Thursday, April 24, 2014

A to Z Blogging {Still catching up!}; Other Ways to Bring God into Your Kids' Lives

(Click here to read part one of this post; Kids--Bringing God into Their Lives)

To instill a love of God in your child, God must be a part of your life every day—at home, at school, wherever you go and whatever you’re doing. Here are a few tips to make God an integral part of your life every day.

  • When you read to your child, include Bible narratives. When your child is old enough to read, provide Bible stories; give tweens and teens Christian fiction to read. (Caution: read the books first, to be sure they are really “Christian” books.) Consider subscribing to faith-based magazines; again, preview them first to be sure they give the message you want your kids to read.
  • Give each child a Bible of their own; consider a study Bible so they can learn even more from the study notes. Give them highlighters so they can mark in their Bibles too, and encourage them to write down what they’ve learned and questions that come up as they read.
  • Have Bible-study/devotion time as a family. Teach what you learned in Bible study, or read and discuss passages from the Bible. Many Bible study and devotion books are also available.
  • Write Bible verses on note cards and post them around the house. Encourage your kids to do the same so they memorize verses or are reminded of God during a tough time.
  • Pray for your kids…and with your kids. Ask them what they would like you to pray for, for them. Pray that they will desire to have God in their lives and follow Him. Encourage them to start a prayer journal, recording their requests and God’s answers.
  • Set a good example of showing Christ’s love wherever you go. Be polite even if the checker is rude. Return change when too much is given. Give to charity as you feel led. If you lose your temper with another driver, apologize, explain why what you did was wrong, and ask God’s forgiveness out loud.
  • Bring God into situations in your child’s life. When she talks about a new child at school, encourage her to talk to him and explain how Jesus was kind to everyone. If a teen at her high school gets pregnant, talk about the consequences of not obeying God’s laws and the impact on the rest of that teen’s life. You can also use this as an opportunity to talk about choosing life, and God’s forgiveness.  
  • It’s normal for teens to ask questions about faith and your religious denomination. Allow them to ask these questions (I think God is glad when we think about Him and His Word and ask questions!). Discuss them as a family; find the answers if you can, or ask your pastor or priest. Even if kids are questioning their faith, make attending church a rule.

How do you make God a part of your kids’ everyday lives? Please leave your comment below! 

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6

The Morning Blues—and how to Beat Them!

Mornings can be hectic—whether you have kids at home or are just getting yourself ready for the day. Here are some tips to take the “blues” out of the morning.
  •  Start the morning on a positive note with the Lord’s words: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) and “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it!”  Psalm 118:24).
  • It’s hard to start the morning facing a sink full of dirty dishes or overflowing garbage can.  Every evening take a few minutes (it takes less time than you think!) to clear off the counter and start the dishwasher and take out the trash if needed. Pick up dirty towels in the bathroom and toys and shoes and books scattered around the house. This is not deep cleaning but a quick pick-up so you don’t have to face chaos and clutter in the morning.
  • Plan breakfast the night before and have a back-up in mind in case the bread is green or last bit of milk is spilled in the morning. It’s OK to eat supper for breakfast, too! Cody’s favorite supper/breakfast was meatballs and mashed potatoes. String cheese and baby carrots are another alternative. Have breakfast bars on hand in case breakfast has to be eaten on the way to work or school.
  • Before bed, choose clothes for the morning; lay them all out, including underwear and shoes. If it’s the first cold spell of the fall also hunt down gloves and hats.
  • Gather your purse, library books, backpacks, and everything else that needs to leave the house with you. If something needs to stay refrigerated until the last minute, put a sticky-not reminder on the door or your purse.
  • Make a checklist for your kids (and maybe yourself) of morning “to-do’s”. This will also teach your kids accountability and time management.
  • Make it a priority to start the day on a positive note. Grit your teeth through spilled milk or lost library books. Send your family off with a smile; the time to discuss changes in the morning routine is not when you’re in a hurry, but when you have time to discuss it calmly.

 How do you beat the morning blues? Share your ideas in the "Comments" section! 

“Satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”
Psalm 90:14

I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Nebraska Family Times. Check it out! 

Life Skills to Teach Kids (Catching up on the A to Z Challenge!)

By Shelly Burke

Our main job as parents is to work ourselves out of a job…that is, teach our kids how to live productive, independent lives—on their own! Along with teaching your kids to do their own laundry and cook ramen noodles, here are some less-thought-of skills that will be even more valuable in “real life.”

Teach your kids to: 
  • Say “HI” to the janitor. And the waitress. And the check out lady. And the maid at the hotel.
  • Request an extra pillow from the lady at the front desk. Call and order pizza. Check their bank balance by calling the bank. Making a dentist appointment. Ask the produce man how to choose a ripe pineapple or avocado.
  • Make an exchange or a return at the store, or renew a car license at the courthouse. Politely, even if the person behind the counter is not polite.
  • Make small talk. (“Tell me about your job.” “How about those Huskers!” “What about this weather?”)
  • Know when not to talk, but to listen and observe.
  • Introduce people to each other.
  • Know when to apologize and how to apologize, without making excuses.
  • Estimate how much groceries will cost. (As you’re checking out, ask each child to estimate what the final bill will be and write it down without letting anyone see. The one who has the most accurate estimate doesn’t have to help take the groceries in.)
  • Comparison shop.
  • Read a map. A paper map (maybe in a book called an “Atlas”).
  • Pound in a nail…without a hammer. Screw in a screw…without a screwdriver. Pull out a nail…without a hammer. Hem a pair of pants…without a needle and thread. (Answers: hard heel of a shoe, knife, fork, duct tape.)
  • Play a record on a record player. (When Morgan’s pre-school teacher did this, Morgan came home excited about huge “CD” her teacher had that was “this big!”)
  • Write a letter. By hand. With a pen.  Look up the address in the phone book. Address the envelope and stamp it. Take it to the post office and mail it.
  • Use the Yellow Pages. The ones made of paper, not on a screen!
  • Check the oil level in a car. Jump a car battery. Change a tire.

 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

What practical skills do you have to add to this list? Please leave your suggestion in the "Comment" section below!

I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Nebraska Family Times Check it out!