Bring your family together by creating goals that define what you want to look like as a family. Get your free template printable here.
FINDING A MENTOR
A few years ago I was lucky enough to find an amazing “Mom group” with mentors that helped me tremendously as a parent. Finding a mom that’s a season ahead of you doing things well is one of the best parenting resources you can find. If you don’t have a mentor in your life, ask yourself who do you know that is parenting their children with patience and leadership?
No one’s perfect, but who is raising their children in a healthy, spiritual direction? Text them, call them, ask them to lunch. It starts with you—don’t be intimidated. I’ve found that older women in my church feel so appreciated to be asked to coffee to get parenting advice.
CREATING FAMILY GOALS
I was introduced to the idea of a “family mission statement” and for the first time saw how I could bring my family together as a team, while teaching my kids Biblical truths. Every family is different, so your goals will be worded differently. When I wrote this goal poster (originally in 2016), I wanted it to address our current issues.
Preschool temper tantrums
Sharing with a baby sister
Cleaning up after ourselves
Making my children feel loved and secure
Then I added the “Fruits of the Spirit” as a kind of rule chart for my kids to refer to. When someone was caught not sharing or lying, I could direct them to the family goals and ask them what Fruit of the Spirit they needed to work on. Instead of focusing on what they did wrong, it changed their focus to how they could make it right.
PRINT YOUR OWN FAMILY GOALS CHART
Write out your list of what you want your family to look like and create your own set of family goals…or feel free to use mine and have your kids draw a family picture in the middle.
Cleaning Tips for Kids: Use these games to make cleaning fun for your kids and get your home in order today!
SELF-QUARANTINING IS A MESS, LITERALLY
Keeping a clean home clean is hard enough without the added wear and tear of your entire family being stuck in one space for days on end. If you’re like me, you have been advised to self-quarantine and haven’t left the house in over a week.
This causes a few problems: loneliness, anxiety, frustration, impatience, and fear—which I will be discussing with you next week, but it also causes simpler issues of just keeping up with the messes of daily living.
In our home, my husband is working remotely, which is such a blessing, but he is in his office for his 40 hour work week and I’m in a wheelchair from my latest Lyme flare trying to homeschool my 5 and 8 year old.
But school is not my top priority right now. It’s making sure that my family is doing ok. Checking in with how everyone’s feeling, getting outside everyday for some fresh air, creating opportunities for fun and making my children feel safe and loved.
I know personally that when my house is a disaster, it stresses me out, so many times when I’m anxious, I’ll go around and straighten up to feel a little more in control of the situation. I can find things, I can sit comfortably, and everyone seems to be in a better mood when things are in order.
The past few days I’ve experimented with a few ways to get the kids to help with housecleaning in a way that doesn’t require me to yell and limits how much my husband has to clean up at night.
CLEANING TIPS FOR KIDS
A chore chart isn’t the only way to get your kids to clean up their messes, so here are a few tips on getting them to help around the house.
1. MAGIC PIECE OF TRASH
This is great for cleaning up a super messy floor. Tell the kids that there’s a magic piece of trash (or item) on the floor and whoever picks it up gets a prize. The rule is: if it’s trash, they throw it away, and if it’s a toy or something to keep, they have to put it where it goes.
Obviously, wait until the end of the game to choose your item so that the floor gets clean, but don’t let them in on the secret. Act like they’re so close and end the game when around five things are still left on the floor.
Tell them to freeze, put away what’s left in their hands (because kids will throw their stuff down if they aren’t picked!) and then announce what the secret item was.
2. GIRLS VS BOYS COMPETITION
You can break this game into girls vs boys or any combination of teams from members in your family. Write down a list of everything that has to be cleaned and each team takes turns picking things off the list. Once the jobs are determined, race each other to get your team’s chores done first!
3. CHORE BINGO
Have each child get a Bingo sheet and make five in a row by the end of the day to get a prize. Print yours here.
4. GRAB BAG CHORES
Stick a small prize in up to 10 bags and label each bag with a chore. The kids pick one bag, do the chore and get to open the prize. Repeat until all bags are done.
5. RANDOM NUMBER APP
I use an app that generates a random number (and also rolls dice, picks a playing card, etc) and let each kid tap the button to pick their number. They run to their room, clean up that many items and then return to get their new number. Game ends when all items are picked up. Numbers between 5-15 work best.
6. SPEED CLEANING
Set the timer for 15 minutes and turn on some fast music. Everyone in the family cleans up as much as they can before the timer goes off. If your kids need extra motivation, tell them to pretend they are Sonic or a cheetah or something fast. Everyone who does a good job gets a treat when the timer goes off.
7. STICKER CHART
For daily chores, tell the kids they get a sticker for every chore they complete. When they reach a certain goal, they can earn chore money to save up to buy a prize. Here are some cute charts I found online.
8. IF THIS, THEN THAT
Is there something your kid is always bugging you about? Playing video games, watching tv, getting dessert, buying a toy? Use these opportunities to tell them if they do this chore, they’ll earn that reward.
Video game time
Stay up late
Chose family movie
Chose game for family night
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While I don’t always reward my kids for cleaning (because doing things to be kind is necessary), it helps for them to have something to look forward to during this difficult season. Mix these methods up to keep the kids motivated. Just think—you might be able to have a clean house by tonight without all the stress and yelling!
Feeling mentally overwhelmed by being at home for days on end? Me too! Read my tips here:
One of the best things I do for myself when life starts to get hectic, is to slow down and go back to the basics. To sit and just be a mom. Here I’ll help you figure out how.
ALL KINDS OF MOMS
I used to be THAT mom.
The mom with a curriculum for her toddler.
I finished four years of teaching before I had my son, so he became my classroom. The days were filled with endless possibilities. I had energy, motivation, excitement!
Over the years, we explored our city and made homemade alphabet books. We fed ducks at the park, strolled through art museums and baked muffins together.
Then I had a daughter and got sick. I lost track of the days and playtime went out the window.
But even when I started to improve, I was in a constant state of hurrying, like I was trying to play catch up for the years that I lost. When my daughter stopped to literally smell the roses, I asked her to pick up the pace.
One of the best things I do for myself when life starts to get hectic, is to slow down and go back to the basics. To sit and just be a mom.
I’ve learned to simply play with my kids without multitasking, without a time limit, without a plan.
To run out in the rain with my son. To find roly-polies with my daughter.
The joy of playing hide and seek or painting pictures together.
To be THAT mom.
“Children teach us so much about anticipation. You can see it in how their eyes sparkle when they’re told that something interesting, anything really, is on the horizon. They wait expectantly and let their mind travel to the most extraordinary places—and they don’t try to drag it back to safety if its wandered too far. But for some reason it seems like when we all cross over into adulthood, we suddenly are no longer able to dream without boundaries. Instead we are expected to see the world in black and white, or as wise and foolish. Heartbreak and letdowns are all around us. They’re an inescapable part of life. So every chance I get, I want to teach my kids to dream and hope and expect good things. I also try to show them how to find ways to be those good things in other people’s lives.” – Chip Gaines
5 TIPS FOR PLAYING WELL
1. SCHEDULE TIME TO PLAY EACH DAY AND PUT AWAY ELECTRONICS
When you decide to slow down and play, give them your undivided attention. Even being fully present for ten minutes of Go-Fish can make a huge difference in your child’s behavior. It also helps you to enjoy the moment instead of being mentally stuck somewhere else.
2. GET OUTSIDE
Not only is it good for the kids, it’s good for your body and mind too. Nature is the perfect place to enjoy the simple things. Last summer, I caught a giant lizard. We bought him a cage and watched him shed his skin every month and fed him crickets. The kids loved to talk to him and it was a chance for us to learn about Texas Spiny Lizards online. When he grew too big for his cage, they let him go back outside to play with his friends.
A three-legged squirrel with no tail hung out in our front yard a few years ago. We saw him during walks and named him Ninja Squirrel.
One neighbor has a ceramic goose by their front door that they dress up in different holiday outfits throughout the year. Every time we walk by, my daughter waves at “Mama Goose”.
In the spring, we fill up bird feeders. When summertime arrives, out come the sprinklers. We go on bike rides in the fall and jump in the leaves in the winter (It’s Texas y’all).
Find what makes your neighborhood unique and start your own “slow down” traditions.
3. LET YOUR KIDS CHOOSE THE ACTIVITY
I don’t want to play dolls or trucks for an hour. But learning to let go of control can be rewarding, even if the game they made up is ridiculously boring. The ideas your children come up with will give you insight into their social lives and their passions.
4. BE SILLY
Learn to tell jokes with your kids and let loose so that they can see you as the fun person you are, not just the disciplinarian. This week I spent time practicing karate moves with my son and tap dancing with my daughter. I was pretty terrible at it, but they didn’t seem to notice.
5. BE CREATIVE
I love teaching my kids how to do things from my childhood like making paper airplanes, telling jokes and doing magic tricks. I taught my daughter how to hold water in a straw with her finger the other day and she thought I was a genius. My son was amazed to learn how to shoot paper off a straw. I haven’t got to spit balls yet. It doesn’t take much.
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Another great way to be more intentional is to actually scheudule in one-on-one play time with your kids. Here’s a free kid schedule you can learn more about here or download here: