Celebrate Your Child’s Uniqueness


Celebrate Your Child's Uniqueness

Just like a snowflake or a fingerprint, every child is unique in their own special way. Every child has a unique way of feeling, thinking, and interacting with others. Some children are shy, while others are outgoing; some are active, while others are calm; some are fretful, while others are easy-going.

As a loving and nurturing parent, it’s your job to encourage your children to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate their individual qualities. During my seasons of raising biological children, a step-son, and now an adopted son, I have experienced how I need to help encourage each child to be their own self, instead of me directing how they should be.

I love these ideas for helping to keep me focused on creating individuals rather than molding them all to be like how I would see them.

Allow Individuality 

Allow your child to express themselves through their interests. They may find a creative outlet in theatre, dancing, or art, or they may be exceptionally talented in the sciences. Encourage them to embrace what they like to do, what interests them, and what makes them happy. Help them realize that they don’t need to worry about being “like everyone else.”

Power of the Positive 

Teach your child to make positive choices, and praise them for good deeds, behaviors, and positive traits they possess. Be specific when identifying these things, rather than just general statements. Encourage them to become actively involved in their community, and introduce them to activities that promote a sense of cooperation and accomplishment.

Firm and Fair

Be firm yet fair when handing down discipline for misdeeds or misbehavior, and make certain the rules and consequences for breaking the rules are clearly defined. Show a cooperative, loving, and united front with your spouse when it comes to discipline.


Accept and celebrate your child’s uniqueness. Remember that your child is an individual. Allow your child to have his or her own personal preferences and feelings, which may be different from your own.

Mistakes Happen

And finally, encourage your child to be true to themselves by doing the same. Show your child how to make positive choices with the choices you make, and that nobody is perfect and you too make mistakes. Show your child that mistakes can be a great learning experience, and that they should not be ashamed or embarrassed about making them.

Our Simple Family Devotion Time


Our Simple Family Devotion Time

I will be the first to admit – family devotions are not an area of strength for me. And to be really honest, I can carry a lot of guilt around this topic because I always feel we as a family should be doing more.

I have gone through seasons as a parent where we would spend 30 minutes with family devotion time. When I was a single mom and my children were much younger, we had our devotion time right before bed. It worked at that time for us, and I used this book as my guide, The One Year Devotions for Kids #1.

The One Year Devotions for Kids #1I really enjoyed that each day’s lesson had a focus on a key theme from a Bible story. My kids really enjoyed the contemporary story that was shared and there were application questions as well as a memory verse. We would then pray after reading and had an index card system to pray through requests from family, friends, and our sponsor child. We mixed the cards each evening so we all had turns praying for different people.

It worked for several years.

When we became a blended family and the age span of our kids really spread, family devotion time became really rigid and, honestly, a bit boring. It was hard to incorporate everyone’s age level and comprehension into one time. So we began just discussing things during our dinner hour, maybe a question from our Sunday service or a topic of conversation that a child had with regard to something that was going on at school.

Let me just say, there is a never ending source of topics you can discuss and filter with scripture from everyday life – and honestly it is so valuable. It worked for a period of time.

Then we had a little guy come into our lives and we were thrown back into the toddler stage – along with having teens and young adults. WOW! Talk about tricky.

We have tailored our family devotion time back to being very simple. We end our dinner time reading a short story that is directed toward our preschooler (well, now kindergartner) and it also has worked well. The older kids still participate and often times help the younger one understand the story and how it is reflective of everyday life.

Then after we are finished, the conversation may continue with the older kids sharing some takeaways from their lives.

These are the two books we’ve used in the past two years and I really like them. They are economical and well-written.

The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers (Little Blessings) The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2 (Little Blessings)
I hope this gives you some help in determining what might work for you and your family. I  am no theologian, no bible scholar either, but I do want to attempt to bring something to our family devotion time.

Thankfully for me, my husband is the one to lead in this area. However, I know that many of you may struggle with that and perhaps your husband has not made a step up to help in this area. If you’ve shared your desire, and you do not see engagement, then I would suggest you doing something small and intentional and invite him to participate. You just never know how the Lord will work in that area for your family.

6 Tips to Strengthen Your Teen-Parent Relationship


6 Tips to Strengthen Your Teen-Parent Relationship

I have survived the teen years with two kids so far (still have two more to go). I have picked up a few strategies I feel have helped me create a space to encourage the relationship with each of them. I felt the back to school season might be the perfect time to share with those moms who have some older kids.

Just like when you were a teenager, you wanted to spend time with your peers rather than with your parents or family, right? Or at least that was me. I had a healthy mix of both. However, I think it can be a tough transition for parents, especially when you have your first child enter the teen years.  

There are ways to create conversation and continue to stay connected without being the parent that asks too much or seems too much like you are giving a speech. Here are some tips:

1. Talk More

It’s better if you start the conversation. It can be just, “How was your day?” Try to discuss many things instead of interrogating. Find interesting topics, such as sports, entertainment, friends, and school experiences to make it relaxing.  

2. Listen

If your teen shares some criticism, listen and ask what he/she expects you to do. Talk about this wisely, not emotionally. It’s good for your teen to be able to express his/her feelings to you. Just be an ear to listen.

3. Set Rules

Your teen needs to recognize what is and isn’t acceptable and what the consequences of misbehavior are. Therefore, you should set (or rather negotiate) some rules with your teen to keep him/her on track. Allow some freedom of choice, but when things do not work out well, pull back the reins.

4. Consider Your Teen’s Point of View

See your teen as your friend and respect his/her opinion whenever you discuss something. This also shows that you pay attention to him/her and consider him/her as important. I have found this particularly important when we have dinner conversations and specifically when we have discussions about our faith. I have to remember that this is a time of growing and discovery, so encouraging that path is good.

5. Encourage Your Teen’s Interests and Talents

Most teens like to try new things. Let yours choose what he/she desires, even if don’t agree with it because, for example, it has the potential to be dangerous. Giving support is the best you can do, while you keep monitoring that the new activity is actually safe. Moreover, this idea is a good way of teaching your teen how to be responsible.

6. Do Things Together

This one is surely a great opportunity for you to improve your relationship with your teen. Our schedules are busy, but when you set aside time to spend with your teen, it sends a powerful message – YOU ARE IMPORTANT! I love that. Games, biking, soccer, playing catch, and going for a frozen yogurt together are great examples of just “hanging out”.

Warm and positive communication without underestimating your teen is key to a successful relationship between the two of you. Clearly it won’t work at once. Try the tips progressively and enjoy your time being a parent of a teenager.

3 Ways To Get Your Kids to Love Reading



If your child is showing little interest in reading, there is hope. Sometimes we parents have to get get sneaky, but you can still turn your child into a reader, even if he is reluctant about it.

The Earlier Bedtime trick

One of my favorite ways to get my kids to read is something they hopefully will not figure out until they have kids of their own. Two words “Earlier Bedtime”.

You might be wondering how an increase in sleep can help your child to spend more time reading. Well, here’s the trick. Set their bedtime for 45 minutes to an hour before they need their lights out.

Here’s how our bedtime routine goes. My son brushes teeth and uses the bathroom. Then my husband or I will read them a story. This is all done before their official bedtime. Then, I simply give them an option. I say “It’s time for bed, now. Would you like lights out or would you like to stay up and read for a bit?”

Unless my little guy is really tired, he always chooses to read awhile.  I love that he is just learning to read and can’t even read all the words, but he will devour a book, flipping the pages and making up his own little story.  

He gets to choose several books to have for his reading time, I start his bedtime music, his essential oil diffuser (this makes for a great transition time for relaxation!) and tell him I will be back up to turn his reading light off when it’s time.

Summer reading incentives

You can sign up for a summer reading program at pretty much any library in the country. If your local library does not have a summer reading program, then create one at home, with rewards for reading books. You can use a Monopoly (or Life) board and allow your child to move one space for each book he reads. Or if you want to have more fun, let him roll the dice each time he reads a book and have prizes available for passing certain points.

Make sure the rewards are something very desirable. If your child values time with you more than toys, then set a date together doing his favorite thing. If he values a certain toy, let him earn it. Or let him earn a chance to get out of his regular chores. Take him to his favorite restaurant. Just have fun with it and he will, too.

There are some other tips for how to handle summer reading in my 2015 Confident Mom Summer Survival Calendar as well!

Read the book before you can see the movie

When my older kids were younger we did this a lot.  Now we are at wan age where not many children’s movies have books!!  But we will continue this pattern as our youngest grows up, looking for those opportunities.

Family reading of a popular book that has a movie is a great activity.  You can do this with old releases too, by reading the book and then renting the movie. So, if your child is looking forward to seeing the next Chronicles of Narnia movie, the next Harry Potter movie or the next Lemony Snicket movie, they’ll have to read the book first.

What tips have you used for developing a love of reading with your kids?


Do Your Kids Write Thank You Notes?


 Thank you notes

Since it is that time of year, when tacking gratitude and thankfulness is at the top of our parenting list, I wanted to share this post I did from several years back.  Enjoy!

I wonder…….do other moms still make their kids write “thank you” notes???  Is this so “old fashion” that I am asking too much?  I mean, does anyone ever get real mail in the mailbox anymore?

I have had my kids write thank you notes for gifts since they could write.  For a long time they didn’t know the difference – they thought all kids were required to do this simple common courtesy, until one day…….

It was the first Christmas that my husband and I were married and now the new step-momwas in charge of the “motherly” stuff in the home.  My step-son had no idea of the “thank you” note policy our family had, so when I just assumed we would all fall under MY guiding, well – it was taken with some resistance.  My husband didn’t quite understand my insistence at having all the kids write thank you notes, even to people that were present when the gift was opened.  I gave my reasoning and you guessed it……we all write thank you notes!

I feel my kids get a great lesson out of this experience whenever  their birthday or another holiday rolls around.  It helps them continue to be grateful – they don’t just say a quick, “thank you” when they open the gift and move onto the next.   Even if the person giving the gift is present when the “present” is opened, they typically send a note as well.  They write a true expression of how they intend to use the gift as well as saying, “thank you”.

I like that my kids have to write an actual card, address it and mail it.  This is rather “old fashioned” some of you would think, but I love getting REAL mail!  I think when someone receives an actual card in the mail it is impacts them in a different way and can touch someone much deeper than an email or phone call.

So if you are not in the habit of having your kids write “thank you” notes, maybe this year is the first.  Think about what you may be teaching your children and what habits they could be developing for when they are no longer living at home.  Call me “old fashioned” but I write thank you notes too – yep – remember they are watching you.  Live by example, express your gratitude and have fun finding creative ways to say “thank you.”

Tips to Writing Thank You Notes:

1.  Set a time:  We have now set a deadline, especially with the older kids to complete the task of writing notes, if they have not completed it by the deadline, we take the gift and hold it hostage!  I know, we are hammer parents!

2.  Help those little ones:  Now that I have a smaller one in the house, I will sit and write the majority of the card with their help and they sign their name.  It involves them but is not overwhelming.

3.  Help kids be specific:  Have your kids specific details about what they like about the gift they received or perhaps how they will use it or look forward to using it.

4.  The Details:  Help them see how to address the envelope, place the return address and stick postage on the card.  These are life skills that they all need to learn!


Our children are watching us live, and what we are shouts louder than anything we can say.      – Wilfred A. Peterson