Saturday, May 31, 2014

Favorite Family Pins

I love how some DIY/craft blogs have a Favorite Pins Friday.  So I thought I'd start that tradition here and each Friday post my favorite "Family Pins" from pinterest:  Ideas and articles that support the family.  Just click on the photo caption to go to the source of the pictures.  Here are my first picks:

Growing a jeweled

Fantastic Fun and

House of Hendrix

Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dealing with Sibling Rivalry


Having had five children, you can imagine we've dealt with a lot of sibling rivalry at our house.  Because I wanted my children to learn how to be kind and to deal with conflict in a healthy way, I adopted a really effective method borrowed from my sister-in-law, called the "Fix-it Chairs."  I'm not sure if she invented it herself or borrowed it from someone else, but it works like magic at our house especially for kids under twelve.  (For teens, I usually just talk them through the adult way of dealing with conflict that I discussed in my previous post).

So here is how you do it.  When two children start to fight, you tell them, "It sounds like it's time for the "Fix-it" chairs," and then you sit each one in a chair that is near enough so they can talk, but not so near they can touch each other.  You give them time to calm down, sometimes I will set a timer for a couple of minutes or I just say, when you are calmed down and ready to talk to each other, let me know.

The next step is to ask each child why the OTHER child would be sad.  They are not allowed to say why they are mad, only why their sibling is upset.  Then you ask the sibling if they got it right.  If not, let the sibling explain, and then see if the other child can repeat in their own words what was said.  You can't move on until the opposite person is satisfied that their pain is understood.

After one child does this, then it is the other child's turn.  Repeat the same thing you did in the previous paragraph.  This is to help the child stop focusing on themselves so that they are getting more geared up to compromise.  But they still get a chance to be heard because the other person has to keep saying why the opposite person is upset until they get it right.  

When each child is satisfied that their problem has been stated correctly, THEN you go to the problem solving stage.  You say, "Jimmy has this problem and you have that problem, can you come up with ideas to make both people happy?"  Then they talk it out until they get a solution.  Usually they can come up with one themselves, although at times, I have made tiny suggestions.  But the goal is that you want them to be able to do it themselves so they can do it at school when they have to solve their own conflicts.

If they start to get upset again, I give them more time to calm down by saying, "Uh oh.  It sounds like we haven't calmed down all the way.  I'll just go away until you guys are calmed down and ready to talk."  Usually that makes them calm down fast and keep working on solutions. 

When they've come up with a solution, they can leave.  This method makes everybody happy.  It's true you have to spend time teaching them how to do it, but after they get the hang of it, they can pretty much do it themselves.

And one more thing, this book is also a GREAT resource on dealing with sibling rivalry.  I have used many suggestions from it as well.

And one last word of advice to make your life easier.  NEVER compare your children to each other in any way.  This will really increase the rivalry in your home!  Good luck!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Model healthy ways to Disagree


Some people advise that you should never disagree with your husband in front of the children.  Don't listen to them!  It is important that your child understands healthy ways to deal with conflict, and one of the best ways to teach that, is through modeling it for them.  (It is true that you shouldn't yell and scream in front of the children, but there are healthy ways to disagree, and it's important that you set an example, or else your child may have problems with conflict throughout their life and even into their own marriage.)

There are three different ways of dealing with conflict:

1. Yelling, fighting, defensiveness, etc...
2. Silent treatment, cold shoulder, etc..
3. Talking it out

Which do you think is the most harmful to a relationship?  Suprisingly, it is number two, the silent treatment.  This is because you have essentially cut off any means of communicating and fixing the problem.  If you thought the best way of dealing with conflict is number three, talking it out, you are right.  But there are ways to talk that are better than others.

The first step is to calm down before you start talking.  You may need to go somewhere private, or you may need to make an appointment to talk about it later.  But you won't resolve anything until your rational brain can think about what the real problem is.

The second step is to listen.  Listen to your spouse's complaint without interrupting and repeat it back so they know you understand their problem correctly.  Then it is your turn to talk.  They should listen and repeat it back to you until they understand it right.  This is called active listening.

The last step is to problem solve together until both parties are happy. This may take some negotiation or compromise where each partner wins something and maybe loses something they are willing to give up.

These are the steps you should be modeling and teaching your children:

1. Calm down
2. Active listening
3. Problem Solving in a calm way.  (If you can't be calm during this step then start over at number one).

Here is another good article on dealing with conflict: Solving Disagreements without Arguing

I will also write another post later on how to apply this method to sibling rivalry.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Family Dinner: A Must!


Studies have shown that children are more stable and do better in a home where the family eats dinner together at the table regularly.  This is not where everyone eats watching a t.v. show.  It's where people are talking and interacting with each other every night.  Family dinner is a time when you can find out about each other's day, what everyone has learned, and also where you can teach things like values and good character.  It is bonding time.

A friend of mine starts the conversation off every night by asking each person at the table what the "Best and Worst" thing about their day was.  This is a great conversation starter!  Here are some links to articles with other good ideas about family dinner.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014



This is the best advice on how to be happy, criticize less, and reduce anger with your children.  Get rid of the piles of toys and clothes and only keep what you truly need.  You will be amazed at how much easier it is to keep order when you own less. is a great website to get you started de-cluttering your life.  Also declutter your schedule.  Children need to be involved in activities to grow their talents, but do we really need to be the president of the PTA?  Simplify.  Life will be so much sweeter!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Teaching Children Religion


There was a study done about what makes kids adopt their parent's religion when they were older.  The main determining factor was the feelings they had as they learned about their religion.  And surprisingly, the content of what they learned as they grew up had nothing to do with their decision. Children who had good feelings were more likely to stay in their parent's religion, while children who were made to feel bad or guilty would not stay.

This is extremely enlightening, and makes me stop myself when we are late for church and I want to grump at everybody who is making us late every week!  So teach them with love, and you'll have a better chance at success!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

8 games to play with your Kids

Some quality time ideas from another blogger I enjoy!

Even though I don't homeschool, I think there are great ideas on this blog for kids!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kid Humor


Ha ha ha!  Reminds me of when I rescued my daughter from hanging by her suspenders on a high cupboard door.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Offer help not Criticism


I thought I'd give an example from our own lives about teaching over criticizing.  Yesterday I found out one of my daughters had some missing assignments that should have been turned in.  I FELT like saying, "What the heck?  How hard is it just to turn things in?"  I have to admit I was really annoyed, as this was not the first time.   But after I realized how badly I was reacting, I went to my room and read a book for about 10 minutes to calm down, and after I figured out that my reaction was from fear for her future, I realized how to help the situation.

I sat her down and asked her what the problem was and just listened.  She gave the usual excuses, but I just nodded, and then I asked her how she could fix the problem.  She agreed to talk to her teachers the next day.  I went online and helped her print out a list of missing assignments she could show her teachers, and that was that.  Also, we have an agreement that she doesn't get to have her cell phone until all her missing assignments are in, so I took the phone, and since it's not the first time, it wasn't a surprise to her, and she went with it.  She will get it back when they are in, and it's a little extra motivation since she is one that isn't motivated by grades.

So that is an example of how it works at our house, and I hope it helps some of you who struggle with the same things.  This is a method that has worked for me and that I have developed over the years and it really works!  I know from experience that if I would have let my anger take over, I would just have alienated my daughter and she would have just felt like rebelling instead of solving her own problem.  So I have learned to do it better, as we all do, and I just wanted to share, so hopefully I could help others avoid my painful lessons.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Helping young children develop good Character

As parents we have many teaching moments during the course of each day as children make good choices, or make mistakes with the people around them to teach good character.  Teaching things like honesty, kindness, patience, not showing off, not being greedy etc...are important traits we need to pass on in order to help children be happy.  In addition to reinforcing good choices and teaching our children religious values, we have found these books to be helpful.  I used to read them each night at dinner when my children were young and then we would discuss them while we ate.  They are books called the, "Help Me Be Good," series by Joy Berry.  Each title deals with a different character trait and looks like this:

My two youngest still enjoy reading these books at bedtime, I think because it helps them know how to be good, but also explains why someone else would choose not to be good, so they understand how to deal with their siblings or peers better.  These books are worth the investment and are written by a child psychologist who really knows how to talk to children so they understand.  And even if you can't afford to get them, you can look up the titles on amazon and get ideas for what subjects you can talk to your kids about at dinner or bedtime to help them develop good character traits, so they can thrive in society as they grow.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Helping Children deal with Death

We recently had a death of a loved one leaving eight children behind, the youngest one three years old.  I've been researching a bit about how to help my children deal with that death and with ones in the future.  So far the key is to keep talking about it.  Talk about the loved one and memories with them.  Cry together.  Explain where your loved one is now.  The worst idea is to shut down and not talk, for you or your kids because they need to have ways to let the grief out, that doesn't turn into harmful actions.   There is a great book we discovered that helps children learn about grief.  It is called, "Tear Soup: A recipe for healing after Loss", by Pat Schweibert.

This book really explains a lot on what to expect from grief and how healing takes place in a way that children can understand.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Being firm without alienating children


I once attended a seminar that taught that each person has a "love" bucket. And when that bucket is full, he behaves well, and can overlook things, forgive, take criticism, and generally be a well adjusted person...however if that bucket gets emptied, by receiving too much criticism or from neglect or isolation, then the person begins to have issues. This is really true in children.

 The first step in helping children not feel rebellious when you discipline is making sure you are giving them the 5 love languages regularly. Then their bucket is always full, and they are malleable and teachable. When it comes time to discipline, you've got to have loved them enough to have "money in the bank" so to speak, so they don't feel rebellious and think you don't like them.

 The second step is to avoid anger as you discipline. If you are feeling angry, tell them, I need to calm down first, but then we are going to talk about this problem. Or if your child is very young and needs to be pulled out of the situation quickly, you can place them in time out while you both calm down, and then talk about it after. When you are calm and have thought about the real issues, then you will be able to be more effective at teaching your children.

 The third step is to speak with kindness even when you are being firm. It is VERY important to be firm with children and to have strong boundaries especially when they are young. This makes them feel secure. But you can keep those boundaries with a kind voice. I always tell my husband, use actions instead of yelling. If you get up and help them to obey with a kind voice, that will go a lot further toward the goal, than making them feel unloved. This method has worked really well for our children. We definitely have strong boundaries in our home that are strictly enforced, but they are enforced with kindness and love (of course we are not perfect, but this is what we strive for.  Please don't feel bad for past mistakes.  We've made our share too...we just keep on trying, just like you).

 And one last tip, we always say, "I'm sorry that you chose to lose the car for the day. I hate it when you are sad, but I know you'll do better next time." A little empathy goes a long way, but also this statement tells them that it was their choice and consequence, and not yours. A book that teaches more about this method is called, "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. It's a great book that teaches a lot about logical consequences given with love.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Happy Late Mother's Day


Here is some encouragement on how important your role as a mother is!!  You are amazing!  You are making a huge difference in the world!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tips on calming teens' emotional roller coaster

When they're up they're up....when they're down they're down.  It's hard to predict what mood you'll be facing when they come home.  Teens face raging hormones and difficult social, emotional, and intellectual challenges.  This can make them extremely moody, but there are ways to calm the moodiness and get them more on an even keel.


1. Sleep:  Teens love to stay up late, but if you establish regular sleep times and try to help them stick with them, it will help them TREMENDOUSLY to be in a better mood.  You can talk to them about it, and tell them that studies show that teens need the same amount of sleep as toddlers do.

2. Exercise:  Regular exercise calms those hormones and gets that serotonin level up.  My daughter was like two different people.  When she exercised she was happy and calm, and when she didn't she was up and down a lot.  So we tried to encourage her to enroll in school swim team and track, in order to help her mood swings.  Many boys also need physical exercise as an outlet for their raging testosterone at this age, which can trigger aggression or picking on family members if not given an outlet.

3. Time with family:  Even though teens think they don't have time for this, they need to be bonding with parents individually and the family collectively to stay stable.  This means you will have to establish times for this.  We have a regular family night, a sit down family dinner where we all talk together, and I take them on weekly one on one dates, and try to talk to them individually each day, mostly at bedtime.  Also family traditions and vacations help the teens stay bonded.

4. Verbal communication is key.  When teens have sadness, anger or are experiencing a strong emotion, they need to talk about it, so it doesn't come out in their actions instead.  Know what is going on in your teen's life and find ways to talk about it.

5. Relationship with a higher Power:  Whatever your religion, it will help your teen to be taught how to pray and read scriptures that will help them in their daily challenges.  We do this with our family and have them do it individually before bedtime.

6. Love Languages:  Make sure you know your teen's love language and are speaking it to them. (although they need all five love languages regularly).

These six things will go a long way in helping your teen be more stable and less moody during their adolescent years.  The emotional behavior will not be gone, but things will be less up and down for you and your teen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kid Humor

Don't you just love kid's expressions sometimes?


Monday, May 12, 2014

My Favorite Book to help children Sleep

Today I thought I'd share my favorite book on solving child sleep problems.  It really works.  It worked very well with all five of my kids.  I tried other things, but this was the only system that actually helped.  It was recommended by my doctor with my first child.  The book is called, Solve your Child's Sleep Problems, by Dr. Ferber.  Try it!  It really works.

It does recommend crying it out, which is hard on the mom at first, but trust me, it is the only way, and your child is so much happier when he learns to soothe himself instead of relying on you to soothe him to sleep.  I promise it will help.  And your child and you will feel much better!  You can do it!  Please leave a comment if you need support or have questions!  Try it first during naps, and that will be a lot easier, because once your child can do it at naptime, then the skill can be transferred to bedtime.  That worked well for me.  Some kids were easier than others...but the younger you start the easier it is.  I know from experience.  Good luck!!  And I promise this stage won't last forever!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

4 Ways to become a Media Savvy Family

This is from a newspaper article about media consumption within the home.  I found it helpful.

In addition to an increasing violent or sexual nature of video games, film, and television, the addiction and overconsumption of media continues to grow—especially with the youth—making it necessary for families to set parameters in their own homes.

Drawing from a study of more than a thousand youth between the ages of 13 and 17, Dr. Manning said that 41 percent of those teens reported feeling addicted to their cell phones. Another study showed that youth in the United States ranging from age 8 to 18 consume entertainment media for an average of 7.5 hours a day.
“And when you look at their multitasking abilities, they actually pack 10 hours and 45 minutes of content into that seven and a half hours,” said Dr. Manning. And these numbers are going up as the youth enter college, according to another study.

1. Become aware of how and what media is being used within the home.
“What if the only thing people knew about you was your media profile—a detailed log of everything you watch, read, listen to, pin, or blog?” she asked.
Would a person’s online profile match his or her values, priorities, and relationships? A simple week-long log of media consumption can tell people what their media intake says about them and what actions will be needed to have that reflect their priorities.

2. Be mindful of what is being consumed.

“So often we are on autopilot,” she said. “We must become more mindful of what we are doing and why. … We must be more conscious and awake. Things that are coming into our lives that are really toxic over time can lead us off the path of where we want to be.”
Just as an individual or family trying to eat healthfully might spend time looking at a food label, Dr. Manning said that they can also do this with their media consumption.
“A media-savvy family discusses their media guidelines and expectations together,” she said.
Parents should set the guideline and then explain why it is the standard. Media pledges are one way parents can discuss what is appropriate and establish clear standards.

3. Plan media-free time.

Before the explosion of technology, people could come home from their scheduled activities and have a break from social pressures and outside influences. With the media available today there is an always accessible outlet to social media. By planning media-free time, families will have a break from the “digital stress” that often accompanies the constant online pressures.

4. Seek out the best; reject the bad.

“We need to train our ears and eyes to recognize high-quality media,” she said. “What will we do to arm our young people to recognize high-quality media? … Do not assume they just automatically know.”
Discussions of why certain standards and values are important help family members to understand why they would want to be more careful with their media choices.
“What we need to understand as leaders and parents and educators is that our youth aren’t automatically transferring life skills offline to life skills and virtual citizenship online. These need to be made more concrete and clear for them. …
“[As] we focus on life skills, develop relationships in our families, and clarify values, it also bolsters virtual citizenship, becoming people of integrity whether we are online or offline.”

Friday, May 9, 2014


Most people know that when a young child throws a tantrum, the best idea is to walk away and ignore the behavior until the child calms down, and then discuss the problem, letting them know that they need to use their words to solve problems, and that it's not okay to hit or yell.  You may even have to put them in their bed or safe area and leave them for the duration of the tantrum if they start to throw things in order to keep others safe.  We ignore the tantrum so as not to reenforce the behavior with positive or negative attention.  But did you know that your teens will throw tantrums too?  And the best way to handle them is similar to when they were two years old.


If you try to talk to a teenager when they are throwing a fit, or slamming doors, it will only escalate the behavior.  What you need to do is let them stomp to their room or somewhere safe and calm down.  You can even tell them, "We need to calm down before we talk, why don't you go to your room until you are less upset."  They may calm themselves by listening to music, journaling, hitting their bed, or yelling into their pillow.  They need to be allowed to have time to settle their anger down and think about the real problem.  After the teen has calmed, and maybe even much later, depending on your teen, it will be time to talk about it.

When you talk to your teen, try to listen first.  Find out what the real problem is.  Then ask if they have solutions.  You can also state your feelings using statements such as, "I feel anxious when you don't come home on time for dinner.  How can we solve this problem?"  Try to avoid accusations or criticism, especially of their character.  For instance don't tell them they are lazy because they never clean their room.  Try to find a solution that will make both people happy. (Note: if they are mad about a consequence, you need to still hold firm, but you can talk kindly about it with them, and help them make a plan to be more successful in the future).

The reason why I do things this way is to make sure the child knows that I am "working with" them and not against them.  Using this method I have always been able to find good solutions.  And be patient, sometimes it takes two or three talks and maybe a few privileges revoked for a day or so, to help the teen learn to stick to the program.  And always, show an increase of love after any altercation.  Remember it takes four positive experiences to make up for one negative experience in a relationship.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Older kids need touch Too

All children need touch to feel loved:  a pat on the back, a hug, or even a wrestle for those kids who don't like hugs.  But did you know that older children need touch just as much as younger ones do?  Sometimes when children turn eleven and up, we are afraid to give them hugs because they may be prickly.  Or men may not want to give their daughters the wrong idea.  But those older children need touch to feel loved and we have to find ways to do it, whether it be tousling your sons hair, or giving them a side hug when they are laughing and their defenses are down.  Also, kids whose main love language is touch may search for it elsewhere if they are not getting it at home.


I knew a girl whose father stopped giving her hugs and pats on the back after she turned eleven.  Unfortunately this girl's love language was touch, and eventually it led to her sinking into a depression and even attempting suicide when she was seventeen, even though her parents tried to show love in every other way.  It talks about this phenomena in the book, "How to Really Love your Child," by Dr. Ross Campbell and gives some good solutions.

Give your child a hug today.  Even if you are uncomfortable with touch yourself.  You've got to make yourself do it.  I myself, am uncomfortable with touch, however, I make myself do it every day with each of my children.  And so far, they are very happy with that.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Love is the predictor for success

I just got back from a women's conference that taught lots of classes on parenting.  One of the speakers quoted recent scientific studies that said they watched children grow up and surprisingly, IQ, ACT scores, innate talents, educational opportunities and things like that were NOT a predictor of a child's success as they reached adulthood.  The main predictor was that there was LOVE in the home.


The mothers were not harsh disciplinarians (though there was discipline), but that all the successful children came from loving homes.  Which goes to prove that LOVE is the main shaper of children and increases desire for good behavior.  So keep doing those love languages, and give consequences in a kind, but firm way and without anger.  It will really help your child to succeed!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

More parenting Humor

Ha ha!  So true.  You've got to laugh every day!


Friday, May 2, 2014

Eye Contact

Most moms know that it's important to give your baby eye contact as you nurse them or feed them to help them develop their eyesight and to bond.  However, many people do not know that eye contact is important to older children as well.  Studies show that children who know how to give eye contact when they are talking do better socially.  It also helps a child feel loved when they have eye contact with you.  So look at them when you speak.  It's important.

I decided to test this out one day in one of my classes.  I was teaching the four year olds, and they were mad because I wasn't their regular teacher.  Then, one by one I looked them in the eye and asked them about random things, and pretty soon they were all eating out of my hand and climbing on my lap, ready to receive more love.  It really works.  Eye contact.  Who knew?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Be an example


This is really true when working with children.  Be what you want them to be.