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.


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.

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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.

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

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.


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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.

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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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4 Things other Cultures Teach us about parenting

There are many things that other cultures can teach us about raising kids. Today, I will share 4 things other cultures teach us about parenting.

Today, I am so excited to once again work with Zara Lewis. She wrote a blog for me a few months ago. It was so well received that when she offered to write another post, I jumped at the chance. I hope you like it.


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For the longest time, I based my parenting beliefs mostly on what I experienced in my own home. It felt natural to continue the traditions of what our own society perceives as normal. We were not tempted to resort to unusual ways of other cultures across the globe.

Still, I became curious as I came across many intriguing stories. I decided to make the most of other societies’ parenting methods, adapted to our own living circumstances. Let’s embark on a journey through cultural diversity in raising kids.

3 Things other Cultures Teach us about Parenting

1. The freedom of Finland

The western norm of helicopter parenting assumes that we need to spend every waking moment doing everything for our kids. This includes making meals, preparing snacks, reminding them of homework assignments, setting aside their clean clothes and so on. Yet, in most Scandinavian cultures, parents create an atmosphere in which kids develop a sense of independence and responsibility.

From a very early age, Finnish kids go to school on their own. They make their own meals and do homework without their parents’ pushing or reminding them.  Sounds great right! So, what can we do to help our children do the same?

From an early age, finish children are given hours of independent free play every day. They actually have fewer school hours and more hours to play.

The best way to have independent children to give our kids opportunities to exercise their freedom.

These freedoms can be as easy as:

  • Letting them walk to school alone
  • Allowing children to chose what to wear
  • Letting children experience natural consequences

Independence is something priceless that we can use to teach our kids. Not only will they value their time but it will help them cope with the challenges of growing up. Being more independent will also prepare your children for the future.

Parenting Posts

a dad hugging his daughter. There are mountins in the background

2. The respect in Asia

The cultures of Asia differ greatly from what you can find in many other corners of the world. Perhaps the most crucial aspect that makes their parenting different from others is teaching respect towards elders in the family, including parents and grandparents.

Families in Asia often live all together in the same house and take equal part in raising the kids. This dynamic gives the youngsters more than two grownups to look up to and treat with respect.

Most of us don’t live in the same house as our parents. How can we instil this respect for their family and the elderly?

The best way to teach our children to respect the elderly is by spending time as a family with the elderly. We can sit with them and listen to their stories. When we meet elderly people at the store, we can treat them with respect and kindness. Our children learn best by example. If they see us treating our families and elderly people with respect then they are more likely to do the same.

a grandma sitting next to her grandson in the rice field

3. The nature-loving Australia

Living in Australia, I’ve grown to love its many customs and traditions. Most traditions are nature-oriented, and for a good reason. Australia is a land of pristine nature and wildlife. People here have learned to pass on their innate appreciation for all things that are natural, organic and pure to their kids in various forms of behaviour.

They teach their kids gratitude and respect towards all living things by owning and taking care of pets. Parents in Australia teach their children the importance of spending time outside by surrounding by nature. Parents here don’t fear letting their kids play on the ground, and they teach children about their environment through uninstructed play. By creating a strong bond to nature and living things, children treat the earth with greater respect and care.

Some of these things are easy to duplicate in North America. Instead of spending time indoors, we should be spending more time outdoors enjoying nature and the world around us. We can teach our children that they impact the living things around them by teaching them about the life cycle and recycling.

4. The acceptance of Africa

Among so many African traditions regarding raising kids, I’ve come across one that has particular relevance for our modern age. In one African tribe, every child has their own song that is sung to them from conception, for them that is as soon as the mother envisions the baby in her mind and all the way to their death. The entire village learns the song and sings it on every relevant occasion.

Not only do they sing this song often, but they use it in a unique way. When a  child makes a mistake or commits a crime as an adult, the whole tribe sings their song. The tribe gathers together and sings this song to remind them of the unique qualities the child possesses, the good they have done thus far and uses love and acceptance instead of punishment. The community uses this song to honour the child’s identity and teach them kindness and love.

This practice encourages me to use meaningful words to teach identity and responsibility to my kids. Giving our children a sense of self and acceptance may help them live a better life.

a mom working the land with a child attached to her back

Parenthood is a journey with many challenges. As we strive to raise our children based on our own society’s norms, we have yet to learn from other cultures that have a different yet valuable insight into a child’s identity.

Maybe if we manage to blend all of this wonderful wisdom into a collective pool of knowledge, we can give our kids the most valuable guidance this world has to offer. This will help our kids become the best people they can be.

Need more?

Parenting is hard work, and we all need some help. If you are looking for more support in your parenting, click here to receive free parenting resources.

In the comments below, please share a lesson you have learned about parenting from different cultures.

Please share this post with family and friends.

Best Parenting Advice Ever

As a new mom, I received a lot of parenting advice. Some of it was not useful at all, but some of it was wonderful.

Today, I want to share with you 2 of the best pieces of parenting advice I ever got.

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and my website: www.onedeterminedlife.com


When I had my first child, I was determined to not make any mistakes and to be the perfect parent. I had an image in my head as to the type of parent I wanted to be. I also had an image of how I wanted my kids to turn out. Anything other than that meant failure.

I was determined to find “the perfect” parenting formula and follow it. I thought that if I did things a certain way then my kids would turn out the way I wanted them too.

As I read this, I see the ridiculousness of my thought process. But, at the time, I was so stressed out about finding the perfect way.

Thankfully, I had seasoned parents around me that gave me great advice. I would talk to them about parenting and got great advice from people who had gone down this path before me.

The Best Parenting Advice I ever got

1. Perfection does not guarantee perfection

As a mother, I always want the best for my kids. I want to see them succeed and I want to have a close and loving relationship with them.

Along with that, I really don’t want them to make bad choices or go down a path that will lead to pain for them.

When I was a young parent, I had this idea that if I was the perfect mother, then I would then have perfect children. If I loved them a certain way then I would guarantee a good outcome.

This idea stressed me out because I had not figured out what that way was. I also felt guilty for not being perfect. I also spent a lot of time afraid that my imperfections would hurt my children in the long run.

When my eldest daughter was one, I went to a ladies retreat. One of my friends was leading a session on teens. Since I didn’t have a teenager, I was not planning on going, but my friend suggested I come anyways.

I am so glad I did!! At that session, she said something that helped me so much.

She said: Jesus is the perfect father, yet look at His children.

This idea set me free. The burden of perfection was taken off my shoulder as I realized this amazing truth. If Jesus can live a perfect life and be the perfect father and His kids don’t follow Him, what chance do I have?

I had set this ridiculous standard in my mind!

Now, I was able to see better. I knew that even if I could be a perfect parent, it would still not guarantee that my kids would not make mistakes.

But then I had this light bulb moment. I realized that my children are their own people and their actions are not controlled or determined by my actions.

How I act towards them might help or hinder what my kids do, but the end results ends with them. I am not responsible for the decisions they make.

Other Parenting Posts

2. Focus on love

There are many types of parenting styles but they generally fall into 3 categories: Permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian.

In general, one allows everything, one is extremely strict and the other falls in between.

Wh I knew that I wanted to be an authoritative parent as it’s generally known to be best for the child.

Even though I knew what type of parent I wanted to be, I still had a hard time putting it into practice.

I had a friend come to my rescue, yet again and gave me a great perspective.

She said: it doesn’t really matter what type of parent you are as long as your child feels loved.

At first, I thought that this idea seemed too simple.

But then, the more I read, the more I realized the truth of it.

According to this article in aha parenting, “Children who feel loved and cherished thrive. That doesn’t mean kids who ARE loved – plenty of kids whose parents love them don’t thrive. The kids who thrive are the ones who FEEL loved, accepted and cherished for exactly who they are.”

Basically, if your child feels loved then they will feel secure and will thrive. If they don’t feel loved, then they won’t thrive.

So, that’s what I started doing.

I searched and read books that helped me focus on having my children feel loved.

These books include:

The Links above are affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy

Parenting is hard! It’s full of hurdles and mistakes, love, and so much more. My mindset when I started off did not help me.

Thankfully, I was able to change my mindset and focus on the things that really mattered.

My eldest is now 10. I have no real proof that my parenting ways have helped her. What has helped is the change in my mindset. This new midset has helped me feel better about the way I parent and given me so much more peace.

I am less stressed and don’t carry the guilt of my mistakes. I am able to seek forgiveness, move on and focus on loving my kids.

Comment below with the best piece of parenting advice you ever got. Please share this post with friends and family.

Need More?

If you are struggling as a parent and need more parenting resources, click here to get access to free resources that will make life easier.

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The Best Parenting Lessons from around the web

Parenting lessons can be learned every day in so many ways. Today I am going to hare the best parenting lessons from around the web.

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As a parent, there is so much advice given to you. But, since you have kids, you are busy and don’t have time to go online and read all the parenting lessons that people have learned before you that you can learn from.

I get it.

That is why I have done the work for you.

In this post, I have collected blog posts from fellow bloggers about some of the best parenting lessons they have learned. These posts give you advice that you can use from the toddler years all the way to the teenage years.

Below are some great blog posts about Parenting that I know you will just love.

Just click on the pictures and it will lead you to the blog post.

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An adult hand holding a child's hand. Words above the hands day: 2 words every mom needs to hear and say. Parenting lessons
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Parenting lessons

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Other Great Blog Posts

In the comments below, please share your best of parenting advice. Please share this post with friends and family. Thank you

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6 Science-Backed Baby Sleep Strategies

As a new mom, one of the first things that change is the amount of sleep you get. Your sleep is directly related to how much your baby sleeps. So, to make sure you start this sleep journey on the right path, continue reading to learn 6 Science-Backed Baby Sleep Strategies.

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Everything about baby sleep can seem frighteningly high-stakes at 3 A.M. in the morning.
Make one tiny mistake in his or her training and your child’s development will be seriously affected: he’ll either end up waking in the night well into his high school years, or worse, develop anxiety, depression, or mood swings.

And with every sleep expert offering slightly different advice on the ideal timing and method for sleep training you may be unsure about who to believe, how to proceed, or which sleep training method you should follow.

That’s where this article fits in – I’m going to help you separate sleep fact from sleep fiction by zeroing in on 6 science-backed strategies that have been proven to promote healthy sleep habits in babies and young children.

6 Science-Backed Baby Sleep Strategies

1: Learn to Spot Your Child’s Sleep Cues

Like the rest of us, your child has a sleep window of opportunity, a period of time when he is tired, but not too tired.
If that window closes before you have a chance to tuck your child into bed, his body will start releasing chemicals to fight the fatigue and it will be much more difficult for you to get him to go to sleep.

So how can you tell if your baby is getting sleepy? It’s not as if your one-month-old can tell you what he needs.

Here are some sleep cues that your baby is ready to start winding down for a nap or for bedtime:
  • Your baby is calmer and less active: this is the most obvious cue that your baby is tired and you need to act accordingly.
  • Your baby may be less tuned in to his surroundings: his eyes may be less focused and his eyelids may be drooping.
  • Your baby may be quieter: if your baby tends to babble up a storm during his more social times of the day, you may notice that the chatter dwindles off as he starts to get sleepy.
  • Your baby may nurse more slowly: instead of sucking away vigorously, your baby will tend to nurse more slowly as he gets sleepy. In fact, if he’s sleepy enough, he may even fall asleep mid-meal.
  • Your baby may start yawning: if your baby does this, well, that’s a not-so-subtle sign that he’s one sleepy baby.

When your baby is very young, you should start his wind-down routine within one to two hours of the time when he first woke up.

If you miss his initial sleep cues and start to notice signs of over-tiredness – for instance, fussiness, irritability, and eye-rubbing, simply note how long your baby was up this time around and then plan to initiate the wind-down routine about 20 minutes earlier the next time he wakes up. (The great thing about parenting a newborn is that you get lots of opportunities to practice picking up on those sleep cues—like about six or seven times a day!)

Learning to read your baby’s own unique sleep cues is the first step to a more rested and more content baby.

Here’s something else you need to know about babies’ sleep cues, something that can toss you a major curve ball if you’re caught off guard:

Babies tend to go through an extra-fussy period when they reach the six-week mark. The amount of crying that babies do in a day tends to increase noticeably when babies are around six weeks of age.

You aren’t doing anything wrong and there isn’t anything wrong with your baby. It’s just a temporary stage that babies go through.

If your child becomes overtired, your child is likely to behave in one or more of the following ways
  • Your child will get a sudden burst of energy at the very time when you think she should be running on empty.
  • You’ll start seeing “wired” and hyperactive behavior, even if such behavior is totally out of character for your child at other times of the day.
  • Your toddler or preschooler will become uncooperative or argumentative.
  • Your child will be whiny or clingy or she’ll just generally fall apart because she simply can’t cope with the lack of sleep any longer.

(results may vary, depending on his age and personality)

You will probably find that your child has his or her own unique response to being overtired. Some children start to look pale.

Some young babies start rooting around for a breast and will latch on to anything within rooting distance, including your face or your arm!

When nothing seems to be wrong (he’s fed and clean), but he’s just whining about everything and wants to be held all day, he’s overtired and needs help to get to sleep.

Learning to read your baby’s own unique sleep cues is the first step to a more rested and happier baby.

2: Teach Your Baby to Distinguish between Night and Day

Because our circadian rhythm (our internal time clock) operates on a 24-hour and 10-minute to 24-hour and 20-minute cycle (everyone’s body clock ticks along at a slightly different rhythm) and all of our rhythms are slightly out of sync with the 24-hour clock on which the planet operates, we have to reset our internal clocks each and every day – otherwise, we’d slowly but surely stay up later and sleep in later each day until we had our cycles way out of whack.

Daylight is one of the mechanisms that regulate our biological cycles.

Being exposed to darkness at night and daylight first thing in the morning regulates the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that keeps our body’s internal clock in sync to that we feel sleepy and alert at the appropriate times.

By exposing your baby to daylight shortly after he wakes up in the morning and keeping his environment brightly lit during his waking hours, you will help his circadian rhythm to cue him to feel sleepy at the right times.
Moreover, he’ll start to associate darkness with sleep time and bright light with wake-up time – you’ll find that it works best to take advantage of sunlight (as opposed to artificial light) whenever possible.

Studies have shown that exposing your baby to daylight between noon and 4:00 P.M. will increase the odds of your baby getting a good night’s sleep.

3: Let Your Baby Practise Falling Asleep on His Own

Some sleep experts recommend you put your baby to bed in a sleepy-but-awake state whenever possible from the newborn stage onwards so that he can practice some self-soothing behaviors.
Others say that you should give your baby at least one opportunity to try to fall asleep on his own each day.

Lastly, some others say that there’s no point even bothering to work on these skills until your baby reaches that three-to-four month mark (when your baby’s sleep-wake rhythm begins to mature so that some sleep learning can begin to take place).

Sleep experts claim that the sleep-association clock starts ticking at around six weeks. They claim that this is the point at which your baby begins to really tune into his environment as he’s falling asleep.
So if he gets used to falling asleep in your arms while your rock him and sing to him, he will want you to rock him and sing to him when he wakes up in the middle of the night – that’s the only way he knows on how to fall asleep.

This is because he has developed a sleep association that involves you – you have become a walking, talking sleep aid.

Some parents decide that it makes sense to take a middle-of-the-road approach to sleep associations during the early weeks and months of their baby’s life – they decide to make getting sleep the priority for themselves and their babies and to take advantage of any opportunities to start helping their babies to develop healthy sleep habits.

Regardless of when you pay attention to the types of sleep associations, your baby may develop, at some point you will want to consider whether your baby could start to associate any of the following habits or behaviors with falling asleep:

  • Falling asleep during bottle-feeding
  • Being rocked to sleep
  • Having you rub or pat his back, sing a lullaby, or otherwise play an active role in helping your baby to fall asleep
  • Having you in the room until your baby falls asleep
  • Relying on a pacifier

Here’s something important to keep in mind, particularly since we tend to fall into an all-or-nothing trap when we’re dealing with the subject of sleep.
You can reduce the strength of any particular sleep association by making sure it is only present some of the time when your baby is falling asleep.

If, for example, you nurse your baby to sleep some of the time, rock your baby to sleep some of the time, and try to put your baby to bed just some of the time when he’s sleep but awake, he’ll have a hard time getting hooked on any sleep association.

Sleep experts stress that the feeding-sleep association tends to be particularly powerful, so if you can encourage your baby to fall asleep without always needing to be fed to sleep, your baby will have an easier time learning how to soothe himself to sleep when he gets a little older. Most babies are ready to start practicing these skills around the three- to the four-month mark.


4: Make Daytime Sleep a Priority: Children Who Nap Sleep Better

Scientific research has shown that babies who nap during the day sleep better and longer at nighttime. While you might think that skipping babies’ daytime naps might make it easier to get them off to bed in the evening, babies typically end up being so overtired that they have a very difficult time settling down at bedtime and they don’t sleep particularly well at night.

And rather than sleeping in so that they can catch up on the sleep they didn’t get the day before, they tend to start the next day too early and they have a difficult time settling down for their naps, as well.

Simply put, it is important to make your child’s daytime sleep a priority, just as you make a point of ensuring that he receives nutritious meals and snacks on a regular basis – your child needs nutritious sleep snacks during the day in addition to his main nighttime sleep meal in order to be at his very best.
In addition, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers who nap are generally in a better mood and have an improved attention span as compared to their age-mates who don’t nap.

5: Know When Your Baby No Longer Needs to Be Fed At Night

Your baby may continue to wake up in the night out of habit even when he’s outgrown the need for a middle-of-the-night feeding.
If your baby is going without that nighttime feeding some of the time or doesn’t seem particularly interested in nursing once he gets up in the night, it might be time to eliminate that nighttime feeding and use non-food methods to soothe him back to sleep.

Eventually, of course, you’ll want to encourage him to assume responsibility for soothing himself to sleep, but the first hurdle is to work on breaking that powerful food-sleep association.
With some children, it happens quickly. With other children, it’s a much slower process.
Once you break that association, he may stop waking as often in the night and may be ready to start working on acquiring some self-soothing skills.

6: Remain as Calm and Relaxed as Possible about the Sleep Issue

If you are frustrated and angry when you deal with your child at night, your child will inevitably pick up your vibes, even if you’re trying hard to hide your feelings.

Accepting the fact that some babies take a little longer to learn the sleep ropes and feeling confident that you can solve your child’s sleep problems will make it easier to cope with the middle-of-the-night sleep interruptions.
Scientific studies have shown that parents who have realistic expectations about parenthood and who feel confident in their own abilities to handle parenting difficulties find it easier to handle sleep challenges.

Do you need help with your Baby’s sleep?

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Best Bibles for Children

As a Christian parent, I want to teach my children about the bible. One of the best ways to do that is to get Bibles for my children and read it to them. There are many Bibles out there and it’s hard to narrow down the best ones to use. To help you in this process, I share 4 of the best bibles for children, what I look for in a bible and how I use them in my home.

A picture of 3 children laying down on the floor, stomach down. They are flipping through a book and are all smiling. Next to the picture are the words The Best Bibles for children. www.onedeterminedlife.com

One of my deepest desire is for my kids to know God. One way they can do that is by reading the bible.

I try to read the bible to my kids once a day. It doesn’t always happen, and it’s not always in the bible. Sometimes it’s bible stories and other days we send our kids straight to bed.

When I do read to my kids from the bible, I like to use a children’s bible.

2 things I look for in a bible

In my search for a bible, I can read to my kids I have read many. What I have discovered is that not all Bibles are created equal.

Some children’s “bibles” only have a few words per page while others skip major stories in the bible.

To qualify for this list, each Bible has to meet a certain standard. These are the x things I look for in a bible

1. Easy to read

I grew up in an age where to be a “good Christian” you had to read the new King James Version of the Bible. Thankfully, I have evolved from that belief and think that there are many Godly versions of the bible.

When I search for a bible for the kids I look for versions that are easier for them to understand. They are too young to understand certain words and I want them to be able to relate to the Bible and enjoy reading it. The best way to do that is by choosing a bible that they can understand.

2. Includes the crucifixion

While I was hunting for a good bible I was surprised by how many of the kid’s versions excluded the crucifixion. I know that it’s a graphic story, but without the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, the rest of the bible is useless.

There are ways to tell the crucifixion story in a way that kids can understand. I want my kids to know from an early age what God has done for them.

I don’t have a long list of requirements for a good bible for kids. Even having those 2 things, it’s not always easy to find a good bible for kids. With these 2 things in mind, here is my list of the best bibles for kids.

4 of the Best bibles for Children

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1. The Jesus storybook bible

5 hand drawn pictures that depict different stories in the bible. They are all in a strip and above are the words: The Jesus Storybook Bible

The Jesus Storybook Bible is one of my favourite bibles for children. It’s easy to read, has beautiful art, and includes the crucifixion.

This bible is more than that. The author has made the Bible into a story and tells each part in connection with each other and in anticipation of Jesus. She makes sure to link every story to Christ.

Even as an adult I appreciate this because it’s sometimes hard t read an Old Testament story and know why it matters or how it relates to everything. This book does just that. From the creation story to the end of the book, the author links events to Christ and gives the big picture. It’s not just a kid’s bible, it’s good for everyone.

2. The Action Bible

5 different comic stripes that depict bible stories. One is of Samson pushing the walls down. There are words that say: The Action Bible

Not every child likes to sit down and read words. The idea of reading can be intimidating and hard. That’s what I love about The Action Bible. You can be a non-reader to enjoy this one.

The pictures are awesome and it’s easy to understand what is going on by looking at the pictures.

The bible covers all major stories and is very engaging for all readers. I read something similar as a child and still remember some images I saw.

3. NIRV Bible

A green book with an outline of a lizard and leaves. At the side of the lizard are words that say: Adventure Bible

This NIRV Bible is the one I get for each of my kids when they turn 5. At 5 years old, they start the AWANA program at church and need a bible.

This is a great first bible. It’s the entire book in a format that is easy to read and very engaging. Inside, there are pictures, highlight verses, maps, and key passages highlighted. The NIRV bible also defines words and so much more.

Not only that but there are a variety of covers you can pick from. There are pink ones and blue ones and so on. I just picked green because of the cover. If you are looking for a complete Bible for your children, I highly encourage you to pick this one.

4. The Children’s Daily Devotional Bible

A drawing of Jesus accepting a basket full of loaves and fish from a small boy. Above the drawing are words that say: The Children's Daily Devotional Bible

The Children’s Daily Devotional Bible was the first bible I found for the kids and I fell in love with it right away. It is one of the best bibles for children that I have found.

The authors have chosen most of the bible stories and split the Bible into daily chunks. This bible is perfect if you want to read a portion of the Bible every day but don’t know how to split it up.

Not only that, but the bible also includes pray started and memory verses.

How I use these Bibles for Children:

Every night before bed I get one of these bibles for children and read it to the kids. I start at the start of the bible. We read the portion of the day and then we talk about the story. We then use the prayer started to pray together and then read the memory verse.

You can do this as a family or teach your children to do this on their own.

The version used is the Contemporary English Version. It’s easy to understand and a great start for kids to get into.

I have used each of these Bibles at different times. I sometimes read from one for a week and move on to the other. God’s word is living and reading the bible to our children is a great way to teach our children about it.

Need Help

One way to help our children have a close relationship with God is to show them a good example. If you need help with bible study, click here and get a free Bible Study Workbook.

In the comments below, share with me what bible you use to read to your kids.

The Best Bibles for Children: It can be hard to get kids interested in reading God's word but there are many bibles you can get that will help your child to love God. #bibleforkids #bible #christianparenting ,

What does the Bible say about fathers?

My husband and I have been married for 15 years and one thing that made me fall in love with him was his love for kids. On Sundays at church, I could always find him holding a baby and volunteering in the nursery. Even though he loved kids, he didn’t have the greatest father figure growing up, so he watched godly men parent. Another way to learn how to be a godly father is to ask: What does the Bible say about fathers?

The Bible has so much wisdom to share about life and fatherhood. Continue to read and discover what The Bible says about fathers.

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What does the Bible say about fathers?

Fathers should discipline their children

As parents, it is our job to discipline our children. But we have warped the meaning of discipline. In the ancient Hebrew of Proverbs, discipline means to instruct, correct, chastise, or rebuke. It does not mean punish or beat.

We see many verses that encourage parents to discipline their children, comparing how God treats us to how we should treat our children.

Proverbs 3:11-12 ESV My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights

This verse clarifies that any discipline given should be done out of love for the child. The father delights in the child and loves him, so he wants to correct him and show him a better way.

Proverbs 19:18 ESV Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.

The Bible makes it clear that discipline is important. If we don’t teach our children and come alongside them, they may make choices that lead them to death. By showing our children how to follow The Lord, they see an example of what it means to follow God.

Proverbs 1:1-4, 8-10 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. 8 My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. 10 My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them!

Proverbs 1:1-4, 8-10

Hebrews 12:11 ESV For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:7 ESV It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

No one likes to be corrected, but it’s necessary.

Matthew 7:9-11 ESV Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Children are a blessing

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127:3-5 esv

We have 3 kids, 12, 9, and 6. Each of them is a blessing, and we are so thankful to have them in our lives.

Day-to-day parenting can be hard, and it’s easy to take our eyes off the big picture of what we are doing in the home. Our goal is to train our children, so they decide to believe in Jesus and decide to follow God on their own once they leave the house.

4 Things Fathers can do to lead their child to God

1. Don’t provoke your children to anger

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

As a parent, it’s easy to make our children upset. Our oldest daughter is 12 and wants more freedom and fewer boundaries. When we set boundaries, she gets angry and frustrated. This is not the type of anger this verse is talking about.

Do not provoke can also mean not to irritate, exasperate, excite, or stir up your children. There are many ways parents can provoke their children, but I want to focus on one that I see in our house regularly.

I love my kids, but sometimes they get on my nerves. I ask them to settle down 1 or 2 times, but then my irritation increases and I snap at my kids. I raise my voice, or speak with more frustration. My increased emotion usually scares my kids, hurt their feelings and stirs them to anger. There was no reason for me to be angry. It’s my job to communicate properly with my kids. I need to be better at calming myself down and bring the emotions down, not up.

2. Love your wives

Ephesians 5:25-33 ESV Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, …

Kids learn how to navigate the world through the examples they see in their day to day. If kids see dad treat mom badly, then they learn it’s ok to treat someone like that as well. So raising children that treat others well, then it’s important to live out our faith through the things we do, and the way we treat people.

3. Teach your children about The Lord

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ESV And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

As parents, we have so many things on our plate and “things we need to do”. It’s easy to take our kids to church and let the church teach our children about who God is.

But that’s not what The Bible encourages us to do. Scripture tells us we should teach our kids diligently about The Lord. We need to share our faith and the things God has done for our lives.

It’s not always easy to take the time to teach our kids about God, but it’s as simple as reading the Bible and praying with them just once a day. In our house, we have a short devotion time after dinner.

4. Walk in a way worthy of God

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 ESV For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

Think about the people that frustrate you the most. For me, that are people who say one thing and then do something else. This leads me to lose trust in them and I stop listing to what they have to say.

The same thing can happen with our kids. If we tell them to do something and we don’t do it, they might stop listing to us.

As humans, we all have moments of hypocrisy. Don’t let those moments discourage you. Admit your faults, ask your kids for forgiveness, and give your children the same chance to ask for forgiveness and try again.

A Father’s Intension

As parents, it’s important that we are intentional about what we say to our kids, what we do with them, and the way we live our lives. Everything we do, our kids see and store it in their memory.

The bible encourages us to be intentional, attentive and loving. These are not always easy to do, but something we can all do better at.

Proverbs 4:1-4 ESV Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ESV If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; …

Dig Deeper

The Bible is really practical. There are so many things we can learn through reading it.

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