Monday, October 6, 2014

The 5 Love Languages of Children

Last year was a tough year.


Not that anything overly bad happened - on the surface, in fact, our live looked pretty blessed. We had a healthy baby, we were settling in to our lesser finances a little more comfortably, and our marriage was strong.

But last winter we suddenly found ourselves struggling with one of our children. It was hard and it was often ugly and by the end of most days we were exhausted and depleted and unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Through much prayer we were able to get through the worst of it. But as my head cleared in the aftermath, I realized that as parents we had a long way to go in repairing our family dynamic, not just with our one child, but with all of our kids.

I love our kids. I happen to think they are fantastic, smart, funny, kind, and pretty great. They're my favourite kids by far. And I thought I was doing a good enough job letting them know they were loved, until I started to see patterns of behaviour that indicated otherwise.

It was extremely good timing that I received The 5 Love Languages of Children to review. I had heard of the book before, so I was eager to read it.

It was eye-opening to say the least.

To know that each of my children have their own love languages, their own ways of needing to be shown love has indeed been life-changing. Not because I had to do anything drastically different in how I love my kids, but because it has caused me to pay more attention, to be more intentional in filling up my kids' love tanks in ways that are meaningful to them.

One responds best to hugs and other affectionate touch. One responds best to encouraging and affirming words. And yet another to being helped and spending quality time.

I had become lazy in my parenting, I will admit, trying a one-sized-fits-all approach to four very different children. Understanding why that wasn't working and making small changes has made all the difference.

There is less fighting, less stress, and more willingness to cooperate and listen. And not just from the kids, but from me as well.

Not only that, but it has helped me better understand my own love language and that of my husband's, making me more understanding and patient on the days that I feel like being anything but.

And that is a very good thing.

This book has been provided courtesy of Northfield Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. for my honest review.  Available at your favourite bookseller, including Amazon.ca.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Giant Dice Round Up



One of the things I love to do with preschoolers and my own little mister is play games with giant dice. What's not to love about a giant dice? And there are so many ways to use it! Here are a few ideas for you to do on a rainy day. Or take it outside on a sunny day, too!

Movement:


Who wouldn't love this Physical Activity Cube from Little Family Fun? This is one of our faves around here. The little mister loves to run and jump, and watching him flap his arms like a bird cracks me up every single time. 


This Get Up and Move game from Growing a Jeweled Rose is a fun one to do if you happen to have two boxes and kids who need a bit more of a challenge.



You can take this cute Lily Pad Jump game from Toddler Approved and do all sorts of variations. Move to each space by number, colour, shape, or letter, whatever you are intentionally learning about at the time.

Don't have time to prep? A simple action/counting activity is always fun - pick an action, and do it to however many times you've rolled the die. The kids will love it and if you do it long enough, you may just wear them out. You're welcome.

Math/Literacy Games






I love a good math game with giant dice, especially when you have a group of kids to play with. This M&M corn game from Toddler Approved is a great example, but the possibilities are endless. I've done it to count lady bug spots, spiders on webs, clouds in the sky, etc.


Depending on how you've designed your dice, you can also use it for colour scavenger hunts and letter sound hunts for something a little different.

Emotional Development/Dramatic Play

I found this cute idea on Pinterest - have the kids act out the animal and feelings. For littler ones, you simplify by choosing to roll just one of the die. A great way to encourage roll playing and understanding facial cues.

Something I liked to do at the beginning of the school year (and when I occasionally sub now) was introduce myself by using a favourite things cube. I drew cues like food, pet, toys, etc., on each side and had a student roll it so I could tell them my favourite thing. When we ran out of sides, I gave each of the kids a turn to tell us their favourite things. It's a great icebreaker game!

Need to know how to make a giant dice so you can get started on your own fun? Check out my post here with all the instructions! And do be sure to let me know how you and your kids enjoyed your giant dice - it's fun to share ideas!




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just call me Mom


I've been working my way through Restless - You Were Made For More, by Jennie Allen. First of all, let me just say if you haven't read this book, you seriously need to. Even if you think you know what you were made to do, this book will get you thinking about what God really has made you to do.

I've been operating under the premise this past year that I was supposed to fulfill one of two past callings. Because one isn't an option at this point, I decided to pursue the second. All without truly consulting God about any of it. I figured that if I had done it before, it made sense that I could just step right back into it. I told Him what I was up to, and then proceeded to struggle and agonize for the next twelve months.

Good times.

What I didn't do was pay attention when I heard God call me to leave off working and running a daycare to be fully present as a stay-at-home-mom. God knows that I get distracted easily, and I also have a tendency toward avoidance when things get hard. But I assumed that His directions to sacrifice a meager paycheque had more to do with trust (a recurrent issue in my life) and nothing at all to do with purpose. After all, I had that calling to pursue. Staying at home made perfect geographical sense.

Turns out, I missed the point. While reading Restless, I fully expected to get all fired up to be more than just a mom. Turns out, I've instead started to become fired up to be just a mom. And I hold this quote responsible:

So whether our role is to mother or start a business or sponsor a child or sweep a floor or run a bank or teach little people to read, we don't want to miss it. His Spirit will pour us into need, and who are we to judge where and what is the greatest need? This isn't as much about what or where; this is about getting over ourselves and just doing it. (emphasis mine)

I realized I was so caught up in trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing, that I was missing exactly what I was supposed to be doing!

I believe one hundred percent, even on the days that the bank balance scares me and the school fees are mounting and it is still another week until payday, on the days laundry gets old and I just want to go somewhere, that God has asked me to be home, fully present, for this season. To set aside the things that distract me and pour into the need right in front of me. 



Here I was looking for some big calling and He has just handed me the biggest one.

Linking up for SDG.