Here’s my list of questions to ask your kids sometime around the New Year. We always love this time of hearing their thoughts from the previous year and thinking together about the new one. Use it as a starting place for your own family or friends.
What was your favorite memory from this year?
What was the hardest thing about this year?
What was your favorite book of the Bible that we read together? Why?
What was your favorite other book?
How have you grown this year?
What is something you learned that you didn’t know or couldn’t do last year?
What was your biggest disappointment or failure?
What is one thing you want to learn this year?
What is one thing you want to be different this year?
What is one way you want to grow in loving God this year?
What is one way you want to grow in loving others this year?
What is one thing you’d like to do with the family this year?
How can we pray for you?
This year I have the questions written down in my journal with places to record the answers. I hope these provide opportunities for some great conversations!
I guess one of the joys and terrors of parenting is answering the questions your children are bound to ask. We’ve had some pretty good ones in the last year, so I thought it’d be fun to write them down.
Here they are, in no particular order.
“Mommy, if God is righteous and would never do anything wrong, then why did He tell Abraham to take the life of his son Isaac? Doesn’t the Bible say that killing is wrong? I don’t understand.”
“Mommy, before Adam and Eve sinned, when they walked with God… was God still invisible to them?”
“Mommy, does God know all the people that will believe in Him?”
“Mommy, what are feelings?” Seriously, have you ever tried to define the concept of feelings without using the word “feel”? It took me a good five minutes to come up with an answer. Let alone the fact that I was driving the car, ending a phone call about lunch plans, and hoping for a red light so I could put on my make-up. Their timing!
A few days later she asked, “What does ‘after’ mean?”
This one she asked while really thinking through salvation. I thought it was pretty interesting that even at five we want to figure out a way to gain our own righteousness. “So Mommy, what if a person could stop sinning and only do good things for the rest of their life. Could they go to heaven then?”
And for a light ending, yesterday I saw Gracie in the middle of the living room, arms extended, passionately preaching. It didn’t take long to realize she was being Jonah. (She was the only one there) After a few more minutes, she dropped her hands and looked dejectedly up, “God, the people of Nineveh just won’t settle down!”
I have a lot to do today. We have not been operating at full steam around here, but the chaos caused by daily life has kept clicking right along.
On the list would be to make more of a dent in the laundry, clean the bathrooms (gag), start thinking about a menu and grocery list for the week, and check the calendar to see when we’re scheduled to resume homeschooling.
We’re going to fellowship with some friends in the afternoon, so I almost began strategizing about how to accomplish my tasks by lunch.
But I want something about this New Year’s Day to be special for the girlies. My six and four-year-old are old enough to sort of understand the concept of “out with the old in with the new.”
So my idea is to ask them questions about last year, and see what their opinions/desires, even goals might be for the New Year.
You never know with kids; sometimes they’ll really surprise you.
Here are my ideas for questions:
*What was your favorite thing about last year?
*What was the worst thing that happened last year?
*What do you think you learned last year?
*What is one thing you really hope happens this year?
*What would you like to do more of this year?
*What part of obeying Daddy and Mommy do you think you should work on this year?
*How do you think you could be more loving to your family this year?
*How do you think we should try to help other people who don’t have as much as we do this year?
*What is something you would like to learn this year?
*Where is somewhere you would like to go this year?
*If you had a choice between Mommy reading to you more or teaching you music and piano more, which would you choose?
*What is one thing you want to work on this year?
*What would you like Mommy to do more of this year?
*What would you like Mommy to do less of this year?
*What do you want to pray for about this year?
This is a very rough, in-the-moment sketch; but I really want to try it!
Maybe this could be a sweet New Year’s Day tradition?
Here’s to resolving to spend time asking and listening in the morning!
We live in a second story apartment surrounded closely by seven other families.
In the last year we have moved from safely maneuvering four kids up and down the stairs to teaching them how to consider others in how they go up and down the stairs.
After several attempts to explain consideration, stepping lightly, being quiet… an idea dawned:
No elephants on the stairs!
And they got it!
Of course, they took it to the next level, “Be like cats and cheetah’s!” Cheetah’s is because sometimes it takes forever. But I try to downplay the cheetah thing as safety is still the number one concern with them being little and everything.
Have you ever thought of a ridiculous line that helped your kids finally get what you had been working on for months?
Why this… as the end to 31 days of training my kids?
Because in my mind, it boils down to creativity and consistency. Neither of which are possible without our Faithful Creator. I get the blame for all the mistakes and He gets the glory for all the victories.
I have to be honest, I have enjoyed this series/challenge; but I’m also very glad it’s done.
I have learned a lot.
Hopefully, I’ll post about that some time in the future.
In the meantime, you have thirty-nine minutes left to enter the giveaway… and the competition is heating up. = )
Thank you so much to all who have read and encouraged. I’m so thankful for you!
Don’t forget my sister and I did this together! I have completely loved her series! Thanks so much, Laurie, for going through this craziness with me. You’re the best!
In the interest of mixing it up here at the end, I thought I would talk about two specific things where I really take my hands off.
They’re completely unrelated.
The first is how very young children treat a new baby. My girls were all very young when the sibling after them was born. Really, they were young enough to not even have jealousy or other what-happened-to-my-mommy issues. That being said, I realize that what I’m about to say will not apply to everybody.
I tried very hard to not be overly careful or stressed about how the toddler treated the new baby. Rough hugs, kisses, squeezes… even the occasional toy being tossed at them enthusiastically were all okay. For some reason, I didn’t want there to be an immediate connection in their mind between “new baby” and “No.”
We said “Shhhh…baby’s sleeping,” “Be gentle,” and yes, “No,” when Hope was pulling two fistful’s of Sophia’s newborn hair.
But for the most part, it was “Hey look, this is your future best friend!”
Next is slightly more serious in my mind and also perhaps a little more unconventional.
There’s no cool way to say it, so I’ll just blurt it out: I let my kids play with my Bible. Even when they’re young and prone to wrinkle, fold, or even tear it, if they want to sit on the floor and page through it, I’m okay with that. Don’t get me wrong, intentional disrespect and dismemberment is duly treated.
But here’s my thought: I don’t want (again) their first connection between them and the Bible to be “No.” I want my kids to love the Bible. I want them to read it for curiosity, for fun, and eventually for nourishment.
So if they pull it off of the shelf or the desk and start to flip through it, I’m not going to take it away.
Are there some Bibles in our house that have paid the price? Absolutely. Two of my Bibles currently have a few pages stuck in the back after having been torn out. But in my mind, it’s a small price to pay to nurture a love for reading God’s Word even at the earliest years.
We talk about how special the Bible is, how wonderful it is to read it, how God has been so kind to reveal Himself to us through it, and how to treat it carefully. But let’s face it, a two-year-old is probably more likely to catch on to “Hey sweetie, I’m so happy you’re reading the Bible,” than “I’m going to take this now and you can have it again when you can turn those flimsy pages perfectly.”
Does it work? Only time will tell; but this is something I’m willing to take a chance on.
Do you have areas of purposeful lenience in your parenting?
(and hopefully this won’t be the last post in the series even though I didn’t finish it before midnight; one more and then we’ll be done!) = )
Put two chairs facing each other. The child sits in one and the parent sits in the other. Use a timer (I use my phone) and set the timer for one minute.
Each person must sit there with their hands folded and their mouth closed until the alarm goes off.
But it teaches the all-important skill of sitting still!
We actually start out at thirty seconds. When I felt that the girls were ready, we’d bump it up to a minute, then a minute and a half, two minutes, and three minutes.
Three minutes is the goal! (according to the Scheibner’s)
All in all, when I do this with all four kids, it takes about ten to fifteen minutes. Every now and then we let everyone go twice, but most of the time everyone just does it once. Of course, the older girls get longer times and the youngest is still working on thirty seconds.
Now here is where I have to confess.
I’m terrible at doing this!!
Which is so frustrating, because it helps the general welfare so much!
I don’t do it every day, but I should. Some weeks I don’t do it at all. But when I do, I’m always very, very happy.
I think it communicates a few things to your kids.
1. Daddy and Mommy are helping you learn how we expect you to behave.
2.You can sit still!
3. Self-control is a vital skill in life that you will need from now until the day you die.
Here are a few situations where having this “skill” can really save you:
1. Before meal time. “Okay kids, everybody at the table. Fold your hands and practice self-control until we’re ready to pray.”
2. When a child is having trouble stopping their crying. “We’re going to fold our hands and close our mouths until you are done.”
3. When the wiggles come during church or any other need-to-be-quiet-at function.
4. When a child is getting so wound up that they’re about to get in trouble. “Let’s sit down for a minute and practice self-control before you hurt yourself or someone or something else.”
For awhile, I did a lot better at this, but it just seems that days are so busy now that it’s hard to fit in.
But that’s ridiculous.
Doing it definitely saves time in just about every other area.