Teach-High-Schoolers-Personal-Health

As my firstborn sons wind down their senior year of high school, I question what I still need to teach them over these next couple of months before launching them off to their respective college campuses come August.

One area where we parents seem to fall short in our teaching is helping our son or daughter manage their health.

In general, we do a relatively good job of talking with our kids about the importance of eating a healthy diet while getting proper exercise and plenty of sleep. Yet, are we failing to prepare our kids to manage their health when they leave our homes?

From the many stories I’ve heard from doctors and nurses, I’m thinking so.

12 GIFTS TO GIVE YOUR HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR FOR GRADUATION

Emergency Room Nurse Charity Hollywood says she consistently sees ill-equipped young adults stream into the emergency room where she works near a large university campus in Arizona. She says that she is striving to raise her 6-year old twin sons to be confident and capable from a young age and encourages other parents to prepare their children better when it comes to managing their health.

What skills do young adults lack when it comes to their health?

What can parents do differently while raising their kids so that they can launch adults who are more confident and capable when managing their health?

Teach-High-Schoolers-Personal-Health

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Dialogue-Journals-with-foster-children

While many of us are finding ourselves at home with our family members during this season of the Coronavirus pandemic, it can be challenging to figure out positive ways to spend our time while helping our kids grow in the process.

Two important areas we can devote our efforts to right now is strengthening family communication and our kids’ life skills. 

Over our summer breaks, I used to do dialogue journals with my elementary school-aged kids to help them:

  • Improve their penmanship.
  • Get more comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through the written word.
  • Think about the thoughts and feelings of another in this interactive form of communication.
  • Create a keepsake from their childhood to be cherished later.

What you need to start a Dialogue Journal

All you need to start your dialogue journal is a simple notebook and a writing instrument. Nothing fancy required. I even like to recycle the kids’ old school notebooks that still have plenty of unused pages left in them. (Rip out the used pages!)

Dialogue-Journal-with-kids-coronavirus-quarantine

As the parent, you begin the journal by writing Dear Son or Daughter and the date. Then, tell your child something about your day and ask them a question. Leave the notebook on their bed or somewhere they will naturally find it. Then, your child is to write you back in the same format, asking you a question as well. And the journal gets casually passed back and forth creating improved penmanship, communication, and a keepsake to look back on.

TIP: You can liven up the notebook covers even with sayings or photos of the two of you on the front. I used to do a dialogue journal with the foster teen I mentored, and it was an excellent way for us to “talk” about the hard stuff that’s sometimes difficult to express in person.

Dialogue-Journals-with-foster-children

TIP: You could even do a Dialogue Journal with a friend or loved one who lives locally too. Ride your bike or drive over and drop the notebook at their door, and they can do the same when they are done.

Ask questions to get your child talking about their feelings and thoughts about their experience in quarantine and what they are missing this summer.

Click Here for 20 questions you could ask your child in your Dialogue Journal or use the cards to communicate around your family dinner table!

Use this time to strengthen your family communication through starting dialogue journals with your children. Not only will your son or daughter learn pertinent skills for today, but you will intentionally create a keepsake to be cherished tomorrow as well.

Have you done a dialogue journal with your child before?

 

5-ways-to-parent-on-purpose-during-a-pandemic

This too shall pass. 

As unsettling as living through this pandemic is, we need to remember that this season of Coronavirus confinement is just that- a season. It will eventually end. And if we don’t let our grievances and circumstances consume us, we can proactively use this time to our advantage in simple ways.

Let’s purposely respond to our new reality instead of react our way through it.

How do you want to feel when this is all over? 

How do you want your family to be strengthened because of this period of unexpected time together?

If quarantine ended tomorrow, what would you be disappointed if you didn’t do?

There is no denying that what we’re going through is crazy on all levels. But, amidst the chaos, there is beautiful opportunity if we choose to bravely seek it out.

Here are 5 Ways to Parent on Purpose During this Pandemic

1.  Bring back a childhood family dinner tradition OR start a new one

Our calendars typically prohibit us from gathering around the table as a family often. As we find ourselves spending time eating more meals together, why not bring back a tradition from the past or start something fresh and new?

This time of Coronavirus confinement is the perfect time to gather around our family tables with purpose. It doesn’t matter if we are supporting local businesses and ordering our meals in, or if we’re trying new recipes and preparing them with our kids, or barely getting prepackaged food on the table. What we are eating doesn’t matter near like how we are spending our time together doing it.

Family-Dinner-Traditions-During-Coronavirus

We brought ‘Highs and Lows’ back to our family dinnertime, each of us sharing what the best and worst thing about our day was. This can be a stretch considering we aren’t doing a whole lot these days, which makes us dig deeper perhaps to find gratitude for the simple things in our lives right now.

How about using conversation starters to keep you at the table talking longer? Here are some of my favorites by local Arizona makers: CLICK HERE.

What family tradition can you restart during this time of confinement?

Or what’s something fun you’d like to begin?

2. Teach life skills

My teens are home doing online school; therefore, I am not necessarily homeschooling my high schoolers. But, I am taking advantage of this unique opportunity we have together at home to teach my sons and daughter some real-life skills that our regular lives haven’t allowed the time for.

What is it that your kids are going to need to know when they leave your house for adulthood? What is it that you can take the time to teach them today toward the goal of sending off a capable, confident, responsible adult one day?

If you have toddlers, teenagers or kids in between, there is so much you can (and need to) teach them. Only you know what your child still needs to learn. Is it to tie their shoes or change a tire on the family car? Perhaps it’s merely to learn family members’ phone numbers or their Social Security number?

Make a list of life skills you want to try to teach during this season of quarantine or print off my life skills for the launch checklist HERE.

3. Cultivate a playful home

I don’t know about you, but watching my sons and daughter stare at screens more is not good for me (or them!) so knowing we want our kids on devices less, means we need to purposely set up our homes with more opportunities for play and creativity.

Cultivate-A-Playful-Home-During-Coronavirus

We replaced my beautiful candle holder with this Hook It Game from Kidstop Toys and it is so much fun! The rings are rubber so no damage is done!

Temporarily replace some of your home decor with games or opportunities for your family members to engage in play together. (Kidstop Toys will ship this game or any others to you so check out their website HERE.) We set up a folding table in the living room for continuous puzzles. Our ping pong table is dusted off and games have been pulled out of hibernation.

How can you purposely place pockets of play throughout your house?

4. Live out your values

Our kids are watching how we are handling this Coronavirus crazy time. It’s crucial that we model for our children how to live this unsettling time out in faith and not in fear. This doesn’t mean that we will do it perfectly, because we won’t. Unfortunately, we’re human, and it’s good for our kids to see that.

This is the perfect time to talk as a family about how you can help, serve and support others from home right now. Are their local small businesses or restaurants you can order from to help them stay afloat during this time? What about a favorite online small retailer? Can you pick up extra groceries for someone in need?

How can you serve your friends, family and community members while staying safe and socially distant?

5. Bravely embrace boredom

There’s no better time than the present than to allow our children to be bored. We need to purposely put away the screens and send our kids outside or to their room to figure out how to entertain themselves by themselves. We want our kids to learn that they don’t need to turn to adults to figure out how to occupy their time.

My tech expert friend, Tom Kersting, recently said that “Boredom is miracle grow for the brain” and I have to agree.

Boredom-Bucket- for-Kids

You can even make your kids a boredom bucket, bin or box that they can turn to for creative activities when they aren’t quite sure what to do with themselves.

What are other ways you are choosing to parent on purpose during this pandemic?

My Mom was never confused in her role as a parental authority figure when raising my sister and me.

She knew that her “job” was to raise adults who could capably move out of her home at the age of majority.

She didn’t worry about my grades in school or my performance on my softball or tennis teams.

Yet, how we tend to raise children today bears little resemblance. How can we better parent on purpose today so that we can send capable, confident and compassionate adults into the world tomorrow?

5 ways to Parent on Purpose in 2020 and Beyond

1. Be the parent, not the pal

My Mom didn’t feel the need to make sure I was happy and to be my friend while I was growing up. Yet somehow I struggle to create boundaries and say no to things that will make my child unhappy with me, even though I know it’s for their benefit.

When I remember that my goal should not be to make my child happy but to train instead and help my sons and daughter to understand how the world works so that they can move into it one day as a capable person, it is much easier to lead them. When we strive for friendship with our children during adolescence, we miss out on the opportunity to provide the parental guidance that our kids’ desperately need in this chaotic culture they are growing up in.

Remember to surround yourself with friends your age and be confident being the adult role model that your son or daughter needs.

2. Claim your destination

Where are you headed when raising your child today?

Too many times we spend our days of full-time parenthood reacting to what comes our way. Instead, we need to parent today, remembering that our goal is to one day launch our son or daughter into adulthood. What do you want your child armored with as they walk out the door of your home into the real world? Begin to teach them those skills and strengthen those values today.

Parent-on-Purpose

When adulthood is our end goal for raising our kids, we will do a better job of remembering to teach them relevant life skills as they grow. We will allow them to make mistakes and problem solve on their own because we understand they will need critical thinking skills when they leave our home as adults one day.

3. Redefine success

Childhood wasn’t meant to be a season for building a resume to get into college.

Stop today and define what success looks like to you. Who do you want your child to be as an 18-19-year-old young adult walking out the door of your home? What character traits do you want them to be armored with as you send them off to college, the armed forces, the workplace or wherever they may go upon leaving your home?

Redefine-Success-Parent-on-PurposeIt’s great that this son of mine does well in school and on his travel hockey team, but when I stop and define success for him as a man, it is not his high achievement or performance that matter. It is his loving heart, soul and character that will sustain him and develop him into a caring and loyal husband, father and neighbor.

The problem becomes when we get so focused on our kids’ achievement and performance that we forget to take the time to create the opportunities that will help our children become the type of people that we say we want to launch into the world.

4. Teach your children what you want them to know

No matter what age or stage your child might be at, they can and should be learning life skills.

Toddlers can do chores as can busy teenagers. We’ve just got to slow down and let them. We want to send capable adults into the world who know how to get themselves up on time in the mornings and who don’t always rely on Siri or Mom to solve their problems for them.

Parent-on-purpose-chores

Expect your child to help out around the house. Yes, it is easier for you to do everything yourself, but that’s not teaching your son or daughter any skills but to sit and be served.

5. Let another’s hindsight be your insight

Learn from those who go before you.

In my book, I talk about the strategy of parenting six years ahead by looking at what parents are facing six years forward of where you are currently parenting from today. Watch how others around you are leading their children when it comes to technology, schooling, social boundaries and more. Learn from their successes and their mistakes. Become confident now in making future decisions for your children based on your family values.

Join a parent group in your area and learn from those who go before you. We were not meant to raise children alone, so learn from your community. Read, learn, watch and grow from the insight of others and then have the confidence to raise your child with your parental instincts.

Parenting on purpose takes effort. But, I guarantee the efforts you put in now will pay off later as you watch your children grow into capable, confident and compassionate people this year and beyond.

For your chance to WIN, comment below and tell us why you need a copy of my signed hardcover book- Parent on Purpose- A Courageous Approach to Raising Children in a Complicated World! Winner will be selected by random on February 20. 

Valentines-Day-Tradition-14-Hearts-of-Loving-Affirmation

One gift that you may want to give your family members this year for Valentine’s Day is 14 Hearts of Loving Affirmation because there’s nothing better we can do than speak and write loving truths to our loved ones.

It’s never too late to start this easy, yet meaningful Valentine’s Day tradition in your home!(And I’ve even given you a printable below to help you get started!)

The 14 Hearts of Loving Affirmation Valentine Tradition

  • Take the time to write out 14 loving affirmations or messages on paper hearts for each of your children.
  • Beginning on Feb. 1 tack one heart a day on their bedroom door or wherever makes the most sense in your home. I always see parents doing it on bedroom doors, but I decided to do it on the kids’ bathroom mirrors so that while they’re getting ready for school in the morning and getting ready for bed at night they will have no choice but to see loving words and reminders staring back at them.

OR If doing this daily for two weeks isn’t possible or seems daunting, put all of the hearts up at once and surprise your loved one on Valentine’s Day! Make the tradition work for you! Read more

togather-family-fun-game

We want to be close to our family members.

We want our family to be deeply connected.

Yet, we struggle to find the time to be together.

We say we want a close, connected family yet we race around feeding our kids on the run, or we’re too exhausted to gather our people around the table for meals together.

What if I told you one thing that experts say strengthens kids and families the most, is gathering around the table for family dinner? Would that entice you to try and do it more this year?

The one thing our kids need from us, whether they are toddlers or teens, is purposeful time gathered around the family table talking regularly.

I wrote in my book Parent on Purpose, that research links regular family dinners to better academic performance, higher self-esteem and a greater sense of resilience as well as lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression. Read more

have-kids-make-their-beds

How we choose to start our day matters.

My husband and I have an unwritten rule that whoever gets up last is in charge of making up the bed. The entire bed. Decorative pillows and all.

For a long time, I would get up and contemplate if anyone was coming over during the day who might wander in and see my unmade bed. If not, there would be no harm in leaving it undone, right?

We’re only harming ourselves when we take shortcuts and avoid making small efforts.

Does it matter if we make our bed or not?

Starting the day off with this one simple accomplishment sets you up for success. I walk past my bed many times a day and notice when it’s pretty and pulled together. Simple efforts do make a difference.

Once I saw this video, we’ve made our bed every morning since and encouraged our kids to do the same. It is an excellent reminder of the payoff of simple daily efforts in our lives. 

How you do anything is how you do everything. 

There are enough tasks for our teens to complete on early school mornings that making the bed in our home isn’t required, but its importance is a subject of conversation in our family. Some mornings I check the kids’ bedrooms and shoot off a text on our family chat stating 3/5 taking note of how many kids accomplished the morning task on their own. 

I don’t need to battle my kids when it comes to the simple task of making their beds, but I do want them to understand the importance of accomplishing minor everyday tasks. Our youngest son makes his bed every day without fail because it was a habit ingrained in him from living in his foster care group home for years.

have-kids-make-their-beds

If we begin shortcutting the simple things, how will we ever be successful in the big stuff? It’s a great topic of conversation to have with our kids for sure.

Do you make your bed first thing in the morning? Do your kids?

Family-Christmas-Blessing-Jar-Tradition

As parents, we should continuously seek out ways to live out the values that we deem most important. Several years ago I read a blog post about the Christmas Jars and knew this tradition would be a perfect way to teach our children about the power of generosity and giving more than you receive. 
Family-Christmas-Blessing-Jar-Tradition

What is a Christmas Jar?

The Christmas Jar tradition, based on Jason Wright’s bestselling novel is simply a glass jar that you use to collect spare change throughout the year. Our family adds coins that we find on the ground, in the washer and dryer as well as unclaimed money lying around the house. We also add bills that come to us unexpectedly.

The week before Christmas, prayerfully and thoughtfully decide with your family members who you want to gift it to… anonymously.

Was a neighbor laid off? Is a co-worker struggling with health problems? Has a friend lost a loved one?

Click HERE for  3 other simple, yet powerful, Glass Jar Family Traditions

Simply place your Christmas Jar at your recipient’s doorstep, in their car, on their desk — wherever — and know that you have blessed their life with your generosity.

No matter the amount, big or small, you’ll be surprised how much money you can generate in that jar and how much you can impact someone’s life just by your family being intentional all year long.

It was so much fun to meet the author of the Christmas Jars book, Jason Wright. I even hauled our family Christmas Jar to the bookstore to show him how his story and tradition has impacted our family!

You can find all of these fun Christmas Jars products on my Amazon Influencer store HERE. (This is my affiliate link which means I may make a few cents off of your purchase!)

 

It can be difficult to figure out what in the world to buy for our favorite female tweens and teens for Christmas. Here are some of my favorites! These links are Amazon affiliate links.

7 Gift Ideas for Your Tween-Teen Daughter!

1. ALARM CLOCK – $31.99

If you know me, you know I am all about kids using alarm clocks and not smartphones to wake themselves up in the morning! Here’s a great alarm clock for those heavy sleepers of yours!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE alarm clocks for your kids!

2. ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER 2-PACK – &29.99

My kids use these as nightlights and we diffuse oils when they aren’t feeling well. This is such a great price that you can keep one for yourself and give one as a gift! Want to order quality oils? Check out my Young Living site HERE

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THESE MOOD LIGHT ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSERS!

3. SMART LED LIGHTS TO DECORATE BEDROOM – $26.99

My daughter uses these to decorate her bedroom! She does not have them attached to any smart device as they work just fine without.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER DECORATIVE LED LIGHTS!

4. 2020 BUBBLE WRAP CALENDAR – $24.95

My daughter received one of these for a gift last year and she just loves it!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A BUBBLE WRAP CALENDAR!

5. WET BRUSH- $9.99

Who couldn’t use another Wet Brush? Makes for a perfect stocking stuffer!

CLICK HERE TO BUY A WET BRUSH!

6. BURRITO-TORTILLA BLANKET – $26.99

Have a burrito-tortilla lover in the family? This makes for a perfect gift! Also, comes in Belgian waffle and pizza styles too!

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TORTILLA BLANKET!

7. High Waisted Pattern Leggings – $26.99

I purchased these for myself and love them! Daughter dear has asked several times to borrow them and I purchased a solid pink pair for her as well!

FORGET LULULEMON PRICES! CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THESE BUTTERY LEGGINGS!

What are your Amazon favorite purchases for the female tweens and teens in your life?

 

 

Jessica-Lahey-Gift-of-Failure-and-Amy-Carney

We know that strength of character is built by learning through setbacks, mistakes, and miscalculations, so why is it so difficult to allow our kids to experience failure today?

We can thank our child’s school online parent portal app for starters.

As a loving and helpful parent, we open the grade portal to check in on our child’s academic progress, only to see that our son forgot to turn in his homework yesterday, and our daughter bombed her latest math quiz. How are we supposed to react now that this information is in our hands?

Are we really to look at it, shrug our shoulders and go about our normal existence without bringing this knowledge to our child’s attention?

That will never happen because we care about our kids. We care about how our students are doing. And even though we know that our child learning through their mistakes is healthy, we cannot help but communicate with our child, our disappointment in their choices and expect them to do better.

How are we supposed to let our child fail when this portal gives us timely information to help our students better succeed?

The online parent grade portal was never made as a tool to help us embrace failure, but instead, its presence in our lives and on our phones heightens our fear of our child messing up. (We are naturally drawn to the red lines telling us our kids aren’t up to par.)

We can also thank Life360 or the other tracking apps we have on our phones.

Of course, a loving parent would put a tracking app on their child’s phone to keep tabs on their loved one while they’re out navigating the world without us. With it, we’re even able to see how fast our new driver is going since he now takes himself to soccer practice. We set up notifications that tell us when our dear offspring arrives at the field and when they depart as well.

And all the while, we can’t help checking the app throughout the day creating anxiety and stress when we see that our child is not where they’re supposed to be or that they’re driving 9 miles over the speed limit, knowing that they could get pulled over at any moment.

With such ‘helpful’ not helpful parental tools at our fingertips, how are we, as a loving parent, to embrace failure as a gift when we can so quickly help our loved one succeed at every turn instead?

We can start by removing these ‘helpful’ apps from our phone and reading the book The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey, where the author helps parents learn to step back and embrace their children’s setbacks along with their success.

Jessica-Lahey-Quote-Gift-of-Failure

Parents want to raise resourceful, persistent, innovative, and resilient citizens yet, culture has us confused about how to do that, and Lahey’s book is the perfect aide to help us get back on track.

Thanks to modern parenting styles and technology, we are launching kids into adulthood without the proper skills and mindset they need to be successful. If we continue to parent in an overbearing manner, our son or daughter may become ill-equipped to deal with ordinary life experiences or cope with everyday disappointments.

We must decide to step back and allow our children to struggle more because it’s what’s best for them. We must choose to remove the ‘helpful’ apps from our phones and let our sons and daughters fail and make mistakes. Lahey helps us shift our mindset to welcome the errors our child will make as a regular part of growing up.

Jessica-Lahey-Gift-of-Failure-and-Amy-Carney

In The Gift of Failure, Lahey teaches us how to purposely lead our child into discomfort, strengthening their character and resolve. She guides us to understand how to be interested, yet not intrusive. Lahey helps us grasp why we must allow our children chances to step up, try, fail, and try again until they get it right. She also teaches us how to enable our children to survive their failures, earn their triumphs, and expect them to contribute to the family household.

The Gift of Failure has targeted advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, and sports. The book helps parents understand why they need to step back and embrace their children’s setbacks along with their successes so they can thrive and grow into independent, confident adults.

I met Jessica at Mom 2.0 Summit, and she gave me a copy of her book The Gift of Failure to give away to one of my lucky readers! For your chance to win, leave a comment below on why you need her wisdom. One winner will be chosen at random on Oct. 18. Winner must be a resident of the USA for shipping purposes.

Check out my favorite parenting books at my Parent on Purpose Amazon Store!