready for what was to come.

Sometimes, no matter how many times someone tells you something, it’s not until you walk through it that you can understand.

The best thing we ever did was to pray for our marriage. If you need some guidance on what to pray for your marriage, click here to get 30 scriptures you can pray for your marriage.

In the comments below, share what marriage advice would you give to your younger self?

this image is divided into 3 frames. One on top of the other. the first frame is of a husband and wife on their wedding day, they are both smelling while flowers while facing each other. the next frame is words that say: guaranteed things you will face in marriage, the text is in pink. Below that is another picrture. That picture is of a grooms hand holding the brides hand over thei wedding bouquet.

A picture of a women wearing a white dress.  Over the picture are the words: 4 things I wish I knew before marriage. At the bottom of th picture are the words: onedetermindlife.com
A picture of a couple walking down the steps of a church after they got married. You can see the bottom of the womens dress and the bottom of the man's suit. Above the picture are the words: 4 things I wish I knew before marriage. At the bottom of th picture are the words: onedetermindlife.com

8 Ways to Teach Emotions to Your children

Raising a toddler is tough. There aren’t one-size-fits-all rules, there are no guarantees, and we don’t win any prizes when we make clever choices.
Instead we resort to trial and error when we teach and discipline our kids. We learn from the mistakes other parents make and we also rely on each other’s hard-won victories. Today, I am going to share 8 ways to teach emotions to your children.

a boy has his head agains a window. He has a sad empty look on his face. There are rain drops on the window. On top of the picture are the words: one determined life, 8 ways to teach emotions to your children.

Toddlers may be small, but they have enormous feelings that they probably have no idea how to express. In turn, they may act out (scream, hit, or bite) or retreat (cry, hide, or lie) in an effort to make sense of what they’re feeling.

As the parents, it’s not enough to be patient. We need to proactively coach our children on the concept of emotions, including explaining what they are and how to deal with them.  

8 ways to teach emotions to your children

1. Model your emotions

Kids like to imitate our actions and repeat our words. They are like sponges that soak up whatever is happening around them. Knowing this, we need to be aware of our everyday behaviour, especially our interactions with others.

For example, if you swear loudly when you spill wine on your rug, your toddler will think it’s OK to swear whenever you make a mistake.

Instead, say something like, “I really wish I hadn’t spilt this because it’s going to leave a stain, but it was just an accident. Let’s see if we can make it better.”

2. Read about emotions

There are so many stories for children that focus on feelings and how to express different emotions.

When you read to your child, pay attention to these themes. There are books written about understanding emotions, sometimes even an entire book will be devoted to one feeling.

Books that teach about emotions

**This page has some affiliate links. Please see the disclosure policy. **

  • Help Your Dragon Deal With Anxiety The feelings book
  • The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too!
  • The way I feel
  • What to Do When You Worry Too Much
  • I can handle it

3. Name the emotions

Emotions are especially scary for kids because they aren’t visible, tangible things. However, if you give these feelings a name, they may begin to make more sense.

For example, the next time your little one throws his plate because you won’t give him another slice of cake, consider your reaction.

Instead of scolding (“stop that right now!”), try saying “I know you’re mad because you can’t have more cake. But throwing your plate is not going to make the mad go away.”

Another way to help your child name emotions is by showing them flashcards that have faces on them showing different emotions. Showing kids different emotions through pictures is a great way for them to recognize what emotions look like in others.

4. Notice all emotions

Kids are always watching what’s going on around them. Take advantage of this and observe how others are behaving and interacting with each other.

When you notice a woman laughing, point it out to your child and comment that she must be happy and not sad if she’s laughing so much.

Ask your toddler to point out another “happy” person.  This is a great way to illustrate emotions and to highlight how people act in various social situations.

5. Play with emotions

Have you ever played “What am I Feeling?” with your little one? Take turns making different facial expressions and sounds and guessing what emotion is being portrayed. Use a mirror so your toddler can see what she looks like when she’s “mad” or “sad” or “silly.”

You could also draw faces with different emotions or use emotional flashcards to illustrate various feelings. The more you play these types of games, the sooner your toddler will be able to connect how someone looks with how they are feeling.

Tools and toys that teach emotions to children

  • I Know What to Do Cards
  • Mood Cards
  • Mindful Games Activity Cards: 55 Fun Ways to Share Mindfulness with Kids and Teens
  • Anger Management Workbook for Kids

6. Run with emotions

When you get the feeling that  child is about to lose his cool in a way that’s not productive for anyone, distract him with a game of chase, tag, or follow the leader. Get him to move his body, get his blood flowing, and get his mind on something else.

Physical activity is an awesome stress reducer. Exercise may also work to calm his high emotions long enough to make sense of the current situation.

Posts About Parenting

7. Watch for emotions

One of the ways you can teach emotions to your children is by making the most out of a TV show you are watching. You can do this pointing out the range of emotions the characters are exhibiting.

Ask your child what their favourite characters do they do differently when they’re happy or when they’re sad. 

Examine photographs or pictures and have similar discussions about what the different faces are revealing to us.

8. Listen for emotions

This may not be the most exciting way to teach emotions, but it’s one of the best. It’s all about being plugged in and present. Listen carefully when your toddler tries to describe what’s going on inside her head and heart.

Of course, there will be times when you’ll want to react right away, but remember that she needs to practice “talking it out.”

In their shoes

Raising a toddler sure is tough, but being a toddler isn’t always a bed of roses. As adults, we need to put ourselves in their little shoes and realize that good communication requires practice and patience.

But even before we can expect our kids to tell us how they’re feeling, we need to teach them how to identify the myriad of emotions they experience in one day.

In the comments below, share the ways you teach your child about emotions. Please share this post with others. Thank you.

Thank you Samara Kamenecka for being our guest blogger today. You can find her at www.tinyfry.com.

8 ways to teach emotions to your  children / Toddlers may be small, but they have enormous feelings that they probably have no idea how to express. Here are 8 ways you can teach your children how to express emotions/ #emotions, #parentingtips, #parenting, #parentingadvice #parentingtoddlers
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