Developing Good Study Habits, Part 2

Parents,

We’ve been talking in this month’s Online Parenting Class about helping your child to develop good study habits.

There are different ways to structure study and homework time, and it will vary depending on your household schedule and your child’s personality and abilities. However, scheduling a routine “work period” for each day of each week, starting from an early age, is important.

Some parents require kids to hunker down and open up their backpacks immediately after school—but this might not work for all (probably most) kids. Keep in mind they’ve been working hard for many hours and a bit of relaxation or play time might be of great benefit. Figure out what works for your child, and then try and be consistent. If it works to do homework from 4:00-5:00 pm every night, make that family “homework” time.

Set aside time on the weekends, too, to finish up studies or projects—which will be likely more of an issue with older children. Help your kids learn to finish their studies in as relaxed a way as possible, rather than at the last minute or late at night.

As your children are exposed to more and more difficult subjects and material, help them learn some effective study strategies. This might include:

• Keeping an agenda with the date the assignment is due
• Breaking up larger projects with “mini-deadlines” to avoid last-minute panic trying to get the assignment done
• Making flash cards
• Studying for tests well before the actual day of the test
• Organizing study groups
• Learning to take organized notes

I hope this month’s Online Parenting Class has given you some tools to help with developing good study habits in your kids. We understand how difficult parenting is, and are ready with resources and advice when you need it. We are praying for you!

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)

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Money Management and Allowance, Part 2

Parents,

We’ve talked about managing money, tithing and giving, and how important it is to have God’s perspective of money. Let’s now talk about some creative ways to teach your kids, in a practical way, how to do this.

Delayed gratification, giving up today’s desires for future benefits, is a biblical concept. King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived said, “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has” (Proverbs 21:20).

How can you help your child learn to save—in a fun way?

One fun way to help kids learn money management is to gather five or six plastic, see-through containers with lids and label them with a label-maker or a black Sharpie. Some ideas include: tithing, giving, spending, saving, and sharing. Find containers that stack well, so the footprint they take up is small.

Engage younger children by letting them decorate each container with stickers. You can use color-coded stickers for children who cannot yet read—then you can direct a child to “get some money out of the pink tithing jar!” Depending on the age of your child, you can have them help divide their allowance up into each jar.

Once their “saving” jar gets too full, you can bring your child into the bank with you and open up a children’s savings account. Every time the savings jar becomes too full, take a “field trip” to the bank. Let them see how much money they are saving! Give them ideas for what they can save for—a car, or college.

There are also Apps available for your smartphone. P2K Money and Kids Money are great, free options. Each teach the child about saving and planning for long-term purchases. They help children keep track of income like allowance or payments for doing chores.

Kids love money, and they love buying things with money. The trick is to help them understand the wise way to handle the money they have. I am praying for you and your family as you venture into this fun area of money management. And it can be fun! Use your creativity.

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)

Conversations Through TV Shows and Movies, Part 2

Parents,

We’ve been discussing how to incorporate God-focused and healthy conversations with your kids through TV shows and the movies. This is a tough topic, but one that surrounds your kids.

Though there are many negative consequences from the media, not all television shows or movies are bad. Rather than seeing the TV as the devil, look for ways to use what is already in your child’s world for good. Here are a few tips for talking with your kids about media—whether on TV, in the movie theater, on their computer or on their phone.

Ask questions. When a show comes on that is questionable or that communicates something you disagree with, rather than telling your kids why you think it’s wrong and shutting the TV off, ask them what they think. Jesus was a great question-asker! Ask your child, “What do you think of how that kid talked to his sister?” or “That scene was pretty violent. How did it make you feel inside? Should we consider no longer watching that show as a family?”

Explore media together. Children should be encouraged to criticize and analyze what they see in the media. Parents can help children differentiate between fantasy and reality, especially when it comes to sex and violence. When a show is excellent, steer your child toward seeing why: Was the storyline powerful? Did the actors do a good job? Was the movie good without violent scenes or bad language? Would adding those things have made the show any better? If the show had themes you don’t agree with, ask your child what they think.

Agree on shows. Involve your child in creating a list of shows that are okay for the family to watch, but also have them make those decisions because they understand why.

Rather than saying “no” to shows, always go back to God’s best. This will answer the “why.” Explain how God knows better than even moms and dads how our minds operate. The Bible gives instruction on keeping our hearts and minds pure, so God must have a pretty good reason for not wanting us to fill our minds with bad images. Teach your child that being careful about what they watch is ultimately an act of trust—believing God for what He knows is best.

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)

Helping Around the House, Part 2

Parents,

Our video for this month addresses ideas for engaging your children in Helping Around the House. Helping around the house is a simple way to teach your kids to apply godly truths about hard work and responsibility.

Don’t miss out on great discipleship moments by passing off your child’s age or ability as why they can’t do chores. Participating in household tasks is something even very young children can do! However, assigning tasks that are clearly over your child’s head will make chore time terrible for everyone. The following ideas will get you started on age-appropriate chores.
Then it’s your turn to be creative and brainstorm jobs appropriate for your child.

2- and 3-year-olds: Shine the bathroom sink with a towel, carry dishes to the sink, pick up toys, fold washcloths, or tear lettuce for the salad.

4- and 5-year-olds: Sort socks, put away toys, help set the table, carry dishes to the sink, stack magazines, put away dishes, or dust.

6- and 7-year-olds: Take the dog for a walk, empty the dishwasher, prepare lunch, make the bed, weed garden, or rake leaves.

8- and 9-year-olds: Set the table, load the dishwasher, clean the bathroom sink, feed, brush, and bathe the pet, put away laundry, or empty the trash in the bathrooms.

10- and 11-year-olds: Bring in the mail, run the dishwasher, vacuum, fold and put away laundry, take out the garbage, put away dishes.

12- and 13-year-olds: Do laundry and put it away, change sheets, mow the grass, make simple meals, clean the shower and toilet, wash windows, or wash and vacuum the car.

The key to each age and responsibility is to help the child succeed and extend praise. Even very young children want to feel like they did something right and that they were able to contribute to the family and do something “grown up.” Though you may have to re-do some of the tasks, always remember the reason you are having your child help around the house—to help them learn responsibility. Taking responsibility is a normal part of growing up.

I hope this month’s Online Parenting Class has given you some tangible ideas for helping around the house. I am praying for you and your family!

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)

Manners, Politeness, and Respect, Part 2

Parents,

Children are a work in progress. Their behavior at two years old will be completely different at four. And their behavior at seven years old is light years away from where they will be at twelve! They must learn what is appropriate behavior . . . and what isn’t. It’s not something they will inherently know.

We are talking about manners, politeness, and respect in this month’s Online Parenting Class video. The best advice I can give you for teaching your child manners, politeness, and respect is to model it yourself. Show your child what unselfish, polite, and respectful living looks like. Treat others with kindness, share what you have, be generous, honor guests in the home, open doors for others, and speak well of people. Above all, love others because God loves you. When you live a life of integrity yourself, you will be worthy of your child’s respect.

Then, when you work on the details of helping your child act out these character qualities in real life, it will be from a solid foundation. Teach your kids that all people have value because they matter to God. Every man, woman, and child regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, or cultural background is made in God’s image. God loves all people, and thus, so should we. If every person has value to God, then they should be treated as such.

But there are practical ways to teach your kids manners, politeness, and respect. Teach kids to address adults with titles and last names. Teach them to stand when introduced to an adult, and to respond when an adult speaks to them and look them in the eye. Teach your child that you offer their seat up to an adult—and especially to pregnant women! When they make a mistake, teach them to apologize quickly and ask for forgiveness if necessary. Teach them not to use disrespectful words or a rude tone when speaking to others. Listen, never demean or embarrass another human being, and don’t damage other people’s material possessions.

Press on in your work in parenting, and never give up in the quest to teach your kids manners, politeness, and respect. It will go well with them if you do!

My prayer for you is that you do not feel alone in your parenting. I’m available if you have questions or need support as you continue on this journey of parenting—a high calling from God!

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)

Infusing God into Everyday Life, Part 2

Parents,

We’ve been talking about how to incorporate God naturally into your everyday family life. You are your child’s most significant spiritual guide! Don’t miss opportunities to teach about God, without giving a five-minute sermon (that your kids will tune out to, anyway!)

Here are eight additional simple ways to bring Jesus into your child’s daily routine!

1. Pray with your kids before naps, in the car, at meals, and before bedtime.

2. Listen to Bible stories on CD while driving in the car.

3. Use conversation starters at mealtime that direct conversation toward spiritual things. There are numerous resources for conversation starters online.

4. Write the names of people you are praying for on Popsicle sticks and stick them in a jar by their bed. Pull one out before bedtime and pray with your child for that person. Put the Popsicle stick back in the can. The next time that person’s name is drawn, if the prayer has already been answered, thank God with your child.

5. When you need your children to clean up their mess, play a children’s Christian song and make it a game—try to finish cleaning up before the song ends!

6. If you have older children, purchase a God-centered non-fiction book to read together every day.

7. Watch a movie with your child with a spiritual theme; when it’s over, talk about it.

8. Pick a verse a week to memorize as a family.

Infusing God into everyday life involves purposeful parenting. You don’t have to change what you do day to day, but add God conversation, Scripture, and songs into your typical routine. It will make a difference in your child’s posture toward God!

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)

Free Stock Photo courtesy of picxclicx.com

A Third Party, Part 2

Parents,

We’ve been talking this month about considering a mentor relationship for your child. Finding a mentor, however, can be tricky! Seek out insight from leaders at church or trusted friends; they may be able to make suggestions of a Christian college student or young adult with a heart for kids who might jump at the opportunity to pour into a child’s life!

Here are just a couple of suggestions when looking for a mentor.

A mentor must be the same gender. This is a no-brainer. In today’s world, and especially when you are trying to find a young adult or adult person to pour into your child’s life, it’s paramount that you protect your child from any possibility of an inappropriate relationship. In addition to this, same gender mentors will better understand your child and what they might be going through. The Bible alludes to same-gender discipling relationships in 1 Timothy 5:1: “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.”

Mentors should be good listeners. Children need a safe person who will not necessarily try to fix problems but will simply listen. Your child does not need another person to parent them—they need someone who will come alongside them and help them process things out. Choose a mentor who is “quick to listen” and “slow to speak” (James 1:19).

A mentor must be committed. Make sure the person you are considering as a mentor will be deeply committed to the well-being of your child and can be trusted to be available when they say they are. Kids are acutely aware of adults who break promises, and you will want to find a mentor who will be there when they say they will be there.

A mentor should never break confidentiality. Most importantly, a mentor must be committed to confidentially. Breaking confidentiality breaks trust, and your child will pick up on this. Establish ground rules ahead of time, however, for issues that the mentor will need to disclose to you should they arise. If your child expresses anything to their mentor that might impact their safety—abuse, an inappropriate relationship, self-harm or suicidal thoughts, the mentor needs to communicate that to you.

A mentor should be fun! Above all, an ideal mentor will be someone your child will want to be with. Look for someone willing to help your child enjoy life—to play, laugh and be silly. A mentor’s goal should be to encourage the personal and spiritual growth of your child, but also to help them see life as exciting and full of possibilities.

 

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)

How to Fight Fair, Part 2

Parents,

We’ve been talking in this month’s Online Parenting Class about how to fight fair with your child. What do you do if a heated discussion escalates to the point where you are losing your temper?

Let’s say you come home from being away from the house for a few hours to find the kitchen a mess and your child’s personal belongings all over the living room. You have company coming over in an hour, and you were not planning on spending the next thirty minutes cleaning up! Here are some ideas:

1. Stop what you are doing. Rather than opening your mouth and immediately reprimanding your child for trashing the house, take a breath. Don’t say anything until you pull yourself together.

2. Plan what you want to say to your child. When you have calmed down, and perhaps after talking to your spouse or a friend, plan or write out exactly what words you want to say and what tone you will say them in.

3. Take action. Tell your child why you are frustrated and what he or she needs to do next.

4. Retreat. Once you’ve said what you planned to say, disengage from the fight. Give them space to respond to your request.

The Bible provides some clear instruction for what God thinks about fighting, and He’s not too keen on it. Colossians 3:8 says to put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, and abusive language, and Galatians 5:19–25 refers to angry outbursts, conflict and factions (among many other character traits) as part of a person’s old, corrupt nature before believing in God.

Parenting is not easy; that’s for sure! And parenting children who lose their tempers and have angry outbursts feels nearly impossible. However, God tells parents how they are to respond: with love, joy, peace, and patience, with great gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22–23).

Hopefully, this Online Parenting Class has equipped you with a few tips for how to settle down before a discussion with your child becomes a fight. We understand how difficult parenting is, and are ready with resources and advice when you need it. We are praying for you!

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)

Talking with my child about bullying, Part 2

Parents,

I hope you found our first email with video content about bullying very helpful and evidence to you that we’re on your team.
The BIGGEST help we can be as parents is to develop a plan for dealing with a bully. Dealing with a bully is somewhat progressive in nature, so let’s view these in steps.

STEP 1-Tell the person bullying to STOP and walk away. Saying to them, “Don’t talk to me that way,” and walking away takes away their sense of power.

STEP 2-Confront the bully. Talk through a basic script that your child can use in confronting. “It’s not OK for you to treat me this way, and I won’t let it happen. If you don’t stop I will tell an adult.”

STEP 3-It’s time to get an adult involved. If it’s happening at school explain the situation to the teacher, if it’s on the bus speak with the bus driver, if it’s on a sports team talk with the coach, if it’s a neighbor speak with the child’s parents.

STEP 4-Next you involve that person’s direct supervisor. If the soccer coach doesn’t stop the bullying, it’s time for the league supervisor to get involved. If the school teacher isn’t stepping in, it’s time to speak with a principal.

The biggest assurance you can give your child is that God has equipped them to deal with this. 2 Timothy 1:7 says For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

Memorize this verse with your child so they have the reminder that God has given them the power to deal with a bully.

What about your family? Have you dealt with this already? What worked and what didn’t? We’d love to have your feedback on this issue as we all work together to parent well!

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)

The Selfish Child: How do I handle my child wanting more?, Part 2

Parents,

As you read the first email and watched the video about selfishness, I’m sure you found yourself saying, “YEP, my child can definitely be selfish!” Here’s the reality-WE ALL ARE! Each of us looks for ways to get what we want out of life. Yeah, we say it’s not about us, but, in reality, most of us live like it is!

The Israelites thousands of years ago did this same thing after being freed from slavery. They found themselves in the desert asking for more; more food, more water, more leadership.

Here’s the problem the Israelites found themselves in, and one we need to take heed of when it comes to parenting: The Israelites did NOT keep the end in mind! God was delivering them to the promised land for goodness sake, but all they could focus on was not having what they wanted in the present.

Sound familiar! Our kids can’t focus on the end because developmentally they can’t think that far ahead. But WE can. As parents we can keep the end in mind and make choices accordingly! Do we want our children to grow up to be selfless or selfish, generous or greedy? When we parent with the end in mind it helps us make better decisions in the moment.

Ultimately, we want our children to be completely satisfied in Jesus. Hebrews 13:5:
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

So, when your kiddo asks for that next thing, whatever it may be big or small, let’s ask this question to them:
“Does this thing I desire help me become the person God has created me to be?”
This question helps us to keep the end in mind. And isn’t that the end goal, to help our children become the person God has created them to be?

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)