Helping Kids Disagree Respectfully

7
Oct
2020

Disagreements are a part of life…especially in a time of turmoil, such as this year has been. Helping kids disagree respectfully is a key element of learning how to successfully handle conflict as an adult. Everyone has a right to an opinion. As parents, it’s extremely important that we give space for our children to learn how to be respectful of all opinions, regardless if they agree or disagree. By teaching our children to value the opinions of others and help them with coping strategies to engage in respectful, positive conversations, you are equipping them with valuable skills.

We know that conflict is present in all areas of life, and even more so right now. One element of maturing is gaining a skill set to have valuable conversations with others in a respectful way. Being able to work through differences peacefully and also with an ability to strengthen and deepen relationships with others is a lifelong skill.

As a mom of four with kids ranging in age from 27 to 10, I have had many opportunities for helping kids disagree respectfully by centering on the following areas.

Be Aware

It’s important, and truly even more so right now, to keep an eye on what your child is seeing on television or online. We have decided that, for the most part, we do not watch news in the presence of our ten-year-old. We actually adopted this many years ago, and it has served us well. To be honest, most newscasts are filled with negativity, and our children do not need to be exposed to that. I think there are other opportunities to discuss any relevant news happenings with younger children in a way that can benefit their understanding.

Encourage Listening

Encourage your child to be a good listener. Make sure you model that behavior by giving him your attention when he speaks to you. This is by far one of the most important things you can model in your home. Listening is a sign of respect and is an important skill for school, as well as later in life. Teach your child to really listen to what someone else is saying and try to understand their point of view. Don’t think about an argument for what they’re saying when they’re talking. You can even have practice sessions of this when you are having family conversations. Walk through the steps involved when having a conversation and how to listen carefully to what others are saying.

Dinner Conversations

The dinner hour is one of our favorite times to talk about what is happening in the world, age appropriate, of course. Not only is family dinner time great for your child’s health and development, but it has also been linked to positive outcomes like a lower risk of obesity, better school performance, and higher self-esteem! YEP!! If you are not having family dinner together at least five evenings a week, why not? What you can do to change that? Dinner conversations are a great place to allow your child to express his or her opinions about local and world happenings as well as sharing ideas and respecting what others share. Doing so in a family environment is very valuable.

Practice Empathy

Have your child practice seeing things from other people’s point of view. This is one of the fundamental aspects of empathy, which has been shown to be important for a child’s success later in life. Empathy is to learn to give value to things that they may not be familiar with or have experienced, and that in itself is so valuable. I really like to take examples of situations, change the details surrounding the example, and allow my child to think of things from a different perspective. This allows him to see how something might feel if he thought or believed differently. This way, he can understand and learn empathizing skills, which I know we can all use practice in.

Be True to Himself

It can be hard to listen to others and be empathetic but still hold true to what you believe. This is something we share often in these conversations, helping our son learn to be confident in what he believes. We remind him that just because someone else may believe differently does not give him the right to insult or demean them. This has been something we’ve discussed often, especially in the past seven months. We all have differing opinions on so many aspects of what is happening in our world. Our opinion is just that, an opinion, and we can be true to what we believe, yet respectful to others who believe differently.
You have the ability to help impact your child greatly in his or her development of great communication skills. Helping kids disagree respectfully is just one area. I know from my own experience that family dinner together is a powerful piece of that puzzle; I encourage you to make it a top priority.


5 Tips to Prevent the Summer Slide

1
Jul
2020

We are in our final days of our school year.  Like most of the country, we switched to a homeschool model back in April and were not in the classroom.  It’s been a shift for this mom, who else can feel me on that?

Now that we’ve mastered a rhythm to our day, life has become a bit easier to manage.  We still have two days left of school….. thank goodness!!

As we end the school year and to a much needed break from the learning, it’s important to keep our kids in the game so they do not lose what they’ve mastered over the last few months.   The ‘summer slide’ is the phrase used to describe the slide backwards  many children make in reading and math skills over the summer break.  But you can combat summer slide by encouraging your child to devote a small bit of time each day to keeping up skills.  I have some tips to help you put this into action.

Reading

Oh how I love that my son truly loves to read.  At ten, that was not always the case, but there is a time where a switch usually gets flipped and kids begin to read easier and it becomes more enjoyable.  We’ve been using some of his allowance, and matching it when he wants to purchase a book on amazon to read.  We love our library system, but it is currently not operating for physical book checkout.  We have used the Libby app, which allows you to download ebooks and audio books from your local library.  It is still a screen, and we do limit that time, even when reading, but are more flexible since physical books are not available right now.

We’ve taken an old iPhone of ours and disabled many features, but allowed the Libby app on it so our son can have it for reading.  It’s been a life saver for sure.  Reading really keeps their brains engaged and allows creativity and imagination.  Does your child enjoy reading?  If not, pick a few books to read outloud together, I shared some read outloud book ideas a few weeks ago.

Writing letters

Yep, an oldie but goodie, especially during this time.  Why not get your child set up to send letters or cards to family members who live far away.  This is an incredible way for them to practice their penmanship and letter writing skills, and have fun too.  Grab some greeting cards and fun stickers to help round out this experience.

Come up with a list of people to write to and they can pre-address those envelopes on a few days, and then take one or two cards each day to write a happy note in.  If the envelopes are already stamped and addressed, it goes much easier.  They might even have fun getting letters back in the mail!

A Page a Day

Since the homeschooling session began back in April for us, I have been using Education.com to find grade appropriate curriculum for my son.  You can use it for free, so I encourage you to try it out.  It’s been fun to pick different subject areas to focus on and just today I let my son choose whatever work he wanted, it just needed to be age appropriate.  So he chose, and printed some worksheets out.  It was so easy and he had fun.

We’ve also use workbooks during the summer similar to these, which make it super simple.  You can easily take these on the road as well, if you are planning to do any traveling.  It’s not quantity that matters, but consistency.  If you ask your child to do just one page of work a day, as part of their daily routine, you will see growth in their abilities, which is really empowering for them as well as you.

Flash Cards

We are all familiar with these, right?  You likely had them when you were in school and perhaps on summer vacation!!  However, flash cards are so important for recalling information quickly and for memorizing.  We are currently working through our multiplication facts in flashcards and will start division soon.  I love them for their ease of throwing in my purse when we are on the go as well as just their interaction and connection with the person who is holding the cards.

We recently returned from a road trip and the flashcards were used in the car to pass time.  It was so easy to have them on hand.

Work for Screen Time

This is a gem friends.  If you struggle with setting limits on screen time, remember, you are in charge.  You have tools at your fingertips to use to create a routine that will help your child and you interchangeably.  At our house, we have an old slogan, “work first, then play.”  You’ve likely heard it too, but have you put it in place in your home?

Pick a few of these ideas for your child to incorporate and then allow them to “earn” screen time.  You can award it on whatever level you like, but maybe 15 minutes per activity listed here?  Or perhaps thirty minutes is more your speed.  The time doesn’t matter, but the learning experiencing of working first and then receiving the award is so valuable.

So there you have it, a few ways to keep your child from sliding back in their learning.  Just implement a few key pieces into your summer routine and you’ll be making great progress.

My Best Parenting Tip

13
Aug
2018

my best parenting tip

The other day my friend was struggling with parenting her two-year-old. She felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and at a loss on how to parent her child who was pushing all the limits.

Can you relate?

We chatted for awhile and I thought back to one thing I could share with her that would help her feel more confident in her parenting ability. I’ve raised two adult children, am in the process of launching a 17-year-old out into the world, and now in the chaos of having an eight-year-old at home, so parenting is one thing I’ve had a bit of experience with.

One of my favorite all-time parenting books is ScreamFree Parenting by Hal Runkel. I took his training and became a certified instructor to share this parenting method because it literally changed my life and the future of my children and our relationship.

There are several key components that are shared in the book, but the one piece of advice I shared with my friend last week was to be consistent. Whatever you choose to do, be consistent.

It Is All About Integrity

Do you want your child to trust you?

Do you want them to learn to listen to you the first time?

It is all about integrity—meaning what you say, saying what you mean, and following through with what you promise.

Imagine what you are enforcing when you repeat yourself multiple times a day? When you ask your child to put their shoes on, but they ignore you. Do you follow through right then? If you repeat yourself several times before putting a consequence into place, you are reinforcing the behavior that your child does not need to listen to you the first time you ask.

Make a Request Once

Instead, you make a request the first time; when they make the choice to not obey your request, you enforce a consequence immediately, not after asking five times or losing your cool—which is what I was like about 15 years ago. I was a screamer. I yelled and raised my voice to try to get obedience, which is ridiculous! It took practice, patience with myself, and grace to overcome the pattern I had created for myself of yelling to try to get my children to obey.

Have a Consequence Ready

The next step is to have a consequence set in your mind on what you will do next, when your child does not comply with the first request. I often will give this information to my child in the form of a choice. “You can put your shoes on now, or if you choose not to, you will lose  _____.”  (I often would allow my children a privilege, like choosing the radio station or music in the car when we drove to school, or riding their bike to school instead of walking.) You will want to pick a consequence that fits your desire, your child’s heart.

Parenting is tough—no joke!!! But we can make it easier on everyone when we choose to be consistent. Our kids learn to trust our word, they are trained to listen to us the first time because they know action will take place when they choose not to. We have the ability to make huge strides in this area when we put forth the effort and practice consistency.

I have a five-day parenting video series that is FREE; you can access it from Day One here, otherwise just take a minute and view the day where I shared about consistency.

Action Step

Pick one area you are struggling with enforcing consequences and decide to stand firm on what you say today.

Journey Through the Bible with Kids

6
Nov
2017

hello bible activity story box
Bible teacher I am not – so I am truly grateful for a fun resource that will help me share my love of the bible with my son.

Hello Bible is a fun and engaging tool for families to Journey through the bible together.

We’ve all become familiar with the monthly box subscription services, right?  Hello Bible is just that – a fabulous box delivered right to your doorstep centered around a theme or story in the bible to share with your child.

Each box comes with a Bible Storybook, Lesson Plans (thank goodness – because I am not that organized or talented!), Keepsake Art Projects (with amazing step-by-step instructions, because that is not my gig!), and a Bible Travel Journal.  

What I really enjoyed about this box and what I felt was key to a child understanding and learning bible principles, was how it was outlined for an entire four week period, with a focus for each week!  So instead of racing through an activity and a story, you instead continue to focus on that particular story and activities for a much longer time frame.  Period for little minds and creative hands.

Our box featured a story and focus on Joseph from Genesis 37, 39, 41, and 44-46.  We had the story book, a fun magnetic craft so my son could re-tell the story and have fun with his magnet characters, and a painted bank activity.  All supplies were included and ready to go – so easy for busy moms!

instructions hello bible

We had a blast using this unique curriculum right at home to really dig deeper into the story of Joseph.  My son enjoyed the crafts and discussion questions that helped him remember portions of the story that were included in the craft instruction booklet.

Hello Bible also plays a part in helping others.  They have a partnership with the Kilgoris Project to support some amazing work in Kenya. The Kilgoris Project educates and feeds children of a Masaai village in southwest Kenya. They work with local leaders and families to operate schools, provide daily food and clean water.  I find it so impactful for my son to see how we are helping other areas in the world and making a difference, and by purchasing a Hello Bible subscription, you can do just that!

Hello Bible has a one box purchase option, a six month subscription and a twelve month subscription option – and right now they are celebrating their year birthday and offering $5 off and FREE shipping!

HelloBible is designed for kids ages 5 and older. The curriculum is for grades K – 3.   With the holiday season fast approaching this would make a meaningful and impactful gift for a child on your list – or perhaps you can add it to your child’s wish list?

I was so pleased with the content, the quality of the crafts and the easy instructions, it really helped me have some fun activity time with my child instead of creating more work for me and more frustration for us all.

Find out more details here at Hello Bible or go grab your very own subscription now!

I did receive a complimentary box for review. All opinions are my own.

7 Reasons to Read to Your Child

6
Feb
2017

7 Reasons to Read to Your Child

We all know that learning to read is important, but as parents what we do to facilitate this milestone in our home is extremely important. For those that homeschool, you already have the great joy of educating your children on your terms. But for those who school outside the home, it can seem daunting to know what to focus on at home. Helping to encourage your child to read is at the top of my list! Reading to your child has many benefits, one of which is simply having time to snuggle together.

#1: Reading Is Important

When you read to your child, he/she will learn that reading is important to you. Therefore, reading will become important to him/her.

#2: Listening Is Powerful

The more your child hears sounds, the better he/she will process these sounds into words. When a child is preschool/kindergarten age, the listening word starts to become the written word. Reading will foster your child’s ability to listen and pay attention. With all the problems we here about concerning attention spans, this is a great way to avoid that.

#3: Effective Calming

Reading has a calming effect on a restless or fussy baby. Words spoken out loud give a calming effect – even for you as you read. Who doesn’t want an easy way to calm a fussy baby?

#4: An Easy Routine

Reading is a wonderful before bed routine. Studies have shown that a child will thrive in an atmosphere in which routines are present. So either before or after pajamas, spend some time reading a book. We’ve recently started The Magic Treehouse books and we read a few chapters each night.

#5: Expand Their Imagination

Reading will help to develop your child’s imagination. Have you ever gotten lost in a good book? Your child can do the same while you are reading to him/her. We have recently been learning about sharks, dinosaurs, and Ancient Egypt – all from the comfort of our home!

#6: Build Communication Skills

When you spend time reading to toddlers, they’ll be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way. By witnessing the interactions between the characters in the books you read, as well as the contact with you during story time, your child is gaining valuable communication skills.

#7: Life-Long Reader

Reading to your child will develop in him/her the desire to become a reader.

We recently discovered a fun way to expand our reading library all on my iPad. Now that we’ve moved, we are 30 minutes from a library, so not super convenient for random trips to the library to get books. A friend shared Epic! Unlimited Books for Kids, which offers unlimited access to over 20,000 high-quality children’s books, including thousands of read-to-me, audio books, and educational videos. It does cost $4.99 a month, so for a few months we are trying it out to see how we enjoy the convenience. I really like that there are options for reading levels, having the book read to my child, or having him read. He uses his Blue Light Glasses too, which helps me feel good with him using screen devices, especially in the evening. We have thoroughly enjoying expanding our imagination with books!

Isn’t it exciting to think that you can have such an effect on your child’s ability to read just by reading to him/her? You have the power to develop a life long joy of reading and learning in your child. WOW! Just read.