4Moms Kids

Parenting Questions

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4 Moms of 35+ Kids Answer Your Parenting Questions

Copyright © 2012 by 4moms35kids.com. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Pages specified as "Printable" may be reprinted for single household use. All other rights reserved. 1st edition, March 2012 Contact: 4moms35kids@gmail.com Ordering info: http://4moms35kids.com/ Cover design by Joy A. Miller. Interior layout and design by Marisa L. Boettinger

.....................43 The DHM Answers… ......................................................................................................................................................................45 Kimberly Answers… ...............41 KimC Answers… ................................................................................................................11 Kimberly Answers… ..............................................................................................................................................................................51 The DHM Answers… ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................56 ..........................................................................................9 KimC Answers… ...............16 How do you teach children to be still and quiet in church? Connie Answers… ...................................................................................................................................................10 The DHM Answers… .............................21 The DHM Answers… .................................................................................49 KimC Answers… .....................................................38 How do you keep things fair for all your children? Connie Answers… ...................6 How do you get your family to church on time? Connie Answers… ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Table of Contents Click on a page number to jump to that section in the book................................................................................................35 Kimberly Answers… ..............................................................20 KimC Answers… .......................................................................................34 The DHM Answers… ..........................................................................................................................53 Kimberly Answers… .......................................................................................23 Kimberly Answers… .............46 How do you keep your patience in the midst of chaos? Connie Answers… .......................................................28 How do you prepare children to be around unbelieving family? Connie Answers… ........... Introduction .......................................................................................32 KimC Answers… ..................

...........................................................................................................62 The DHM Answers… ................................111 ...................88 KimC Answers… ..........................................................................................107 The DHM Answers… ........................................................................................................................................................................How do you manage outings with only little ones? Connie Answers… ..............................89 The DHM Answers… .........................................................................................................105 KimC Answers… ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................80 Kimberly Answers… .......101 How do you find time for projects that need to be done...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... require focused attention and which the children canʼt help with? Connie Answers… .........73 Do you ever feel discouraged or overwhelmed? Connie Answers… ...................................................................98 Kimberly Answers… ........90 Kimberly Answers… ..96 The DHM Answers… .............................65 Kimberly Answers… ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................85 How do you make sure your children get enough individual time? Connie Answers… ....................................92 Naps: How important are they? How do you make them happen? Connie Answers… ....................................................................................................................................................................................94 KimC Answers… ...............................................................................................................................................................................................60 KimC Answers… ...............................................................................................................109 Kimberly Answers… ...76 KimC Answers… .....77 The DHM Answers… ...................................................................................................

........118 Kimberly Answers… ............................................................................................................................................136 Which parenting style is best? Connie Answers… ........................................................................................................................................141 The DHM Answers… .......................139 KimC Answers… .............................................................................................172 The DHM Answers… ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................115 The DHM Answers… ..........................................................................................174 Kimberly Answers… .............................How do you teach your children to do chores? Connie Answers… ........189 Fruit of the Spirit Printable ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................144 Kimberly Answers… ...............................................................................................................................................................................................................156 Kimberly Answers… .................170 KimC Answers… ...........................................................................................................................................193 ...................180 Appendix A: Master Chore List ..........................128 KimC Answers… ........114 KimC Answers… .....................................154 The DHM Answers… ..............133 Kimberly Answers… ..............................................................................130 The DHM Answers… .......................................................................................................................185 Appendix B: You Might Be a Large Family If.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................191 Sermon Notes Printable ................153 KimC Answers… .......................................................149 How do you teach your children about the birds and the bees? Connie Answers… ...............................................................................................................................................166 How do you deal with sibling squabbles? Connie Answers… ...................................124 How do you teach children to be diligent? Connie Answers… ....................

They have been merrily married since 1982. Happily God helped her grow up. Her family shares their little house on the hill with dogs. and strive to live a joy-filled life in the noisiest house on their road. The Deputy Headmistress is shy and blogs behind a pseudonym which she intended to be amusing and somewhat self-depreciatory. and a 12 year old cat named Tim. That is. large family issues. ages 7 and 4. and so is the Headmaster. Connie writes daily at Smockity Frocks about homeschooling. recipes. with a fifth on the way). crafts. They have seven wonderful Progeny both by birth and adoption. snakes. The noisy part requires no striving whatsoever. and He is gracious and forgiving. lizards. they strive for the joy-filled part. frugal living. and more. She and her husband of over 26 years raise their children together in the country with chickens and goats.Introduction Who are The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids? Connie Hughes is a former public school teacher turned homeschool mom of 8 rowdy kids. a growing array of adorable grandbabies (currently four. Usually. in spite of the fact that at 17 the DHM nearly got the HM beaten up by her other boyfriend. parenting. big sister to 13 sibs. The chickens stay outside. and at 20 she and the HM were nearly arrested by a cop from church. who stay with . all with a healthy dose of humor. and tarantulas. and homeschooling mom of 10 children. and two precious unofficial foster sons. Kim Coghlan is a Christian. a wife. She and the Headmaster locked eyes in a high school Sunday School class in 1980 when she was a 17 year old high school student and he an 18 year old roofer living on his own. two handsome sons-in-law. She lives with her very large family in a very small house in south Texas and finds peace in chocolate and blogging at Life in a Shoe: the methods and madness of one family of 12.

Many of their decisions may seem strange to the world and they’re good with that. kings. She is married to an amazingly patient husband. and sometimes more. frugalities. Kimberly Rivera is a second generation homeschooling mom to her 11 children. Their family’s primary goal is to glorify God and to raise children who will do the same. and living the countercultural Christian life at The Common Room. Kimberly blogs at Raising Olives. email. cabbages. The DHM. family life. . and Facebook. living in the country.them most weekends and holidays. Why This Ebook? The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids receive many parenting questions through friends. books. We have compiled our best answers to the most frequently asked questions in an effort to help as many moms as possible. who also happens to be a magnificent father. For that reason they attempt to examine every decision that they make in the slight of God’s word. They have been homeschooling since 1988. music.. blog regularly about politics. blogs. and occasionally some of the Progeny.

How do you get your family to church on time? .

toast. It never takes us more than 3-4 minutes from stepping out the door to heading down the driveway. but I can rotate who gets this done each week. These are the items that are usually being searched for at the last minute if we don't take this step. I don't want the clean up or the preparation time a bacon. pancake. and we are usually on time to church and elsewhere. Have a "load up" routine. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 9 .HOW DO YOU GET YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH ON TIME? Connie Answers… I won't say whether or not I have ever used The Happy Housewife's let kids sleep in their clothes trick. We have assigned seating in our van and employ the buddy system to make sure each little person has a helper to get them buckled up in a jiffy. I don't have time to french braid or curl all seven girls' hair. We have cereal. Everyone else gets a simple clip or headband. Limit and rotate "special" hairdos. and egg breakfast would require. but I WILL say that I do not like to be late. or something else simple on Sunday mornings. Here are a few of the things I will admit to doing to make sure we make it to church on time: Lay out shoes and Bibles the night before. Just say no to fancy breakfast fare.

don’t ask me. or you can just listen to the audio for a few of my best tips and dirty secrets. but we aspire to do better and we are improving.HOW DO YOU GET YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH ON TIME? KimC Answers… The size of the family has very little to do with whether you are on time for church or late. You can call it cheating. Ask me how I know. You probably know without listening that we are not always on time. I don’t want to talk about it. Back when I first posted about this subject. On second thought. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 10 . but it is entirely possible to be on time with a large family. I failed to plan ahead and ended up creating an audio post to save time. It may exacerbate the problem. Your ability to plan ahead and execute those plans has much to do with it. just as it is entirely possible to be late with no children at all.

How did this happen? He thought he’d left his shoes in the car in order to be more efficient.. He preached anyway. any other mornings where I have places I need to be. in his stocking feet.HOW DO YOU GET YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH ON TIME? The DHM Answers… It's Sunday again already? How did that happen? When? What happened to the rest of the week in between Sundays? And where are my SHOES? That's often how I have felt about Sunday mornings. Consider the various reasons we were late to church: the key to the car broke in the ignition. There were months and months at one congregation where I felt like God's purpose in having us there was to assist in the sanctification and development of forbearance and charity in some older saints who were much pained by our frequent tardiness. we were so disorganized that we once showed up to church and discovered that one of us had no shoes. a child slipped on the steps and cut her head open. I discovered my preschooler had no underwear on. and on more than one occasion the snow storm in the night had piled the snow up so tightly against the outside doors that we had to FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 11 . he hadn’t. we'd get halfway there and find a kitten in the car (I am allergic to cats and leaving a kitten in the car for a couple hours and then getting back in the same car was not an option). On another memorable occasion. It was painful. I dropped a jug of milk on the floor and then had to change my milk-sodden clothes. the most bizarre things would happen to us on our way out the door or in the first half mile of the drive. but the truth is in our younger days. or the barn cats had pooped on the seats since the child had left the door open. It was my husband. and he was scheduled to preach. because during that period I was actually doing all the things you are supposed to do! No matter how much I planned in advance. and. just as she flashed the speaker that day. a child would step on the hem of my skirt as I was on my knees helping her sibling.. and when I stood my skirt would make a lovely ripping sound and I would feel a draft where no draft should ever be felt. and. indeed. back when we had a mere two children. we would discover that the car was dead because a child had gone out to the car the night before to get a beloved stuffed animal. I can give you tips and ideas.

nor making any of this up. c. It is not The Lord who is offended. I am about as organized as the White Queen in Alice. I also do not think the two older couples who harped on our lateness ever knew how much they made me dread coming to church. took me aside to give me tips and suggestions on how to make Sunday mornings run more smoothly so we could get to church on time. apparently. An organized person who splashed milk on herself could change clothes in a twinkling. “You wouldn't be late to a job. why be more disrespectful to the Lord?" and I would rebelliously think: a. He's seen my morning and I am pretty sure He understands. and she just gaped at me. In addition to being. which means we’d have missed most services. the wife of the man who preached the pointed sermons. and if I did. And then there’s my complete lack of any sense of passing time. She had nothing to offer that we were not already trying. I do NOT have an outside job. because there would be another ironed outfit or three neatly hanging in the closet. plus shoes. I really have no concept of time passing. I am neither exaggerating. I do not have to take seven children with me to work. six of them longhaired girls dressed in prettier and cleaner clothes than they wear the rest of the week. I would have stayed home any time we couldn’t arrive five minutes early. I know we were the topic of a couple of pointed sermons. I'm pretty sure I'd be fired for excessive lateness. If not for my husband. I am not sure if she thought I was lying or if I was cursed. I proceeded to explain the things that had made us late the previous string of Sundays. cursed by some daemon of Tardiness. The speaker would say things like. a sort of Jonah who really ought to be tossed overboard before I contaminated the rest of the group and caused all their little ships to sink beneath the weight of our disorganized chaos. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 12 . At least then I know they would have prayed for us. b. At some point during this time an elder’s wife. I think I have some pathological deficiency.HOW DO YOU GET YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH ON TIME? scoot out a window and then shovel our way out.

some days. I don't get bored and I coped well when my husband was in the military and had to travel. It's like I have a great big void where other people have some sense of time. Still. As soon as the children were old enough to choose their own clothes. but call me a doubting Thomas. Never. but I’ve been working on it all my life. I missed him. my progress when getting ready. because until I see those shoes and socks with my own eyes. it's a good habit to have. No. Of course. no matter how stoutly given. but I had no sense that weeks had gone by. here and now.HOW DO YOU GET YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH ON TIME? There are good points to this. I hope I at least made some of you feel better about your Sundays. and I cannot stress enough that this includes shoes and socks. from shoes and socks to underwear and all outerwear—even though the dog will drag away a shoe in the middle of the night and chew it to shreds. that amounts to the same thing. But there are bad points as well: I cannot judge what is a good time to shoot for. I have no conviction at all that they exist in my house rather than some black hole. and bring them to me for inspection. I always think I have more time than I do. Here's my advice anyway. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 13 . It's all only today. laying out clothes the night before— especially shoes and socks. I'm working on it. or how long things will take me. not rolling in dead rabbits. silly. my husband had them start picking out their outfits. So there you have it—asking me for advice on getting out the door on time is kind of like asking the woman who was divorced six times for advice on marriage. or he will lay down across three outfits for a nap after having had a nice roll in a dead rabbit he found outside. ever believe that your child really knows exactly where those shoes are. You can wake my husband in the middle of the night and his internal clock is so acutely calibrated he can tell you the time to a minute or two. combined with some Awful Warnings: You all know that laying out everybody's clothes on Saturday the night before is the way to go. Me? I don't even have an internal calendar. Do not accept excuses and assurances. I know that faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen.

He wakes up any lingering slug-a-beds. and put longhaired little girls to bed with hair so tightly braided that they look like you gave them a botox shot and the skin on their faces is so rigid that they can never develop wrinkles. It's a good idea to do showers and baths the night before. My husband gets up first on Sundays. slimy goop into her beautiful whiteblonde hair all night. there was a period of time where my husband required that the children get dressed from head to toe in those clothes to demonstrate to me that the clothes fit and that there were no holes in embarrassingly conspicuous spots. Start prepping a casserole or crockpot meal the night before. or. I have heard of families where this sort of thing never happens. one of the children will probably throw up on another one. It is a good idea to think ahead about meals. nor any dreadfully hideous stains. chalky. get up in the night and eat two pieces of pink chalk and then drool pink. and go to bed earlier than you want to. but still. ever understand. and he puts some praise music or hymns on the CD player kind of LOUDLY. Water FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 14 . it's a good idea. After all. Supervise the return of the clothes to their proper place. I'd like to meet them in a dark alley. After you put the offspring to bed early and go to bed yourself. In short. so it doesn't really help much. and get it in the oven or crockpot before heading out for church.HOW DO YOU GET YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH ON TIME? After a few major errors with this approach. or else you know what will happen to them. for reasons you will never. One day they will thank me for this. or safety pin a beach towel around their necks like a bib. er. this was often when we had peanut butter sandwiches or granola for breakfast. I am sure this is why my oldest two girls. or missing buttons. it is possible that nobody will get sick on a sibling. nothing to make us look even more obviously like an episode where the Beverly Hillbillies Run a Shoddy Daycare than usual. Get up earlier than you think you need to. Either feed the children in their skivvies. When the children were smaller. in Heaven someday. fiendishly coat a formerly clean sibling in baby powder from head to toe. although eventually we just ended up skipping breakfast. look about 12 years old. both mothers in their late twenties. I mean.

and then she looked quickly over the Church Clothes to see if we'd done them any damage. er. Eliminate any clothes that require ironing.” As soon as we got home from church. of course. As your family grows. Go to bed at a reasonable time. and went with uplifted hearts to join other Christians in praise and fellowship. I mean. Think through your priorities here: what really matters? That the children all wore matching colors and looked like they stepped off the cover of The Teaching Home? Or that you remained cheerful and in good spirits with each other. No matter what.HOW DO YOU GET YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH ON TIME? may or may not be involved. They are a tool of Satan. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 15 . I can neither confirm nor deny. even though somebody's hair was unbrushed. In my own family. she just hung them back in the closet so they would be readily available the following Sunday. Pack the diaper bag the night before. she made us change our clothes. wickedly promiscuous creatures that they are. and the preschooler had peanut butter smeared on her cheeks. assign older children to help with younger children. if it ever happens. If not. This might mean you should bump all that stuff you're supposed to do the night before up to the morning before. we just eventually moved to much more casual clothing until the teenage girls got old enough to buy and care for their own clothes. Move to a climate where sandals are always seasonable. although I have heard that the children thoroughly enjoy it when. I only have one son. Be cheerful. thus eliminating the need for socks. and one of your sons managed to make it out the door wearing a Star Wars t-shirt featuring Darth Maul? I speak hypothetically. never staying with their original mate. My mother's practice was for each of us to have an outfit known as “church clothes.

• Regular chores are done so the house is clean and tidy • The table is set for Sunday lunch • We set up extra tables and chairs if needed • Food is prepared for Sunday lunch • All children are bathed and/or showered • We lay out clothes for the next day • Family worship • The children (and adults) get to bed on time Set the alarm for Sunday morning Give yourself more time than you think you need. so I have plenty of time to_________ before I start getting ready. Prepare Saturday evening Each Saturday at around 5 or 6 we stop our projects and prepare for the Lord’s day. Get ready first. trust me we’ve tried it. set your alarm and get up.HOW DO YOU GET YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH ON TIME? Kimberly Answers… Getting a large family to church on time is the same as getting a small family to church on time with just a little more potential for excitement. “I got up early. so much of our plan for getting out the door includes preparing for guests. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 16 . We have company in our home nearly every Sunday afternoon.” That doesn’t work in our house. Don’t fool yourself by thinking.

right? Use the buddy system Have older children help the younger children get dressed or make sure that someone checks those little ones before you leave. Not only is this a special treat for the children. it makes preparation and clean up a snap and allows the kitchen crew to have a more restful beginning of the Lord’s Day. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 17 . Have the children eat and brush their teeth before they get on their Sunday clothes The reasons for this are obvious. Unchecked little boy Checked little boy Not that we’ve ever had a kid make it to church without shoes in the winter. but double checking those littles may save you some embarrassment.HOW DO YOU GET YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH ON TIME? Simplify breakfast Our breakfast every Sunday is a bagel with a glass of juice.

someone spilled juice on the floor and I forgot to scrub the potatoes for lunch. but we don’t.HOW DO YOU GET YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH ON TIME? Leave time to fix hair. It seems that we always have those last minute things. Most of the time this happens for most of our family. Plan some more extra time After everyone is ready Mark likes for our family to spend about 30 minutes preparing for worship before we leave. so we plan extra time to finish lunch preparations. braid hair or wipe up that spill. make beds and clean up messes The 6 year old has her heart set on french braids. How about you? FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 18 . but having extra time does provide a kind of ‘on time’ insurance for those last minute ‘emergencies’ that tend to pop up. You’d think with all the ‘extra’ time suggestions that our family would get to church with lots of extra time.

How do you teach children to be still and quiet in church? .

it is imperative that they learn to remain relatively quiet and still during the duration of the hour long service. It'll grow on you. we take them out to the "cry room" and make them sit in our laps without getting down and with no toys or books for entertainment. The key to having children who actively worship during church. When we do this consistently. but I do believe that we should "train up a child in the way he should go". For this reason. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 20 . Then all bets are off. it isn't long before a 15-18 month old child will understand that it is more pleasant to sit quietly in the assembly with a dolly or book than it is to go out and have nothing to hold or look at. we go back into the assembly and they may hold a doll or a book. so we do not participate in children's church. When necessary. have yourself 6 or 7 more kids.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? Connie Answers… We like to have our children worshipping with us in the assembly. It must be instilled. but in any case the idea is that goodness and right behavior don't just spring forth from children. The link above will give you some ideas how we teach our children what is expected. while not distracting the entire row behind you with monkey business is to TEACH them what is expected. Here is a quiet way to keep even small children engaged and listening intently to the sermon. When they can remain calm and quiet. and that is not to say that they always do it perfectly. and see the Sermon Note Taking Printable. That is. And if you don't believe that last statement. so you will want to read that post if the word "training" didn't just turn you off forever from reading my blog. unless my husband is out of town and I am locked in the cry room and unable to get out. Yes. and you may call that teaching or impressing or guiding. along with the training methods I linked to above. I have written about training little children for church before. I am aware that our children are not dogs.

you can teach and expect your children – even toddlers and older babies—to sit still in church without being disruptive to the people around you. and let them know exactly what you expect and require from them. Remind the older children that they should not encourage the younger ones to use the bathroom during the service just because the older one forgot to take care of her own business beforehand. then make it clear that all but the very youngest are expected to wait until after the service for subsequent bathroom trips. Decide if you are going to allow scribbling. because some of our 10 children have been known to sit quietly in church some of the time. I can help. etc. and younger ones may have a pen to write on their bulletins. Of course this only works for children old enough to understand what you’re talking about. and have the materials ready for distribution with a minimum of whispers. fuss and fidgeting. It may feel this way sometimes but honestly. Choose your seating carefully. but doing this allows you to focus more on keeping the younger ones in line. and this is fine by us if he can do it without asking a lot of questions. Arrive early enough to take care of bathroom trips before the service starts. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 21 . How’s that for street credit? You expected better? I’m just pulling your leg. Remind the children of the standard. a certain amount of preparation is very helpful: Give a pep talk before you arrive. We allow babies to have one quiet toy. I understand. quiet toys. 5yo Perry likes to copy words from the hymnal or bulletin. This is phased into taking notes as they get older. As usual.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? KimC Answers… If you have 10 children and would like them to be still and quiet in church.

Even babies and toddlers can learn to behave well in church. and He is pleased when we train little ones to serve Him as well. and he constantly shows me that they can do better than I expect. you will reap bountiful harvests later. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 22 . and chances are the people in the next row are totally unaware of the fidgeting and quiet battles of will happening in your row. If you invest time in training now.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? We tried several arrangements when all the children were young and hit upon a plan that worked beautifully for us. He won’t mind if you missed part of the sermon yet again. but don’t let the process stress you out. :) Plan for training. I can’t say enough about placing your challenging children directly in front of Dad. Do your best. Donʼt sweat it. we do things a little differently but we still use 2 rows whenever possible. Don’t expect to hear every word of the sermon while you have little ones. Most people expect children to make a little noise. Now that we have 4 teens. Our worship is our service to God. We invariably find that our disruptions passed unnoticed by most of the people around us. remember? You and your children will have good days and bad ones. On the other hand. and someday you’ll all laugh over the time your 5yo got her legs tangled in a front row folding metal chair and fell in a deafening clatter right in the middle of prayer. My husband’s standard is higher than mine. they do occasionally make some noise. Have high standards but realistic expectations. but they’re still going to make some noise now and then. It’s a process.

one Sunday morning she picked up her brother's Matchbox car and tossed it in a perfectly beautiful arc several pews up. I never sent my children. including every single person I thought was giving me looks. We couldn't get to church on time to save our lives. When this was announced. assumed my 2 year old was one of the newly adopted children. during the course of that class our one year old son escaped from me and raced up the aisle to his father in the middle of class. They were probably staring distractedly in my general FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 23 . It was about that same time when the Cherub. I was sure I was getting 'looks' from people who wondered why I didn't send her off. Your own children are seldom as disturbing to others as you worry that they are. So while we have been showered with compliments by the older saints at church.. they were not thinking about me at all. our children were so well behaved that in one congregation my husband was asked to teach a class on parenting. Naturally. who had been given physical therapy to help her master the skill of letting go of objects in order to toss them lightly. people came up to congratulate us. don't you? After months of failures at the task of opening her hand and releasing a tossed object. I worried that my two year old was distracting to others. For the majority of our time with babies and young children.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? The DHM Answers… We have seven Progeny. The first five were born between 1983 and 1990. My children were the only children in Sunday evening services in a large congregation with lots and lots of children. All those times I thought they were thinking mean things about me. well. Then we adopted two new children. One of them has multiple and severe special needs.. they did not even know I had a noisy toddler. we have been showered with compliments on our children's excellent behavior in church. assuming you are the right sort of parent and do have these concerns about not distracting others during worship. They not only were not thinking hard thoughts of me for not sending my noisy toddler downstairs with the other noisy kids. I'm not being funny. but once there. and so are we. you see where this is going. our Progeny are far from perfect. beaning somebody on the noggin with it. Most of them. Really. In one congregation we attended there was a children's service on Sunday nights.

Again. Occasionally I have entertained a child with a simple handkerchief doll (link below). or I will fold a paper boat for younger children using gum wrappers. and this worked well for them. I didn't permit toys that a child could only play with using sound effects. Yes. or squinting at the back clock to check and see if we would get out of services in time to beat the Baptists to Dairy Queen. I did permit toys. put the milk away. I did not allow any toys until the sermon started. our fifth child. we don't bring many. But the children couldn't play with toys or look at books during singing. the Progeny were all pretty well behaved most of the time during services. we also have been bringing two little boys to church with us since about 2006. Once the sermon starts. With my own older girls I got to the point where we brought no toys at all. I do not force singing—I do not want young pharisees. We have a rhythm of when we do things. Here is what we generally did during services. We also allowed the kids to draw." And then. We did bring a couple of books for the children to look at. One or two small toys seemed to be best for us. I have nursed my babies in church. and they didn't have to have religious connections. of course.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? direction. so well behaved that the eldest saints would say to their adult children. we had no friends. and sometimes Pip. During communion with our two little boys I do give them a mint or a piece of gum—they were not used to church at all. small toys may come out. Still. but I didn't permit many. We found the children behaved better the closer we sat to the front. This did not work quite so well with my son or these two little boys who never had to sit still before. the bulletin or a piece of scratch paper. One or two is plenty. and couldn't understand why we were allowed to put something in our mouths but they weren't. For instance. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 24 . Drawing or writing on paper or looking quietly at a small book is permitted during communion. you ought to be able to manage your two. I gave/give the small people money for the collection. "See? If that family with all those children can get them to behave so nicely. In addition to our seven. too. wondering if they'd remembered to turn off the oven. and I did prefer that these be religious in nature.

If we weren't changing a diaper or breastfeeding a baby. This gave them practice sitting still and quiet on a daily basis (more or less). philosophy. and ideas for children around 3 and up are excellent. One rule we did consistently enforce was if I had to take a child to the nursery for anywhere else. but her tips. while my husband worked. My mother did this with us when we were small. Even in their teens. and I did it with all my children. A very useful book to use if you have children about three and up is Parenting in the Pew. write a short list of words that he will probably be hearing in the sermon. listen carefully to the sermon. Our children were never allowed to sit with anybody but their parents until they were around 13. As soon as you have a feel for where the preacher is going. there was no playing. I got a lot of odd stares and even challenges from other moms in the nursery. I couldn't possibly disagree more strongly with that point. But we wanted more than merely civil behavior. and so we acted accordingly. too. I did. They lived up to our expectations. He should make a tally mark every time he hears that word. Ask your child to squeeze your hand every time he hears those words. Make it a contest if that suits your FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 25 . whisper two or three words in your child's ear that you expect will be used with some frequency.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? We did practice “church” at home with our little ones. If your child cannot read. Allowing a couple small toys to be held in the pew but not in the nursery helped reinforce that. and he does like. but we believed our children could be quiet and not distract others. but my children learned pretty quickly that there was a lot less freedom and fun in the cry room than out of it. not in the back. I wanted them to know that NOTHING was going to be more boring than being in the nursery during services. or rather. It's not helpful for younger children because she doesn't think children four and under can benefit from being in the worship service with their parents. the child sat quietly in my lap in the nursery. The toys stayed in the pew. An exception is that the 12 year old can sit with his brothers-inlaw and nephew if he likes. As soon as a child can read. we prefer that they sit in front of us. We wanted engagement. We were not always as consistent as I wish we'd been.

We draw questions out to answer while at a picnic lunch after church. or give him a short phrase to sing. When singing. Keep notes yourself to quiz the children on later. Change the words periodically. One recent Sunday. I did not care if my 3 year old was singing 'God is love' while everybody else is singing 'Come. you will see who can squeeze the other person's hand first. to keep the child's interest as well as keeping the game interesting. my questions were something like this: • Who are some people we need to pray for? • What were some of the songs we sang? • What is that song about? • Who served communion? • What was the sermon about? • Who can tell me a scripture that was used? Another one? Another one? • The preacher told a story. and every time the preacher says. give your child a whispered suggestion of somebody he or she can pray for. whisper the next line to your child. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 26 . I have also written my questions on different pieces of paper and put them in a paper cup.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? child's nature: tell him you are both going to be listening carefully. Thou Fount.' During prayers. Can anybody tell me what it was about? • What can we learn from that? • What Bible characters did the preacher mention? • What did he say about fences? • Who heard one of our memory verses today? Which verse was it? • Who prayed the closing prayer? What did he say in his prayer? • Did we hear of any answered prayers this week? What were they? • Who was there today? Who was missing? Is there anybody we should send a card to this week? I have quizzed the family on the drive home from church. "Temple" (or whatever).

. Holy." My older children keep their own notebook of notes taken from sermons now. Trust and Obey.. let's tell God thank-you. Jones is sick." Help him fold his hands. Garcia had a new baby. Please do not dismiss them by thinking they cannot appreciate such glories as Holy. ask God to make her better. Mrs. Low in the Grave.. Hymns do not have to be childish to be loved by children. whisper quietly and reverently to your child. During the prayers. Power in the Blood are all popular with very young children. Holy.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? Pick a hymn or three to sing with your children at home throughout the week. Other posts you may find useful: No frills handkerchief doll you can make in church Tips from other moms FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 27 .. Hymns with some repetition are popular with small children. A friend of mine does her notebooks this way: Fill out a piece of paper with the following titles followed by blanks: • Title of sermon: • Text: • Related texts: • Main point: • 2nd point: • 3rd point: • What God wants me to do in my life: • A verse I would like to memorize: Keeping such a notebook is not just useful for church. "We're talking to God together. It gives your children good practice for notetaking for school when they are older. Anywhere with Jesus. Sing one of the hymns on the way home from church. Whisper something for him to pray for "Mrs. Ask for one of those hymns to be sung at church. Hold your very small child in your arms during a song and whisper the words to him just a few seconds ahead of singing them so he knows what's coming and can join in.

he was much displeased. and learn to fear the LORD your God. Suffer the little children to come unto me. To have our children in the very presence of God distracting them from worshiping God by giving them a snack.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? Kimberly Answers… One of the most frequently asked questions that our family gets in real life is.” We believe that Scripture teaches that children should be partakers in corporate worship and that Jesus delights in the presence of children. God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. no matter how quiet and non-disruptive they are. look at books or color does not further our goal.” Mark 10:14 “But when Jesus saw it. and now is. and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children. may hear. men and women. Deuteronomy 31: 12-13 “Gather the people together. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 28 . With this in mind our approach to teaching our children how to behave during the worship service is different than most. and thy stranger that is within thy gates. and fear the LORD your God. John 4:23-24 “But the hour cometh. which have not known any thing. as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. We aren’t teaching our children to sit still and be quiet during church. allowing them to play with toys. that they may hear. “How do you teach your children to be still and quiet during church?” Our answer may surprise you. but rather for the one who is being worshiped. We are trying to teach our children to worship God. and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God” We believe that the act of worship is not for the one who is worshiping. and that they may learn. and children. and said unto them. when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

” or “Don’t kick your feet. “He talked about Paul. “Fold your hands in your lap and look at pastor. One way we help our toddlers practice self-control over their bodies is to give them concrete instructions. so they know what is acceptable and what is not. Tips for training children to worship: Set high expectations. (We teach them.” Young children: Each Sunday on the way home from church Mark begins with the youngest verbal child and asks them about the worship service. You may be surprised at your children’s capabilities. We do say. Remember that they are children. Toddlers: They learn to control those little bodies and to follow along with the order of worship (stand when the congregation stands. they are going to get distracted and they are going to embarrass you. they have the opportunity to do just that. We DO NOT say. Our little one might say. kneel when the congregation kneels and pray when the congregation prays). “Sit still.” That might mean “Do not run around and jump off the backs of the pews. I generally nurse the newborn and hold them while they sleep.” and that would be sufficient. they are going to have bad days. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 29 . but we expect more as they get older. Newborns: The goal is quiet. “no noise with your mouth”.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? Our goal is to disciple our children so that from the very first moment they are physically and mentally capable of worshiping God in spirit and in truth. Once they give up the nap we encourage them to stay awake. they are not always going to be still and quiet. Young babies: They learn to sit contentedly in my lap and not ‘talk’ and babble. They also learn to pay attention and begin to be able to answer questions about the worship service.” to a two year old. Each child must tell him something that they heard during the service in order to have Sunday dessert. If the worship service falls during the child’s regular nap time we allow them to sleep in our arms. most of our 7-11 month old babies love singing with the rest of the congregation and this is something that we encourage.) However.

This makes it easier for the children to see the pastor and less likely for them to be distracted by others. You may be interested in mores specific ways we train our children to sit through family and corporate worship. Sit in the back. sitting in the back may be a better option. Ask questions. it is a beautiful benefit to be able to look down the row and see all those little profiles looking up at pastor and participating in worship. Sit in the front. Depending upon where you and your children are in the learning process. Even though it’s not the purpose of keeping our children with us in worship. This is a good way to evaluate how plugged-in to the sermon they actually were. Be consistent. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 30 . Be considerate of others. but it shouldn’t be accomplished at the expense of others being able to hear and follow along with the service. Enjoy. Training our children to worship God is important. not just the end result. If the standard is hands folded in their lap. The time for this type of training is during family worship. then hold them to that standard.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE STILL AND QUIET IN CHURCH? The process is important. Most of our younger children have needed little to no correction to learn how to behave in church simply because they watch their older siblings and know what is expected of them. Mark quizzes the children on the way home from church.

How do you prepare children to be around unbelieving family? .

by definition are not mature. If one party in the disagreement is lacking either of those characteristics. considerate people. their only hope of gaining the skills to deal with differing beliefs is to watch mature adults (hopefully their parents) deal graciously with those around them who may not see eye to eye on beliefs firmly held. Sure. and as for me. then all bets are off. The key to disagreeing amiably is the mature and considerate part. I like to avoid conflict especially at festive holiday gatherings. we can blast away at the person who doesn't believe homeschooling is a good choice. But disagreement doesn't necessarily have to mean contention for mature.Connie Answers… The holidays are particularly rife with interactions with friends and family members of differing beliefs since many folks come together for the only time all year for special celebrations. I mean that no one likes to drink out of a fire hydrant. And when I say graciously. especially when the beliefs are firmly held. but will that really change their mind? Or will it only firm their resolve to hold on to their beliefs more tightly? FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 32 . Since children. • drinking/abstaining • smoking/non-smoking • pro-life/pro-abort • Homeschool/public school • nursing/bottle feeding • spanking/non-spanking • hospital birth/home birth • Christian/unbeliever • Republican/Democrat • whole foods/processed foods Any time a group of people comes together there is bound to be disagreement on a variety of topics.

No. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 33 . I would say history shows us it is a waste of energy to try to force someone to change beliefs. This doesn't mean that I give up my beliefs or alter them in order to get along. Let's don't be the wind. he shone his rays warmly.HOW DO YOU PREPARE CHILDREN TO BE AROUND UNBELIEVING FAMILY? Remember the story of the wind and the sun? Each boasted that he would be the first to make a traveler remove his coat. I am much too stubborn for that. and the man eventually took off his coat. but it only made the traveler clutch his coat more tightly around him. When the sun had his turn. Shine. And let the person be persuaded by your warmth. The wind blew with all his might. It means that since I value peace that I lay aside my disagreement to enjoy fellowship with friends and family. Your children will see and learn.

Our children have learned from our discussions at home and by listening in on broader discussions that with those few family members who disagree. they need to repent. this is very nearly a non-issue in our family for at least 2 reasons: 1. but 98% of us call Christ our Lord and Master. not us. 2. maybe that last part is just my own family. it is rarely a source of family drama. and encourage them when they will hear us. we have the high ground here. Those who were raised as Christians and have rejected the gospel don’t need to hear the gospel again. They also understand that we will not throw our pearls before swine. We enjoy family gatherings and the Christian fellowship that flows out of them. in-laws and outlaws. They are the ones making waves in this pond. We are not on the defensive. We pray for God to soften their hearts. and even the unbelievers were raised as believers. Wait. nieces and nephews. when they can gather with their believing brothers and sister. This doesn’t mean that all of the rest of us attend the same church and see eye to eye on every issue. we stand our ground politely but firmly when religion comes up. This is one of the blessings of being a 2nd or 3rd generation Christian! If you are in a different situation. they will return to it in the years to come. Again. but just think how much better it will be for your children in the years to come. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 34 .HOW DO YOU PREPARE CHILDREN TO BE AROUND UNBELIEVING FAMILY? KimC Answers… Honestly. We pray that having been raised in the faith. The unbelievers in our extended family are enormously outnumbered by the believers. I am thankful that while we grieve for those who have turned away from the faith. The holidays that come to mind – the ones that have the potential to be problematic—are Christian holidays in nature even though unbelievers often choose to celebrate them with us. I know it may be difficult now.

we didn't feel like we could make her quit. My dad did ask her to stop.HOW DO YOU PREPARE CHILDREN TO BE AROUND UNBELIEVING FAMILY? The DHM Answers… At first glance. and frankly. we didn't feel comfortable about it at all. I also find it not a little ironic that in spite of his much vaunted belief in not imposing one’s views on children. that from the perspective of your unbelieving relatives. or your cousin Sally who is fond of regaling children with stories of her bar-hopping escapades? After all… 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. or Uncle Frank. It was an awkward dilemma all around and we could never be sure if we were right for wishing she wouldn't or if we were just abject cowards. We were young. so far as I know. Are we talking about brother Joe.” On the other hand. on the other hand. so we let it go. who gets drunk and passes out in the mashed potatoes? Are we talking about Aunt Jean. it was unchartered territory for us. you might be the problem relations. the family member we found to be the worst influence on our children was a child from a staunchly believing family. he has always erroneously chosen to believe that we 'coerced' FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 35 . He was often not home until she was in bed. who is a staunch atheist but polite enough not to pick a fight over the mashed potatoes. other than irritation. but she felt very strongly that this what she should do. hence the notes beneath the door. it would seem like a lot depends on what we mean by unbelieving family members. either. such were some of you. and we wished she wouldn't do it. she was younger. but. Many years ago a five year old of ours used to draw little pamphlets with Bible verses copied on them and slip them under my unbelieving brother's door with little hearts and flowers and notes about how much she loved him. who hates children. and we and my younger brother believed in some level of autonomy for children. To be honest. Try to understand as well. It had no effect on my brother.

Your cousins will want to play video games. so find something else to do. but you may not use those words yourself. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 36 . Her efforts to convert him were lovingly and kindly meant. except for the ones that aren't." and then come get me. You may not be rude to Grandpa.HOW DO YOU PREPARE CHILDREN TO BE AROUND UNBELIEVING FAMILY? her into doing it. These sticky situations are complicated by the fact that people are individuals. This means the best way to deal with the in-law who has been married six times and drinks too much might not be the best way to deal with the other in-law who has been married five times and also drinks too much. no matter what it is. sir. Shortly before the family togetherness and mandatory fun activity. Yes. and incidentally. and she was not insulting or belittling about it. Family can be complicated. We will not embarrass him. but you are not allowed to play any video games tomorrow. I have known of other situations where the children were less kind and more prideful. was once married to the party of the first part and together they produced your spouse. He is with his new wife and Aunt Marissa does not want to talk about it. and I find this disturbing. you say. because he has his reasons and we love him. of course. right? And these are all hypotheticals. Don't ask Aunt Marissa where Uncle Bob is. but if he tells you to do something. I do not know the problems that might come up with your family. "Yes. Uncle John uses words we do not use in our family. he has been told it wasn't our idea and that we did nothing to encourage or discourage her. when the opposite is true. prepare your children for problematic issues you know are going to come up. These are a combination of rhetorical possibilities and a couple real life examples we have actually dealt with in our family. I need to ask my Mommy first.

• Collect a list of some fun group games—here are some old fashioned parlour games. • Print out bingo games or make your own. and wept. Do you love your troublesome. quirky. • Pray for all your family members and make sure your children know that you do. Stop it. it's harder to find time for drama. drama-drenched. I am not talking about using your prayers as a cover for character assassination:“God. and some favorite purchased board or card games. it’s wrong. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 37 .HOW DO YOU PREPARE CHILDREN TO BE AROUND UNBELIEVING FAMILY? Make your own plans for activities for your children and any other family members to do. Hatfield and McCoy family members with the same love? Me. enlist your kids' help with dishes and table clearing When something constructive is going on. Jesus looked over the stubborn. There are also things you should be doing on a day to day basis all year long.” If that’s the kind of prayer you have. Fix her. you know what a mess Aunt Glorianna is. • Teach them discernment through the reading of good literature (and I don't mean Elsie Dinsmore). sturm und drang. sing songs on your own. • Develop your relationships with your children so they love and trust you and your judgment. because she's too rotten for words. Let's work on that. lamented their refusal to be gathered tenderly like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. both games you play with stuff you have on hand. and mischief. • Play karaoke. lost people of Jerusalem. • Here's a list of some of our family's favorite games. Invite them to join you in praying for these family members. Love covers a multitude of sins. Jesus. neither. • Plan a simple craft activity—here are some ideas.


Kimberly Answers…
Children who are prepared to be around sinful believers (that would be everyone) already have the basic skills necessary for being around unbelievers. My assumptions for this post are that you have a vibrant, active and healthy relationship with your children, that your children would naturally desire to come to you with questions and that you, the parent (not peers or others), are the main influence in your children’s lives.

James 1: 5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Ephesians 6:1-4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nuture and admonition of the Lord.” Saturate your children in the Word of God. This is the best defense one can have against error, attack or unbelief. (Ephesians. 6:10-20)

Donʼt be afraid to talk with your children, but donʼt force it.
There probably is no need to sit your 4 year old down and tell him, “Great Aunt Cecilia is not a Christian.” However, we have found that as our children have matured, they’ve come to us with questions about how a friend or family member’s words or actions don’t align with God’s Word. This is a great opportunity to, first of all, remind them how often their (and our) actions do not align with God’s Word and that we are not able to judge a person’s heart. It’s also a good opportunity to speak with them honestly about the situation.



Protect your children, but donʼt overprotect to the detriment of relationship.
Remember that there is nothing inherently sinful about being in the presence of sinful behavior, (i.e. foul speech, drunkenness, etc.). This is where parents need wisdom to make decisions in each specific instance. If you have your child’s heart there is little to fear from occasional exposure to ungodly thoughts, ideas and attitudes. We are after all to be in the world, even though we are not to be of the world. Please don’t misunderstand the Proverbs are chock full of warnings about ungodly companions. We are to protect our children and must pay particular attention to their companions. Two things we have done in regard to protecting our children is that our children are never left under the authority of an unbeliever and we do not expect them to encounter those who are antagonistic to our faith alone. In other words, we primarily protect our children by staying with them. Teach your children to stand firm with love. This is done by example. As your children see you interact with unbelievers (and sinful believers) with love, compassion and firmness, they will learn to follow your example. Another important aspect of our children learning to interact and respond with love is to watch what we model for them in private. Our children should hear truthful, biblical criticism of thoughts and ideas that are contrary to Scripture, but that criticism should be tempered with humility and love. Often when we are discussing an error of our culture, we take a moment to examine how we fail in much the same way in our own personal lives.


How do you keep things fair for all your children?

and do think it is detrimental. or win first place for their artwork. How will they learn to handle this with grace if we. have never shown them how and guided them through it? FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 41 .HOW DO YOU KEEP THINGS FAIR FOR ALL YOUR CHILDREN? Connie Answers… In our family we try to very specifically teach that all things are not fair at all times. and not be pouty or envious that we weren’t in the limelight this time. I have been to birthday parties where the parents of the birthday child provides gifts for the siblings so they will not feel left out. then the child who wears size 8 that day gets some new pants! If one child gets invited to a birthday party. we celebrate that fact and everyone admires whatever party favors she comes home with. which tell him that he is not always the most special person in the room. What it does mean is that we make a point to frequently make our children aware that sometimes one of them will be the center of attention. as parents. or so on. If we stop at a garage sale and there are some size 8 jeans for a bargain price. This isn’t to say that we give one child lavish birthday parties and slight her sister by overlooking any special attention for her special day. This practically comes into play very naturally in our lives. to try to make it up to the others who didn’t get the new jeans by providing them with some trinket I wasn’t previously planning on purchasing. Firstly. the siblings will at some point encounter the laws of nature. they will surely not get the leading role in the play. or the one who gets a new dress. and the rest of us will rejoice with that child. One day. I think this is doing a huge disservice to the siblings of the birthday child and to the birthday child himself. I do not feel it necessary. or the one who has the starring role in the Christmas musical. or equal to the most special person in the room.

I think the birthday child deserves to be honored on that one day.HOW DO YOU KEEP THINGS FAIR FOR ALL YOUR CHILDREN? Secondly. (See previous examples. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 42 . Life will have disappointments enough.) Let them have their own special day without trying to make it “fair” for everyone else. above the others in attendance at the party.

The Have-nots may not covet what the Haves have. but do so privately. share cheerfully. at Grandma’s house). Sharing doesn’t have to mean everyone gets one-for-one tastes. there is an entirely separate issue to deal with: that of coveting. Enjoy your treasure. If somebody knows what you are up to and finds you. 2. Wait. Fortunately. If you received and enjoyed a privilege or treat while you were away from the others (for example. Save your treat for later—when hungry little eyes aren’t fixed on you. This means that if you have a sweet and delicious treat that they don’t have (never mind how you came by said treasure). You wouldn’t want to stand by and watch your sister do the same. I used to stress over that very question. be discreet. Of course. Continue being discreet by not flaunting each privilege you enjoyed. Hide. but it does mean to share as you would have others share with you: cheerfully and generously. we have one rule that covers such situations very neatly: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. don’t eat it in front of them without sharing. and usually works out quite well. More than once. then you were discreet by default. I have been faced with the question of what to do when some well-meaning and unthinking soul gives just one of my children a treat – often without suggesting that it be shared amongst the onlooking siblings. but my husband finally convinced me that the Everything Must Be Fair mentality is neither kind nor fair.HOW DO YOU KEEP THINGS FAIR FOR ALL YOUR CHILDREN? KimC Answers… I don’t. Share. This is the preferred choice. If a sister gets a treat or a FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 43 . I once had a kind elderly lady give one of my children a big beautiful lollipop— while 6 more of my children watched. it sounds more like. 3. or better yet when hungry little mouths have treats of their own. You—the lucky owner of said treasure—have three obvious choices: 1. Be courteous. Or. Don’t purposely make your siblings sad. Sound familiar? In Kidspeak. to put it more subtly.

Would you rather it sat in the freezer until it was too frostbitten to eat at all? If everything in life was fair. This may mean that somebody stays up late a bowl of ice cream with Dad. realizing that their turn will come around far more often than if privileges were only extended on a massive scale or not at all. We’re glad life isn’t fair. Like the right-of-way for a driver. we would all go to hell and Nobody Else would take the penalty for our sins. the others may drool a little. They are to be graciously received as a gift. The milling masses willingly wait. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 44 . This is sin and is dealt with as such. shared portions are to be given.HOW DO YOU KEEP THINGS FAIR FOR ALL YOUR CHILDREN? privilege. but they may not show signs of covetousness. I think our children benefit from the “unfairness” in our house: one or two children very often can enjoy privileges that must be denied the milling masses. they should be happy for the blessings that their loved ones receive. Rather. not claimed as a right. because there wasn’t enough to go around the whole family. not taken.

but you know she probably won't be around to take the others when they get older. The theory is sound. but to rejoice with those who rejoice. to weep with those weep. We take what comes and learn to be thankful for it when it comes to us. and a good thing. one was born there but doesn't remember it. Since they are mostly all grown up. They learned quickly not not to complain. and happy for others when it comes to them. Honestly. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 45 . and we fall short at that.” if one child can’t go overseas. however." I once read of a family with a lot of kids who would deliberately dish out uneven amounts of ice cream to their kids. I think that went a little too far for my comfort. "He got chicken pox/a spanking/a stubbed toe/a splinter and you didn't. right? Or what if Grandma wants to take two kids to Disneyland this year. but that may be because I am a coward.HOW DO YOU KEEP THINGS FAIR FOR ALL YOUR CHILDREN? The DHM Answers… How can you be fair to everybody? Why would you want to? We strive at best for being just. too. because life just doesn’t allow it. The next time it would probably be a different set of children who got less ice cream than the others. Do you want that. and not to have a sense of entitlement. but also not to spend time comparing what they got to what others got. we will never be taking them. Children who complain about things being unfair should be working more on contentment and less on measuring what they have against what their siblings have. Being ‘fair’ is not our goal. is to teach them not to be bean counters. Isn't this unfair? Isn't it important to make sure no kid feels they are getting the short end of the stick? To be “fair. and complainers got theirs taken away with a short lesson on thankfulness for what we've got. in my family two of our kids have been to Japan and remember it. and the others have never been out of the country. Is that “fair”? The best thing you can do to help kids avoid feeling like they get the short end of the stick. too? We don't get to pick only the good stuff. When I hear “How come he got X and I didn't?" I am likely to respond. in my humble opinion. none of them should. For instance.

Phil. The reason for the apparent unfairness in life is not simply happenstance. but rather the decree of a wise and sovereign God. It's one of the challenges of parenting. 7:12. but we certainly don't discourage it and Mark and I are often blessed to see the generosity of our children. 1. 2:3-4) We are born selfish creatures and one of our greatest tasks in life is to learn to think of others before we think of ourselves. any complaint against 'unfairness' is a complaint against God. 2:17-18) It's one of the blessings of being a Christian. In the event that a child receives a special treat. (Rom. We encourage our children to share in each other's joy and sorrow. 2. we do not require that child to share. we require a joyful rather than resentful spirit in the other children. Phil. we must try to teach our children to act in a biblical manner and at the same time teach our children to react to sin in a biblical manner. There are three things we teach our children as they face unfairness.HOW DO YOU KEEP THINGS FAIR FOR ALL YOUR CHILDREN? Kimberly Answers… Life isn't fair and rather than trying to make everything 'fair' for our children we focus on teaching them to respond biblically to the unfairnesses that they will inevitably face. We remind our children of God's sovereignty and their responsibility to rejoice in it. even if a child is less than gracious about a privilege. 3. This often requires instruction and correction to both participants in a dispute. On the other hand. (Matt. 12:15. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 46 . We encourage our children to do unto others as they would have others do to them and to view each other as more important than themselves. For this reason. we don't walk through life alone and learning how to rejoice in another's blessing without jealousy or discontentment and to mourn in another's trial are skills that all Christians must develop.

FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 47 . but also in times of trial. It is a contentment and joy that should characterize us not only in times of blessing. they learn the skills they will need as they prepare for the adult-sized trials that God may one day call them to face. As our children face the unfairness and trials of childhood.HOW DO YOU KEEP THINGS FAIR FOR ALL YOUR CHILDREN? God's sovereignty is the root and base of a Christian's contentment and joy in life.

How do you keep your patience in the midst of chaos? .

Romans 7 19-20 “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not.) Maybe I should title this "3 Moms Keep Their Patience" because this here mom has the kind of patience that comes and goes. And I really do intend it. I must take a deep breath and repent. I've got your chaos alright! (I dare you to try to make it through that 4 minute video without shaking your head and mumbling something about your nerves. that I do. and in the process bring glory to God. Then I apologize to my children and I try again. Waxes and wanes. it is no more I that do it. I tell myself that there will be moments of chaos." I love my children dearly. It stays for a while and then excuses itself until I see it again some time later. I am only able to really be patient when I remember my one long term goal: To glorify God. It's not so much that I keep my patience as it is that I entertain it. whining. I can use each of those scenarios as an opportunity to show loving kindness and patience to my children. then being late for church is not worth getting upset about. or all manner of annoying behavior can not get in the way of my number one goal of glorifying God. I strive to be patient because I know that "Love is patient. but I confess that I am not always patient with them the way I intend to be. Kids losing shoes. I wake up each morning and set my sites on patience. forgetting they are potty trained.” When this happens. Now if I do that I would not.HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PATIENCE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS? Connie Answers… Chaos? Oh. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 49 . spilling milk. squabbling. but sin that dwelleth in me. The trouble is that I don't always do what I set out to do. and I will be patient through those. I ask God to forgive me and give me strength and endurance to manage a large household with love and patience. If my goal is to glorify God.

mostly because Satan is a jerk and wants me to get caught up in the chaos and forget about my goal. I remember that my goal. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 50 . is more important than an entire gallon of spilled milk. but oh so difficult to master.HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PATIENCE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS? These things are so easy to write. If I keep my eyes on eternity. to glorify God.

See? God knew my answer needed to go in another direction. but the simple truth is that it’s easier to be a joyful mother to obedient children than to disobedient ones.” she probably isn’t talking about being content to wait upon the will of God as He works out His eternal plan for you and the rest of creation.” We have the following verses posted on our walls: Ecclesiastes 7:9 “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” Proverbs 15:18 “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife. and even the well-behaved ones will exhibit immaturity and poor judgment at times.” FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 51 . When somebody in the grocery stores tells you. because I just don’t have the patience for so many kids. I just lost my answer to this question and had to start over. I looked up some Bible verses about patience in preparation for this question and I think I learned something. and sometimes He uses other means. and it’s not at the hands of my children. While the Biblical sort of patience certainly helps.” Of course well-behaved children are a good start. No child is perfect.” Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty. She’s talking about the ability to not explode when the 3yo sends a bowl of cereal flying through the air into the 6yo’s hair because she was horsing around with the 5yo whom you already told to sit down 173 times. “Better you than me.HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PATIENCE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS? KimC Answers… I’m learning patience today. and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. I think what we really mean by “patient” is “slow to anger. Sometimes He improves our patience by giving us another child. and He knew I needed more patience. Proverbs 10:1 “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. Incidentally.

and she that bare thee shall rejoice. or the energy. This is motherhood. If you start feeling like you can do this all on your own. Just choke it back this once. one hour. Planning ahead is good in general. one moment at a time.HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PATIENCE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS? Proverbs 23:24-25 “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. and deal with disobedience as necessary. And again…and again. like the manna He gave the Israelites in the wilderness. We do it one day. Well. it works for me… With practice. or otherwise unpleasant? I wrote the following in a post called Life with Littles. If something really epic happens and you feel the urge to get angry. Help them clean up their messes.” But life with children isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. and it’s very much the same whether you have 1 child or 11. and God is using your children to do His work in you. distract yourself: start composing the blog post in your head. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Just this once. and force a smile. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad. but when the Israelites tried against God’s command to gather enough manna for the following day they found it rotted. with lots of prayer. things are about to go downhill. choke back the irritation once more. messy. you’ll probably find that irritation is not your automatic reaction. He measures it out for us day by day. God doesn’t give us the grace. and the smiles come without forcing. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 52 . The next time childishness happens. God’s way keeps you coming back to Him. argumentative. You are being sanctified every day. Does it help to get angry when food goes flying? Probably not. smelly. chaotic. Do your best today. or the patience we need for the whole upcoming year all in one dose. so how do you slow down the anger/irritation reflex when things get loud. Ask God to restrain your anger and unkind words.

you must be so organized!" I'm not either of these things. you know who's running around like a wild thing. Which you gather from the fact that these comments made the Progeny snigger. After all. Rather than keeping my patience in the midst of the storm. It wasn't just that there were seven of them. If I were the sort of person who had enough patience to keep it in the midst of a storm (or even a light sprinkle). either. At our house five minutes after we should have already left the driveway. these are the sorts of things that would probably have helped me in my journey toward becoming that kind of a grown-up: FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 53 . it could be my non-verbal Cherub. and still trying to button her blouse straight while shouting. hair unbrushed. I am the storm. I only just missed having five teens at once. I'm not proud of this. You'll just have to surmise. I'm not going to tell you who. most of the Progeny do read what I write from time to time and they'd notice." And "Ohhhh. it's also how stair-stepped they are. and later.HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PATIENCE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS? The DHM Answers… An alternative title for my section of this chapter could be: In Which the Deputy Headmistress ponders the deep question. ‘how can one keep something one never had in the first place?' When the kids were younger and I could make them go everywhere with me. "Has anybody seen my PURSE? I can't find my SHOES!!! Would SOMEBODY PLEASE find my cell PHONE? Why isn't my Kindle EVER where it BELONGS?!!!" Well. we got a lot of comments. At one time there were three in diapers because of The Cherub's special needs. that's all. Two comments that made my darling Progeny snigger were: "Ohhhhh. For all you know. you must be so patient to have so many children. but I'm not going to lie to you about it. barefoot. more often than not.

mute. not even going on the same roads. pray that God gives you a few Progeny who do. But you know what? Everybody prays in the snowglobe of life situations and we don't always get the hoped for answer we have seen with the Striderling. a leaking roof (leaking is a bit of a euphemism—I think we had more water inside than out of the house). Oh. The van with the majority of the family in it was in a bad accident. was born. and my husband was airlifted out to another town for multiple surgeries. she said. we clutched hands and prayed through that storm of desperate agony in a too quiet room. lifeless in appearance. and as the Equuschick and I finally collapsed into the bed we were sharing that night. Striderling whimpered. grey. The head of the hospital put our family up in his home for the night. We are still meeting people who tell us they are praying for this small miracle boy. I hope I do not have to explain this. Striderling's other Grandmama joined me immediately. leaving the children at the hospital alone while the police tried to find me and get me reunited with my kids. and things as mundane as missing car keys. still. a hostile child. how I prayed.HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PATIENCE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS? Maintain a Sense of Humor. If you need an explanation. Several years ago the family was traveling across the country in two cars." We collapsed into helpless laughter. I did make sure we all had on clean underwear. the little Striderling. do we? I have also dropped to my knees to pray (though with slightly less intensity) for lost library books. If you can’t manage it. can I just have your chocolate? FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 54 . while his midwives worked over him with calm. The Equuschick has it in spades. biting our pillows to keep from waking the entire household with our howls of laughter. but we continued to pray. It was most of the day before I could rejoin them. which is why he now has a metal plate in his arm. Pray. Self-medicate with chocolate. This is such a saving grace. "Just so you know. as did thousands of others around the world for the next several months. sick goats and kittens. When our second grandchild. It was just what we needed. measured speed and grace I dropped to my knees and prayed.

Get enough sleep. worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' Guess how you gain that fruit? It's not by working on becoming more patient. remember that Paul. Reduce your caffeine intake… except for chocolate.HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PATIENCE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS? Go ahead and cry.” If this seems flippant to you. Even if 27 guests drop in while you are trying to sell the house and your septic system backs up and you are washing dishes in a dish tub and dumping the water outside and taking sponge baths for a week and using a camping toilet—with six kids while your husband is doing some military training program that involves long hours of hard study at Starbucks. when I was utterly convinced that he would not live to see his third month. The Lord is mindful of our weaknesses. endured being beaten. Spend enough time in prayer. Patience is one of the eight or so virtues called a 'fruit of the spirit. Practice gratitude. Use your spiritual eyes. Be grateful for what you have. and contemplation of the marvelous grace of God so that you have the proper perspective on all these things.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction. starved. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 55 . who wrote those words. Eat right and take your vitamins. and sometimes not even his third week. and more. so do the best you can and never stop leaning on Him. I clung to those very verses in the darkest days of my grandson’s early weeks. Bible reading. Chocolate is a vitamin. which is but for a moment. Remember these verses: Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. battered by a barrage of stones and left for dead. Then laugh at yourself. thrown in prison.

but spending three days (or three hours) on a project may be provoking my children to anger (Col. Flee temptation …or avoid situations that will unnecessarily test patience We train our children to obey quickly. “You must have a lot of patience!” I’m sure there are a lot of reasons that God blessed us with a large family. You probably already know that your children (especially little ones) function better when you’re not running from place to place.” which means that I’ve already allowed three instances of disobedience. Kids are kids and they need me. Spending a day (or an hour) on a project may be a necessity. not just mine. activity to activity. 3:21). cheerfully and completely.HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PATIENCE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS? Kimberly Answers… Often when people hear that we have ten children they say. “Children obey your parents” is His standard. but are able to slow down and spend time focusing on them. Often when I begin to get frustrated it’s because I have allowed a pattern of disobedience to emerge. my love and my attention. but I can say with confidence that it was not because I was patient. “I’ve asked you to pick up your room three times already. For me it’s important to practice both. there are two main ideas that come into my head. When I think about patience and avoiding losing it. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 56 . This type of repeated and/or consistent disobedience is frequently a result of my laziness and failure to consistently train my children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. One is avoiding situations where my patience will be overly taxed and the other is managing in the midst of those taxing times. lots of it. I try not to over commit or over schedule.

Cope in the chaos There is never an excuse for impatience. In these instances I view my children’s interruptions as a hindrance to the goal. who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able. and ye shall find. I have no right to respond with impatience. seek. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful. no matter what the ‘world’ (and even our Christian friends) may tell me. a disobedient child. I try to plan for an extra half hour to meet that deadline. When I remember that my goal in life is to serve Christ by serving these children. but will with the temptation also make a way to escape.HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PATIENCE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS? I give myself extra time. Dealing properly with my child’s interruption is the goal. and it shall be opened unto you. no matter how many children are in your home. Focus on the goal Generally my impatience comes when I’m focused on me and what I want to accomplish (dinner on the table. but I have it all wrong. that ye may be able to bear it. clean house. and it shall be given you. This allows us to handle a blowout diaper. stressful situations are sure to come. laundry folded). kindness and regarding others as more important than myself is what my goal should be. messes and chaos that come my way. knock.” Pray without ceasing It’s very difficult/impossible to get frustrated or angry if I’m in the process of praying. no matter how much you work to avoid it. It doesn’t matter what situation I face.” Pray for patience Luke 11:9 “And I say unto you. a lost shoe. Peace. then I’m able to have a right view of the interruptions. love. However. another potty break or whatever else comes down the pike without missing the deadline. Ask. When we have a deadline. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 57 .

“I was wrong”. I always use the words. then be quick to confess your sin and ask their forgiveness and God’s forgiveness. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 58 .HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PATIENCE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS? Take a break It can be something as simple as sitting down and reading a picture book or as elaborate as taking the kids to the park for a swim and a picnic. I tell them in what way I sinned against them and I ask them to forgive me. but sometimes you just need to take some time to remember that it’s fun being a mommy and these kids are some of the best gifts that God has given. Repent When you lose your patience and respond to your children in a sinful manner.

How do you manage outings with only little ones? .

if you can snag one. I'm not promising it will be any fun.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? Connie Answers… As for me. One of these 3 seater buggies is a HUGE help. I'm going to give you my best tips for making the task manageable. "It doesn't have to be fun. practice at home having the children follow you while holding onto an invisible buggy. (Yes. Make stops at the fridge and the pantry and have them practice waiting patiently while you look over canned goods and fruit. I am all for it! If you do not have these buggies available to you. Make sure you clearly explain your expectations. I said it. we have actually done this!) If you don't expect your children to obey you at home. tell them so. Love me if you can. don't be surprised when they disobey or act up in public. If you want them to always keep a hand on the buggy. Just sayin'. I have the choice of putting her carrier in the main seating area and letting the oldest of the littles walk OR wearing baby in a sling and keeping these three littles where they are. Hungry and tired? A recipe for Mommy's Next Nervous Breakdown. let them know. If asking for toys/candy/cereal is not allowed. just that it can be done. Providing a small bag of snacks to each child will help if you must go when the children will be hungry. and I'm going to be honest here: I'd rather amputate my own leg with a rusty fork than go shopping with only little people in tow. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 60 . Make sure you go when no one is hungry or tired." In light of that. Any time I can keep littles from running loose.When I have a newborn. But as I tell my children when it comes to doing hard things. it just has to be done. Hate me if you want to. There.

there is only a certain window of time their little attention spans can tolerate following you quietly along. If they act naughty or drop it. your children will be older and wiser. I have even given each one a quarter to hold. When we get ready to leave the store. You will be able to send them one aisle over to pick out peaches while you choose chocolate chips. There are times when I have reached the check out line and have not been all smiles and sunshine.] Look ahead! One day. or capital letters you can find. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 61 . I'm pretty sure there was probably smoke coming from my ears. SHOP! No matter how much you have practiced at home and how well rested and fed the children are. They will be able to push a cart or hold the hand of a little one. woman. [Note: I'm not telling you that YOU should spank or WHAT you should spank for. or red squares. Just this week.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? Give the children something to do. whoever still has her quarter gets a gumball. She unwisely chose to continue her tantrum. They may be able to get cans from the shelf or choose the biggest apples. so I fulfilled my promise and spanked her when we got everything loaded up. I'm simply relaying to you that we have clearly explained our expectations to our children and we are aware what they are capable of understanding and doing. Things will get easier IF you have been diligent in your teaching of what is appropriate and acceptable in the grocery store. Their concern for the quarter keeps them quite occupied! For Pete's sake DONT DAWDLE! Shop. Don't expect it to be easy. not too far in the future. Have them "help" you count how many circles. she would be "getting something" on the hind end when we got out to the van. I had to address a discipline issue with a certain 4 year old in the check out line who stomped her chubby feet and cried loudly because she "didn't get anything". I will take the quarter away. In fact. I narrowed my eyes and whispered to her that if she didn't straighten up.

8yo and under. For most of that period. When the third arrived. God provided an answer that seemed clear and simple in retrospect. Momʼs Rules for Shopping with Little Ones (revised and expanded from this post of days bygone) BEFORE YOU GO IN: Don’t over-schedule.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? KimC Answers… Once upon a time. Each time. I could have run errands during the evenings when he was home but I enjoyed his company and didn’t want to disappear on his night off. my children were all little. I had 3. I learned a few rules that make everything go smoother. and my husband usually worked 2 or even 3 jobs. But because of the circumstances at the time. Ditto for #4. It was relatively easy with one or two. Each time I knew that I was doing fine with the current number of children. back then I chose to do all of my errands and grocery shopping with the children in tow. 4yo and under. we had no family within a thousand miles. but I will say that a well-trained brood can go nearly anywhere with less trouble than you might expect. Yes. 3yo and under. I still enjoy his company. but during the day I was on my own. I do not expect to accomplish 8 other errands on the day that we get groceries. and because our children are old enough stay home alone now we can meet in town and run errands together. but wondered what I would do when the next arrived. 6yo and under. many years ago. If all the children are with me. He helped as he was able and available. Then I had 4. Then I had 5. I won’t tell you exactly how to handle your current number of children in a busy parking lot. I worried about the logistics but we quickly figured out what worked for us. Many of these still apply even with older children along for the ride. Along the way. Then I had 6. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 62 .

park near a cart return.” ” Deanna and Kaitlyn. If you fail to do so. bite the bullet and buy an inexpensive nourishing snack. This can rapidly make Mom unpleasant. give a pep talk and run through Mom’s Rules of Order. Hungry kids are distracted. And when you’re done and the children are in the vehicle. INSIDE THE STORE: Have them help. There are several things you ought to do when you’re having a cranky day (repent and pray. Before disembarking from the vehicle. Rather than looking for the closest parking space. but you can bet you’ll see more of it. The toddler can ride on the front of the cart. whiny.” This works more and more as the children get older. Other times I will bark out orders as we pass through the aisles: “Lydia. and vary the routine. You can put the youngest and/or the infant seat right into the cart. Bored children are trouble waiting to happen.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? Don’t shop hungry.” “Natalie. I stop the cart at the ends of some aisles and send a pair of children for what we need. of nice roma tomatoes. Sometimes I will go after items myself. you can easily dispose of the cart without going too far from your little ones. Excessive sugar doesn’t excuse sin. for starters) but going out in public with several young children is definitely on the “don’t” list. This applies to anyone who is along for the trip. wheedling. Eat before you leave the house. but even the little ones recognize many of the items we buy and they love to help. below. taking along 1 or 2 small helpers to carry items back to the cart. We like bananas. grab 3 cans of spaghetti sauce. don’t load them up on sugary treats while you are out and then wonder why they aren’t behaving. choose 3 lbs. Move quickly when possible. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 63 . not just the one with the checkbook. and generally unpleasant. get the animal crackers. Make them pay attention and work (just a little) to keep up with you. On the other hand. The 4 and 5 year old can hold the sides as you cross the parking lot. Don’t leave the house if you or the children are cranky.

” If. Like having them help at home. Others will stare slack-jawed at your mad shopping skilz. and just about the time you feel like you’ve really got it all figured out. everything changes and you’ll need a totally new system. Have them help you unload the groceries onto the conveyor belt. and it is training for when they are big enough to actually be helpful. they all stand quietly and stare longingly at popsicles or a box of donuts (especially Little Chocolate Donuts). FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 64 . Do your best to keep the children strictly in order. I still find that we have to freshen up on training and manners if we don’t go out often enough. but it’s really not that hard. Put two or three small children in the front cart where you can watch them and steer with one hand – it’s relatively easy to steer if the children are light and no one rides on the front end of the front cart. the answer is going to be “No. but they all know that if they ask for popsicles or a box of donuts. I just thought you should know that ahead of time. this may not save you time in the beginning. MOMʼS RULES OF ORDER: 1. Then pull the heavy grocery cart behind you. and you will figure out what works for you and your children. I often did this when they were all little.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? Don’t be afraid to use 2 carts. Oh. so don’t get discouraged if the first few times are stressful. It does get easier. I am easily persuaded. on the other hand. No Asking See? Wasn’t that easy? Just 2 rules. It is so much easier to keep order than to restore order! Find what works. I can’t stress enough: training is everything! It will get easier as you and the children practice. and consistently train toward that set of rules. Just like laundry. This does not mean that they shouldn’t remind me that we’re low on diapers or make a menu suggestion. But it keeps them busy and out of trouble. No Touching 2.

I sat down and wrote a long post explaining how I got to have five children between the ages of 2 and 9 without ever having shopped with two or more toddlers while also pregnant. This was not really an option for me most of the time because my husband was in the military. so I had to be able to take my brood of five to the store by myself. three days there. Basically. Then I took my little godsons shopping and scratched my head and tried to remember what we used to do. for your family. Of course I mean without my husband. This also means we had no relatives in the area. to the bank. they actually left their Bigs behind and took the Littles on a trial run to remind themselves what it's like. Our sixth child would come along three years later. one with special needs. and usually had a handful of other much shorter trips: two weeks here. he was always gone for two months in the fall. three in diapers. so when we first wrote about this. to the grocery store. the post office—in short. because I had the five little beauties with me. so we all went everywhere together or we all stayed home FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 65 . We could not manage to go without groceries for two months. and from there work backward to ways and means. are sane and stay home or leave the children at home with Dad while they go grocery shopping. too. I've mentioned we were a military family. and I did not know anybody I felt comfortable leaving my little ducklings with. and everybody went to the midwife with me. what you need to do is figure out what you want and need from your children. and for you on various outings. but during the first few years after our family magically went from three children to five overnight. to doctor appointments with all five of them. and then how realistic that it is. I often had to go to church by myself too. Because he worked nights and many weekends.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? The DHM Answers… My three partners in this Four Moms With More Kids Than You Can Shake A Stick At venture are valiant troopers and they still have a passel of Littles. He didn't travel that much as military lifestyles go. Other people with five children between the ages of 2 and 9. there is nowhere I could go without the children in tow. I went to the library with them.

two. I did once a month cooking so that I only had to do major grocery shopping once a month. honey.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? together. picking up the groceries I pointed at. and being much shorter and unable to see over the cart. I truly thought this was really. and then within five minutes find myself limping through the rest of the shopping trip. yet again. MY mommy loves her children. and I would foolishly give in. Then. then in their mid teens. grumbling about it and she would sulk because I took the cart away and gave it back to her big sister. tragic story about a mother climbing into the gorilla cage at the zoo and swinging from the trees. I wanted to be with them. I shopped with two carts for years. She also wanted to push the cart. or fruit on his way home from work. really enjoyed the time a cashier said. At any rate. I loved the comments we got. three. there was really no place I wanted to go without all of my kids. please. I was also much younger then and had more energy. What would happen is she would ask to just please let her push the cart. The 8 year old walked beside or behind me. To be honest. I had five kids because I wanted them. we combined library and other trips with short grocery runs. the stares. really fun. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 66 . doncha. My two are all I can handle.” and I really. we lived 45 miles from anywhere. usually into my ankles.” and the daughter who had only been my daughter for one of her four years of life piped up. So here are some of the things I remember doing. said they did not want to come shopping with us anymore but would rather stay home and babysit all the younger ones. I liked them. cheese. If he wasn't home. he could pick up milk. Mommy?"I was really crushed several years later when my oldest girls. The 9-year-old pushed one cart. too. if my husband was home. Because we moved out to the country about three months after the adoptions. "Well. "Better you than me. they all had to come with me because there was no other option.. the people slowly counting off on their fingers while mouthing “one.. she pushed it into my ankles even harder than her older sister did. and therefore it had to work or we were all going to end up on the front page of the newspaper in a sad.

I needed her between me and the cart to help her balance and to keep her from grabbing things off the shelves or being knocked over and tripping while clutching a towering stack of cans. Manners were just as important. and the 2 year old sat inside the cart.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? The children could not just scamper about as they liked. Having been raised by Granny Tea. I believe children are a blessing. too. that we did not have those shopping carts with extra seats. stood on the cart in front of me while I pushed. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 67 . Note. Because I believed my children were a blessing. As my babies grew and we added to our family. being a bother to others is a huge no-no in my book. I have looked at those carts with two or three seats and had to repent of the sin of envy on the spot. This careful attention to logistics was one important key to making things work. I wanted to make sure they could behave in such a way that others would see them that way. I think they are wonderful. and it's ingrained in me that we cannot and must not be a nuisance. no fancy truck shaped shopping carts. as she also has mild cerebral palsy in addition to the retardation. I love my big family. no extra seats. gentle readers. willy nilly. The 3rd child (the one with disabilities). wonderful people. so eventually we graduated to walking like ducks in a row. the shopping carts didn't even have safety straps when I was taking my Littles out and about. and not have their own shopping/library/church/museum experiences utterly ruined by unruly. I love my children. Because I loved my children so much. The only shopping carts anybody had were the ordinary kind with only one seat. I did come to understand that I was predisposed to adore my children and think they were wonderful. but that other people were not predisposed to think my little darlings were wonderful just because they existed. or better. I wanted other people to like them. who channeled Miss Manners before Miss Manners made it into print. There were no carts with attached infant seats. I am besotted by them. three years old when we got her. In fact. I could not just let matters take care of themselves and expect to have a pleasant trip. as I stressed to them the importance of not blocking the aisles for other people. I didn't have babies after her for about five years. holding on to the edges. too. Going to the grocery store required a serious battle plan and logistical order worthy of Hannibal crossing the Alps. Our fourth child. stood on the back of my cart.

or a creek. training. toys. I usually chose a treat we could all share. nurturing. but that doesn't mean it cannot or should not be addressed. and one who would eventually have a special diet (no wheat. It was a burden to my soul to have children pleading for candy. too. and other things I really did not want them to have and could not really afford. especially not for five separate sets of preferences. Hence the rule about asking and pleading: I couldn't predict what would be on sale. This was. cookies. or a fish pond on the way home. noxious behavior. Sometimes it was an exotic piece of fruit we would take home. putting the treat I'd already picked out back on the shelf. you need to have a lot of things going for you. a package of boxed snack pack juices marked way down because one had been crushed. disciplining. It may well be “typical” childish behavior to scream in the supermarket and demand toys. Somebody you trust who knows you in person. I had five children on one enlisted man's salary. Just know that in order to make your Littles a blessing and not a curse to others. Parenting is about teaching. if we faint not. So mannerly behavior was very important to us. I taught them not to beg for treats by frequent reminders that they weren't to do so. or eggs). however. I could not endure or afford a constant begging for treats in the store. If I could not afford anything extra. and one of the most important is consistent standards and consequences. corn. cokes. by the way. who has children whose behavior you admire is the right person to talk to about this. I am not going to go into details on that. three of the girls in diapers. a box of berries in season. candy and cookies. and on a couple very frustrating occasions. One of the most important verses I had for those years is Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap. explanations why.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? unpleasant. slice up and share together: starfruit.” We worked hard on instilling good behavior in our children. but it was based on what was available in the store on sale. we tried to stop at a park. a mutual bargain. Here were some of our rules: Nobody could ask for treats. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 68 . They have good inclinations. and disciplining children to grow beyond some of their natural savage inclinations.

some people read about me choosing one piece of fruit for the 5. Other rules: • Stay with Mom. and they mostly lived up to them. and think this is deprivation. no loud unpleasantness. either. She was still learning the rules. in the middle of nap time. so I tried to cut her more slack and keep her out of no-win situations (not always successfully). because we had a 45 minute drive to the nearest store. or 9 of us to share. I also tried to play fair. when coming down with a cold. Going-to-town-clothes: Because we lived in the country so far from town. People respond better to tidy children. Then. 7. Children are capable of far more than we expect. Help Mom put the groceries in the van. I kept a going to town outfit for each child. no biting. We went over these rules before we left the house. Review your expectations often. If you can't help it. No shopping trips on empty stomachs. No. Don't make good behavior harder than it has to be if you can help it. no screaming. no hanging back. 8. • Smile and be nice. it is elevating that special piece of fruit to the status of treasure. because my two year old had grown up with me. I had high expectations for the Progeny.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? Sadly. and especially just before going into the store. 6. just make it as short and sweet as possible. Help unload when we get home. we went over them again before we left the van to go into the store or library. to truly appreciate and savor it. and the three year old had not. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 69 . I don't like shopping with a headache or when I am exhausted. I also did not expect my three year old to behave better than my two year old. • Help Mom unload the shopping cart. • No fighting. • Hold onto the shopping cart or Mom when in the parking lot. No running off. and tidy children behave better. We learned to cherish it as special.

quite comfortable with being the grown up.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? I kept homemade wipes in the car to wash their faces. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 70 . Being the Big Sister is both a gift and a curse. Eventually. and I hadn't had time to shave my legs since six weeks earlier when my husband left for Saudi Arabia or his other frequent hardship destination. though. and we all hunted up our books. and usually were not the firstborn child in their family of origin. "Y'all had better be right about not needing to go. and dress in something that stood out as belonging to us. helping them find what they wanted. but my children looked tidy. I would examine everybody before we walked out the door. and we made a pact that we would not make them go to the bathroom on our schedule if they would not try and make us stop on theirs. and I am not conflicted about my 'right' to direct my young children in the way I think is best for our family. Everybody had to go potty at designated stops. the authority. and we all were happy. Las Vegas (seriously). In other words. Usually. At least when we started. I would spend time looking for books for the Progeny. As a younger mom I noticed that those of my peers who struggled more with the concept of being an authority. At the zoo. As the children grew a bit older. instruct them not to get up without permission. and sometimes the two year old. did not really grasp that you cannot have responsibility without authority. It probably comes of being the Big Sister." They were right. sitting them down with their books. were nervous about telling their kids what to do and showed it. I assigned each one a buddy to help. in their children's lives. I think it helps that I am a firm person.=) I kept water bottles and cups in the van so we could quench our thirst without resorting to sugary junk beverages. the oldest girls insisted they ought to know their own bladders. and then I would take The Cherub. with me to the card catalog (yes! Card catalog!) to look up what I wanted. we made them hold hands in pairs. I made everybody go to the bathroom before we left the house and again when we got to the store. so I was no longer getting three littles dressed by myself. My house might have looked like a junk shop had vomited inside it. On longer outings we also had enforced potty stops. because this is the last stop for hours. We all went to the library. For library trips we did not then have the luxury of reserving books at the library from home.

the eye doctor. just so they had a frame of reference when they heard other people talking about the mall. I thought it was fun. and we also had fun—at least. the library. Our oldest children were very well behaved. It helped them all. It was fun to take my oldest five to the store. but it's interesting: what they remember is largely similar to their personalities. Until they grew much bigger. banks. fruit and cheese. museums. Jenny remembers long days and talk radio (that's when the radio was on. and Equuschick remembers too long days and feeling crabby and out of sorts. One place I never really took them was the mall. the zoo. church. a pomegranate. and more. we had special clothes. I think. if we were at a store which had one. the post office. the dentist. I took my brood to the grocery store. However. The HG remembers that the days were long. thrift shops. I know this is so because the four of the older children who can talk make it a point to tell me so. the park. I do not now believe this was best for them. learn to appreciate such things even more. and others while out. They did not learn certain habits and the customary courtesies the descendants of Granny Tea are expected to exhibit as young as the other five did. mostly). we tried to combine trips so I didn't have to do this more than twice a month (except church). to look at things like octopuses and whole fish. eventually the good example of the older children trickled down to their youngest siblings as well. Pip remembers that I always took her to go look at the lobsters in the lobster tank. librarians. we had rules. it was not fun to take my youngest two along. we had an order for our little procession. This would be a single treat that would be divided up between the six of us. so well behaved that we were often thanked by store managers. a coconut. which reminds me that I also sometimes took them to the fish counter. or a new kind of candy bar. I always FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 71 . I am not a shopper. either. we had special outfits just for outings so we weren't hunting up clothes for everybody. I hate malls. waitresses. we had high expectations. and they remember some of the fun things.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? So. We did not send them to Children's Church. My youngest two children did not go shopping with me very often because their big sisters kept them and I went shopping by myself. I asked the girls. and those rare treats like a single starfruit. but that I always planned something fun and easy for dinner —frozen chimichangas or popcorn. Once about every five to seven years I would take the children to the mall for a field trip.

In one case. experiences in church like this. standards.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? made sure to pass on those compliments to the children if they had not heard them. and all of them disappeared into the clothing racks. and such general good results. and then we reaped a harvest: bigger children who help with little children. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 72 . As you see. young mother. admire. who are pleasant companions. trying our best to be consistent. guidelines. There may be hard days in between. But we muddled through it. but be comforted. and your day will come. we did not always have perfection. We also had the time one of the children did. who are a joy and a blessing to others. There were a few occasions where my children were misbehaving badly and they still were complimented by shop managers. We had little children who look up to. Sometimes we even had days like this one. who are happy and self-confident. hiding within the clothes. On the other side. knocking clothes off the racks on purpose. My friend and I were mortified because our children were not allowed to hide in the clothing racks. and this incredibly memorable field trip. they were feeling giddy at a children's consignment store. knock over an entire display in the middle of a grocery store. We have also had more than our fair share of temper tantrums and fractious behavior (even the children did this sometimes). who are my friends. but the shop manager was thrilled with them because they were not screaming. even with all these rules. society has shockingly low standards. and if something fell they picked it up. indeed. and there was the unforgettable case of bookstore manager who was going to call the police because she thought the Cherub was being murdered in the bathroom (no punishment was involved). and imitate their well behaved older siblings. too. You probably won't remember them all that well later. pressing on.

4 children (3 and younger). FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 73 . not pictured). So I’ve had some practice. (Once you get all the children into the car are you going to want to walk across the parking lot to return the cart?) • Plan how to walk through the parking lot. (now 8. • Plan how to safely load and unload the children and stuff into and out of the car. “Don’t touch anything” (Can they touch your hand?) or “Don’t be crazy”. Be diligent to train your children. Being able to expect basic. who is going to hold whose hand and who will hold mom’s hand. 7 children (8 and younger) and 8 children (9 and younger). It’s hard for a little one to understand exactly what you expect when you say. If you’re having to man-handle your toddlers. • Plan how to keep track of everyone while you’re focused or partially focused on shopping. Carter 6mos. Amber 5 (now 13). • Pick a good time of day. 6 children (7 and younger). you’ll run into difficulty when you have more children than hands. Alyssa 1 (now 9). Matthew 3 (now 10). cheerful obedience from your children is the best way to manage a crowd of them. Trying to manage lots of littles requires a bit of advance planning. positive instructions. Give your children specific.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? Kimberly Answers… When we had only young children every time I left the house everyone went with me. “Stay with Mommy” (how close is “with mommy”?). Have a plan. We’ve had 3 children (2 and younger). Don’t head out just before meal time or nap time. 5 children (5 and younger). Kaitlin 4 (now 12).

Savannah delights in getting to pump the lever on the paper towels in a public restroom. Limit errand running. including mommy is tired and all the household tasks still need to be done. “Two hands on the car” “Hold onto this part of the cart” “Hold onto your sibling’s hand” (perfect for when you have more children than hands) “Sit on your bottom” and “No noise with your mouth” (great if you want to be able to hear and talk to the doctor or cashier). When you get home from a shopping trip everyone.HOW DO YOU MANAGE OUTINGS WITH ONLY LITTLE ONES? Some of the instructions that have worked well for us are. but I pick her up and let her pump it herself. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 74 . When appropriate plan something fun after the errand. 7 ways to enjoy waiting with your kids . It takes more time and energy for me. learn or do what delights them. When you have a houseful of little ones. Donʼt forget to enjoy your kids. Pay attention to what is interesting or important to your kids and make an effort to allow them to explore. she will come home and tell her dad that she got to pump the paper towels for everyone! Why I Still Run Errands with Little Ones even when I don’t need to. so if you can eliminate or combine errand running trips it’s easier on everyone. These days pass too quickly and errand running can be enjoyable when you remember to enjoy your children. It’s such a big deal to her. Make it fun. a picnic lunch or trip to a kid-friendly museum. having several days out of the house can be disruptive.

Do you ever feel discouraged or overwhelmed? .

I must rely on strength that comes from God to get through each day. I like to read the Psalms during those times of being overwhelmed or discouraged. I am reminded that I can not do any of these things on my own strength. Homeschooling 8 children. and eats healthy meals is too much for one person to accomplish without the help of something greater than myself. Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day. making sure each one can read. David wrote often about those very same feelings. I have chosen to do so big a thing that I can not actually do it myself. is respectful and obedient to his parents. He felt despair. wears clean clothes. and cipher. Whenever I do feel overwhelmed with homeschooling or parenting a large family or handling all the antics of toddlers to teens or dealing with attack roosters while doing all of the above. tie his shoes. I am as a wonder unto many. O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED OR OVERWHELMED? Connie Answers… It is often easy to get overwhelmed with the enormity of the task before me. but thou art my strong refuge. write. we are glorifying him through our weakness. a big thing too hard to do on my own. and more. When we have the courage to do something too big for us to accomplish ourselves and we rely on God. shame.” FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 76 . Psalm 71:5-8 “For thou art my hope. loves God and his neighbor. but he always came around to praising God and reminding himself and all of us that his hope was in the Lord. sends me running straight to the source of all my strength. By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee. Much like fasting and prayer. trying to do a hard thing. guilt. knows the value of hard work. hopelessness.

I got everyone’s hair done before the mats moved in. I often stayed up too late. I sometimes feel overwhelmed but I’m largely looking back on those days now from another season in my life. daily life looked very different. The church Perry had attended since he was 15 had dissolved in a mess ugly beyond belief. either because the kids needed me or because I was savoring those few quiet hours of the day in which they didn’t need me. Neither afforded much time for sleep or rest.DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED OR OVERWHELMED? KimC Answers… Yes. I was wakened once by a nursing baby. How could I do everything that I need to do? How could I be a good wife. but somehow I kept up. a good mother. we felt very alone in our world. I just hoped they were right. and working 2 more jobs on the side. a good Christian. while battling morning sickness and the creeping chaos of a house with so many little ones? I struggled to do all the things that I thought I needed to do. That was the bad side. If the days seemed too short. we had no family within 1. Sometimes it felt a little dark and hopeless. often failing. We spent a lot of time there! FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 77 .000 miles. the nights stretched on forever. On a good day. Sometimes. When people told me to enjoy them because they would pass too quickly. Many nights. At that time in our life. We had personal problems and marriage problems. I remember the friendly librarians who smiled when we walked in and knew us all by name. But I also remember walking to the library on a crisp day with a double stroller packed full of shining faces. Laundry was always a struggle. again by a crying 2yo and/or a wet 3yo and/or a sleepwalking 4yo and/or a 5yo who just threw up on the 3yo’s hair. He was unhappy at his primary job. Back when we had a lot of Littles and no Bigs. In spite of a few local friends. that’s what I remember about those early days. Children and bedding got washed as needed because I refused to add another thing to The Schedule.


I remember our friends at the cheese factory who always greeted us with bright smiles, free tours, and sample bags for each child packed full of all the best kinds of cheese in the world. Every visit turned into a picnic. I remember building the Great Wall of China in the living room with wooden blocks, and a 4 foot Eiffel Tower made entirely of marshmallows. I remember using Five in a Row for school. We read endless picture books, and every single one was a favorite. I remember snow forts and hide-and-seek and a giant wooden playset given to us for free by an acquaintance I barely knew. Her husband worked at a local lumber store and was able to borrow a big flatbed truck to deliver it for us, fully assembled and ready for use. I remember grocery trips that began and ended with laughter, packed full of smiles and compliments from every passer-by. I remember the hot air balloon festival at the county fairgrounds, just a few blocks away. I remember long family bike rides all over our little town with 2 little ones in a bike trailer behind each of us, and a fifth child on a baby seat, 8yo Deanna trailing behind on a bike of her own. She seemed so big to us back then, and now she’s nearly 18. I remember trips to the zoo, to used book stores, to Chuck E. Cheese, to our friends in the country with the huge country house, to Texas and Tennessee and Oregon. We may not have gone to Disneyland every year, but we made memories —good memories! Why do I sometimes think of those days as dark and full of chaos? They were also some of our happiest, most carefree times. I think attitude plays a huge part in what we remember, how we remember it, and which memories we call to mind. You can’t change your attitude in the past, but you can pray for a good attitude today and in the future. You can choose which memories to review and relive, and which to let go. You can look back with a good attitude and call to mind the good



times, forgetting the bad ones – or seeing how God used those bad times to bless you in ways you didn’t understand at the time. Now I’m the mom with older children, speaking to the tired young mother. Now I’m telling you to enjoy those days, because they will pass quickly. It’s true. I nodded and smiled when they said it to me, but I didn’t really believe their words. Now I see the end of my baby days coming soon, the end of a season approaching. Yesterday, I was you. Today, I am my mom. Tomorrow, I’ll be my grandmother. They were right. It does happen quickly. I’m sorry I ever doubted them. Yes, your days are long and busy, and you never seem to get enough sleep. You don’t think you spend enough one-on-one time with your children, and you feel guilty or stressed or worried. I’m not discounting that. This a busy season in life, and a hard one. But still enjoy it. Remind yourself to remember the good times, and let the bad times fade out of time and mind. Ask God to help you do better tomorrow, and let the day’s failures disappear when you crawl into bed.



The DHM Answers…
I have often been overwhelmed, cast down, in despair, the sort of despair we find in Castle Despair in Pilgrim’s Progress or in Spenser’s Faerie Queen. I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I have flashbacks of that stress event on a daily basis. Sometimes 20 flashbacks in a day, if it’s a particularly bad day. We’ve experienced tragedy, heartache, and disaster. But sometimes it’s not the major events that are hardest to bear. There’s a saying that it’s not the size of the mountain that slows you down, it’s the tiny pebble in your shoe. We have a disabled child, The Cherub, who will always be dependent. She’s still in diapers in her twenties. She can’t talk. If I don’t watch her, she grabs her food with her hands instead of her utensils. We dress her and bathe her. One day, many years ago, three kids had dental exams. It was also library day, and grocery store day, and thrift shop day, and this time it was also birthday shopping day and bank day. We should have known it was not a safe day for us to be out when our first errand, the dentist, resulted in one child needing a baby tooth pulled because it had wedged itself solidly against the permanent tooth and wouldn't move. Very bloody. There was a great deal of trauma, distress, and squealing. I think the child was also pretty unhappy about it all. We didn't get all our errands done, and I couldn't find what I wanted for our Cherub's birthday, which would be the following day. That was a pain because it's very, very, very hard to find presents for her. She plays with nothing and likes nothing but eating and pestering her sisters and coloring. Okay, she likes music, too, and turning pages in a book. It does not matter what the book is, because she won't look at it. She just turns the pages. All I wanted was a jack in the box, but every store I went to was sold out. She soaked, and I mean soaked, herself to the point that I had to just buy her a new outfit. Fortunately we were in the Big Lots parking lot, so pants, shirt, and underwear were $13.00, which was still more than I wanted spend. Still, I was so grateful that she did not have her little episode outside of Nordstroms or

and cuddled. exhausted. but really tender hearted Equuschick broke in. shaking his head and saying. when a man from the business which owned the parking lot I used came out with a clothes hanger. and that's a highly unlikely event. for the rest of her life or mine. so I tried to tie it up and thought I did fine. and the seventh child whined because he was cranky. and none-too-cheerful. drained. and I started soothing them with words of understanding and sympathy. The reason why this was her last chance to ride in the front seat. where the children were distracted by a shirtless young man bleeding from a gash in his face (skateboard accident). The Cherub was getting a rare treat of riding in the front seat for the last time ever for the rest of my life and hers. and the children were all so tightly packed in with groceries and books that nobody could move. and the sixth child cried because she was cranky. Of course... We let the little ones take off their shoes and socks and we sang "If you're happy and you know it wiggle your toes" and they were happy for a few minutes. "Oh.DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED OR OVERWHELMED? something. but then their feet were cold. Then a stranger stopped to tell me we were losing our tail pipe. late at night. I was so grateful to that stranger and business owner who were such a blessing on a very frustrating day." and he fixed it. "Poor babies. which was lovely. and read to and sung to and played with and they need. and the then 11 year old Pip said. We went into the natural foods store to eat at the salad bar. and it rather put me off my food.. although we did not then know it was such a momentous occasion. At one of our last stops only the firstborn needed to go in so the rest of us sat in the van and I read aloud The Owl and the Pussycat. twice. And on the way home. is because suddenly the dome light came on and we realized FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 81 . we'd have to BE outside of Nordstroms for that to happen.. Finally." ". they need to be hugged. ever. that's the noise I heard!" I pulled into a parking lot to fix it and had nothing but the flowery sash to a child's drawstring purse.to be hit on the heads with a mallet" my saucy. "That's never gonna hold. and we sang fisherman songs at the Boy’s request and then we started home. but we were headed home.

well. I was horrified and frightened to death and being frightened has the strange effect of making me very. Did I mention we were on the highway? Did I mention that we were going 70 mph? Well. and I am still talking. gently applying the brakes so we came to a safe stop while carefully steering so that we parked in a safe place at the side of the road. Ever. belonged to me. my mouth was in full panic mode and I could hear a disembodied voice that. with great presence of mind.DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED OR OVERWHELMED? that she had opened the door (something she has never been able to do before) of our moving van. I reached across her and slammed the door shut and turned the van key off in one fluid motion. oddly. that is not hyperbole. never. I pulled over instantly. but while my body was acting rationally and calmly. Into that chaos that same 11 year old from before quietly and curiously inquired from the back of the van "Why don't you just open the door and take her out the usual way since we're not moving anymore?" FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 82 . never. very angry. Do not ask me how. dire. never. The van was full of sound and fury and chaos. grabbing the Cherub's arm so she couldn't go anywhere. Yes. never. if I do say so myself. It was all you are imagining and then some. I was so irrationally terrified that it seemed to me to be an immediate. do you hear me? Never. because I was not driving so much as a city block with her in the front seat again. we were. and that voice was wildly screaming something about "never. never. So. Why is it that parents tend to ask "Do you hear me?" in tones that could be heard across three counties and picked up in outer space by a minor satellite? As we came to a complete and final stop. never. never do that!" When I say screaming. emergency measures all at the same time. putting on the emergency blinkers. repeating that ‘never’ word as though my saying it often enough would somehow change the fright. rather LOUDLY about what she just did. correct. I then began the emergency attempt to get her out of the front seat and over the groceries between us and into the backseat. She would NOT lift her feet to step over the groceries and we did not want her feet in them. emergency need to get her into the back seat of my now stationary van. no never. not ever. I took these calm.

and with a shuddering dark cloud of despair I hopelessly thought. And I wasn't having any fun. and it was cripplingly painful at that moment. And another old problem was troubling me so I could hardly lift one foot to the gas pedal without pain. So we quietly shifted the Cherub from front to back in a civilized fashion. But this is now. opening bottles of pills and opening car doors in moving vehicles when I'm 60. if the Lord tarries. It dawned on me that Cherub was looking at me like I'd lost my mind (because. dark moment where I thought of The Cherub in diapers forever. eating with her hands. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 83 . At all. and she laughed harder and merrier pretty much all the way home. It hurt far too much to even lift my feet. by opening the door like civilized people and having her climb out the front door and into the van through the side door. I'd hurt my knee somehow and it was throbbing. yes. I could only move by shuffling like a little old lady from the van to the couch. we had another 20 minutes of driving. we saw Orion's belt glowing in the sky." Immediately after that thought. and cracking up. Meanwhile. or you've just put something over on your family and you can't stop thinking about the hilarious looks on their faces. but when we put her in the back seat and her oldest sister got in front and we started driving. He just asks me to do it right now. and I thought again. She was very pleased with herself. the way you do when something ridiculous has just happened. and she looked a little afraid. And utterly out of my reach. My back has been nearly a lifelong enemy of mine. but I do want her to be afraid to open the door in a moving vehicle. and giggling some more. I am sorry. "God doesn't ask me to do this the rest of my life. parts of this are really very funny. and I had a dark." And then. refusing to cooperate in the bath. When we did arrive home and I got out of the van. and I wasn't done driving home. I had). Years later. snatching dog food.DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED OR OVERWHELMED? And I dropped my jaw as I and my two oldest children looked at each other in astonishment that we did not think of this. I do not want her to be afraid of me. That was then. she started giggling. a little bit more after that. "I don't think I can do this for the rest of my life. I was feeling very embarrassed and ashamed of myself.

And the first parking lot I turned into? It was an Auto Zone. But every time I read this again I notice how blessed we were. In due time. It took me five years to notice the blessings and thank a kind Providence for providing. You know what else I notice about this story? At the time I first wrote it. reeking of adult urine smell. bank. in public. It really is just one day at a time. We got a tooth pulled without having to make another appointment with the dentist. and that's what I thought I was writing about. one foot after another. it all was still fresh on my mind. standing out against the backdrop of a day I thought was horrible. there a little. but nobody was around us. the stress. when I had no idea how much worse a day could be. holding a teaspoon of pain in my hand (thanks to Valerie of Living Books for this analogy) and crying about it. It wasn't in the commissary or at the library. the pain. my failures are irrelevant to the eternal truth that I am standing on the edge of a vast eternity of grace. And I’ve had still worse days than this. The Cherub's accident was in front of the organic grocery. much. I do not always handle them as I should. Nevertheless. much worse. here a little. we shall reap what we sow. The Cherub did open a door on a moving van. nothing fell out. Let's just try not to sow any whirlwinds. and nobody fell out. slowly and steadily pressing on. I didn't even notice. the trauma. Five years after I first wrote about this. which shared the parking lot with Big Lots where I could replace all her clothes for $13. I looked it over again and saw each of those things in relief. I never noticed any of these things as blessings the day they occurred. soaking my seats.DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED OR OVERWHELMED? Thank you God. She did it at a place we could pull over safely. or dentist's or anywhere that required me to take a urine soaked teen-ager.00. Nor did I have to drive with her in the van. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 84 . I only saw the bad stuff. which was unheard of. There was a kind stranger who told me about my tail pipe. polluting the air inside the van. and he didn't even try to sell me anything. that life is really only one day at a time. The man with the coat hanger worked there.

and things which are not. it is through our weakness and failure that He is truly exulted. especially a homeschooling wife and mom can be particularly discouraging because as we look at the world around us it seems that “everyone” else is accomplishing more than we are. And base things of the world. I am faced with my constant failures. to another the interpretation of tongues:” Being a wife and mom. and things which are despised. When we look at ourselves we should be discouraged. I’m called to show Christ’s love to others through hospitality. yea. gentle. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 85 . As a matter of fact.DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED OR OVERWHELMED? Kimberly Answers… I get discouraged. hath God chosen. I’m called to the full time task of homeschooling in order to teach and train my children to love the Lord with all of their hearts. Even when I’m able to focus on that which I should do. kind and humble and yet I’m hateful. to another prophecy. I’m called to lovingly serve my husband and children. to bring to nought things that are:” 1 Corinthians 12:9-10 “To another faith by the same Spirit. harsh. and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. I am called to be loving. to another discerning of spirits. unkind and proud. patient. it’s Him. impatient. but “everyone else” has time to decorate their home. to another divers kinds of tongues. but I’d rather have more time for me. Often. to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit. but I’d rather spend that time and money on my own interests and things. He promises to work through us. To another the working of miracles. but when we look at Christ we understand that it’s not us.

DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED OR OVERWHELMED? We must be convinced of our calling.” FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 86 . if we faint not. convinced that “[We] can do all thing through Christ.” and convinced that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap. who strengthens [us].

How do you make sure your children get enough individual time? .

HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR CHILDREN GET ENOUGH INDIVIDUAL TIME? Connie Answers… Here are a few of the ways I get individual time with each child. I rarely go anywhere alone. My children LOVE these special times and look always forward to their month. Whenever he plays in out of town golf tournaments. too. I try to take a child with me to enjoy some individual time. Whether I'm making a quick trip to the bank or attending a cooking class. Whether kids are cooking dinner or cleaning up afterwards. My oldest suggested once a month special outings for each child that we have been keeping for the past 2 years. he takes one of the children with him. Take a child along with you. Plan special outings. My husband attended an out of town funeral recently and took one child along. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 88 . Schedule time with Mom in the kitchen. and whether they act like it is a treat or a torment. you will get some good talking time in while everyone else is otherwise occupied.

Individual time. or a middle of the night snuggle before somebody gets sent back to their own bed. It might be a quiet cup of coffee or cocoa with an early riser. He also knew me well enough to assuage my ovarian guilt. we think individual time can be planned. when we cook together. when I read a picture book to the toddler. He reassured me that although I don’t always plan for one-on-one time with my children. Much like Bible time. a bedtime hug that stretches into a 5 minute review of the day’s highlights. Individual time does not have to be over ice cream at the local fast food restaurant. it happens in the course of our day. and other important parts of our life. or I take somebody on an errand. He knew me well enough to know that I often feel guilty about this area. when we sit together in my room to read our Bibles. Individual time might be when I help an older child with math. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 89 . comes when I give a reading lesson to the preschooler.HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR CHILDREN GET ENOUGH INDIVIDUAL TIME? KimC Answers… I decided to ask my husband what he thought about the question of one-on-one time. when I help somebody with her hair or get my own hair styled. It can even be a short. when 2 of us squeeze together in front of the monitor for a secret youtube viewing with the volume down low. but often works best when tightly woven into the fabric of our daily lives. aka quality time. when somebody helps me make my bed. sweet chat with the toddler while I change her diaper or wash her face. though that certainly qualifies. school time.

the pride. When one of the children is sad because a pet has died. so we got a quicky date in! FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 90 . When my husband or I had to run an errand. with one child. once a week I got up very early. Sometimes. Love is mulitiplied. The child could choose what we did. This helps. the joy of that task are enhanced. because more than two of us worked on it. So is attention. and my older children get a bigger kick out of their younger sib's antics than I do. and not even when another four. the sense of accomplishment. five. or stayed up very late. Two things that we did to ensure some one on one time: For a while. When we are together and the younger child does something silly or says something cute. all of us are enriched by hearing the answer and by the family discussion that ensues. We took this in turns. The only caveat is it had to be free. It doesn't hinder. not divided in a happy family. Interesting thing is that often what the child whose turn it was wanted to do was get up another sibling and include her in the fun! We kept an envelope taped to the front door. When our family is reading a book aloud together and one child asks a question. that experience is enhanced by sharing it with somebody. conversations are important. or six or more children are added. we would draw the other parent’s name. While I believe there are times when one on one time time for private. they share that mourning with their siblings. When we are working together on a project. quiet. the family togetherness. we grabbed the front index card and that was the person who went with us.HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR CHILDREN GET ENOUGH INDIVIDUAL TIME? The DHM Answers… Those with concerns about this are usually starting from different assumptions than I am. not diminished. I do not agree that special. An index card for each family member was in the envelope. the unity. quality time spent with any child suddenly is reduced in value because another child is added. yes.

either.HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR CHILDREN GET ENOUGH INDIVIDUAL TIME? There are things we do to ensure that each child gets some alone time with Mom and Dad each day. It's also a great and good thing. That may be because I have different ideas about what those needs are. or substandard. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 91 . too. but we don't count time with several children and one parent as negligible. and sometimes it's even a better thing. I do not agree that children's needs in a large family cannot possibly be met as well as in a small family. because we do think that's important.

taking each of their children out alone on a regular basis or scheduling one-on-one time with every child each day or each week. • Listening to stories about the previous days activities during a reading lesson. I also regularly join each of the children in doing their favorite activity with them. So what does individual time look like in our home? • Snuggling under a big. entertainment-focused activities. I choose to spend the vast majority of my time interacting with my children. cook with Amber or tackle a fix-it project with one of the boys. • Stopping whatever I’m doing to sit down on the floor right where I am and read a picture book to a toddler. mopping the floor or putting up rain gutter bookshelves with a helper.HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR CHILDREN GET ENOUGH INDIVIDUAL TIME? Kimberly Answers… I’ve heard of parents having elaborate plans and schedules. That doesn’t happen here. even though it may not be on the calendar. everything is an opportunity to spend individual time with a child. put together a puzzle with Colby. I may give Savannah a pedicure. We live our lives walking side by side with these precious blessings from God and in the midst of that living we spend individual time with each child. close the computer and not head out to run errands alone and we choose to limit outside the house. If by your actions you show your children that they are your delight and priority that relationship will grow and develop and both of you will desire to spend time together. • Cleaning out a closet. • Starting laundry. making bread. fuzzy blanket with another early riser while reading our Bibles. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 92 . What I do is I pray daily that I would die to self and that God would bless us with relationships that bring glory and honor to Him. • And yes. I choose to turn off the radio. running errands. even taking a child out to lunch or for a special date.

Naps: How important are they? How do you make them happen? .

or designated quiet places for one solid hour of absolutely no talking or noise. or couches. There is so much noise and activity in our family all day long.NAPS: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN? Connie Answers… As for The Smockity Family. Some of the activities I allow during naptime are: • reading • writing in journals • drawing • listening to iPods (with ear buds) • listening to books on CD Some of the activities I don't allow because of mess or noise: • coloring (I hate cleaning up scads of broken crayons out of beds!) • cutting/gluing • puzzles (Ditto with puzzle pieces) • train tracks • battery operated toys FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 94 . that an hour of quiet rest is a welcome break for all of us. I don't care whether they go to sleep. we love our naptimes! Everyone goes to their beds. but heads must be on pillows and there must be no noise.

NAPS: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN? I used to use a timer to let everyone know when an hour was up. until I figured out this ingenious naptime tip! Here are some of the books and CD's we like for pre-naptime or bedtime readings: • A Child's Garden of Songs: The Poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson in Song • The Little House books • Goodnight Moon • The Runaway Bunny • The Beginner's Bible FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 95 .

Well. bathing sick children along with the sibling who woke up with vomit in her hair. it was quiet time. when all the Coghlan children were very young and small. you mean? Very well. in a theoretical kind of way. If the kids are doing quiet time while Mom takes a nap. wasn’t? For the kids. changing wet sheets. When he wore it FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 96 . and this is where my hunney would probably appreciate it if I mention that he often sends me to bed early while he battens the hatches. The little ones can and should be taught to stay in bed until nap time is officially over. checking the breathing of a baby who is sleeping too well…and loving every minute of it. but his entire head. he’s not for sale. provided the toddler didn’t wander down the street wearing nothing but a diaper. Once upon a time. and I have to give him credit for helping me to get as much sleep as I do. Maybe you’re wondering about the difference between a nap and quiet time? If you were young enough or tired enough to fall asleep. This will take an investment of time on your part. You might also decide that the nap was worth the mess you found when you woke up. soothing nightmares and night terrors. My husband once bought a tiger mask that covered not just his face. I am saying that training is important. then.NAPS: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN? KimC Answers… I wish I could say we were taking naps instead of just talking about them. Stake out the door for a few days or weeks. I certainly haven’t pulled all those night shifts alone. but I was supposed to talk about naptime. you might have a problem. because like most moms I feel like I operate on a perpetual sleep deficit. For one particularly stubborn child. and you will have years of afternoon peace for your own nap/quiet time. but it is sooo worth it. I’m not saying this ever happened to me. we all had naps or quiet time every single day without fail. No. but I’m also not saying that something similar never happened. I’ve spent a very large proportion of the nighttime hours of the last 18 years doing night feedings. more or less. Oh. I used a scarecrow. If you managed to stay awake the whole time. it was a nap.

and even after the novelty wore off. Ah. right at eye level for a 3yo. and in the past have also read Little House on the Prairie books. Since they all sleep in the same room. The definitions of nap time and quiet time still stand. and some others that slip my mind at the moment. our strong-willed toddler was still afraid to open the toybox if she thought the tiger might be lurking in the depths. knowing full well she would try to creep out as soon as she thought I was down the stairs. even I felt a lump of fear in my stomach. It entertains their brains while their little bodies are winding down. Call me a bad mom. and we’re always talking about going back to the good old days. Heh. It was realistic and terrifying. heh. but I find that they also enjoy the chapter books I read for the slightly older children. and something to discuss after naptime. I can read to all of them at once after they’re tucked in. I tucked her in and gave her a kiss. I reminded her to obey and stay in bed. That may have been the last time she got up during nap time. I often read something short and sweet for the very little ones (Goodnight Moon and Sandra Boynton’s Going to Bed Book are favorites). I think quiet time can be especially beneficial for a large and busy household. a chance to wind down during naptime. Our kids love when I read aloud to them – doesn’t every child? I have found that naptime is a perfect time for read-alouds. the Chronicles of Narnia. I don’t necessarily recommend this. At nap time. We recently read through several of the Boxcar Children series. It’s been years since we did a daily household-wide quiet time. memories. Chapter books give them a reason to look forward to naptime. but those of us who don’t regularly melt into a quivering heap of tears at the end of the day usually do without either these days.NAPS: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN? and went about the house on all fours. I closed the door behind me and perched the tiger head on a chair just outside the door. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 97 .

downtime. There is no speaking. Ours was a special situation. They could read. every day. We later moved to a smaller house with less space. and sometimes a quiet time had to be in the same room. Everybody had sweeter spirits for it. play with baby dolls. not games. one girl went to the couch.NAPS: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN? The DHM Answers… When our family went from three children to five. This was quiet time. Everybody felt more pleasant for it. There is not even any listening to music or playing electronic games that beep and flash at you. it's a gift. turned towards the wall. string beads. It's vitally important space in the day. I put one in an easy chair. These things could be done quietly while sitting on the couch or bed. a retreat from all the stimuli that can get little children's nerves on edge without them even realizing it. We do not demand that the children nap FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 98 . many years ago. At some designated time in the afternoon everybody must go to a quiet corner and either nap or work on some silent activity. work with stickers. but I believe one of the simplest ideas to help any family smooth any rough edges of living together in small spaces is quiet time. we come with our souls and spirits refreshed. Usually when we come back together at the end of the hour. play with paper dolls. This isn't punishment. and our sharper edges smoothed and comfortable again. They could make no noise and they could have no interaction with other family members. whatever. color. But one girl went to my bed. It made them calmer the rest of the day. there was one thing that still stands out to me as being absolutely necessary to all of us to smooth that transition. just emails—but I think this was a mistake. Everyone didn't have to have naps. do origami. more restful souls. other children went to their separate beds. In this case. The downtime was just vitally important. absolutely insisted upon. calmed. and one in the couch where she couldn't see anybody. It's very important that the children not be where they can see each other. do puzzles. This retreat was marvelously helpful for everybody. When the older girls grew to be teens I did let quiet time happen on the computer. because quiet time is basically the Trappist Monk Hour. literally overnight.

This depends entirely on the child. My oldest was 20 months old. The rules are to choose what they will be working on and take the supplies they need to their quiet time area before quiet hour begins. Pipsqueak was 6 before she could manage to get through a day without a nap.NAPS: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN? during quiet time. or because one forgot the scissors. They do not have to go to sleep. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 99 . it's just not required after the children reach an age when they obviously do not need a nap. Napping is always permissible. There is no leaving the quiet time space to run grab another toy because one has changed his mind. Quiet Time Activities • color • write letters • read a book of their choosing • puzzles • play with paper dolls • play solitaire • pray • read their Bibles • play with lace up cards • work on a sewing project • work on origami • play with a few small cars and small toy animals • play with some tinkertoys during their quiet time. and envelop themselves in that quiet. They just have to be quiet.

and they have a greater temptation to spiritually depart the trappist state and make entertaining faces at one another. If I had to put children in the same room for quiet time. You can throw a sheet over a card table or the dining room table to make a 'tent. When we have had bunk beds and no other options. although this is not my preference. It's still better than not having quiet time. These quiet spaces only take a minute to prepare. and one in the living room. We like quiet time where the children cannot even see each other. We usually have had a child take quiet time in our bedroom. If they see each other they do not feel the same sense of privacy. too. We have enjoyed her books as well. I have taken quiet time activities of my own to the kitchen or dining room in order to make more spaces for the children to have their quiet time. we have had a child on the top bunk and one on the bottom in the same room. I learned about Quiet Time many years ago from Elisabeth Elliot and her Gateway to Joy program. or setting up a screen of some sort.' Perhaps you can make room on a closet floor for a sleeping bag or toss in some cushions from a loveseat and a blanket. I would separate them visually by hanging up a sheet or tablecloth between them. I'll share some of the ways we've managed. in particular: • Keep a Quiet Heart • Passion and Purity • Be Still My Soul • The Shaping of A Christian Family FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 100 . Children generally love closed in spaces like this. and are quick to clear away.NAPS: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN? Where to Have Quiet Time Finding a private corner is not always easy in a small house. You can turn an easy chair with its back to the room and put one child in the easy chair and another on the couch or love seat on the other side of the room. Pulling the couch out from the wall and putting a sleeping bag and pillow down can make another quick and easy private space. The resulting refreshment to the soul long outlasts the time it might take to make temporary small spaces for quiet time retreats.

If we rest at the same time each afternoon our body anticipates that rest period and slows down making it easier to sleep. Separate children if possible. but it’s still an important part of our day. Someone would fall asleep early and wake just as the others were going down. Each child needs a different amount of sleep and we’ve found that even though our children have always shared bedrooms. Hold nap time loosely. This allows those who need more sleep to get more sleep rather than being woken by their less-sleep-needed sibling. Keep it regular. everyone is happier if we separate them for nap time. There are some children who sleep LESS when they are overly tired. Having a regular bedtime and regular wake times also help promote regular nap times. There were many times when our children were all young and I was in desperate need of quiet or extra sleep that events would conspire to prevent that from happening. especially parents with small children. Our bodies function best when there is a regular rhythm. Nap/rest/quiet time has changed over the years in our home.NAPS: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN? Kimberly Answers… Naps and rest time are a big issue for parents. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 101 . The phone would ring or someone would drop by just at nap time.

They are required to rest quietly for 30 minutes. If at the end of that time they are still awake. When our little ones wake I give them a hug.NAPS: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN? I think that being willing to give up my plans for nap time was an important part of me learning to be a little less selfish. a drink of water (they love having a sippy cup in bed with them) and a small stack of books and they sit in their bed looking at books quietly until they are ready to face the world again. but a couple have given it up much sooner and some have given it up later. usually 5-20 minutes. So let go. Most of our children have stopped sleeping during the day sometime between their 6th and 7th birthday. Some children greatly benefit from quiet time after they wake up from a nap. followed by several more months of sleeping during that rest time. Donʼt give up nap time too early. but simply because a child turns 5 doesn’t mean he/she no longer needs a nap. It has frequently happened that a child has gone through a period of not needing sleep in the afternoon. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 102 . they may read books in bed until rest time is over. a little extra sleep or an hour of peace and quiet. I put them down as usual and set the timer for a half hour. Give them time to wake up. Realize that you don’t deserve a break from the children. All children are different. When our children seem to be ready to give up their nap. that’s just a bonus if everything goes as planned.

NAPS: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN? Keep quiet time. This keeps things semi-quiet for those who are sleeping and gives the older ones (and their mommy) a chance for some rest. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 103 . they still have an hour of quiet reading each afternoon. Even when our children stop sleeping during nap time.

require focused attention and which the children canʼt help with? .How do you find time for projects that need to be done.

imagine paint on a handmade smocked dress and in hair and on the carpet and the ceramic tile. young mother. Imagine footprints of paint leading down the hallway. Do not be fooled. especially if they involve paint. lighten up! I'm only kidding! But what I'm not kidding about is that it is much easier and conducive to keeping one's sanity to do major projects. In case you don't believe me. painting is one of those kinds of projects that needs to be done sans itty bitty busy hands. lest they bound from their beds and implore you to consent to their participation. altogether unaware of your covert painting ways. It could happen to you. Oh. Acquiescing to their pleadings is from the devil and will only cause you untold grief for nigh unto a decade as you look upon the FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 105 . whilst the little ones are slumbering soundly in their beds.HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR PROJECTS THAT NEED TO BE DONE… Connie Answers… Remember when I recently painted this door with dry erase paint? Or when I showed you this free ugly dresser makeover? (You have GOT to see what this turned into!!!) Well. and there's only one solution: Benedryl. Scared? You should be.

No! You must. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 106 . Except for this one time when I gave all my kids paint brushes and let them paint whatever they wanted and then framed it.HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR PROJECTS THAT NEED TO BE DONE… besmirched hand-smocked garment that you spent hours lovingly working on. only paint under the cover of darkness during the wee hours while all of the things that belong to the day are fast asleep. At least that's how I do it. only to have it permanently splattered with paint. Whichever works for you. by all means possible.

Work during naptime. Work during their usual playtimes. Burn the midnight oil. immobilize. 7. Send them outside. At least. and you just have pray for patience and thank God that your life doesn’t depend on meeting a deadline. you can’t necessarily choose your own hours. neutralize. Yes. 6. sometimes it’s more easily said than done.HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR PROJECTS THAT NEED TO BE DONE… KimC Answers… Permit me to respond with another question: Do you mean projects like answering this question at the 11th hour because you totally forgot and are outof-state with sick children? Yeah. Use DVDs to babysit. Sometimes there’s nothing easy about it at all. Let them start a fun. but FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 107 . and guarantees you a bit of time every day to work on whatever can’t be done with rugrats underfoot. I try to limit the use of brain candy like this. 5. Were you paying attention? 3. If they’re not. computer time. 2. Work fast. or otherwise incapacitate children while you work on important projects 1. Assign a chore they can accomplish without oversight. Keeping late hours can create problems of its own. because they will be back. Give them a project of their own. sometimes I do it. This is very important recharge time for moms. or work on your project during their regular school/chore time. but it’s effective when we choose to employ it. or just give them a fun picnic lunch and boot them out. Just kidding about that last one. 4. maybe you should start. kid-appropriate project of their own that they can do independently or with whatever limited help/oversight you can provide while working on your own Very Important Project. or finger paint. If you don’t have daily nap/quiet time. With challenges like children. Use other forms of brain candy that are normally restricted: video games. you just got a bigger project. we all hope they will. 10 Ways to distract. Put them to work.

and through distraction. but many moms have friends nearby who are also craving some project time. Yes. a young mom who looked remarkably like me spent several weeks sewing 5 fancy Easter dresses for 5 children 6yo and under. Swap babysitting with another mom.Learn to work with. I know. learn it. This is your life. OK. Live it. love it. 8. 9. this one is rarely practical for me. 10. but if your “free time” comes in small pieces. around. all between the hours of 10 PM and 2 AM. but this is real life and you are a mom. everything goes faster and better when you can focus. Work in small bites. Take turns entertaining the wee ones so your brain doesn’t explode from over-stimulation when you try to concentrate on your task.HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR PROJECTS THAT NEED TO BE DONE… in some cases it might be your best choice. Yes. Some projects go much better when you can dedicate a big chunk of time. and it can still be done in small bites. Long ago. Sometimes you just don’t have the option of doing it that way. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 108 . You might lose some efficiency doing it that way. you’ll be happier when you learn to appreciate and use it that way.

I know I did some deep cleaning projects back in my younger years after the kids went down for bed. When packing up the house for a move (or unpacking). all facing the same direction. When cooking. When refinishing furniture outside. I have them put them in the same way. anything but me. some dirt. I give small children a spray bottle of water with some drops of essential oils in it. When gardening. I gave them a spade. then the children 'help. you need it. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 109 . too). or some bread dough to mold away with their adorably grubby little paws. and they spray and scrub away as ineffectively as they like. and should get it without shame. Take advantage of naptime. a tree. If you need it.' If I am washing something. awkward. is too dangerous for me. if I had a porch and didn't get terribly blotchy skin from the sun. 'help' of children. Mostly. right up until the point where they help by taking over and I sit and sun myself on the back porch. and yes. a bucket. I have set them up with some ingredients and a few utensils. but not so tight that they're scrunched. just tight enough that they don't wiggle.HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR PROJECTS THAT NEED TO BE DONE… The DHM Answers… I have never been the kind of person who would rather just do it myself instead of having the clumsy. I have them 'help' by doing something totally different along side. wielding a chainsaw—which. Or would. I have given them a bucket of colored water. nice and flat. and gradually moved them up to books. But then. the side of the house. time consuming. and boundaries and let them muck about happily in the dirt. paint brushes. and a rag. sometimes begrudging. and pointed them to the garage. some people cannot do that because they need more sleep. I have given them a box or boxes of things to pack or unpack that they can't really harm. Unless it is dangerous (refinishing furniture. btw.

I did. more often. my best friend brought her kids to my house and she watched the kids while I did some deep cleaning or baking. Wait 'til their father gets home. and sometimes not the same continent. and then I brought my kids to her house and watched the kids play while she did some more involved project.HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR PROJECTS THAT NEED TO BE DONE… I never lived within walking distance of any family until my youngest child was about six. Sometimes their father was in Saudi Arabia and would be home in sixty days (and that's a short wait). and sometimes we either swapped kids. Except for one two year period. have friends. I did not even live in the same state. or. however. Sometimes I could do this. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 110 . Hence my laissez-faire attitude about big projects.

but no dumping things outside of the gate). measuring cups and spoons. toddler pleasers for when little guy tires of ‘helping’. If I’m deep cleaning then he gets a damp rag or perhaps even a spray bottle and cloth to help clean. Here are some long lasting. The rules are everything should stay inside the gate (of course some will get out. different sized containers. no throwing and no eating.HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR PROJECTS THAT NEED TO BE DONE… Kimberly Answers… When I am going to tackle a project the first thing I do is sit down and spend some time with my younger children. Something simple like reading a book or playing a game. Usually the toddler tasks involve running items here and there or fetching things. etc) and un-popped popcorn kernels (or rice or pasta). ) FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 111 . but out of the mess (especially if you’re painting). *rolls eyes* Play dough. A gate is a great tool to keep a toddler in the room with you. Utilize nap or rest time for tasks that require focused. but helps define their area so that you don’t end up with popcorn all over the house) and a variety of kitchen items (funnel. moon sand and finger paint. uninterrupted work. Preferably outside. pitchers. When I’m ready to start a project the youngest child gets put into the ERGO (if possible) and the toddler is given a task to help mommy. (Our home has a gated deck that is ideal for messy activities. Put out a circular gate (This is not necessary.

They just want to be part of your day. gathering supplies. Every around-the-home project that I can think of has some aspect where children could ‘help’. Think creatively. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 112 . they may not be able to help with everything. but this works if your project is in or beside a bathroom. bringing you a drink or keeping a younger child entertained or away from project related materials can all be helpful. everyday. Depending upon how much focused attention is required for the project and how old your oldest child is. Do NOT leave them unattended. It doesn’t have to be long. Take occasional short breaks to love on those babies. cleaning up trash. I recently posted about the importance of including your children in as much as possible. now is a great time for them to utilize that ability.HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR PROJECTS THAT NEED TO BE DONE… Butcher paper and markers Put them in a swimsuit Put water in the tub and then let them play with Playmobile (or another toy not normally allowed in the bath). Play some fun music and stop working to dance through a song with them. perhaps the Isabella (1) helping with laundry project should not be done unless another adult is around to supervise the children. If you’ve taught your children to play independently. but they can probably help with something.

How do you teach your children to do chores? .

but I even if I only had one child. so I start them young and make sure each child has chores to do each day. "While the cat's away. Maybe it's because I keep waiting to find the perfect system. See the following posts to find out the different ways I have handled chores: • Scheduling Chores (video) • Paid Chores • Changing Chores • Paint Chip Chore Cards • Chore Wheels FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 114 . my kids have never said. If the kids think I won't be checking their work. The most important aspect of teaching children chores is staying on top of it and making sure to check their work. I want to make sure my children reach adulthood being proficient at laundry and basic housekeeping skills. don't be surprised to go in there one day and faint dead away from the shock of seeing little petrified globs of toothpaste in the sink that have been in there for who knows how long. there is a lot to be done. One thing that never changes. In other words. rearranging. look! Mom just made a handy dandy chore chart! Let's all work diligently from this day forth so she never has to worry about these pesky chores again. and I don't think there is one out there. the mice will play." That's right. If you never check to see how the bathroom cleaner has been cleaning the bathroom. and reworking my chore system. so we need all hands on deck. It seems like I am constantly tweaking. they tend to get lackadaisical about it. "Oh. Around these parts.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? Connie Answers… I think it goes without saying that it is very important to teach a strong work ethic to children. though. is that I have to keep on top of who is doing (or not doing) what and how thoroughly it is being (or not being) done. This can also be said. I would be sure he or she knew the importance and had the privilege of doing hard work." I've heard it said that moms shouldn't expect what we don't inspect.

nor are we a collection of bachelors sharing a house. One last benefit of helpful children is to lighten the mother’s burden.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? KimC Answers… Chores. On the other hand. I believe that childhood is not 18 years earmarked for wasting. The better trained our children are. On a more practical level. We are part of a family. it is a time of training and preparing for adulthood. This is Christian living in action! Yes. and our responsibilities extend beyond making sure that our own dirty laundry makes it into the hamper. but this is the shape it takes in our house. {cracks knuckles and clears throat} Helping with household chores is an important step in teaching children that we are not islands. Christian living happens in smaller households and often looks different. Rather. This creates the impression that children are a terrible burden. Helping with household chores is one way that we learn to serve one another. but that takes practice. Contrary to what modern culture tells us. the more smoothly they tend to make that transition. they see that being a mom of many doesn’t mean being worked to an early grave. teaching children to help with chores also prepares them to run their own household someday. helpful children in a large family can see what a blessing they are to the entire household. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 115 . Ideally this service is done with a Christ-like attitude. and none of us can really bear more than one or two. Some believe that a mother should do all the housework. especially in a large family. it means working side by side with those you love best toward a common goal. and expect large-family moms to be worn ragged.

but I can’t tell you her name. Other ways involve complicated systems of rewards and recognition. the better your chances. If washing dishes gives them warm fuzzy memories of time with Mom. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 116 . How we teach them is a whole other matter. but it slows you down. and divulging her name might put her in grave danger. We have tried some of these methods but none worked for us over the long term. Dishes are more fun when you have company at the sink. Also. And it’s nice to work alongside children who already know the job well. She is currently in the witness protection program. I have at least one. easily said but not so easily done. I know it. They don’t know it. you’re well on your way to having a child who actually enjoys work. and self-governing. hard-working. I’m not good at it because it means my attention span has to be longer than that of my children. Work alongside to train them. Training must happen together. How to Teach Your Child to do Chores There are many ways to do it. Let your children help you. It’s too easy to give instructions and then walk away. 2. They want to help while they’re little. see “warm fuzzies” above. even when it’s not helpful. The more children you have. You know it. These early years go a long way toward forming a child’s opinion of work. 5 Steps to Teach Your Children to do Chores 1. primarily because either I or the children eventually lost interest. The easy answer is to give birth to at least one child who is naturally responsible. But there is another way. Here it is in 5 steps. and you shouldn’t tell them – at least not until they’re older and you’re explaining why they should let their 2yo sister help wash dishes.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? That’s why we teach our children to do household chores. it’s not fair to expect him or her to do it properly. coming back later to check. This is an area that requires as much diligence on the parts of the parents as the children. But if you haven’t properly trained your child to do the job. She will even do the chores assigned to her less responsible siblings. This child will see what needs to be done and do it without being told.

or just non-hazardous?) are subject to interpretation. You need to do this often so that children who are inclined to play the odds will lose when they gamble. but details (baseboards. and too often this takes the form of nit-picking. How often do we accuse our children of shoddy work and fail to recognize that details which seem obvious to us are all new to the inexperienced eye? There is a fine line between approving careless work and setting impossibly high standards. Set a clear standard. mirrors. 4. Let me know when you do. Try to find it. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 117 . Inspect what you expect. 5. especially when you want them to work independently. you really do need to get off your – um. Am I the only mom who feels like a failure at this? I want to help my children excel at what they do. under sofa cushions).HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? 3. definitions (clean? straighten? pick up?) and degree (just how clean does it need to be? white glove. Praise lavishly. Yes. You may think straightening a room is no big deal. Make sure your children understand exactly what you expect them to do. because I’m still looking. chair – and go see if the results are up to your expectations.

Not one single chore was assigned to him at any stage in his life that he recalls. he has assigned more chores to the 8 year old boy than to the 10 year old girl (I made up the slack there). That's also not just my opinion. My husband did not. housework is an important teaching tool. except during the reign of his favorite step-mother. It is good for them. I think during her very short sentence of marriage to his dad my husband had to do real slavish tasks like making his own bed and taking out the trash. Making sure your children have regular. I grew up doing chores. We believe in children doing chores. we believe in children working hard and contributing to the family's wellbeing. In fact. Alice Rossi. not by being given a full time maid in the form of a mother. and oddly enough. Analyzing data on more than 3. learn and develop a servant's heart by serving others. I think. and probably the proudest I've ever seen him as a papa is when we admire his little boy's work ethic. and we have some scientific research: Housework has unique value in instilling a habit of serving others. independent predictor of whether a person chose to do volunteer or other community work as an adult. Thus for parents who value service. meaningful work to do around the home is virtuous.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? The DHM Answers… Children. I also think he was about 13. which is strong and tenacious.000 adults. You may have some idea how my husband feels about that when I tell you that when our children were younger. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 118 . a professor emerita of sociology at University of Massachusetts Amherst. We have the scripture (even a child is known by his actions). found doing household chores as a child was a major. the rest of his kin-folk disliked his favorite step-mother and thought she was mean to him. It is far kinder to them over the long term than it is to back off and let them avoid contributing their labor to the well being of the family.

On his own. He helps to pick up and put away his toys. Some time ago his Daddy had him help to feed the dog.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? Chores are for boys and girls: We also are an old-fashioned family with old-fashioned values and we pretty much stick to old-fashioned gender roles in our family. He also likes to try using the broom and the dustbroom. When our first grandson was just fifteen months old he had already started helping out with chores around his house. my grandson decided that when the dog has finished his food. and then pour it into the bowl. and this week FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 119 . If his wife gets sick I want him to be able to be supportive and not an added burden and hindrance. He helps: • dust • clean the dishes • clear and wipe tables • vacuum • fold laundry • and even cook • The girls help • mow yards • muck stalls • carry out trashcans • with our tire retaining wall in progress in the front driveway I do not want my son to be helpless without a woman in his life. his bowl should be tucked away in the cupboard. Even so our boy does what other people call 'girl chores' and the girls do what other people consider ‘boy chores’. I want him to know how to get some basic meals together for his family so that if meals are left to him at any time for any reason he can rise to the occasion without breaking the family budget. He would help scoop out a measuring cup full of dog food.

• Carry things like napkins. and dishtowels • put away silverware and plastic cups. • When my oldest daughter was around two. and dishes to and from the table. cups. doing whatever they can do when they are small. and while working alongside a parent (or older sibling if he had one) • Help brush the dog • Help water a plant if given a small. and we would scrub while singing together "We are scrubbing Mommy's floors" to the tune of Jacob's Ladder. Putting away the utensils is a self correcting task.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? while visiting his other grandmother. My grandson lives in a small house. he or she can: • fold washclothes. and if they can sort a box of nuts and bolts or do a single piece puzzle. and he feeds the dog under the watchful eye of his parents. It was a very sweet time together. they can do the utensils. Other things he might do: • Help wipe the table clean if given a clean wet washcloth or sponge. • Have the toddlers work along side you. • Help put wet clothes from the washer to the dryer (put the wet clothes on the open door of the dryer and let the little one push them in. His 'chores' at this stage largely consist of working with his parents or under their direct and close supervision. he has been allowed to stand on a chair at the sink and 'help' wash dishes. She had her own small rag or scrub brush and I had my bigger one. she would help me mop my kitchen floor. unbreakable creamer with just enough water in it for one plant. and after a while they can do those small chores independently. Around the time a child is two. • Set one cup at each place around the table. pillowcases. well rung out. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 120 .

• put silverware in the dishwasher • clean cupboard doors. slice cheese with a cheese slicer. and spot clean floors • can vacuum • learn to weed • knead bread • learn to cook • clean up after themselves • learn to scrub vegetables. stair rails. puts the cup over the towel. door knobs. But it's the worth the time you give to this now. and teach them to do the job thoroughly • make beds • switch out laundry when it's done—carrying a basket of clean clothes into the living room to be folded. • dust. and it will repay you in spades later. use an apple slicer to make apple wedge FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 121 .HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? Then you can add other chores as they grow older. then pulls the ends of the towel up over the cup and rubs it dry. this takes longer. but certainly you can assign a specific piece of two of furniture. Yes. an end table or rocking chair. not a whole room at first. carrying baskets of folded clothes to the rooms where they belong • hang clothes on hangers • fold quite a few things • help diaper the baby • learn to make toast • dry dishes—cups are a great first choice—the child puts the dish towel over his hand. peel carrots (especially with the right tools). light switches. They can • wipe out sinks (I think I was about five or six when scouring the sink first became my job and I loved it).

open the coop door to let poultry out. water them. cheese tortillas. two can do together—our youngest two started making their parents' bed when they were about six and eight—the reason was because they were usually in it by the time I got up in the morning. their own underwear and socks. and soup • Empty trash FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 122 . If you live on a farm they can gather eggs. door knobs. shovel out stables and coops.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? • entertain the baby • take a spade and a bucket and clean up after a dog in the yard. fold napkins • Wipe the sink • Carry their dirty clothes down • Put away their clean clothes • Sweep • Dry dishes Here are a few of the chores our 12 year old does: • Mow the lawn • Grind coffee beans and make Mom a cup of coffee with the French Press • Make fried eggs. scrambled eggs. and later groom animals. saute mushrooms and garlic. Here are some of Blynken's and Nod's chores (six and three at the time this was written): • Put away their toys • Spray and clean light switches. so they were the last ones out. What one child can't very well do alone. feed animals. and the telephone • Put dishes in the dishwasher that I have rinsed and hand to them • Wipe the tables or counters clean • Fold washcloths. They continued to make our bed in the morning because it hurts my back and my husband’s steel-plated arm.

by the time they are 10 or 11 they should be capable of doing just about any regular household chore except some of the kitchen tasks. of course. and he loved to vacuum out the crevices of the stairs) The main thing is supervision and apprenticeship. or you may realize your child is color blind when you ask him to sort laundry. is a category all her own. The Cherub. A shorter child will take longer to be able to manage the vacuum cleaner than a tall child. But if you include your children in your chores and explain what you are doing. specific list of things to do rather than a general 'clean the kitchen’. and the youngest two are not where any of their older siblings were at the same age because I slacked off badly. our oldest two were able to do just about everything by the time they were 12. If you are watching you can see when you've assigned a task too hard or too easy for some reason. including meals.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? • Burn the trash in the burn barrel • Clean the kitchen • Sweep • Clean bathroom mirrors • Clean out the fridge • Weed • Shovel snow • Clean out the van • Vacuum the stairs (this has been his chore since he was seven. Then you watch over them the first few times they try a chore alone. not the final word in chores for the children in your family. The middle two were a bit older when they learned meal preparation. or you may find that your child with ADD tendencies needs a short. First they do the chore with you and you explain what you are doing and why. In general. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 123 . These are generalities. Then check on their work periodically. We have a small vacuum with a long hose. checking to make sure they follow the steps you expect to be followed.

Give them real responsibilities. The challenge with chore training is to get them to accomplish their assigned tasks quickly. This allows them to take more responsibility and gives us the opportunity to train them to be diligent as they move through several different tasks. Start young. Watching is learning at this stage. We use kid friendly cleaning products. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 124 . I list exactly what they need to do each day and then check when they are done. baking soda for scouring. As they become more capable. And teaching children to work is all about diligence and self-control and learning that is a life-long project. This as the real beginning of chore training. mop a floor or wipe out the sinks. Let them help you as you go about your work. It’s not hard to teach a child how to run a vacuum. cheerfully. give them their own chores. etc. completely and consistently. Train your children to work. It’s not rocket science to give a child a cloth and have them dust beside you while you explain what you’re doing. They are assigned an area of the house that they are responsible to tidy and clean. you will be surprised to see how helpful they will become and how much they will learn. There is certainly a sense of pride in a job well done and an area that is clean and tidy. This gives them a sense of pride in their accomplishment and allows them to feel that they are really helping mommy. White vinegar for disinfecting. At 4 years our children get “real chores”. If you give them the opportunity.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? Kimberly Answers… Teaching children to do their chores is all about teaching children to work. Our children are so excited when daddy notices their area. Young children love to help mommy. Daddy gets more involved at this stage as he will frequently ask who is responsible for an area of the home and then will tell them how wonderful it is looking.

(go to the park. “Thank you kids for your hard work this week in keeping the house clean. Of course. make cookies. just couch it in lots of praise. simply praise them for their effort and then BEFORE they do that task the next day give them instruction on how to get it up to your standard.. etc. but sometimes dangling a carrot helps us get started along that road. Delay instruction – If there is something that the child didn’t do up to your standard (but you can see that they did attempt to do it). so giving them plenty of positive feedback during this training is vital. If not ask them to return to the area and correct what still needs work. praise – Don’t neglect communicating the correction. Plan strategically.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? Set high standards. I like for our daily chores to take no longer than 30 minutes and we frequently use a timer to see who can make it within the time limit. our ultimate goal is that our children would do their work with the vision of bringing honor and glory to God.)“ Sometimes we make an effort to point out and reward those who are excelling “Several of you children have been doing an amazing job on chores so you all are going to stay up late and play a game with Mom and Dad. Praise. One of the signs that you have your child’s heart is that they desire to please you. Reward a job well done – Often this is a natural result of their diligence and I simply point it out. Be positive.“ FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 125 . Over the years we’ve also discovered some tricks that have helped us and our children to achieve a higher standard of work consistently. Because of your help we have time to…. Consider what constitutes a job well done for each child and write it out as concretely as you can. Scheduling chore time immediately before a meal or snack can work wonders on helping children accomplish their tasks on time. Then consistently check to make sure your child is meeting your standard. praise.

day. Children love the opportunity to work alongside their parents. The children LOVE it when I decide to do some deep cleaning in their area and inevitably talk my ear off. so doing housework while your children are is a bonus. but it is reacting to that failure (as well as to success) in a way that brings honor and glory to God that is our goal and our purpose in life.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO CHORES? Work together. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 126 . I do not always demonstrate diligence and self-control and remembering that helps me to be more patient when my children fail. More tips on teaching children diligence in their work. Check their work every. single. It’s just another opportunity to build relationships with these special people God has entrusted to my care. Have patience. They will fail and I will fail.

How do you teach children to be diligent? .

I have been known to throw away papers that are sloppily done and have the child do it completely over. and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. my point is that fortunately for me.” FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 128 . Anyway.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE DILIGENT? Connie Answers… As for The Smockity Children. PRINTING. SHOCKED I tell you. that your teacher immediately knew what you had been up to? No? Huh.” Proverbs 22:29 “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings. LARGE. Remember when you tried to sign your mother's name to your failing spelling test in 2nd grade? And then you erased it because you thought it might be mispelled? And then you erased it again because you remembered your mother doesn't sign her name in large.” Proverbs 10:4 “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. And fortunately for them. occasionally test the bounds of what is permissible when it comes to diligence. Proverbs 13:4 “The soul of the sluggard desireth. printed letters? And then there was a hole where the signature was supposed to go from all the erasing? So you put a piece of tape over it and signed her name on top of that? And then you were shocked. WIDELY. he shall not stand before mean men. I try to make it very undesirable for them to try. we also read and memorize scriptures on diligence. my children are not very good at pulling the wool over my eyes. one of them will decide that they should try to pass off random numbers as math work or EXTRA. as a full page of journal writing. ill spaced. SPACED. That must have just been me. they. In addition to the very clear expectation that there will be extra work when it is done well the first time. like most children. Every now and again. or give extra pages of math work when a child has written down random numbers instead of doing the problems.

and be wise: which having no guide.” FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 129 .” Proverbs 6:6-8 “Go to the ant. and gathereth her food in the harvest. overseer. provideth her meat in the summer. consider her ways. or ruler. thou sluggard.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE DILIGENT? Proverbs 12:24 “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

My mind is elsewhere. Perry and I have a little mantra that we have our children repeat from a very young age when they are learning to follow the simplest instructions and perform the easiest chores: “What does diligent mean?” They are to reply. This will be my first time to provide live music for a dance. The fact that I was busy practicing fiddle songs with the pastor for our church’s upcoming dance is no excuse. My first tip: don’t wait until 10 PM on Wednesday night to start the project that is supposed to be ready Thursday morning. Perhaps if I had paid more attention to my own deadline. an oxymoron if there ever was one. We are sporadically diligent.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE DILIGENT? KimC Answers… I’m supposed to talk about teaching children to be diligent. without stopping. Other subjects may be worthy of interest but we have to stay on target. “It means quickly. I need to take my own advice! We have our moments of brilliance – some members of our house more than other – and some last for days or weeks. See? Again I wander. Diligence requires the ability to focus on the task at hand. Blackberry Blossom. Procrastination = bad. Planning ahead = good. I can tell you what I know. just like those of my children. my children would have more respect for the deadlines I set for them.” It’s not a complete definition. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 130 . but I’ll be talking to myself as well as you. I chose it because I was new at school and my new best friend was in violin class. but it get it gets the little ones pointed in the right direction. and already you’ve learned something: the mom who who is avoiding the subject has diligence issues of her own. We plan to play Old Joe Clark. I started the violin in 5th grade. Devil’s Dream. Irish Washerwoman. It was my last year in government school. Boil That Cabbage Down. and Westphalia Waltz. just before my 10th birthday. but we have not diligently applied the principles necessary to produce diligence. Did you know I played the fiddle? See? You want to know how to teach your children to be diligent.

but that didn’t stop my advancement in violin. The old adage says “Lazy hands are the devil’s plaything. Childhood should not be all play. I was good. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 131 . but the question is how we can we teach them to be diligent. I continued to practice daily. First.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE DILIGENT? So the children know what diligence is. I required few reminders. Over the next two years. Too many distractions certainly slow them down and frustrate them. It wasn’t until much later that I realized what a huge favor he was doing for me. My interest quickly waned when my friend moved out of state. and I wanted to get better.e. and children are no exception. When I left government school. my teacher allowed me to pay for private lessons by cleaning house for him and his wife 2 hours in exchange for each hour-long private lesson. Read the book of Proverbs if you doubt it. i.” All of us need work. Unlike the first year. 4 of them 6yo and under. we must give them the tools. and we should not feel guilty each time we require them to work. fitting it into the new daily schedule. Not only was he teaching me to play better. etc. but it pays off. This can be frustrating at first. I considered it a privilege to work in exchange for more work. We must teach them how to be diligent. We began homeschooling in my second year of violin. I learned to love the violin and was immensely grateful that they hadn’t allowed me to quit. but my parents made me keep playing and required me to practice daily. he was teaching me to love work. There were 5 children in the house. When it comes to schoolwork. but I found a quiet spot to make my noise. Another way we help them develop diligence is by giving them practice. work. Otherwise they are vulnerable to every distraction that comes their way. activity. This skill will serve her well no matter where she finds herself in The Real World. But in a house with people – a family home – they must learn to work through a certain level of noise. A child doing algebra while a 4yo tornado whirls about in the next room is a beautiful sight. one way we help our children learn diligence is by removing some distractions but not all. He even provided transportation both ways. When it came to violin.

HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE DILIGENT? Second. I knew I could do better. The carrot may be verbal praise. Many good things have come of my early lessons in violin. I knew better than to defy him. that’s not a bad definition for diligence. We must remember the goal and keep it before our children’s eyes as well. Later. I am also thankful for the ability to make a joyful noise unto the Lord! (Psalm 98:1) FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 132 . an ice cream date. the stick often means loss of privileges or extra work. In our house. my own desire to succeed took over. Motivation can be negative (the proverbial stick) and positive (the carrot). Why is it important to be diligent? Because in all labor there is profit (Proverbs 14:23). Whether we eat or drink or whatever we do. we must do it all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31). and not all are directly related to musical ability. I knew I must work harder. and I am still thankful today for the pressure placed upon that little girl so many years ago. Just being capable of diligence is not enough. As they grow and mature. My character and work ethic were being formed in those long hours. our all. In the beginning. my struggling parents scraped together the money to buy me my own violin in place of the loaner from the government school. and for children the motivation must usually be external. My teacher sold them a beautiful old instrument from his father’s collection for the princely sum of $150. or anything in between. I found myself in tears if I couldn’t play a new piece to my teacher’s satisfaction – not because the kind old man was a harsh teacher but because I was frustrated with myself. It was the best Christmas I had ever known. we must motivate them to be diligent. We need motivation to use that ability. they should become more self-governing and motivate themselves. my motivation to practice was my dad’s command. As it turns out. After more than a year of hard work and good progress. We must give it our very best.

Sometimes when my kids were littler. the chores get done. Do not give out a reward for getting work done. or not: Grumbling and complaining are unacceptable and should be immediately and consistently rewarded with more work to do (usually a toilet to scrub). uncomplaining work is balm to the soul and a lovely lubricant to the household gears and as such. rummage through the jewelry box or a glass of milk in the special cup. or be fined a nickel. That sentence was for me. The work has to be done regardless. Cheerful.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE DILIGENT? The DHM Answers… Randomly ordered tips that might help you to teach your children to be more diligent workers. too. and I needed them to have a good supply of nickels If they weren't quite grumpy enough to be sent to scrub a toilet or some other extra chore. Any reward is the natural consequence for a cheerful attitude. You should do this with the kids. Gentle Readers. Choose to do it cheerfully and get a reward or do it grumpily and discover another chore on the list. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 133 . This way we kept the nickels recycling). They were young and nonmaterialistic and didn't know the value of money then. Either way. isn't it? But let me share that if you aim for consistency and fail you will still have far more successes than if you throw your hands up in despair as soon as you see the word and decide not to even try. Pray. This word consistent is often a discouraging word. they were instantly fined one nickel (which is why I had to give them some nickels as a reward from time to time. Don't expect what you don't inspect. silly song. but weren't as cheerful as I wanted them to be. should be rewarded with a smile and thanks and sometimes doing something fun together—a board game. I gave them nickels occasionally for good attitudes.

" And also. MAKE them do what they are supposed to do. Don't sigh loudly and just do it yourself. Remember that there is some natural aptitude at work here. but the kids know the Gypsies will send you back. You could threaten to run off with the Gypsies.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE DILIGENT? Set a timer and insist the job has to be done within that time. you're selling the kids to the Gypsies. It just sounded cool. Be cheerful. Sing. together. If it isn't. move dirty dishes out of your way and into their bedroom. Take away privileges. their world will be far less comfortable and they will wretchedly wish YOU had been more diligent with them when they were young so that they could be more diligent now. It is manipulative. As adults. alongside them. Some kids will take to these lessons better than others. gives in and does the undone work herself since the kids never did get around to it. and this does not even have to be a conscious choice on the children's part.” Work with them. I particularly dislike this as it is often accompanied by the Martyr Mother Syndrome. Make sure your expectations are clear." Here is an example of unclear communication: “Sigh. One important thing is not to be the sort of mother who. Those who do their chore and do them well before the ice cream melts. Sweetie. Don't decide that it's too much trouble to ask so you will just ask less. I've never actually done that. Do not complain about chores. "You are STANDING on a piece of trash! JUST PICK IT UP! Nobody should have to tell you to do that. where the mother sighs heavily and looks overburdened while she does the chore she has CHOSEN to do. Talk to them. Here is an example of clear communication:. Set out bowls of ice cream. "My living room is NOT YOUR TRASH CAN. Do not be Martyr Mother. get ice cream. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 134 . She is also training her children to know that if they just wait long enough somebody else will do it so they don't have to. administer discipline if defiance is an issue. in frustration. It becomes the comfortable reality of their world. This probably won't work because the kids will figure the Gypsies will be easier to deal with. There's a theme here.

It rewards your kids for being slackers. Yes. or at least you don't mind that much if they don't. At least it makes me look bad when my kids are young. and it makes me look bad. or I would get a big magnifying glass and hunt through the room. I have also been known to take photographs of an allegedly clean room or area. We would talk about how a Nancy Drew or a Sherlock could walk in and tell that somebody had made toast with jam because of the crumbs. Now. Please. hamming it up. from a partially open drawer to a raisin on the floor." One more thing I have done is take them into a room and ask them to look around and see what needed to be done before we started. That's my best tip. I would ask them to come back and look for clues. the children of Martyr Mothers will weep with frustration and wish their mothers had been less selfish and more giving and self sacrificing like me. I told them they needed to clean so as to remove all evidence of what had been done in the room before they cleaned. After they cleaned. finding clues they missed. and then play "What's wrong with this picture?" Oddly. me. and the toaster left out. Be incompetent. jam spots. my kids' friends who have Martyr Mothers think their mothers are the bee's knees and I am mean. to a fingerprint on the dishwasher. once more. or some other chore. my children do not find this game as amusing as I do.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE DILIGENT? All of my kids remember at some point that Daddy got them up (or mom) after they had already gone to bed and made them come back and do the dishes. Here is where I have written on Initiative—how to instill it. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 135 . Once the kids are all grown up. The kids pick up the slack. A favorite saying of mine is. you sure don't have time to do it twice. I make the great personal sacrifice of letting my son serve me omelets in bed and letting my kids do all the cooking and cleaning because I am just… Incompetent. do not be a Martyr Mother. "If you think you don't have time to do it right once. It's annoying.

a FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 136 . Since our goals in homeschooling are not primarily academic. sit on your bottom). don’t touch. take breaks from school and sometimes don’t leave the house when our children are having difficulty with these basics. • Be diligent to train your children. but just allow me to say that a child as young as one is perfectly capable of obeying simple commands (come here. • Be diligent in your own tasks and responsibilities. • Be diligent in your words. We believe that it is more important for our children to learn to obey (Col. this lesson of diligence is central to our home and homeschool. If we fail to be diligent in our own tasks. We pray that God will help us to be deliberate as we make every decision and one of the ways this is born out is in our priorities. if we fail to be diligent to require and expect diligence in our children (which is one of our God-given responsibilities) all the practical suggestions and tips anyone can offer won’t amount to anything more than words on a screen. We cancel plans. It trumps reading. no noise. • Be diligent to expect diligence. • Be diligent to build relationship and to seek your child’s heart. it seems that we spend the first 1-2 years of our children’s life teaching them basic obedience and the next years teaching them complete obedience or diligence. get the groceries or learn math. cheerfully and completely”. writing and arithmetic. but it probably won’t be anything new. So when we teach our children to be diligent we are teaching them to demonstrate one of the fruits of the Spirit. So if you want your children to be diligent. I can give you all sorts of practical suggestions and things that we’ve done to teach and encourage diligence in our children. We use the maxim.HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE DILIGENT? Kimberly Answers… When we talk about diligence we are talking about self-control one of the fruits of the Spirit. In our home. Perhaps this deserves more time. pray to be more diligent. do it. If you say it. “obey quickly.3:20) than it is to go to the music lessons.

HOW DO YOU TEACH CHILDREN TO BE DILIGENT? child of 2-3 is capable of completing simple tasks (pick up the toys. we rarely run into a habitual lack of diligence in school work and most of our diligence training comes in the form of chores and helping around our home. get dinner on the table) all ‘quickly. Perhaps because of how we handle homeschooling (little to no busy work. mow the yard. a child of 5-9 is capable of completing complex tasks (clean the kitchen or complete this list of school assignments) and a child of 10-12 is capable of completing many adult sized tasks (paint the bathroom. cheerfully and completely’. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 137 . empty the silverware). lots of group reading and discussion) or perhaps because of our family’s expectations. but certainly because of God’s grace.

Which parenting style is best? .

so she wouldn't have had a chance to pick up a stick! Nowadays. we give it a good spit polish and give it right back to her. If they chew on a stick. he glanced out the window to the backyard. I was what you might call the "hyper-vigilant parent". to see which fun thing they can master on their own. Now. sterilize it in boiling water. I let them feel the consistency of bark in their mouths and discover on their own that bark is not pleasant to taste. We don't allow the petting of strange dogs. Now. Whenever someone is backing out or pulling in a parking lot or driveway. He suddenly became very worried and said urgently. When we are swimming." I reassured him. She does it all the time. Who am I kidding? I would have been holding her hand. if the baby drops her paci. When they roll off. These are very real dangers. I would snatch it up. A stick! When I was a new mother. I even let my toddlers fall down. They can be seriously hurt or even killed in these scenarios. What?! We want the crying to stop! I used to hold my little toddler's hand to accompany her all over the playground. I don't mind if my babies pick up sticks or rocks to explore them. If she dropped her pacifier. "Ma'am! Your baby is climbing the slide!" "Oh. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 139 . No. I lifted her to each piece of equipment. If I see them toddling up a low step or climbing on a low stool. I know. and I don't even mind that my little ones are afraid of big dogs. everyone 5 and under wears floaties. Wait.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? Connie Answers… When I had only one child. I tell them they have just learned about gravity! Don't get me wrong. never letting go of her hand. under my watchful eye. Once. my toddlers explore the playground independently. I have had other mothers at the park tell me in a worried tone that my baby was playing with a stick. I watch to see what will happen. that probably would have sent me running. a plumber was at our house and in mid-conversation. and let it cool for an hour before returning it to her. if I know they won't be hurt. we all hold hands. I don't freak out and snatch it away. I am very watchful and careful if there is real danger.

and maybe even receive a little bump on the noggin or a bitter taste in the mouth in order to learn about the complexities of our world. These days. I would describe my parenting style as "relaxed". FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 140 . that I let my children explore on their own.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? It is when the situation isn't dangerous.

We do try to avoid needless offense and let the Gospel offend. but even there we sometimes fail. I hope our execution has improved. The Bible comes first. I only generally recommend 2 books when it comes to parenting style. and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men. Isaiah 29:13 “Wherefore the Lord said. or drink. so that you miss the bits you didn’t want to catch in the first place. I’m just kidding. I hope we have become better at discerning our children’s motives and FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 141 . The basic idea is in the title: we must shepherd the hearts of our children. or whatsoever ye do. Do not pass go. you know we’re not afraid to offend. Parenting styles vary immensely and can be a hot button topic. do all to the glory of God.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? KimC Answers… Are you scared by this question? I am. though I’m not at all sure forgiveness works that way. and with their lips do honour me. The other is Shepherding a Child’s Heart. but we strive to identify and correct heart conditions rather than just dealing out swats for outward misbehavior. I’m sure there are other worthy books. Maybe I should just ask forgiveness in advance. We do discipline. Maybe you should just close one eye and hum while reading. but these are the 2 that instantly spring to mind. We don’t want to raise children who just know how to comply with rules when necessary.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat. but I still give it to new moms at nearly every baby shower I attend. by Ted Tripp. Go directly to jail. Do not collect $200. though. so there’s room to offend everyone in one fell swoop.” In this sense. I have to confess that it’s been several years since I cracked the book. we want to raise Christians who seek to obey and serve God with their whole hearts. of course. If you know me or have been reading Life in a Shoe for more than 10 minutes. our parenting style has not changed much as we moved from 20yo parents of an only child to 39-year-old parents of 10. Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth. but have removed their heart far from me. If you didn’t see that coming.

according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. I’ll buy it to see what other stories they neglected to tell me. We all like to think that our style is the Biblical style.” But methods — aha! Therein lies the rub.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? emotions. and will usually obey with a sweeter heart. I wish we had known this from the start. Proverbs 13:24 “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. and better at leading them (and occasionally kicking them) in the right direction. But our goals have not substantially changed. Some parents feel very strongly about exactly how one shepherds the child and the heart. Once again.” FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 142 . but to think soberly. not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. and I know that my own methods and practice are far from perfect since they are being executed by a very imperfect person. kind word as well as a sharp one. and was corrected immediately and sometimes sharply. They should write a book someday. Since older sibs now help with supervision. Romans 12:3 “For I say. but even that leaves much room for methods and actual practice. discipline is different too. to every man that is among you. through the grace given unto me. we quickly added children. but the mechanics were a little different. The girls have some great stories from these years. Proverbs 31:26 “She openeth her mouth with wisdom. We have also learned that corrections need not be sharp. Children can learn to obey a soft. together. They did get away with things right under my nose because there were 4 of them and I only had 2 eyes. She got away with very little. Now that the very young are outnumbered by the more mature members of the family. They were still under near constant supervision from me while they were young. the little ones don’t get away with much. there are eyes everywhere. As the years passed. but it’s rarely needed because so many infractions are headed off at the pass. Our first child had our full attention. and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” I can tell you that the way parenting happens in our house has changed a bit over the years. stories that are still surfacing. The echoes of our own sharp voices and words will doubtless inhabit our home for years to come.

• Read your Bible some more. • Get counsel from godly friends who are close to you – people who know you and your children. but don’t stop there. • Talk to your husband.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? Did you think I was going to tell you exactly how to do it? I’ve posted about disciplining children in the past. • Read your Bible. but here’s all you get today: • Pray for guidance and discernment. Proverbs is a great place to start. Not confident that spanking is the best way? Here’s an alternate method of discipline that seems to get good results. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 143 . Proverbs for Parenting is a very helpful resource. • Read Shepherding a Child’s Heart. • Start over again at #1.

either. not so general. I read once that when we go into parenting with a solid idea of all the things we will NEVER do and all the ways we will NEVER make the mistakes our parents did. They no longer homeschool merely because they don't want their children in the local public school. In 1983. no matter how sound those ideas are. Buckle your seatbelt. In some ways.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? The DHM Answers… Just as most problems started as solutions. stream of consciousness sort of post on parenting in general. Most of them have changed. Homeschooling is also like this. most of us go into parenting with a strong idea about all the things we will never do. And now. we end up making just as many errors as our parents did. Basing your parenting style almost entirely on the fact that you don't want to do to your kids what your parents did to you is not a long-term strategy for success. positive reasons to homeschool and continue homeschooling because they have positive goals and ideas in mind for what they are doing. It's just that they are different. The oxygen mask is just over head. we have changed over the years. Parenting is not about the style of parenting you use or the system or the guru you choose. It's about having enough common sense to completely dismiss advice that doesn't fit your family even if it comes from a trusted guru. no matter how many of our parents’ mistakes we may avoid repeating. I had a lot of opinions. It's about your children and your relationship with them. I think I'm just going to ramble through a free form. sometimes growing more relaxed. for something completely different. One of my opinions was that parents who had their FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 144 . and this is mainly based on the things that were done to us which we did not like. sometimes tightening up. and we are rather eclectic. These mistakes are often equal to whatever grievances we bear against our own upbringing. The only time this doesn't happen is when somewhere along the way they have developed active.' so far as I know. We don't have a single 'style. when I became a mother for the first time. Those who homeschool reactively tend to burn out and give up quickly. and sometimes.

but they are inexperienced in reasoning and the younger ones are developmentally incapable of some forms of reasoning.. Children are wonderful people. I imagine even that word 'obey' makes some readers flinch. I did not forbid discussion. maybe it's just the 'lion' traits I have (from Gary Smalley's personality test). emergencies occur and most of us do take our children other places besides home. I'd simply let her develop the bad habit of answering everything I said with. it eliminated.. but I know that somebody has to have the final say and it's not usually going to be a two year old. the fact that I believe I have the responsibility and authority to require obedience also means I have the responsibility not to abuse it by issuing orders for no other reason but to watch FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 145 ." . But obedience is a safety issue.. I believe it is totally appropriate. One thing that has not changed is my comfort with being the parent. Then my child learned to argue (concurrently with learning speech) with everything I said. And I discovered. indeed beneficial. that requiring her to say. in any reply was almost magic. and it surprised me how much "routine". Replacing the “Yeah. It is impossible to child-proof the world. and that parents who had their children say “Yes Ma'am” and “Yes Sir” were arrogant. or “Mrs. not just a control/power issue (incidentally.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? children call adults “Mr”. "Yeah. Now. We are a generation that doesn't want to grow up. not something she did out of principle. first. understand." Insisting on those two little words coming first ensures that whatever follows will be couched in a reasonable rather than a snotty tone of voice. but” bad habit with the "Yes Ma'am" good habit was not very difficult and it made life so much more pleasant for all of us. it's a spiritual safety issue as well as physical). and we don't want to be adults. arguing for the sake of arguing. I expect my children not to need these external controls and that has happened with my older children.. Our children don't obey us because we are ambivalent about our right to ask them to obey. "Yes Ma'am. I don't know the source of this comfort. We don't feel like adults yet. I know I am not infallible and sometimes give orders without all the facts. And of course. serendipitously. “Yes Ma’am”. were authoritarian Victorians. My children can (almost) always say.” or “Miss” (did I get everybody?) Last Name. to expect obedience because we said so. or I may have all the facts but haven't considered them properly.” or “Ms. authoritarian drill sergeants. For my child arguing had become a habit. Gradually. but. Accidents happen. but. At certain ages.

along with consistency (no matter how much we desire to ignore unacceptable behavior just this one time) in consequences. and was a doting Daddy. well." she was repeating monotonously to her frail four-year-old. "I FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 146 . really missed his kidlets when he traveled. Our first baby was born in 1983 and I did not hear of attachment parenting until our seventh child was born in 1998.. it wasn't going to be me. I told her I thought that was because when he was all loosey-goosey. But also. produces trust as well. what we do with our children when they are small resembles most that style of parenting known as attachment parenting." We heard this so often that 'inappropriate' became the family joke for wildly horrific behavior. every night. although probably not nearly soon enough. This carefulness about why we issue the orders we issue. I had to be the strict one because otherwise. I strongly agree with Phyllis McGinley's take on being a casual mother: "I remember. our parenting style varies with the age of the children. If anybody got bruises from lethal toys around the house. and the painful heartache he endured when he was absent has gone. In general. Jenny commented recently that I've grown more relaxed. but that's essentially what we did with one significant difference. "Mother doesn't *like* to be hit in the head with a dump truck. while my husband has gotten stricter. in my benighted day. Daddy's home all the time now. not least because I recognize the wistful woman at the park. "Now." The casual mother would have seen the dump truck coming and calmly confiscated it." (p 229) I love that. And we do smack little hands that probe electrical outlets and such. As in. In some ways I have grown stricter since I first became a parent.. owned one abiding faith—that I was brighter and a great deal stronger than any four-year-old. IMO.the wistful voice of a woman sitting next to me in the park not so long ago. plus gone 2-4 months a year. that's inappropriate. "Mother wishes you wouldn't. 24 and 7 and was better at seeing long term consequences of shortterm unchecked behavior. we do spank. Even I. whereas I had to raise them. let's just say that my husband really.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? my child hop. and in some ways I have loosened up. True story —I have been there when the child was swinging a cat around by its tail and the mother was merely saying. naturally.

a few run-ins I've had with self proclaimed Gentle Mothers left me rubbing balm on my lacerated soul as I found them anything other than gentle. I don't know what they all are. but we don't and never did intend to follow his approach lock. a consistent mother. especially what he's had to say about peer relationships and peer dependency. and the necessity of avoiding all forms of fornication. Tsk. and I think it counts for much that their children are still in close relationship with them. plus. the importance of nursery rhymes.. The EC tells me she thinks I should reread it before recommending it again. I really loathe the Ezzo's methods and have been known to hide Babywise in thrift shops. stock and barrel. I am a messy. while attempting to be a casual mother. it's rather stuffed with psychology and some of it is just wrongheaded. I'm not a huge fan of the Pearl's. and a mother who tones down her tendency to sound equally over-earnest and passionate about things like white bread. dog hair on the floor. a mother who is comfortable with rule setting. our style was most like attachment parenting for babies and toddlers. tsk. I know there are other parenting styles. I used to love James Dobson's Dare to Discipline. burned it to the ground. growing into something with a little more mmph to it when the babies reach the defiant stages. although I've been told by my daughters that Jumping Ship is much better than their more commonly known book." So. I've made a lot of mistakes and I'm not done making them. so is my husband. However. and too straightforward.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? read here that Johnny Jones set his school on fire. with authority. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 147 .. How inappropriate. "Whew. and so are my kids. if that was toned down. We like Jonathan Lindvahl. imperfect human being. and was arrested while trying to paint the principal blue and paste price tags all over his person. And the Progeny reading this are likely saying.!" Naturally. I could never be a Gentle Mother because I'm too loud. I do know several families who love the Pearl's methods and they are families with lovely children. too passionate.

that kind of made a bit of sense if you ignore the fact that God himself says His work is profitable for reproof and correction (among other things). didn't I? I hope you read the three posts I shared up above. the second family had some personality dynamics that would have made the same successful approach family A used. As a parent. and then where are you? One of those posts above was prompted by reading this article by Reb Bradley. told me how when her son misbehaved she presented him with Bible verses for him to copy that addressed his behavior. years ago. these are traps you should really avoid. One. of course. a total disaster for family B. I have books a hundred years old which advise parents not to live vicariously through their children.=) And. But we can always hear it again. For illustration. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 148 . After all. thinking that we already looked like an ATIA family from without. a contract we were supposed to sign.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? For many years people would recommend ATIA (Bill Gothard's group) to us. but we strongly objected to the authoritarianism inherent in requiring a contractual obligation to use their materials). and he loved it. let me tell you about two parents. so it would be a great fit. We wrote them once for information and were so put off by what we received (in part. EVER to use the Bible in that way because it would make the child loathe the Bible and it should never be used for punishment. we just have never been that big on gurus. etc. We weren't an ATIA family on the inside. Here's the context: Really. And don't lose sight of the individuality of your children and your relationship with them. gurus are too often changing their minds. especially when it comes to parenting. It's not that he's writing anything new. to be humble. she was showing him what God asked of him. I said I was going to ramble. we love Proverbs. But very likely. to let their children take their own path. Well. We didn't actually plan to do anything different from the things in the contract. where it really counts. And the child of the first mother actually told her he loved it when she showed him those verses because then he knew his mom wasn't just making stuff up. Another told me never.

training and teaching children are directed to the parents. I’m able to parent more how I prefer to parent and it allows me to be more of a ‘Yes Mom‘ Here are some basic parenting principles. Children need parents. these will look different with different parents. Since I’m not spending all my time surviving.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? Kimberly Answers… I do not believe that there is one right way to parent nor one correct parenting style. It’s obvious in God’s protection of marriage and abhorrence of divorce and it’s obvious throughout Scripture as you see that the commands about raising. children are created within the protection of a marriage covenant. but I’m convinced that there is great danger in a method that takes principles from God’s Word and ends with the conclusion that the Biblical way to parent is to have your child on a 3 hour feeding schedule by 6 weeks (or whatever other ‘biblical’ standard that’s not actually found in the Bible). but the primary reason is that our circumstances have changed. Our personal application: We generally chose to maintain the family unit whenever possible. I’ve posted my concerns about this type of dogmatic teaching about parenting in the past (read the discussion in the comments). it’s easy to feed the baby on demand or make an impromptu run to the grocery store. That said. When Mark and I wanted to FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 149 . Today. We rarely use babysitters to go somewhere without our children. however. Our parenting style has changed over the years. our applications of principles we find in God’s Word. I will share some of our specific applications of these principles. There are a lot of books and teachers who say the opposite. different children and different circumstances. there are biblical principles that every parent must apply. This is obvious in the design of creation. When we had four children 3 and under I wasn’t as laid back as I am today. but they are simply that. Biblically.

I still head to the grocery store. soul. Children need God. We believe that God had a good purpose when He gave the responsibility for educating children to the parents and we believe that the best way to fulfill this responsibility and teach our children the things God requires is to educate our children at home by following the patterns that God has given us in His Word. Now that we have children old enough to babysit it’s much easier for Mark and I to spend time alone together. playing games or catching up on school work). Your day to day decisions are vitally important in this regard. Running errands with little children is a special blessing to both them and to me.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? have a ‘date’ we planned creative ways to spend time alone together. This is where the rubber meets the road. errands and the OB with several (or all) children in tow. Are you willing for your child to fall behind in their Bible reading or skip family worship so that they can complete a school assignment or make it to soccer practice? Do you require your children to spend more time working on Latin or math than memorizing God’s Word? This is where our children really see our priorities. Other than that we don’t leave our kids unless they wish to be left (our big kids sometimes enjoy staying home and reading. It doesn’t matter how often you say that relationship with God is the priority if you don’t demonstrate this by your actions. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 150 . We focus first on our relationship with God and next on pointing our children to that relationship. When I needed to go to the OB or run errands I took the children with me. Our personal application: We pray that God will see fit to save our children and that they will love Him with all their heart. We’ve chosen to homeschool. We try to regularly get out for a quick lunch while the children eat at home. mind and strength.

I nurse our babies at night. not because of their accomplishments. We spend copious amounts of time with our children. most cool gadget or clothing item but by giving them ourselves and our time. (1 Thessalonians 20:11-12) I’ve posted about how children need both discipline and instruction all based on a heart relationship. not by sacrificing so that they can have the newest. children need relationship and comfort. (Isaiah 66:11-13) Our application: We hold and wear our babies.WHICH PARENTING STYLE IS BEST? Children need emotional care. In addition to having a clean diaper. This is a blessing to the parents as much as it is a blessing for the children. We co-sleep. but because God created them and they are amazing people. This seems assumed throughout Scripture as God uses the picture of a mother comforting her child to demonstrate how He cares for Israel. We show our children that they are important to us. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 151 . relationship and comfort. being fed and burped and getting adequate sleep. Don’t miss out on time with your kids! Children need guidance. We talk to our children. We show our children that they are important.

How do you teach your children about the birds and the bees?


Connie Answers…
We are mostly of the "less is more" attitude when it comes to discussing these things. "Just the facts, ma'am" pretty much sums up our curriculum in the, er, human development area. See? I don't even like to refer to it! Since we seem to have a baby every couple of years, and now that we live in the country and our kids have witnessed dogs doing... what they do, and baby goats being born, we do have questions that come up every now and then, and we try to answer those as succinctly and matter of factly as possible. And then I run into the bathroom and hyperventilate. I'M KIDDING! Mostly. Our children know and understand that God intends for husbands and wives to only ever love one another and keep themselves for each other. This means that loving one another physically in a romantic way is only for husbands and wives. They also know, from reading the Proverbs, that it can be a temptation to disregard this plan, and doing that is sinful and foolish. Beyond that, and teaching the simple biological changes that come with puberty, I am not an advocate of OVER education. You can see more of my thoughts about this trend here and how we address the dangers of promiscuous behavior here. We haven't used a curriculum or any specific book, but study the human body and how it works, along with reading scriptures to see what God has to say about using our bodies to glorify Him.



KimC Answers…
If you’re a mom, I feel safe in assuming that you are both a product of and a participant in sex. We can also assume that our children are now in one category and will someday join the other as well. In all seriousness, sex is an important part of the Gospel, where marriage presents a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church. After all, God gave us an entire book about marital love in the Bible. So it’s good for them to know at least a little about it. The question, then, is how much? when? and who’s gonna tell them??? Everyone is going to have different comfort levels and I don’t think there’s one right way about this. In some families, the mom may do most of the talking; in others, the dad will be more comfortable answering these questions. Maybe your kids aim their questions at the parent of the same gender. However it happens, be prepared. If you are flustered, embarrassed and uncomfortable when the questions start, your children will pick up your attitude and become hesitant to ask further questions. That’s a shame, because I really believe parents need to take an active part in molding their children’s view of sex and the body rather than letting children pick up the info from media, friends, and the world at large. Having said that, here’s how it tends to work in our own household. First of all, we don’t have The Anatomy Discussion. We’re far more casual about the subject. Everyone changes diapers in our house, and the little ones often take baths together. I talk a lot during potty training, when formerly diapered parts become frequently exposed, the topics of natural conversation. We don’t necessarily use all the correct anatomical terms, but we all know that some of us have “girl stuff” and some of us have “boy stuff.” “Privates” is a good gender-neutral term, but we don’t object to the anatomical terms unless they’re being used for vulgar humor. We also don’t teach that nakedness is bad. We teach that it’s immodest, or inappropriate for the present circumstances. Nakedness is perfectly appropriate under the right circumstances. Last year we had a newly potty trained 2yo who spent a lot of time sans bottoms. For the sake of modesty (both on her part and her 4yo brother’s) we usually tried to keep her visually covered with a shirt that


Rarely. Our kids have a pretty good idea of how reproduction takes place. You can ask again when you’re older. we’re quick to correct. We answer questions freely and frankly as they arise. taking into account the inquirer’s age. I lower my voice and tell them the answer is a little embarrassing. they can learn together with their spouse. and you don’t need to be an expert to take up this sport. I don’t want to teach her that parts of her body are bad. the answer is simply. and they understand (on their various levels) that sex is a great blessing and a lot of fun – inside marriage. when her hands go that direction. :) FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 155 . We take a similar approach to the birds and the bees. Some questions are a little embarrassing to me and I don’t see the need to hide it. even within the home. but here goes…and we giggle together. We used to breed gerbils and even rabbits. and we’ve always been rather frank and unashamed about it. And if we miss anything important. but I think it was perfectly appropriate and therefore modest for her to go about with no bottoms right now. Instead. Sometimes it’s good to clarify exactly what they’re asking (“But how does the baby get out?“). Other questions deal more directly with sex. They learn enough about the mechanics from seeing animals breed. On the other hand. and they learn how it fits into a marriage by seeing how we cherish our time together. for goodness sake! There’s plenty of procreation around here. but sex is not a taboo topic. That behavior is most certainly not modest in a public setting. We breed dogs and chickens. Learning is fun. “I don’t think you need to know that yet. Hubby and I smooch freely in front of the kids. They don’t know or need to know all the details.” We have found that our kids have a good sense of what goes on behind closed doors from a young age. but she does need to understand that they are reserved for a certain time and purpose. Innocent questions about feminine hygiene products are a great opening to discuss impending puberty. providing just as much detail as necessary and appropriate.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? was longer than usual.


The DHM Answers…
The Birds and the Bees for Mothers of Daughters
I am not a prude, but on the other hand, I am entirely too bashful to tell you all the proofs that I am not a prude. Combine that with my concern that in order to be crystal clear here and as accurate as I would be in a one on one discussion (preferably over email), I would have to use words that will show up on a google search—unfortunately perfectly useful words can also attract some bottom dwelling, scum-sucking, scavenger type creeps. So I'm going to come across a little ridiculous to some of you here and still too embarrassing for others. And then there is the fact that I do know that this e-book might not only be read by women, which is a bit awkward for me as I do consider some perfectly healthy topics of conversation not suitable for mixed company. So we shall tip toe through the tulips here and I shall seem a bit ridiculous to some of you and completely, scandalously, outrageous to others, and I can live with that because I hope that this will be helpful to some mothers of daughters. First of all, the whole birds and the bees thing is about both more and less than than first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. The birds and the bees, in other words, is not just about, er, issues of intimacy and where babies come from. Health is also involved. If we did not live in the real world but in a fictionalized Victorian era and your daughter was going to become a cloistered nun in a sheltered nunnery and almost never, ever see a member of the opposite gender and never hear of anything remotely related to conception and birth (again, this is imaginary, not real), then there would still be some things she would need to know for her own personal health, and that's really the scope of this post—how to broach the topic of monthly cycles, when, and some tools you might find useful. Your daughter does need to know this. There are physical conditions, aside from pregnancy, for which the early signs are changes in cycles, changes in monthly cycles, etc, and a woman who has never paid much attention to these is not going to be able to be as pro-active about her own health as she might be. It's important to remember that all families are different, children are individuals, and what is ideal for one would be appalling to another and


incomprehensible to a third. You make decisions on what is best for your family, and nobody knows your daughter like you do. Do not make reactive decisions out of horror or anger at what you own parents did or did not tell you or what some stranger on a blog tells you about what her parents did or did not do. I think it's a good idea to just have a general study of the human body no later than between 8 and 10; the digestive system, the respiratory system, etc. I'd repeat this in high school with more detail. But I think it's useful to give your kids a general idea of the internal workings of their bodies, a basic understanding of the idea that there are various organs with different jobs, and that what they do, choices they make; sleeping, eating, exercise, etc, (and I do hope you do not need me to spell out what falls under the broad category of etc.) can change how well these systems function. You don't even necessarily need to go into the specifics of the reproductive system at this point. It will also help you, I hope, feel more comfortable discussing this with your children when you are ready for a talk about the etc. side of the human system, and since you will have already discussed the stomach and how it works, the lungs, and what they do, maybe it won't seem too freaky to you and your children when you bring up fallopian tubes and what they do. Resources are listed at the bottom of this post. You want to explain to your daughter what menarche is before she gets there, but it's really not the end of the world if you didn't. Some kids freak out and think something horrible is wrong, although not all do. It's just not always going to happen in the quiet safety and privacy of your own home. Some girls will feel traumatized for life no matter what you tell them. (One of mine sat in my lap and cried for hours because she didn't want to grow up and one was thrilled to death because it meant she was growing up, and they had exactly the same teaching from me). So yes, you want to tell them what's coming before it hits them. It's much, much better if you do, it's just that you don't need to go drown yourself in remorse if you didn't, and if it is your mother who failed here, you need to forgive her and move on. Even if you didn't and your daughter is very angry now, if your relationship is otherwise good, I promise that some day she will get over it and think you are funny and quirky. Well, okay, I can't promise that because I am not your daughter. But I can tell you that your perspective on how your mother did or didn't handle this won't necessarily be the same in your forties as it was in your twenties. What's done is done, move on.



For those who haven't gotten there yet, fortunately, there are ways to tell that some big changes are going on in your daughter's life, and you can have up to two years warning. There is no set order for these changes, and some of them will be more marked for some girls than others. I did some googling so you don't have to in order to be sure I covered everything I thought important. I found it interesting how one site would say that one of them was the earliest sign and another would say that was the latest and there were other contradictions as well, even from sites written by 'experts' with degrees and everything. So keep in mind that you and your daughter are individuals and you will have to find the path to communication that is right for you.

Signs to watch for, in no particular order because this will vary.
Pimples Your daughter will need to start wearing undershirts or something else, you know? That whole training 'undergarment' thing is not about support, and it's not about encouraging little girls to grow up too soon. It's because little girls will be extra tender there. Their shirts might actually irritate newly sensitive skin, they will get hurt when wrestling with their daddy or brothers, or when playing catch and a ball hits them in the chest. Doing things they used to do without any problems will start to occasionally cause pain, and shirts and materials that once were modest won't be anymore. She needs deodorant. The hair on her legs is less fine than it used to be, and hair will show up other places where it wasn't before, and I hope that's all you need me to tell you. If your family is so private you never see one another in a state of nature (which is a euphemism of nekkid if you're even more private than that), then surreptitiously check her armpits somehow. Have her raise her hands to the ceiling while wearing a tank top or swimming suit, or while trying on clothes in the dressing room. Hair grows there, too, at about the same time as, um, other places. If you do the laundry, you may notice some slight changes indicated in what the Victorians and Edwardians once used to delicately refer to as 'linens,' and I don't mean sheets.


HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? Moodiness This will vary with the child and it can be caused by other things. more prickly or less open than before. That child is going to go through puberty any day now. well. elongate and the sweet little puddins' become shapelier. Again. insisted nobody understood her (that was true enough). drug use. no indentation upon which to plant their hands when overseeing the work of the FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 159 ." Later we realized it was the lack of sunshine and some of my girls didn't have the moodiness at all. straight at the sides from hips to stomach. She burst into tears for no reason at all. yes. curves. some girls will just suddenly be more private. and just baffled her poor daddy. The girls will also get. But for most of the rest. if they have been plump and adorable little puddings. more serious and even urgent reasons (abuse. and where it seemed like I needed to buy them new clothes every three months because they were growing so fast. who would look at me in helpless and hurt bewilderment. Two of my girls never breached 5 feet and there was never a time when they had what anybody would call a ‘shooting up period’. there was a time when their feet grew so fast that we wondered if they were going to be wearing a size 13DDD shoe (they mostly stopped at 8). Sometimes this will be for other. well. really serious stuff that you need to address immediately). Rapid growth Again. "What did I say?" My mom came to visit for Christmas and the second day she was there told me. hips. and then they stop abruptly. "You need to have that talk if you didn't already. haywire. Sometimes it's just because they are embarrassed about the changes they see and don't know how to handle them. Boys will have these growth spurts all the time. asking. Catching them in that growth spurt period is a good time. big push where you wonder if they will be six feet tall by the time they are 13. Going along with the moodiness. We had this 'talk' with one of my girls two years earlier than necessary (not that this was a bad thing). they will seem to stretch out. there are variations and some girls are always going to have the figure of a slender snake. Tthe girls seem to have this one last. Their legs will no longer be toothpicks or. Sometimes it's because hormonal changes make their emotional signals a bit. this won't apply to everybody. Most of them will flesh out here. because we moved to Alaska and the change in sunshine levels (from a tropical island to the constant twilight of the great North) really was hard on her.

care and cleanliness should also be covered.' In my family there was no code word because my husband refused to buy any such products. so the girls would just tell me. or maybe your family sends the girls out to a hut in the woods to commune with cattail fluff. the above is not a check list. it's just not so helpful when you are looking for 'signs. your family ways are not obvious and self-explanatory and everybody does not approach things the way you do (that's a generic you). I promise you. it's a good time to move from general discussions of basic human anatomy. well.' When you see a couple of these signs and. Basic hygiene. if any. it was 'stuff. modesty. every girl will not have every single sign in the same order. code word you family uses for the public shopping list posted to the refrigerator should be shared. This means one of mine needed everything spelled out and one of mine didn't bother to mention this big change in her life to anybody but just took care of things herself because she knew what to do and several fell somewhere in between. That's just fine. self-control (learning self control in spending and in eating ice-cream does have cross over benefits in learning self control in other areas) into some specific information about the big change that is about to happen to your daughter. Some families are so open they just write down anything on that shopping list. Whatever it is. again. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 160 . marshmallows written at the top of the list meant you-knowwhat. In one family. but marshmallows written anywhere else meant marshmallows. explain it to your child because. or who isn't pretty good at putting contextual clues together. It's obvious (I hope) that you will want to mention that there will be. Products to use (including home-made options). In my parents' home.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? menfolks and others are born to be curvy little dumplings of cuteness. and be sure to offer vital practical instructions like 'do NOT clog up the toilet. which will be news to a home educated child who doesn't live in a household of big sisters or who has never had a female dog who hasn't been fixed. blood coming from a possibly startling location.' as well as what.

Some doctors will try to kick Mom out and if the girl isn't clear that this isn't what SHE wants the doctor will assume Mom is just being a smother mother. and so it's a good idea to set aside important discussions for a bit later. so she didn't mention it as a possibility to me. a friend's mother pointed out to me that my lower back aches and weepiness probably was cyclical in nature. so warn them ahead of time. Also. My own mother never really had any unpleasantness associated with monthly cycles. When I was about 12. Cramps and back-aches. Also. but it is helpful to tell a girl who is currently not being bombarded by hormones that sometimes when you are under hormonal bombardment it clouds your judgment and reactions. This is not to use as an excuse. Some girls find that embarrassing. The role hormones can play on our moods. you can easily change doctors if this happens.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? But there are some other things I think it's also important to address. but it's a good habit to develop. Girls will not be anything like regular in the beginning. The doctor is going to ask her if she's started. It's a good idea to get in the habit now of marking the start and finish on your calendar each month. It's important to explain in advance that their cycles can create a negative filter through which they view others. most midwives will do feminine type exams and FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 161 . and a good way to learn to recognize your body's signals. it's probably NOT something those people are doing. FYI. discuss with them very clearly whether or not they want you in the room with them for future doctor's visits. If you are not a military family. and it's important to know that if the people you have always loved and found to be delightful companions are suddenly raging idiots who annoy you merely by existing.

Though. I'm sorry about that. 'active' (and I'm not talking about playing a mean game of tag football) or in her early twenties. the Christian Liberty Nature Reader's are online here. or get the wrong answers from somewhere else just to save me a few blushes. Really. However. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 162 . Basic stuff on the digestive. It’s just fine to be embarrassed. or whatever it is. You can tell your kids not to read beyond chapter ten.so I don't have much practice talking about it and so as you can tell. This book is for younger children. The (3rd Edition)—This is for older students just because of the complexity of the drawings. er. or glean what you need from the book and get rid of it. Maybe the more questions you ask. just ask. If you prefer. Please do not worry about it. Either let them read it. the less embarrassed I will get. I am very embarrassed and my own embarrassment is probably making you nervous. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying. It's written at about fifth grade level and is a useful look at the wonder of the human body. because it shows drawings of naked children. "You know. This was the HG's favorite book in kindergarten. I would much rather you ask me a question and let me be embarrassed than have you wonder about things without answers. this is very thorough. respiratory systems and so forth. Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book 5—You should check to see if information is current. and you may not want to leave it lying around. I do want you to feel free to talk to me if you have any questions. What all of mine remember about it is the digestive system. Anatomy Coloring Book. read it together. And your daughter does NOT need an internal exam until she is." Resources we've used include: Reader's Digest ABCS of the Human Body—I like the information on the various systems of the body.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? discussions with girls. this is a topic not generally discussed in public. and I really do not mind if I am embarrassed. not written from a Christian perspective of morality and the blessing of the human body. Outside-In: A Lift-the-Flaps Body Book. it may have too much detail illustrated for some of our more bashful readers. That's a much more comfortable and natural environment. which will be a useful study in itself. It's okay to talk to me even if it makes me blush. but I think that's a bit hard on the kids.

I mean they are scrawls and look juvenile. or popularity and the emphasis that body image should not come from pop culture. this is a good resource for a bashful mom to read first. a 1992 reprint of the '79 version.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? I Am Joe's Body—This is helpful for Mom and high school students. there is a sample issue available online. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause—This is excellent for all ages. with additional FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 163 . That said. they are crude and vulgar.: A Girl's Guide—I have a much older version. I don't mean in a sexual way. I kept the January/February issue specifically for an article on sizing and selecting the right bra. tiresomely 'save the earth' through actions that won't make a spit of difference. I really like Moral Principles for Young People. I often picked up an issue at our favorite hippie health food store and we read parts of the issues together. For a more general study for pre-teens. and I do respect his sons' moral standards and behavior. and I like the stuff in it on being comfortable in your own skin. The updated version has better illustrations. I love the lack of ads. The same author also has Growing Up In The Lord for boys and Growing Up in the Lord for girls. We know the father personally as well as his three of his four sons. This is not written from a Christian perspective and I find the emphasis on self esteem tiresome and often misdirected. We haven't used these last two yet. You can decide for yourself.' but it is a good study. New Moon. I do not love the decidedly feminist in that annoying "Why would anybody think any differently than us unless they just hate women or are afraid" fashion. the lack of dieting advice. sometimes new agey. or for a different sort of bashful mom to leave in the bathroom for her daughter to read. Period. but I think we are going to use Growing up in the Lord for boys with our son. the focus on health rather than weight. I hate the illustrations. It was also recommended to me by another mother with one son whose standards I respect. but also some additional information I personally wouldn't use with a pre-pubescent girl. and then share the information with her daughter. It won't replace 'the talk. It's free online and there shouldn't be anything there to embarrass the most bashful maiden. I think it's changed since I was buying it and the target audience seems to be younger. size. These are fairly straight forward explanations of the birds and bees from a Christian standpoint (emphasis on purity). the Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams—In 2002. I read it in my early forties and wished I'd had it at twenty.

And this: FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 164 . less polite names)" would be a problem for you. While physical intimacy is usually a strictly physical thing for a boy.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? information about basic hygiene (the boys' study covers information for both circumcised and uncircumcised boys). For more intimate information. I found these sites useful: This is from a parenting website. inhibit critical thinking. but they've been highly recommended to me recently by some young mothers: The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls (American Girl Library Taking Charge of Your Fertility. unless "a brown sludge called feces (and other. and make you do things that later you may regret. For more information. Also for boys: Every Young Man's Battle: Strategies for Victory in the Real World of Sexual Temptation (The Every Man Series)—Be warned. this is pretty explicit and should be read together with a father and son if possible. This would be particularly useful if your son is or might be exposed to pornography or having a really rough time with his thought life. It will cloud your judgment. and Reproductive Health Take Charge Of Your Fertility: Teach Yourself Looking at the Body—Excellent for grade school study of the human body. 10th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control. strictly the less embarrassing systems of the human body. This is also for parents. you might find this post useful as it includes information like this: What boys need to know: Physical intimacy is intoxicating like alcohol. I didn't use these. it's a very emotional thing for a girl. so it's user friendly This site has a flash diagram of the female reproductive system and a very helpful explanation of the process that should be useful. Pregnancy Achievement.

and make you do things that later you may regret. It will cloud your judgment. Physical intimacy carries profound emotional feelings with it for girls. And the consequences for girls are usually more devastating than for boys. Generally speaking.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? What girls need to know: Physical intimacy is intoxicating like alcohol. inhibit critical thinking. but boys usually DO NOT feel this. boys are more detached from emotions than you are. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 165 .

(Some people call this homeschooling. we wanted our children to come to us (rather than peers) when they had questions and to feel comfortable talking to us about anything. "What does. 31:34-35) If you're going to take this track then you need to be prepared to answer the questions when they come and trust me. birth and nursing. sometimes they come at unexpected times. • We're constantly talking with our kids about all types of subjects. We did this by encouraging and answering any and all questions that came our way. 38) mean?" and "What is 'the manner of women'?" (Gen. questions like "How does the baby get out of mommy's tummy" and "What is a virgin". Questions have come our way easily for a number of reasons: • We're with our kids all the time.) • Our kids read the Bible. As our children have gotten older so have the questions. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 166 . • We have animals and plants. we study the whole Bible with our children and we study it frequently. rather we wanted to give them the facts gradually over time as they were ready. To accomplish this we didn't want to schedule a big "let's-sit-downand-talk-about-this" session. • We study the Bible with our children. • We've had a lot of babies and our kids are no strangers to pregnancy. 'he wasted his seed on the ground' (Gen. they read the whole Bible and they read it frequently.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? Kimberly Answers… Mark and I had one main goal when it came to how we wanted to talk our children about the facts of life. From the time our children were 3 or 4 years old we've been getting questions.

so when one child raises an issue we make sure to address it with any other children who may be wondering. but not for long and we are the ones who bring the subject back up. There have been a couple of times when a question came up at a bad time (company/children outside our family around) or it was a question that I wasn't prepared to answer cold turkey. gracefully.HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? Tip: Once your children are old enough to understand that some of these things are not dinner table topics. For example. Some children will ask questions more easily than others. We answer according to what they're asking. At these times we may put them off. However when our five year old says. "Mommy how does the baby get out of your tummy?" I may say something to the effect that God has created a special passage for the baby to come out so that it doesn't hurt the baby and it doesn't hurt mommy. Some questions require a biblical perspective. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 167 . We answer biblically. that they wait until they are alone with you to ask it. when those come up we give it to them and include other passages that may apply. We give the information to all of the children who are interested and it is appropriate to give it to. "Mommy. Don't be afraid to stall. when our three year old asks. Not only does this allow us to convey needed information. so our policy has been to completely answer their question without going into more detail than we think they are wanting. we also hope that it makes our more reserved children realize that it is fine and appropriate to discuss these things with us. where is that special passage?" then it's time for more information. :) Here’s how we answer the questions. it may behoove you to suggest that when they have a question and really have no idea what the answer will be. We don't want them to think that we aren't willing to answer their questions. We do not want to burden our children with information before they are really ready for it.

Our children have different influences and exposures in their lives and my suspicion is that they have more exposure than we. it's probably not too early. so if they ask. I read over From Girl to Woman for ideas on what to cover and how to cover it. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 168 .HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES? If they're asking for specifics. I doubt that this will be needed with the boys or with any younger siblings. Based on current trends. Despite our (we thought) well laid plan and all of the questions we fielded there did come a time when we felt our children needed more information than they had asked about. This conversation fueled more questions and conversations and we've handled that as they've arisen. So at an appropriate time I brought the subject up with a group of our children. as their parents. assume. answer.

How do you deal with sibling squabbles? .

and I am acting and speaking in a way FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 170 . namely a toothbrush. but the woman is the heart. so there are usually no grudges held. I understand that this must be very trying when there is always a younger sibling messing up projects. I have heard it said that the man is the head of the home. Then we encourage the older sibling to forgive the infraction and try to remember that apparently it is hard for little ones to resist using a toothbrush other than their own. clumsy kleptomaniacs themselves. we have recently had arguing over the unauthorized use of private property. as they say. and then remind the big kids that they too were once small. we have had a case where 2 girls had a tendency to unkindly boss around a younger sibling who shared a room. spilling beads. we have it. this usually does a world of good and creates harmony in the household once again.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? Connie Answers… As for the Smockity Family. and using special things not meant for them. the worse the sibling arguing is.. and then repent and ask forgiveness. and we tell them that it isn't nice to use someone else's things when they don't want you to. and when their toothbrushes aren't being abused. If I can straighten up my own attitude. yes. Whenever I notice the children arguing and having generally bad attitudes. doesn’t fall far from the tree. This is so true. but occasionally a younger sibling will disregard the boundaries and use something that doesn't belong to her. We listen to complaints. This most often happens with the very young Smockities. If my heart is pure.. Arguing. We try to provide personal storage space for private property. Generally. chastise the guilty party. because the apple. I hate it. our big kids think their younger siblings are about the cutest things since kittens were invented. Yes. As for bullying. We moved the younger sibling to a room where she was the "big girl" and the problem was pretty much cut short. I usually find that the worse my attitude is. I know to examine myself and my own attitude.

also. They also give themselves a star when they display the attributes. My children have responded very well to this Fruit of the Spirit Printable. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 171 . I have them place a small heart on anyone’s chart in the appropriate space if they see any of the attributes being demonstrated. I usually see my children following my example.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? that brings glory and honor to God.

whom the children also happen to look like. an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations. They remind me of a couple of other sinners I know.” Proverbs 6:16-19 “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea. seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look. and hands that shed innocent blood.” Proverbs 29:22 “An angry man stirreth up strife. and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. They bicker and squabble over the most ridiculous things.” When we correct the kids. a lying tongue. I have to confess I don’t have the answer to this question.” Proverbs 20:3 “It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. but that doesn’t mean they are perfect. feet that be swift in running to mischief. contention. before it be meddled with. The Bible has a lot to say about strife. a false witness that speaketh lies. and those who cause it. It means we need to take the problem all the more seriously. this is also a very accurate description of the relationship between me and my sweetheart. beginning with ourselves but doing our best to nip it in the bud with the children as well. We are each responsible for our own sins. At the FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 172 . and keep being best friends. In a coincidence of astounding proportions.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? KimC Answers… If you want to know how to avoid sibling squabbles. We have our share of bickering and bossiness.” Proverbs 17:14 “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention. and he that soweth discord among brethren. ask forgiveness. I like to think our children are best friends and get along wonderfully. The fact that we don’t set a perfect example doesn’t mean we are allowed or obligated to tolerate or condone strife and contention in others. The important thing is that they also admit fault. we emphasize that one person’s sinful attitude does not justify the sins of another.

Each sibling wrote a section of every chapter. hilarious book offers a creative look at how to build relationships between siblings. offering their unique perspective. Website description: This painfully honest. and Grace Mally reinforce. If your children are struggling in their relationships with one another. and I am always delightfully surprised by how well the children remember and apply what we have read. when arguments happen I try to impress upon each child that she probably could have ended or defused the situation by exercising humility. all related to how the three of them became best friends. in a fresh and innovative way. Stephen. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 173 . but to be best friends. Sarah. We read a few pages every day. you might want to read Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends as a family.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? same time. and her pride led her sibling deeper into sin as well. the very principles we parents talk about daily with our children. with riotous personal anecdotes. The goal is not just for brothers and sisters to get along.

and mom is thinking “Aren’t they cute?”. There were only wars. What we had to do with that was just forbid hair touching. In my family they are tiffs. scratched. We had. my youngest daughter saw this picture and thought. With small children and behaviors like that I like tomato staking. At our house this poster would be a lie. there were no tiffs. That’s what we do for small children and small tiffs. knocked each other down. did I just reveal who hit whom with the rock? We engaged in psychological warfare that was much. open war. My brothers and I have punched each other.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? The DHM Answers… We are talking about sibling tiffs." FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 174 . for example. affectionate child who would begin by stroking hair and end by tugging on it. I tend to see all sibling bickering as the third picture. One of those times resulted in stitches and we weren't really even fighting that time. Some kids take much longer to understand how another person feels about their exuberant affection or the difference between a pat and a tap. The image for how the siblings themselves see it was something like Atilla The Hun wreaking havoc and destruction. "Totally NOT my mom. Oops. The image for how mom sees it was two siblings hugging. kicked. and this is how I see it’ pictures to her Facebook. yeah. very small and just need help with self control issues. When I was a child. period. One of us was merely disgruntled with the other. the moment just before the child needs it. mostly because enthusiastic stroking resulted in fingers tangled in the hair and pulling. Recently one of my kids' friends posted one of those ‘This is how you see it. So. We address this issue when the children are still very. encouragement and training the moment that the child needs it or if you are very good. which would offend the victim and that would in turn upset the hair puller. much worse. this is how mom sees it. a problem with a wellintentioned. With tomato staking the child stays with you every waking minute so you can be proactive with redirection. bitten and twice rocks were involved. It showed two siblings fighting for the first image. probably because sending my brother to the emergency room by splitting his skull with a rock is not even the worst thing I ever did when fighting with my brothers.

dispositions. anyway? Sometimes it begins with selfishness and harsh judgment. but it WILL help many child learn some self-control. That kind of thing I mostly just grit my teeth and ignore or I leave the room. It is an excellent tool. to use a word fashionable in some circles. leaving a chore or two behind me that they get to complete. Or we would be good. You simply do not rely on punishment alone..” is the height of hilarity. When our first two were quite young. The younger two do it because they think it's funny. You help the child put off vice with punishment. but I also think sometimes they are just habits of bad temper and poor self control. see all their tiffs as the second image—a sign of affection. For the more serious stuff. “Uh-huh. I thought he was nuts and that this would never work. It will help them to stop and think before they lash out in word or deed. They are 13 and nearly 16 (this month) and still think that the scene in The Emperor’s New Groove. Punishment will not lessen the selfishness. They are crabs.. but you help them put on virtue through other techniques. because they don’t mean to be fighting. They are self-willed enough to not inflict the worst of their crabbiness on their parents. I confess that the first time he did it I wanted to beat my head even more.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? My youngest two. fortunately for the entire universe. if my childhood behavior were the standard which. Some children just have choleric. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 175 . who bicker more than any of the other kids did. yuh-uh. And since nobody has ever had to go get stitches in the skull because one of the kids biffed another in the noggin with a rock I guess we're good. but my kids still sometimes bicker. nor will it do much towards reducing harsh judgment. whenever they fussed at each other in that manner that makes most parents despair that their children will ever get along and love each other and makes me. they think they are playing.. Why do kids fight. at least. yuh-uh. but their siblings are not so fortunate.. I have very little tolerance for sibling bickering. my husband instituted the following punishment. where the two children are engaged in that ubiquitous intellectual pastime of two siblings exchanging witty remarks like. uh-huh. want to stand by the wall and beat my head against it. it's not.

hateful flavor of the words you have just said. ‘If you can't appreciate and love your sister. much worse than this vinegar tastes. or sometimes touched their tongues with a bar of soap just enough to leave a bad taste. so you will spend some time as though you have no sister." I don't remember how long this punishment lasted. They both still remember this as perhaps the most wretched and effective discipline of their lives and I have heard them recommend it to others. hence the soap). When they speak to each other with 'that tone' or use words that are intended to hurt. you don't appreciate the blessing you have.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? What he did is tell the girls. but am not sure. you certainly don't need to be off playing with the neighbors up the road.” FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 176 . I do know that it was never very long before they were literally pleading to be allowed to have their sister back again. Your mother and I love you both with all your hearts. It goes something like this: “The Bible says pleasant words are like a honeycomb. I want you to remember this taste.” “We are supposed to use our words to build one another up. "God gave you to each other as sisters. look at each other.' Another disciplinary tactic that we have seen work to make children stop and think before they speak is to use vinegar or lemon juice in response to hateful words. and it grieves us all to listen to you being so ugly to each other. When you talk to each like this it leaves a horrible sting and a nasty. They were also the only children we had at the time. and you cannot easily wash out the bitter. sometimes only a few hours. I think. or any way acknowledge the other one. so they had no other playmates in the home to play with. not to tear each other down. speak to each other. I have given a small spoonful of vinegar or lemon juice. that another part of this discipline was along the lines of a restriction. Talking to each other like you just did leaves behind a much worse taste than this. He put you in the same family for a reason. sour feeling behind. They just hadn't learned self-discipline. So you must act as though the other did not exist. (I had a child who liked straight lemon juice and didn't really mind straight vinegar. but your words just now were nothing like sweet. sometimes as long as the rest of the day. You may not play together. You don't appreciate your sister. There is a little speech that accompanies this. I think it worked as well as it did because they did actually adore each other. Obviously.

I don't think there's any single tool in the parenting bag that works across the board in isolation. What works for you may well be different and perhaps nothing much will work at all. It's a golden opportunity to help each child learn to consider the other rather than himself. These are two disciplinary tactics that worked for us with the older five girls. Although I find it burdensome and discouraging. and neither would have been willing to concede anything to anybody. I also think they worked as well as they did because they worked in conjunction with the fact that the girls spent more time with each other than with anybody else. and I think it's important to try. to see things from somebody else's point of view. Other times I just waited until we had something with honey in it and would remind them that this was how their words should make others feel. if I look at it the proper way. and it is easy to numb the impact by overusing it. The personality of your children is a significant factor here. We do fun things together as a family and my husband and I have a low tolerance for sibling rivalry. They are both too exactly like each other. This is not intended to come across as me. I think there are ways and means of getting to the bottom of what happened in many cases whether you saw it or not. they are permitted to go get a drink or brush their teeth. or else it becomes a sulking and dwelling on the wrongs others have done to us phase. I think it is important that the cooling off phase be brief. Very occasionally. First have a brief cooling off phase. the perfect Mother with the perfect children.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? After their little lecture. you leave an ill-tempered or deceptive child with FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 177 . A little of this sort of talk goes a long wa. but you don't really know who did what to whom. Take a typical sort of incident where you come upon two angry children. bickering and arguing amongst siblings is an opportunity. We did not just focus on putting off. I am fairly certain that if Equuschick and Pip had been the first two children the separation idea wouldn't have worked at all. issuing pronouncements from on high. Some parents just dismiss these incidents because they didn't see what happened. And they worked because of the personalities of those five older girls. Otherwise. I followed up with a bit of honey and told them that their speech should be sweet like honey. They also worked well in conjunction with 'putting on' the virtues.

Child A has neglected to tell you that the story actually began when Child A called Child B a rude name or started the hitting herself. ask. they do not do this willingly or well. I forget now who we learned this from. Sometimes this is done when the parents mistakenly believe that they have managed to whip out vice and this rooting out of vice suffices for planting and FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 178 . quite possibly it is true that child B grabbed the fly-swatter from Child A and started hitting her with it. I want you to tell me what your sister is going to tell me happened. my thinking on this matter may be influenced on the rock incidents of my youth. Do not assume your child has told you the whole story from beginning to end until you've heard from all the witnesses and participants. or else talking much more quietly here as though this will keep you from noticing. but what the sibling will say happened. a discerning parent can usually tell. “Do not tell me what you think happened. of course. After the quick cool down period. This is important and it takes work. Possibly. just as Child A has reported. I was just playing with the truck and teasing”.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? an unfair advantage. not what happened.taking a deep breath and speaking very fast. and-then-I-ran-it-into-her-leg-but-not-veryhard-at-all and then FOR NO REASON SHE JUST HIT ME and-I-hit-back-butjust-barely-and-not-very-hard and THEN SHE GRABBED MY TRUCK AND THREW IT!” Another sort of child will open its eyes quite wide and look openly and utterly disingenuously into her parents' eyes while uttering the most shocking untruths. Naturally. and even more likely. We often have to ask more than once. and then. "Is your sibling going to tell me the same story when s/he comes in? Is that what s/he will say happened?" The tendency.” When he or she is finished. "Well. but I find it helps to sort out what happened by asking a couple of careful questions after they have gotten their version off their chests. invite one child to come and tell you. It is also helpful to ask. Of course. is always to minimize and rush past one's own wrong doing. "And is there something else that happened just before your story starts?" You see. The child will say something like. but when we are trying to sort out a quarrel we try to get our two belligerents to tell us the problem from the other child's perspective.

The way your children display their irritation and annoyance with one another is most likely going to be the way they fight with their future spouse. And speaking of grown-ups. still do wrong. by ignoring it now. Mother's champion and Father's followers will be at strife among themselves. the brothers will certainly treat their sisters in the same manner. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 179 . and where the wife complains of "papa's unfortunate temper. bickering and arguing that our culture makes the stuff of sitcoms? I don't recall where I read this. and sows the distrust and defiance that make quarrels not only possible. A discerning parent is one who recognizes that her children are not perfect and no matter how carefully she has taught them that lying is wrong. Where parents work together in sympathy the family will be knit in the same bonds. but prospective mates are more like peers. If they are not at one the household peace falls apart. but if the husband finds fault with his wife. we tell our children to assess prospective mates by how they treat their parents. Leader Scott wrote the following in a parenting magazine in the early 1890s: But neither rules nor aphorisms are of much use without example." or lets the children hide their actions and thoughts from him in fear of a scolding. but I have observed it to be generally true. How important is it to take care of the sort of biting. Other times. cutting. tearing down. but probable. Sort of like grown-ups. allow bad habits to take root and grow into established practice.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? nurturing virtue. still lose their tempers. she must be open to the possibility that even quite nice children get carried away with the emotions of the moment. and still do not quite admit fault with complete ease and accuracy. Do not. the real makers of the household atmosphere are the parents themselves. it is simply a case of a clever child with a strong sense of her own cuteness. she divides them with her own hand. or shows disrespect to her before the children. After all.

our children aren't perfect. Sibling relationships need not be characterized by sin anymore than the marriage relationship should be characterized by sin. Here is how we deal with arguing and fighting. name calling and 'bullying' are a normal part of the brother/sister relationship.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? Kimberly Answers… I want to be honest about this topic because I think that many parents don't know how beautiful sibling relationships can be. selfish nature and give them hearts that long to please Him and serve others. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 180 . They sometimes argue and/or respond to each other impatiently or unkindly. but by God's grace and mercy we can have relationships that are characterized by the fruit of the Spirit. Give them an example of godly relationship. Much like the teen years. Here are some ways to cultivate beautiful relationships among your children. many parents have wrong assumptions about sibling relationships. if you have love for one another. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples.” Kaitlin (14) and Amber (15): Sisters and best friends Pray that God will bless your children's relationships Ultimately God is the only one who can change your children's sinful. kindness and self-sacrifice. We have found this assumption to be false. Don't misunderstand. but other than a short learning stage during the toddler years (when it seems that there is constant fighting) our children's relationships are generally characterized by love. All relationships will be affected by sin. They think that fighting.

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? I hate to say this one because I fail multiple times each and every day and the Amber (15). the peer relationships are what they will value. striving to put before them a godly example is vital. Relationships develop when people spend time together. (I suspect this is because because most peer groups aren't composed of friends who encourage children to godliness. If your children spend most of their time alone. Matthew (12) and Kaitlin (14) play football with Dad at the park Amber (15) Isabella (1) and Nicholas (3) primary sins that I see in our children's relationships are sins that I regularly model for them. almost always to the detriment of sibling relationships. they will value being alone and choosing what they want to do. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 181 . if we spend much of our childhood serving self. It's difficult to learn to serve or to sacrifice self. That said. when they want to do it. Give them time together. Our children's relationships are certainly not a result of my godly example.) Our family has observed a striking contrast between sibling relationships in friend's children who spend many hours a day with peer groups and sibling relationships in friends children who spend most of their time with siblings and parents. but rather of God's grace. If your children spend most of their time with a peer group.

Ephesians 6:4 “And. they rarely need to come to us and are able to solve most conflicts with simply the first step of Matthew 18. Sadie (8) helps Isabella (1) ride her bike Isabella (1) and Sadie (8) Don't give them too much space. As sinners it's our children's nature NOT to handle a conflict biblically and so until they consistently and reliably follow the pattern given in Matthew 18 they need supervision. as our children mature. if it's followed. based on Matthew 18. That said. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 182 . you will see that we have given our children a specific method. provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This biblical pattern works beautifully. I often think of Ephesians 6:4. they need a parent available for step #2 and/or #3. ye fathers.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? In order to develop strong relationships siblings must spend time together and must be involved in each others lives. we should not expect it of our children. when it comes to sibling relationships. And until BOTH parties are willing and able to solve the conflict at step #1. for solving conflicts. If you followed the above link to my post on solving sibling squabbles.” If adults need the Matthew 18 pattern to solve conflicts (and they do). God knows adults aren't able to solve all problems without outside help. shame on parents who tell their children that they need to work things out on their own.

(Lots of time. and fighting within the families of those who claim the name of Christ.) • We strive to be given to hospitality. (6 ways our homeschool is different than most) • We consider relationship in the 'little' decisions. etc. family activities. everyday) My series on capturing your child's heart • We homeschool with a focus on relationships. Here are a few simple ways that our family makes relationships a priority: • Nothing is more important than teaching our children to have a relationship with God. daily schedules. individual activities. Our family with a family we’be been friends with I believe that Satan rejoices when he since we began having babies. • We spend time together as a family. bickering encouragement and companionship. godly family relationships is not easy. homeschool curricula. We love their godly sees constant name calling. ( Who sits by whom in the van. Do not be misled… FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 183 . Hospitality does not require a large budget or endless resources. • We carefully consider the friendships that we encourage both in our children and as a family. room sharing. Please do not underestimate the importance of relationships! When Adam sinned the consequence was a breaking of the relationship between God and man and the purpose of Christ's life.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? Make relationship a priority. but hospitality always requires a little bit of self-sacrifice and self-sacrifice is always beneficial to building relationships. Our calling as parents isn't to take the easy way out and the godly discipleship of children and building of strong. death and resurrection was to restore that relationship.

By God’s grace and a commitment to faithfully applying all of God’s Word to all of your life. if you have love for one another. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SIBLING SQUABBLES? 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” • We view our primary parenting responsibility to be to teach our children God's mighty works and His law. we can have relationships that proclaim to the world that we are His disciples.” FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 184 .

FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 185 . if given a small measuring cup or pitcher and told not to put more than one pouring in any plant.Appendix A: Master Chore List Age 2-4: • fold washcloths and dishtowels • sort and put away clean silverware from dishwasher • empty small trash cans into kitchen trash • help sort clean laundry • wipe baseboards & doors • feed dog • help Mom move laundry from washer to dryer • restock the diaper basket • run small errands like fetching diapers/wipes or putting things in the trash • help add ingredients while you cook • dust small pieces of furniture • help clear table • put their own toys away • wipe down chairs and high chair after meals • make their own bed • sweep under table with dustpan and brush or sweep up piles with dustpan and brush • help water plants. • feed fish • wipe doorknobs and light-switches if given a spray bottle of home-made cleaner and told to spray only once on each light-switch.

APPENDIX A: MASTER CHORE LIST Age 5-7: • put away dishes in low cabinets • put away own laundry • fold laundry • dust • clear and wipe table • spoon feed baby • sort & match socks • wipe bathroom sink & vanity • sweep small areas—entry ways or stairs • dry dishes • spray and wipe cupboard doors • weed. with supervision • collect pine cones or kindling for wood stove • bring in the mail • amuse younger siblings while Mom works nearby • set the table • wipe fingerprints from walls • help younger siblings dress • spot clean floors and baseboards • help mom with just about anything FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 186 .

lunch and snack planning and preparation • vacuum • sew on a button • brush a younger sibling’s hair or braid it • dust • make sprouts • weed a garden • cut out coupons FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 187 .APPENDIX A: MASTER CHORE LIST Age 8-12: • sweep • mop • empty dishwasher • clean toilets • wash/dry laundry • help bathe little ones • wash dishes • breakfast.

APPENDIX A: MASTER CHORE LIST Age 13-18: • iron • meal preparation • laundry • steam clean carpet • organize closets • organize garage • clean out refrigerator • clean oven • mow lawn • run errands • grocery shopping • coupon match-ups • menu planning • meal preparation FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 188 .

. Or maybe four… • your children think it would be “weird” to have their own bedroom…or their own bed…or their own dresser… • the 6-year-old can trace the genealogy of the shirt she is wearing back to the oldest. If they fit. • you leave half of the children home when you shop. • your children have to take turns at tea parties. • you snicker at food labelled. “family size.. • ditto for shoes.Appendix B: You Might Be a Large Family If. because it’s cheaper than paying admission for everyone just once. • if the socks are the same color. because the set only comes with four cups. • you can’t decide if you need to order two of the Family Deals at Pizza Hut. • you’re hoping for twins next time. • your friends invite you to a birthday party—and you are the only guests. or three. they match. • your daughter remarks that “the tiny 7-oz cinnamon bottle is running out too quickly. • two carts just aren’t cutting it at the grocery store. and people still ask if they’re all yours.” • your family can devour an entire watermelon for a snack.” • your medium saucepan is 4 qts. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 189 . • you buy an annual family pass when you go to the zoo. • the children are lonely when there are only four of them home. they’re yours. so you can finally get group rates at the theme park. • a family of 4 dropping in for dinner doesn’t affect your menu or portion sizes.

• complete strangers surreptitiously take pictures of your family or ask to be photographed with your family. • people seem to have hearing problems when you tell them how many children you have. • your family is counted everywhere you go. • your 15-passenger van gets mistaken for a preschool van because of all the carseats in it.. • it doesn’t seem worth the effort to make just a single batch of cookies. • people mistake your family for a birthday party or daycare. • if you need more than one dining room table. • it takes at least two weeks for the flu to run through everybody in your family. and that was without drinks. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 190 . • if the dollar menu still costs your family fifteen dollars. • you take up an entire pew (or more) at church. • you must reserve multiple hotel rooms because of fire regulations. • you drive a 15-passenger van because it’s the most fuel-efficient vehicle that fits your family. • you wonder what you’ll drive when you outgrow the 15-passenger van. • you go through a whole loaf of bread to make sandwiches. • you’re still homeschooling your younger children while your oldest children are making you a grandmother.APPENDIX B: YOU MIGHT BE A LARGE FAMILY IF.. • your kids think a family with six kids is ‘small’. • people ask if you want your own TV show. • your small car is a mini van. • anything less than a dozen eggs is not enough to scramble for breakfast.

they should draw a star on their own page in the appropriate space.Fruit of the Spirit Printable Instructions: Print out a Fruit of the Spirit chart for each member of your family. FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 191 . Go over what it looks like to show love. When they demonstrate the attribute themselves. joy. peace. Have each person draw a heart on the appropriate attribute on their siblings’ page when they witness it being demonstrated throughout the day. etc.

Joy . Please do not redistribute.com.L e ov P e ac e Fruit of the Spirit Good ess n Se ntrol -Co lf Patience leness ent G Kindn s es Faithfulne ss ©2012 4Moms35Kids. Single family use only.

FOUR MOMS OF 35 + KIDS ANSWER YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS | 193 . Show your young child the symbols and explain that they should make a tally mark on the correct page whenever they hear that word in the sermon.Sermon Notes Printable Instructions: Print out the Sermon Notes page and fold.

Single family use only.Love Jesus ©2012 4Moms35Kids.com. Please do not redistribute. Bible ! Cross .

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