Drama

  This book looks colorful, light hearted and cute.

It is anything but. 

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  Sweet Destiny came to me and told me she stopped reading this comic-style library book because it was too inappropriate. 

  When I asked what she meant, she told me that there was some kissing and a scene where the boy announces he is gay.  She said she knew it wasn’t one she should read anymore.

  I told her she did the right thing, and after she went to bed, skimmed the rest of the book myself.  This comic style chapter book included several making out scenes with sound effects, the previously mentioned: “I like boys, hey I am gay” scene, followed by boy on boy kissing on the stage of a play, and then to top it all off, a red-cheeked “Where have you been for 2 hours?” walking in on them scene…..

  YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

And this is a Scholastic book?  And in the children’s paperback section?

  I  know, that not all of you reading, will understand my take on this.   You will scorn me for trying to shelter my child too much.  Or tell me I am disrespecting the differences in sexual orientation.

  Listen up, my job as a Christian, is to raise my children via The Bible, God’s instruction book for us.  It is my job then, to be diligent in protecting my children from this World.

To teach them to be IN the world, yet not of it. 

  That is why we don’t have cable.  That is why we don’t watch regular evening tv shows with inappropriate commercials. I do NOT want them to become so used to our loud, buy it, need it, got to have it, politically correct or incorrect, sex sells everything World. 

  If I become lax on this, then it becomes a part of who they are, hard wired into them as “normal” everyday life.  Your kids ARE their environment.  It can’t be toxic!!!!!!  

  Satan is a sneak, even colorful cutesie paperbacks from your small town library, are not to be assumed safe anymore. I am saddened that this is occurring, and I will be returning this one to the library personally, so I can speak to the librarian about this book being in the children’s section.

  I can teach my children to respect peoples differences, to hate the sin, but love the sinner, without allowing them to absorb that lifestyle in movies, reading etc. I know they will be exposed to this world we live in eventually.  And that is a conversation I’d rather have with them on my own time, limiting their exposure to it, lest they began to believe that making out, gay lifestyle, or even the extreme violence that is showcased everywhere, is tolerated.

  And yes to me, the making out in that book bothered me as much as the gay agenda. We are trying to teach purity of heart, mind and body…this book promoted none of these things.

  I know that I cannot pre-read all 30-50 of Destiny’s library chapter books that I help her select, its just not feasible to do this every 3 weeks on library day. 

  I think the fact that she still knew what to do, shows that you can teach your child what to expect from the World we live in by peppering it in all your daily conversations, give instruction on the action you’d like them to take when they come across something they feel is wrong, i/e a racy picture, bad words, inappropriate actions, and come out positive in the end.

   Our job is to equip our children for this World they reside in, and right now, that is done by setting boundaries and expectations for what COULD come their way.  As much as I want to, I cannot hide them in a bubble.  But I can make sure they are growing up in a safe, open and honest, God filled life while they are here at home with me.

  So, what is your take on this as a parent?  

~T

 

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Train Up A Child…..

  The Bible says, If we train up our children in the way they should go, they will not depart from it when they are older.
{Proverbs 22:6}

4 little Fergusons

  So, what does this look like?  “Train up a child”

  Well, I think it means I am Intentional in my parenting.  That I am always on the look out for those teachable moments. That I do my part to teach my children the value of hard work, daily duties and prayerful hearts.  That I am to speak and pray those blessings over my children just as the Fathers in the Bible spoke blessings over theirs, blessings that came to fruitition.

   One area I have been struggling with lately, is praying for their future spouse.  I have diligently been doing this since each child is born, diligently like EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Purity is a big, big deal to me, something I held dear to my heart in my growing up years.  Something I knew I wanted for my children.  Something I wish Dale would’ve chosen differently on.  We represent both sides, saving and not saving.  Our kids will have the opportunity to hear of the long term heartache that comes from sex outside of marriage.

  My prayers of 9 years have been this:

  First, for my child to be a Godly man or Proverbs 31 wife, then for them to save themselves for marriage, by hanging on to their purity for the treasure it is.  To save all the pieces of their heart for their ONE true love.  To allow the Lord to bring them that person when the time is right, when they are both ready.  To choose to court instead of date.  To allow the Lord to script them a beautiful love story.

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  In the past 2 years of Surviving Infidelity, I have learned purity will not save my children from heartache.  It won’t. It’s not a guarantee.  The reward doesn’t necessarily look like I thought it would.  And as I learn more and more about the hold porn has on our men, and our teen and preteen boys, I have lost heart.  So instead of praying about it, I was mourning the odds of my children finding pure spouses.  If 1 out of 3 teens look and 4 out of 5 men in your church pew look, then its a lost cause.  Right?

  Then the Lord reminded me of John 14:14 “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

  This doesn’t mean He is a genie in a bottle, grant me my 3 wishes!  It means that when I pray something I KNOW He backs with scripture, that I need to believe it will happen, and it will.

  “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”
Mark 11:23

  I am asking the Lord to, somewhere out in the world, raise up a little boy, or a little girl, ready to marry my children.  Being raised in a home that speaks blessings, and prays diligently for their children’s purity, for my children as their children’s future spouses.  A family that is aware of satan lurking on the internet, billboards and scantly clad women/men on tv.  I am asking they be raised in a family that is real about this trap of porn, that talks regularly about the importance of pure eyes in the world we live in today.

  Tylan is in Kindergarten.  He just turned 6, do you know that he prays for his wife already?  Did you know that he asks me what he should do if his friends show him pictures that are bad?  You may think that is too young, but I am glad.  It will be hard wired in him to look away, leave the room, call me for a ride.  It doesn’t mean he won’t fall or fail at times, but it means that even from a young age, those thoughts of purity are taking root.

Did you know, that Avery asks me if that Barbie’s outfit is “inapwopiate” in the store toy aisle because she is wearing a skimpy mini skirt and tummy showing halter top?  Instead of telling her not to worry about it, we talk about modesty, and covering tummies and breasts. Saving our bodies for our husband. I don’t think she is too young to know the truth about this.

  Parents, your children are listening to you, your prayers at bedtime need to MEAN something.  Not just thank you for this day, please help Johnny to have good dreams and no bad dreams. Amen.  

  No, think of it as seed planting, carefully tended each night, until you will watch it sprout and grow. Someday, your child will parrot those same prayers for themselves, then walk it out in their lives.

  Do not lose heart, for I have overcome the world.  {from John 16:33}

Praise you Jesus,

~T

Need help knowing how to pray over your kids? 

I suggest this book:  While They Are Sleeping: 12 Character Traits to Pray for the Children You Love

    I have used this for almost 10 years and my copy is falling to pieces, but it covers areas from purity to leadership, kindness to humility, courage & contentment.  Each topic includes several days worth of prayers to read out loud and 2 verses to back it.   You could read it with your spouse as part of your devotions, or include it in your child’s bedtime routine, so they hear you pray over them, these qualities.

 

 

Playing Trash: A Fun Kids Card Game

  We have a new Kids Game at our house that we LOOOOVE to play! Aunt Kasey taught it to the kids and we’ve been playing it ever since.  It’s fun to watch Ty and Avery, 6 and 4, playing it and having fun during quiet time!  This game is great to teach them counting, as the cards are placed in numerical order each round!!!!

Avery and I were both not feeling well one weekend, so we played while we rested, and she totally kicked my booty!  It reminded me I wanted to teach it to you! 

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I am going to try my best to explain it with some help from this site……

Playing Trash

2 players use 1 deck of playing cards

3 players or more use 2 decks of playing cards

Leave all cards in deck:
A-10 are in play
Kings and Jokers are Wild Cards

1) Dealing:

  Shuffle, then deal each player 10 cards face down, no looking!

Like this:

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The remaining deck is placed in the middle.

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  The point of the game is to line up your cards from Ace through 10 before you opponents do.

2) Playing:

  The first player draws a card from the center deck.  If it’s an Ace through a 10, place that card in its correct location.  For all remaining turns, each player chooses from the deck or the discard pile.

Example: In this photo, I drew a 2, so I am flipping up the card in the 2 position…..

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Whatever card you flip, may also be played!  I just flipped a 3 that I can use as well in the 3 position… IMG_5582

Wild Cards, King & Joker, may be played anywhere in your hand at any time.

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  You keep flipping cards like this until you get a number you cannot use, then discard and your turn is over.

Example: Under the 3 position was an 8 I didn’t need because it was already filled with a flipped 8, so I discarded it and my turn was over. 

  Avery could choose to grab the 8 from the discard pile, OR draw a fresh card from the stack.

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  If you draw a card that can replace one of your Wild Cards, do so and use the Wild Card again in another spot!

Example:  Here I drew a 5 from the draw pile  It can replace my Wild Card King, and he will go down on 8’s position.  Because of this, I will have finished this round successfully.

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3) Winning A Round:

When a player has assembled all cards Ace through 10 in front of him, he wins that Round.

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Remember, you can win with Wild Cards in place too! Like this:

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Remember, Wilds are Joker and King!

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After the Round winner flips his last card, each player has ONE last chance to draw a card and use it.  They may also flip over all remaining cards, per the chance that they actually can use those cards and finish their Ace-10, Wild cards and all.
{Sometimes it really does happen!}

4)  Round 2 & Winning the Whole Game: 

The deck is reshuffled and dealt again, only now, ALL of the previous round winners who completed Ace through 10, only get NINE cards.  They will spend the next round assembling Ace through Nine. 

  If you didn’t win the round, you once again have to try to do Ace through 10 until you complete it.

  This continues Ace-8, Ace-7, Ace-6 on and on, until one player gets down to one card in front of him and draws an Ace. That player wins the entire game!

Have fun, it’s such a great game to play with your kids! And such a nice change from Candyland or Shoots & Ladders….

Just sayin!  🙂

~T

Cards

 

Cleaning House {with LOTS of Help}

  I was just thinking a few Saturdays ago, as I cleaned house with 4 REALLY great helpers, how difficult it was.  I also thought how much easier it would be for me to do the cleaning while they were all at school, allllllll by myself.  It would be faster, and sometimes, when I know we have a busy weekend, I will do just that. 

HOWEVER, 99 times out of 100, we do it…..  

ALLLLL of us.

  Do you know how hard it is, to find jobs for 4 really great helpers?

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It’s all I can do sometimes to keep everyone going, but we do it faithfully.  Know why?

  Because as the mom, it is my job to bring up my children to know how to work.  To feel the sense of accomplishment for a job well done.  To create a daily habit of bed making, room tiding, to make a habit of weekly cleaning.
To teach them how to vacuum correctly, wash windows, dust and mop.  Even scrub toilets.

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If I don’t take the time to train them, who will?

  I like Big Picture Parenting. Or Intentional Parenting.  I spend a lot of my time thinking ahead of how such and such will affect my children in the future. That is why I stand by my conviction, that my children age 2-9, can absolutely carry part of the load of household chores. 

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  Most of the time, they love to help!  And, sometimes we even FIGHT over whose turn it is to vacuum. 

And if we aren’t careful, someone gets his toe pinched when he tries to release the vacuum tab all by himself.  Hmm, guess that’s why Mommy said WAIT?

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Other chores we do together:

Laundry

Sorting and starting loads. Folding and Putting away.

Sometimes its just the little 2, sometimes they are all home.  Whoever is home, is the helper.

Laundry collage

  When the laundry is sorted, they can go play.  Once I have finished all the loads, folded and placed the items neatly in each persons basket, the children then come to help sort and fold socks.  Then EVERYONE helps put their own basket of clothes away.  Eventually, I will make them help fold clothes too, but for now, this works.

Daily Chores include:

Unloading the Dishwasher

{this is for whomever is home that morning}

  We start our dishwasher helpers a little before they turn two.  They can easily help with silverware sorting. 

  Destiny came up with a great job rotation: bottom rack person goes to top, top rack person goes to silverware, silverware person goes to bottom.  They all have a job that way!  Paxton always does what we call “easy silverware”.  That means when the utensil rack is empty except for basic dinnerware, it’s HIS turn to help. He does such a good job sorting 2 sizes of forks, 2 sizes of spoons, butter knives and kids silverware, that I no longer even have to stand around and help him.

You will find this to be true with a lot of jobs, train now, and suddenly in the future, they can do it on their own while you help another child.

Chore collage 2

Gathering Eggs

  Everyone takes turns with this chore.  It’s easy and fun!  While they are outside getting eggs, they must check the chickens water bowl.  Then, when they come back in the garage, they are to sort the eggs and put them in cartons. 

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Setting & Clearing the Table

Everyone has to take a turn setting the table and filling ice waters with me. This is a great opportunity to teach them to set a tidy table, with silverware where they belong etc.  They also must clear their own plate when lunch or dinner is done, and wipe down their area of the table, catching the crumbs in their hands and throwing them away. NOT on mom’s clean floor! Smile

  The bigger kids can rinse their own plates and load the dishwasher.  As long as the little two bring over their dinner plates, I don’t mind doing the rinsing and loading.  Again, this can all be changed as they get older, I am happy with the level of help they can complete easily for now.

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   Here are some keys to this process:

We remind them to work as if working for the Lord in whatever task they have to do!

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord….” Colossians 3:23

  Once the chores are done, it’s Play TIME! I want them to go have fun and be kids.  To know how good it feels to have worked together to complete our tasks.

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Here are some age appropriate chores from a previous blog post on Chores, we start ours earlier than this age bracket, but I think it will give you a general idea:

Ages 2 to 5
Work alongside your children to help them perform simple chores like putting dirty clothes in the hamper, sorting laundry into color-coded piles, making their beds and feeding pets.

Ages 6 to 8
Children can dust and vacuum, put away their clothes, empty wastebaskets, set and clear the table, care for pets and help with some yard work.

Ages 9 to 12
Kids can unpack groceries, load and unload the dishwasher, mop the floor, fold laundry, wash the car, and help prepare simple meals.

  Most child-development experts agree that children shouldn’t be paid for household chores, which are part of contributing to family life.

Here are some tips for a positive chore experience at your house from Dr. Dobson:

Give kids ownership:  Have a family meeting and enlist the help of your children in selecting the chores they want to do.  Also have them participate in selecting the consequences for chores not performed in a timely manner.  Let kids know expectations ahead of time.

Use “shaping” to teach tasks:  First, let children watch you perform a chore as you talk through it step by step.  The next time, let children perform one part of the chore.  Each time, give kids a little more responsibility until they’re ready to tackle the chores alone.

Use language cues to spur self-reflection and responsible behavior:  Say “I see books on the floor” rather than giving a direct command.  That helps kids make decisions and reduces any defiance.

Offers encouragement:  Always thank children for their contributions and offer genuine praise for their efforts.  Instead of saying, “Your room looks good,” say, “Thank you for working so hard to put your clothes and toys in their proper place.”

  The key here is not to expect perfection! When Destiny was a little girl, I had to learn not to go tidy her bed after she made it.  Wrinkled or not, she had done her best and worked SO hard on it!  By fixing it in front of her, I was showing her that her best wasn’t good enough.

  I thank God that He allowed me to see her crest-fallen face and slumped shoulders once, early on, so He could open my eyes to what this was saying to her.

Doing chores is not always welcomed, but if you face it with a smile on your face and a cheerful heart, your children will soon learn to work hard, so they can play hard later.  They will learn the value of chores and responsibility!

On days they DO NOT want to help or have a bad attitude about it, we remind them of this verse taken from Philippians 2:14-15:

“Do everything without arguing or complaining, so that you might become a child of God…..”

Now those are some good words to chore by!

~T

 

The Yell Jar

 Before we get to today’s scheduled post, I just feel like I need to take a moment and acknowledge the loss of lives yesterday at the Boston Marathon; some meeting death, others facing a life very much unlike the one they had previous to the race.  Lost limbs, lost love ones, lost hope….all things that require a time of mourning.

  It is my utmost prayer, that on their knees in their agony, they find Jesus.  That they feel His gentle touch as He gathers them in His arms of love.  The world we live in, is a dark, scary, sinful place….but friends, we always have hope in Jesus.  In His promise of eternal life after death, in one day coming back and rescuing the lost, taking His children home to be with Him in Paradise.  Oh, how glorious that day will be…….until then, do not lose heart, for He has overcome the world!

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Now, on to today’s previously scheduled post:

 

Notice something new in my kitchen?

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  Ok, ok, you are right.  That Kraft Cheese Box didn’t used to be there.  A new antique find from a friend, but nope….that’s not it.    It’s higher up on the shelf…..

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You found it!

The Yell Jar

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  So at our house, we work a lot on FIRST time obedience.  There are seasons of life we all do better about this.  Lately, I have been losing my cool with the kids. 

“I told you to do the DISHWASHER! WHY IS NO ONE OUT HERE DOING IT!?!?!?!?!??!”

  My point could be gotten across just as sweetly, had I walked into the playroom and reminded them to come do it.  This action would be followed up, by giving them all a strike on the Strike Board, because SLOW obedience is the same as NO obedience.

  Dale reads through the board at the end of the day and we talk about the choices that were made, and we discipline accordingly if someone got 3 strikes, or reward accordingly for 3 stars that are a sign of GOOD behavior. 

As you can see, Tylan had slow obedience this morning when I asked him to go get his shoes on and make his bed before school. 

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  Anyhow, back to the topic at hand, yelling. 

  Honestly, I get lazy at times, and its easier to holler across the house, or get their attention by yelling my instructions again, LOUDLY this time!

Dale found himself doing the same thing, sooo, he came up with “The Yell Jar”.  Whoever yells, puts a dollar in the jar.

  HOWEVER, we have kids that forget to use inside voices, and they yell sometimes too, so at that point, THEY put a dollar in.  

The only rule is, NO making someone yell by provoking!!!!!  The provoker gets the dollar charge if this occurs.

  So far, so good!  Except if you look closely at that photo, you will notice that $2 of those $3 in there, are from me. 

{SIGH}

  What can I say, I am a work in progress!

KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDDS!!!!!
IT IS TIME TO Cleannn
…..

OH, er, um, I meant…….

Oh children, it’s time to clean up, please!!  🙂

~T

 Someone asked a good question: What happens when the yell jar is full?
Dale says the answer is: Go out for ice cream and celebrate that we don’t holler anymore!!!!!
The Yell Jar

Keeping Lunch Fun

  It’s been one week since the Media Detox post, so, how’d it go?  Did you notice a change in your home and how your kids played together? I think a reset is good for all of us once in a while.  I’d love to hear from you, or just leave a comment about how it went!!!  So on to today’s post…..

  I feed 3 of my 4 kiddos lunch at home every day.  It’s pretty easy to get into a rut, so I did an experiment this month and it was a SMASHING success!

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{Pax CLEARLY was not impressed with me snapping his picture mid-apple bite}

  We typically have sandwiches or supper leftovers for lunch, with some fun ones thrown in to the mix.  I will be sharing those with you today as well as the results of my mini-experiment!

  The experiment was, if I take the same lunch items, but change-up shape and size, would it be more fun again?

The answer was a resounding YES! 

For our sandwich days, meat and cheese or PB&J I changed bread shapes:

Flat bread

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Whole wheat hoagie buns, mini whole wheat cocktail buns and the flat sandwich bread circles.

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   I also changed veggies, rotating between celery, snow peas and broccoli.  Carrots are always a staple at our house, so I rotated between big ones peeled, regular baby carrots and petite carrots.  {Don’t forget those wafer chip carrots, too! Not pictured}

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  Sometimes veggies are served with ranch, sometimes not, because I want them to learn to eat them both ways.

  They were so excited for lunch again, you’d have thought I was coming up with a whole new menu!!!!!!  Who knew it would be that simple?

Here are some of our more “fun” lunches:

Mini Pizzas with a small salad

mini pizzas

Pita bread dipped in Hummus, with carrots and grapes

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Cheese Roll Ups with cherry tomatoes

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Bean Burritos with chips and guacamole

Bean burrito

Tuna Bunwiches with carrots and chips

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Egg Salad Sandwiches or served on Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers with cheese cubes, raw veggies and apple

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  Lots more ideas for simple and unique lunches on this blog post!

More lunch ideas coming tomorrow,

Hugs, T

 

What Are We Feeding Our Kids?

  Bet you thought I was going to talk about all the gross stuff hidden in “kid” foods like hot dogs, mac and cheese and freezer pizza, right?

  Nope, I am talking about feeding their Brains!  Hungry for tactile, hands on, run around outside and play, kitchen table turned tent, kind of stuff.

  Today I am asking you to watch this week at how often your children’s brain “consume” fast food, sugar and junk.

  Lets say playing Xbox, PSIII or even Wii, is like eating McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries.  Once in a while is ok, for a special treat, right?!  But if you eat this McDonald’s meal every day, your health is going to go downhill. 

McDonald'scredit

  I know its “In” to let kids play video games because it keeps them quiet and with Wii, they can at least enjoy it while being active, right?

   For us, we have decided no video games at all for now. {This can be re-addressed later as they get older.} The decision comes much easier now that Dale put away his video games and quit Xbox Live. 

  What about TV time? Regular shows like PBS’s line up of Daniel Tigers Neighborhood, Sesame Street, Super Why.  I am not including cable shows, because we don’t have cable. {From what I hear, we aren’t missing much but sassy, too big for their britches, wanna-be-teenage 9 year-olds, on the kids channels now!}  

  If Xbox is fast food, then those PBS shows, are little Lollipops or a candy treat. They are sweet, they are sugary, and they keep our kids quiet right?! How bad can they be?

Pretty bad if ingested every day, all day long.

Candy

  As a mom of young children, its important to me, to really limit Tv time, because I want them to play and use their imaginations.  The rule at our house is school kids don’t get TV time during the school week, and the little ones at home get an hour total, spent usually between 9-10am.  {That way Mommy can prep supper, or even get a shower!} That hour of media time can also be spent on an educational lap top or computer game, their choice.

   I used to set a timer, but I am better now at watching that it doesn’t go over an hour.  And, all the kids know when the words come up at the end of a show, the tv goes off.  If it doesn’t, then they are grounded the next day from any media time!!!! 

  Setting a timer will train your brain too, what an hour feels like, so all of a sudden 2 hours hasn’t passed you by.  Also, the kids quickly learned that if you ask for laptop time the last 15 minutes of Sesame Street, mom will say no.

“Sorry Pax, One or the other, not both!” 

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  We try to take it a step further, and promote TV time to be educational, or about Jesus, that way they are still learning during that hour.  But, I sure don’t mind when they want to watch a fun longer movie once in a while. Just not every day, or even every week!  {When we are all sick, there is grace for this hour time to be longer, as we all rest and try to heal! But, they also love to listen to Adventure in Odyssey Cd’s…..that has been the BEST investment ever!}

 In the evening, Dale helps promote this by keeping the TV off until the children are all in bed. I am so blessed that sometimes, he doesn’t even turn it on at all! {Unless of course, there is some AMAZING football game he has to catch the end of.} He finds too, that the kids don’t play as well when it’s on.

    So, let’s go back to TV time during the day when we are home with the children……

  I know, I know, we SAHM’s can all get LOTS done while our kids do these activities, because they are so darn quiet!  But, just like sucking on a sweet little sucker every day, eventually there is a cavity, or problem.

Did you know?  {source for the following info}

The average American child watches about 4 hours of television a day [Source: AAP], while 20 percent of children under 2 have televisions in their rooms.   

Did you know…….

 That more and more parents are allowing their tiny babies to watch videos on their phones. Some will even lay them in front of the TV, thinking it is harmless, when in fact, the flashing screen and loud sounds can actually disrupt important brain connections that need to be made in those early on months and even up to the first two years….. 

 Among babies 3 months old and younger, 40% watch TV, with the percentage increasing significantly for children age 2 and younger. 

A study in 2003 found that children 6 months to 6 years old spend an average of two hours a day dealing with “screen media” like televisions, computers and video games. 

The study also revealed a correlation between time spent watching television and difficulty reading.

Researchers contend that even {Baby Einstein Videos} don’t provide this stimulation…they don’t provide the benefits they claim, and they may even do harm.  

   

To determine how programs like “Baby Einstein” affected development, they focused on vocabulary:

  On average, for every hour a day a child {8 months to 16 months} watched these programs he or she knew six to eight fewer words compared to children of the same age that didn’t watch…….

  One of the researchers involved with the “Baby Einstein” study said that he would prefer that parents watch television with their children, if they allow their children to watch TV at all. That way at least the parents would be engaging with their children and helping them to understand unfamiliar concepts on the screen. The creators of the “Baby Einstein” series offer the same advice! 

  Babies of today are also missing out on the stimuli that comes from seeing Mommy face to face during play time, and lying in her arms instead of the car seat when out together.
The quiet, non flashing, non-noisy toys of yesteryear, are being passed by in stores to pick up the lights, sounds and “entertain me” toys of today.  All the lights and noise can actually over-stimulate our babies and just like watching TV, it can cause them to miss out on some very important development and brain connections. 
 

Reading time....Baby Pax, looking at a book

A child’s brain is very sensitive before age 2. It’s still developing neural connections and growing in size. Because of this sensitivity, it’s important for babies to have a lot of interactive stimulation to learn and develop.

  Is it any wonder that after all the tv and playtime with flashing, noisy toys, these children are less likely to want to sit in school and color a picture?

Why would they? It doesn’t sing, dance, do flips or flash lights at them!

There are many, many good sources on the web for good ol’ fashioned wooden toys, or soft board books to start giving your baby to play with.  And maybe, just maybe, when the batteries run out on your Lights and Sounds baby toy, leave it that way.

So how about a Media Detox for our kiddos this week?  

What?!

You mean no computer, no iPad, Tablet, Laptop or TV time for SEVEN WHOLE DAYS?  

Are you crazy!?!?!?!

Maybe.  🙂  

  We all know the kids will whine and be BORED at first, you will be irritated and wonder why the heck you are even trying this, but just wait……

With a detox, you always feel worse before you feel better, right!?  

  I bet, by the end of a week, or maybe two weeks for those die-hard media fans, your children will be playing so nicely together!

  They might even disappear under a kitchen table tent, out into the backyard, or into a play room-turned castle for hours, as they travel to far away lands!!! All without needing media to occupy their thoughts!

  I bet you will be surprised how the tone of your home feels different, too!  

Avery made herself a reading chair

  Next, I want to encourage you to replace 20 minutes of that normal slot of media time, reading out loud to your kids. 

  This can also be done at the table while they eat lunch, right before they go down for afternoon naps, or even save it for before bed. 

Set that time aside and watch it grow into a special family tradition.    

Reading

And, in the long run? Reading will make them better students, too! 

Reading

Additional Info:

  • Today, kids under 2 spend more than twice as much time watching videos, as they do being read to.
  • In 2/3 of households, TVs are on during meals. 
  • In 75% of households, TVs are on when no one is watching them.
  • More than 70% of kids have TVs in their bedrooms 
  • Only 1/3 of households have media-consumption rules

  “No surprise, more media is consumed in households in which TVs are always on, where there are no media consumption rules, and where kids have TVs in their bedrooms.  And, no surprise, kids who consume the most media get the worst grades. (but is this cause or effect?)”

  The original play station

 Here’s to “Feeding” our precious bundles of joy some good wholesome “Food” this week….
Happy Detox!

Hugs, T

 “You’ll see your true self when you look for your reflection in the eyes of souls, not the glare of screens.” Ann Voskamp

{Source for parts of this post}

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Want to read more?  

Additional Info & Stats

More reading statistics here:  “Mommy, Reading Makes My Brain Strong!”

Telephone Etiquette

  So way back in the olden days, when I was a little girl, I used to LOOOOVE to answer the phone.  “Hello Bontrager residence, Tonya speaking!” 

{Gotta love an 80’s perm, Avery just asked me why “Destiny” is wearing a wig?}

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Anyhow, I guess I sound just like my mom, because I had to add “Tonya speaking”, or even as a second grader, these people would launch into a looooong story about what they needed before I could even sputter out the words,

“WAIT, you want my mom, hold on I will get her for you!”

  My parents talked to us about do’s and do not’s of phone etiquette.  And look, we even had this cute little book all about it. My mom just recently passed it on to my kiddos.  This book covers basics like don’t tell  people if you are home alone, use good manners, take messages for your mom etc.

PicMonkey Collage txt

   In addition to all these rules, we had a house rule that we didn’t answer the phone during supper.  This was back in the 1980’s, and guess what, we didn’t even have an answering machine to record that missed call. OR caller ID to know who we missed! 

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{gasp} 

                                 HOW DID WE STAND IT?!?!?!?!?

Unheard of now, right?  Funny how things change. 

  But I love what that taught me….family supper is more important than that phone call, and that person would call back later.  We have chosen to keep this rule at our house, and very very rarely, do we answer during a meal.

  Now days it seems everyone can be reached anytime via home phone, cell phone or messaging.  If we can’t get them one way, we try the other two.  I think with the good of that instant gratification, comes some bad……

  It’s like we think we owe those people an immediate hello, even if we are in the middle of a bedtime story, or family time. 

Honestly?  We don’t!

If family comes first, then it’s ok to let it go to voice mail, and call them back after the kids are in bed!  If you are reading a book, and you are at a good part, fine! Don’t answer! You can call back later.  Be empowered, you control the phone, it doesn’t control your life!

  I think in this day and age, of constant access to various forms of communication, we need some written rules about it.  So I decided to write Telephone Etiquette 101.

Rule #1:  No Being On Your Phone At The Park.


BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  I am TOTALLY teasing. 

That was in honor of all of those people who misunderstood the point of Dear Mom On the iPhone!  🙂  If you go to the park to have a break from your kids, be my guest!  But please, don’t forget to put it down and go running up to them for a surprise “YOUR IT!” attack, with a fun game of tag ensuing now and then, either.

iPhone, Texting and Cell Phone Etiquette 101

1)  Have “Phone Free Zones” In Your Home.
  Like at the dinner table, or your bedroom.  Have those places be ‘sacred’. A place where you connect with your family and spouse, not the world, or the world-wide web.

  If that doesn’t appeal to you, then choose “Phone Free Times” like no phones during family game night, during your bedtime routine with the kids, or devotions with your spouse.  The phone needs to be out of arms reach, preferably in another room, so that text or call will not be begging for your attention.

  I have heard a lot of people say when they enter the house, they and their children with cell phones, are expected to park them on a docking station in the mud room until the next morning.  No phones in the evening and no phones up in bedrooms!  LOVE that idea!

2) Have “Phone Free Zones” Outside Your Home
  Like date night.  Or a ball game.

   Give your spouse 100% of your attention, or root on your child and his team with your whole heart.  Be there.  Be ALL there, not surfing the web, or scrolling through Facebook!  Put your phone on silent and give the ones you love your full attention. 

   What about when we see people’s play by plays of their date night on Facebook, plus lots of other comments along the way on other’s posts?  Facebook is so distracting!  Try to just put the phone away, and enjoy your spouse!  Face to face, eye to eye grown up time.  Holding hands and having fun!!!!!  You can post your great time later, after you get home!  {If you still want to.} Winking smile

3) Little Pitchers Have Big Ears
  WAAAY too many grown up conversations happen with little ears in the backseat of the car listening.  Be aware of your surroundings, both in the car, at the store, and in your home.  Your children are listening, heck, grown up people are listening!  Just because you can bring your cell phone into a vehicle, restaurant or store, does not mean your personal life needs to come, too.  Go excuse yourself, or wait for another time to have your conversation.

4) Speaker Phone Is For When You Are Alone
I know there is fear in getting brain damage by being on your cell too much, but people, making us all listen to BOTH SIDES of your LOUD conversation on speaker phone, is NOT the answer. 

5) Get Off the Phone
  I love to talk to my kids about their day, or what we are seeing as we drive.  There is nothing better than talking to your captive audience, your kids!  You will be SHOCKED how much they have to say, when there is nowhere to run off to.  Smile at them in the rear view mirror and ask about their days. Make this a special tradition at the end of a school day. You will open up lines of communication for years to come.

  I try not to make this a habit, but there are some days that I have several phone calls to be made, so the obvious choice is while in the car, or waiting in car pick up lines, which I do multiple times a day!!!  The kids get to listen to an Adventure in Odyssey CD, and I get 14 calls made for the upcoming Bake Sale. It’s a win-win.
HOWEVER, when I enter the school, I want to do better about being off my phone. I want to show respect to the teachers and parents that I am coming in contact with.  And, if they need to talk to me about my student, I will be available.

This also applies when checking out at a store. You may be the only ‘Jesus’ that clerk comes in contact with that day. Your “Good Afternoon, How are you doing today?” might be the nicest words they hear all day.  If we are to be Jesus’ hands and feet, then we better not always be on our phones!

6) Leave It In The Car
I know there are people on call, or times when a babysitter is at home with little ones, or a loved one is dying, or you are waiting for word on some big deal at work, I get it. But be FREE.  Don’t be chained to your phone any longer.  Sometimes, it really is ok, to just leave it in the car.  You might be surprised how much you enjoy that freedom.

7) Multi-Tasking Is Disrespectful
  Texting is quiet, I get that. But it is very disrespectful to look down during a face to face conversation, to answer a text.  Have you ever watched that other person, the one that was visiting with you and sharing their heart?  Their words slow down, their eyes dart back and forth between you and your phone.  They aren’t saying it, but they are waiting for your full attention before continuing.  It is very accepted by culture today, but I say it feels disrespectful!

  If this was “real life” and 2 people were trying to talk to you at once, would you not tell one of them to hold on a minute?  You sure wouldn’t carry on two conversations at once!  Oh, it happens in real life sometimes, but it’s awkward and un-productive for everyone! 

8) Some Conversations Are Better Spoken
  Save texting for those quick, “I am going to be late,” “I miss you,” “Praying for you today,” messages.
If you have 7 paragraphs to say, then use your phone the “old school way” and actually call your friend.  Real time talking with real-time emotion.

9) Talk To Your Kids About The Power They Have At Their Fingertips
If you decide to get your teen or preteen a Smart Phone, then please have some rules in place. Be ready to take the phone away when those rules are broken.
Talk to them about the beauty of real voices with real emotions on the other end of the phone line. Teach them not to send sexy pictures or inappropriate words just because they are hiding behind a screen. And please, don’t allow your child free rein to the web without some sort of filter or rule system in place. We want our children to succeed and grow up to respectable adults. Filling their mind with garbage at an early age, will only create them heartache in the long run.


10) The Movie Theatre Is Dark, But Your Phone Screen IS NOT
Listen, you probably just paid around $20 to get you and your date into the movies. I know it seems dark and private and un-disruptive to quickly check your emails, but guess what?  Even though the theater is dark, your phone screen is NOT.
Watch the movie!  Shut your phone off and be present.  If you can’t go two hours without doing a “drive by” on your phone, Facebook or Email, it’s time for a phone DETOX.

Bonus Tip:  If Your Hand Maintains Cell Phone Shape After You Set It Down, You Have A Serious Problem. {tee hee}  🙂

Have some more iPhone, Texting or Cell Phone “rules”?  Feel free to add them in the comments section.

Hugs, T

More about this subject here.

Telephone

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Dear Mom On The iPhone,

Don’t miss yesterday’s post: Dear Dad On The Recliner,

Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone.  It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it?  You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl.  She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her hair.  She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her. 

You aren’t.

Dancing princess

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!”  I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way. 

He sees that too.  His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing.  She loves it!  Cooing and smiling with every push.  You don’t see her though, do you?  Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing. 

Talk to her.  Tell her about the clouds, Mommy.  The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there.  I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy.  They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time. 

Because they know…

  You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are.  They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.  

  May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.

~T

Note from Tonya:

This blog post is written for me, too!  It could just as easily say Dear Mommy on the Computer, because I also struggle to find balance between needing a break, and knowing when its time to walk away from the computer to be Mommy again.
I try to limit it to nap time and after the children are in bed. I am just asking for us to be aware of how this media time can overflow into our face to face time with our family and those around us.

I will never forget when this all became clear to for me….

The children were in bed, the house was dark, and I was getting ready for bed, when I noticed a stack of books on the edge of my desk.  Books my 2 little ones had been asking me to read ALL DAY.  A stack of books that was set aside until Mommy could get her work done.  Work turned into research, turned into facebook, turned into answering emails, turned into……NOT READING AT ALL.
I went to bed defeated that night, hot tears streaming down my cheeks and dripping onto my pillow, as I cried out to God to help me do better. To help me put my eyes back on the people that need me the most, my family.

Was my stuff on the computer more important than my children?  Heavens no!  But my actions are always screaming louder than my words ever could.

What did my actions say to my kids that day?

 “My computer is more important than you today.  Go play!  I simply don’t have time for you.”

  Also, may I add, that the point of this post was NOT attachment parenting, or putting your child first and falling all over yourself trying to meet their every whim or need.  That is about as opposite as you can get from what I believe and how I raise my kids.

This is about looking up and around, enjoying life in the moment, not staring at a phone!  With your spouse, with a friend over lunch, a smile to a grocery check out worker…..look UP and leave the phone behind once in a while. It’s liberating.

More here and here:

Re: Dear Mom On The iPhone

&

Phone Etiquette 101

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Dear Dad in the Recliner,

Dear Dad in the Recliner,

Long day, huh?

I bet it feels good to put your feet up.

Where is your wife?

Oh, she is tucking the children in bed.

Can I ask you something?

Why aren’t you in there?

They need you, Daddy.

They find comfort in your big rough hand, smoothing their bangs off their foreheads.  They love hearing your rumbly voice read them a Bible Story and a Bedtime Story. They love to hear you pray for them, and their lives and futures.

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Your wife is filled with love for you, as she looks around at her little family, all together at the close of the day.  Her heart swells as you kiss the children good night.  She feels loved and understood when you participate in the bedtime routine.

I know you are tired, Daddy.  We all are this time of the night.

Go.

Go be their daddy for just a few more minutes.

As soon as they are tucked in bed, as soon as you have hugged and kissed them each twice, as soon as you have gotten them ANOTHER drink of water, after you have rubbed backs and heard precious prayers…THEN, Daddy.  Then, you can go pop up the recliner, and flip on the TV, or open up the newspaper.

You work hard, you deserve to relax at the end of your day, I whole heartedly agree.  But, please, don’t ever forget, your children will only seek you out for a short amount of years.

Then, you’ll spend the rest of their lives seeking them out, and guess what?

They won’t need you anymore.

Not in the same way they need you now, Daddy.

You’re a good Dad.

Lead your family, Daddy.  Lead them straight to Jesus, be a Holy example for those little eyes to see.  They want to be just like you, so make sure you are just like HIM.

~T

This song is AMAZING!  Lead Me, by Sanctus Real

A note to Dale:
  Sweetie, I just want to say thank you for being a part of the bedtime routine from the get go. Our children don’t know it any other way!  Thank you for coming home ready to play, wrestle and read books without any required “quiet time” before you can be Daddy.
 I love you and I am proud to share my life with you….
xo  ~T
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