The Harmful Effects of Plastic on Our Children’s Health

More and more studies are showing the dangers that the use of plastic is having on our health.  As parents, our concern is the effects on our children.  The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report and policy statement in August, 2018 detailing the hazards to our children’s health posed by chemicals in plastic and making recommendations to assist persons in the health field and parents as to how to reduce exposure to these dangerous chemicals.  It found that “food insecurity remains a substantial child health concern”.

According to the report, increasing amounts of diseases and disabilities are being linked to harmful chemicals in plastic.  For example, the chemical bisphenol A or BPA has been frequently used since the 1960s in manufacturing plastic but research has shown the negative health effects it has. “BPA has recently been banned from infant bottles and plastic beverage containers are increasingly designated as BPA free. However, BPA and related compounds are still used in polymeric resin coatings to prevent metal corrosion in food and beverage containers.”  Be aware that, even though BPA may not be used in the plastic of a specific item, there are closely related chemical alternatives now being used that show similar negative health effects. 

The report lists many other chemicals and additives in food that pose harm to children.  Please read it for a good understanding of how these chemicals are shown to negatively affect our bodies.

The Academy’s policy statement is very helpful as well as it contains many practical recommendations such as:

• Avoid microwaving food or beverages (including infant formula and pumped human milk) in plastic;

• Avoid placing plastics in the dishwasher;

• Use alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible; and

• Look at the recycling code on the bottom of products to find the plastic type, and avoid plastics with recycling codes 3 (phthalates), 6 (styrene), and 7 (bisphenols) unless plastics are labeled as “biobased” or “greenware,” indicating that they are made from corn and do not contain bisphenols.

One other practical recommendation is drinking tap water rather than bottled water.   As for us parents, isn’t that so much easier, as you simply have to fill a glass or bottle from the tap?

Unfortunately, it is predicted that the use of plastics will quadruple by 2050.  That’s a sad testimony for us!

To read the full report and policy statement, please visit:

Do You Know What Halloween is Really all About?

Have you ever thought about what Halloween is?  I venture to say that a majority of people do not know where it originated and the true history of this unusual celebration.  And, yes, it has become a time for dressing up in all sorts of costumes and partying, and of course, for children, trick-or-treating for candy.  My faith-based children’s book tells the true history of Halloween and I’m sure that you will learn a lot!

Please order it online by CLICKING HERE or at your favorite online bookstore. 

Suicide - The Second Leading Cause of Death for Children & Teens

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology, suicide is the second major cause of death for children and teens.  My blog this week is on this subject because I would like to educate more and more adults about this dangerous issue and help protect our children from the belief that suicide is a viable way to end their problems.

According to the Academy, young children who commit suicide typically do so impulsively because of negative emotions.  For adolescents, suicide is usually associated with depression and other factors such as bullying and exposure to violence.

Warning signs may start with a child saying such things as “I wish I was dead.”  The Academy urges us to be vigilant about all warning signs, including the following:  changes in eating or sleeping habits; frequent or pervasive sadness; withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities; frequent complaints about physical symptoms often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, and fatigue; decline in the quality of schoolwork; and preoccupation with death and dying.

In an excellent online article When One Teen’s Suicide Turns Into a Cluster at the website www.thefamilycoach.com, Dr. Catherine Pearlman stresses the fact that too little is being done to effectively combat suicides.  For example, just having suicide awareness programs in schools is not enough.  She suggests some critical changes that individuals as well as a community as a whole should make to fully address the issues surrounding suicide.  These include:

1.    Parents and schools must stop putting so much pressure on children to succeed at all costs.        

2.    Schools need to stop sending grades to parents on a daily basis.

3.    Children should be taught that “perfect” is a fallacy and even the idea of striving to be at close to perfection should not be the goal.

4.    Schools need crisis intervention plans as well as prophylactic plans for addressing suicide.

5.    Parents need to assume that their children are exposed to many risky things, such as drugs, alcohol, vaping, sex, porn, violence, social isolation, bullying and much more.  “Talk to your kids even if they don’t talk back. Talk in the car, over dinner or at night with the lights out before bed. Text these conversations if that’s the only way. Have the conversations before you think you have to. Your kids are going through so much more than you think. Get in there and help them.”

6.    Love your children no matter what.

No longer should we downplay our children’s suicidal tendencies.  Vigilance is key.

To learn more, please go to the following links:

The Walking Classroom Successfully Promotes Exercise and Learning

I love to write about promoting learning and exercise for children.  Have you heard about The Walking Classroom, an award-winning national program initiated by a teacher and that is now sponsored by a nonprofit organization?  If you haven’t, let me tell you about this amazing program.

It was developed by Laura Fenn, M.S. Ed, who was a 5th grade teacher.  She observed that children in her classroom who were more active performed better academically.   She put together a program called Walk, Listen and Learn, and saw her students’ academic performances improve by the end of the year.  Before long, she expanded her program to different grade levels and promoted it nationwide.   

According to its website www.thewalkingclassroom.org, the program is for students in grades 3 to 8.  They take short walks of up to 20 minutes with walk-kit devices.  On the devices are up to 167 podcasts, each beginning with a brief  message on a health conscious topic and then subjects on English language, arts, social science, and much more.  There is even a series of podcasts for STEM.  All the podcasts meet nationally-approved standards. 

Teachers are provided with lesson plans and quizzes.  For students who need special attention, The Walking Classroom provides teachers with instructions for children who have ADHD, dyslexia, and autism.

Its website is filled with information about the program as well as how to participate.Please take a few minutes and look at what it has to offer.Many students will benefit from this type of teaching tool and it would be worthwhile to investigate all that this program has to offer.

Flying Kites Is Great Family Fun

I have very fond memories of flying kites with my late husband and sons when they were growing up.  Sometimes, we purchased all the different parts to decorate and make the kites ourselves, while at other times, we purchased very fancy and colorful ones that were already made.  

No longer are kites just of one simple shape with one line.   Because of modern technology, kites now come in many different sizes and attractive shapes, such as birds, insects, and planes.  Many have up to four lines to fly them.

Not only does flying kites as a family build family bonds and gets your children outside to enjoy their surroundings, but they are also teaching tools for science lessons.  Help your children learn what makes them fly; what makes them turn and twist; and what allows them to come back down.  All these are fascinating science facts and your children will be learning as they are playing!

Kiting is also a wonderful hobby.  There are kite sport groups, kite aerial photography, kite festivals, and different types of games to play with kites. 

I truly hope that you are encouraged to make kite flying a regular family activity this fall.  I have never flown a kite with four lines and that would be indeed challenging!

For more information, read the articles at:

Recent Surgeon General’s Advisory Continues to Emphasize Health Risks of Marijuana on the Developing Brain

On August 29, 2019, U. S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams issued an advisory about the negative affects of marijuana on the developing brain of our youth and babies.  Surgeon General Adams introduced the advisory with the following:

I, Surgeon General VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of protecting our Nation from the health risks of marijuana use in adolescence and during pregnancy. Recent increases in access to marijuana and in its potency, along with misperceptions of safety of marijuana endanger our most precious resource, our nation’s youth.

He specifically addressed the fact that our brains are developing from before birth to our mid 20s and this developing process is vulnerable to marijuana as an addictive substance.  The legalization process in many states has made it appear that marijuana is not harmful but that is not accurate. 

The advisory further states:

Frequent marijuana use during adolescence is associated with changes in the areas of the brain involved in attention, memory, decision-making, and motivation. Deficits in attention and memory have been detected in marijuana-using teens even after a month of abstinence. Marijuana can also impair learning in adolescents. Chronic use is linked to declines in IQ, school performance that jeopardizes professional and social achievements, and life satisfaction. Regular use of marijuana in adolescence is linked to increased rates of school absence and drop-out, as well as suicide attempts. 

He ends the advisory with a call to action:

Science-based messaging campaigns and targeted prevention programming are urgently needed to ensure that risks are clearly communicated and amplified by local, state, and national organizations. Clinicians can help by asking about marijuana use, informing …  young people, and those vulnerable to psychotic disorders, of the risks. … Further research is needed to understand all the impacts of THC on the developing brain, but we know enough now to warrant concern and action. Everyone has a role in protecting our young people from the risks of marijuana.

To read the entire advisory, please CLICK HERE.

Eating a Healthy Breakfast is Connected to Good Academic Performance

The beginning of a new school year is always challenging for parents and children.  We parents usually have different concerns than our children as we center our attention on how to assist them with doing well in all aspects of school.  Yet, we share with them the goal of good academic performance.  Science has shown that a child who starts the day with a good breakfast is already leaps ahead in performing well in school.

According to an online article on the website for the National Center for Biotechnical Information/National Institutes of Health, the importance of a healthy breakfast cannot be overstated yet it is the most frequently skipped meal, with 20% to 30% of children skipping it.

Studies “generally demonstrate that eating breakfast has a positive effect on children's cognitive performance, particularly in the domains of memory and attention.” Children who eat breakfast have an increase in cognitive performance, meaning an increase in attention skills so that they can perform their lessons well. This also translates to an ability to attend school regularly and remember information that is taught.  Additionally, their behavior in class is dramatically affected because they can concentrate better and perform the necessary tasks.

It is important for us to understand that children’s brains are developing and are different than those of adults.  The article points out that children have a higher brain glucose metabolism than adults.  “To maintain this higher metabolic rate, a continuous supply of energy derived from glucose is needed, hence breakfast consumption may be vital in providing adequate energy for the morning.”

Not only does breakfast assist a child academically, but it also helps the child to maintain proper body weight.  Children who skip are more likely to be overweight and not eat healthy snacks or satisfy the recommended daily vegetable and fruit intake.  Not surprising is the connection between skipping breakfast and “risky behaviors” such as smoking and experimenting with alcohol and drugs.

Plan for healthy breakfasts ahead of time.  Make them easy and fun.  There are plenty of books and online articles with suggested recipes.  Give your children the important start for their school day and help them reach their goals of academic success.

To learn more, go to:

Dads Teaming Up to Make a Difference in the Lives of Their Children

Photo of New York City Dads Meetup Group

Photo of New York City Dads Meetup Group

All across the country, dads are joining together to seek guidance and learn from each other, all with the goal of becoming better fathers.  It’s such a wonderful thing to see!  One group that has made impressive strides is 4 Your Child, a project of the University of Kentucky’s School of Social Work.  Since the program started in 2015, it has helped 900 dads to become better fathers.

Professor Armon Perry and his team are the power houses behind the project.  According to the project summary on the website, research “has concluded that factors such as fathers’ parenting skills, co-parenting relationship quality, and socio-economic status all impact fathers’ ability to contribute to their children’s growth and development.”  The project aims at providing non-custodial fathers with “a comprehensive, solution-oriented program featuring group-based parent education and individualized case management to help them achieve financial independence, increase their parenting skills, and develop a co-parenting alliance.” 

According to a recent article in usnews.com about the project, dads receive parenting-related classes over a period of 28 weeks through workshops that help them develop better skills in communication and conflict resolution.  After completing these classes, the men are eligible for 6 months of further assistance from various professionals.  The goal is to develop men who will be not only good financial providers for their children, but also have better relationships with both their children and the women who are the mothers of their children.

This program is very impressive and should be a model for others throughout the country.  It is funded by a federal grant and similar programs in other states should be able to be funded the same way. 

To learn more about 4 Your Child, CLICK HERE.

Should Children Help Clean Their Own Schools?

Photo provided by Singapore Press Holdings

The fact that children in Japan help to clean their own classrooms and schools is back in the news.  That is nothing new though, as they have been doing so for many years.  It is a tradition called o-soji (cleaning).

According to Fino Menezes, author of the online article Should Children Clean Their Own Schools? Japan Thinks So, Japanese children are better for it.  How? “They are learning to respect their surroundings. They are learning that it’s better not to make a mess if you are the one who has to clean it up.”

Children spend about 20 minutes a day, 4 days a week, and then a longer time at the end of each semester cleaning.  Often, students from higher grades assist students from the lower grades.  As a result, young children are being mentored and older children are teaching younger ones.   The cleaning is done to fun music and the children are happy and smiling doing the tasks.

According to Donald Ash, an American who teaches in Japan, in his website article Huh? Japanese Kids Clean Their Classrooms?!?, he was very surprised to see this tradition in practice.  Coming from the public school system in Georgia, he never cleaned at the school except if it was part of a school club project.  The common thinking was “Let the janitors handle it.” But, once he was a teacher in Japan, he was awe struck by the children so willingly cleaning.  He comments that even the most difficult students gladly cleaned.

At the end of his article Mr. Ash asks: “Do you think it could ever happen at your school (in the US)?”  What do you think?

For more, read: Should Children Clean Their Own Schools? Japan Thinks So, or Japanese Kids Clean Their Classroom? 

How to Talk to Your Children About Immigration & What is Happening at the US Borders

The news media has been replete with stories of the sad situation with immigrant families at the US borders, especially what has been happening with children.  One very sad recent story was about a father and daughter who drowned while attempting to cross over the Rio Grande River from Mexico to Texas.  It is very difficult for children to comprehend tragic news and the controversial situation with immigrants does not appear to have any resolution soon.  As a parent, you have a responsibility to assist your children to understand what is happening as well as to make sure that they are getting information from reliable sources and not “fake news”.

There are many articles on the internet with advice to help parents.  Of course, the recommendations center on talking with your children based on what is age appropriate for each of them.  One expert suggests that parents should start with discussions of family history – where did various members of your family come from?  How did they get to the U.S.? Why did they leave the countries they were from?  I think this is a wonderful suggestion as it helps children to understand how their own family members were involved with immigration.

Reading and discussing books about the history of immigration in the U.S. and the struggles that individuals have gone through are also good ways to learn about what has happened in our nation’s history and what is happening now.  In the links below, books for children of all ages about immigration are suggested.

Raising compassionate and intelligent children requires that they be informed as best as possible about what is happening with immigration in our country.  They will likely hear the news from someone else, so as a parent, talking with them and helping them to understand the issues involved is critical.

For more information, please visit these websites.  Please also note that although I have these websites listed, I do not agree with everything they say, but they are, nevertheless, good sources of information.

Children and Friendship Drama – Should Parents Get Involved?

It’s back-to-school time with children returning to school.  There will be old friends for them to laugh and talk with and new friendships to build.  Of course, there will be times when there are squabbles.  What do you as a parent do when your child comes to you with a complaint?  You likely remember the times when you were a child and what happened to you.  Perhaps you have upsetting memories of quarrels that you do not want your child to experience.  Some expert advice can help you now that you are a parent to handle these squabbles.

Many experts agree that instead of going immediately to the other child’s parents to lodge a complaint, there are several other actions that you can take.   First, listen to what your child has to say.  Ask questions.  Be empathetic to what your child has experienced. Try to get the full account of what happened.

Second, encourage your child to standup for herself.  After finding out what happened, ask your child “Did you stand up for yourself?”  This does not involve your child saying anything that is rude or derogatory but does involve her not putting up with someone else’s bad behavior.  Try role-playing with your child so that she can learn how to react and respond differently in the future.  You should not be the one fighting your children’s battles for them unless it is necessary.

Third, help your children learn the differences between healthy and unhealthy friendships.  Ture friendships are built on trust and respect.  When a “friend” crosses the line, your child should know what to do. 

Fourth and perhaps most important, be there for your children to talk to.  Let them know that you are always available to talk and help them understand what has happened and not be judgmental.

For more information, please visit these websites below:

Tweak Family Recipes to Make Them Healthier

Many of us have family recipes from grandparents, uncles, aunts or other relatives that have become family traditions.  Unfortunately, most are filled with unhealthy ingredients – lots of oil, butter or sugar, just to name a few.  Preserving these recipes are, nevertheless, important for us as part of our family heritage.  I have written before about having children assist with cooking meals to encourage more family bonding time and as well as for them to read more as they learn to follow written recipes.  Today, I would like to discuss teaching your children healthier options for recipes as part of your family cooking experiences.

On his website, Dr. Joseph Galati, founder of Your Health First Education, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide education and support to the public about nutrition, has an article Tweaking Grandma’s Recipes: Healthy Substitutes, which has many suggestions for substitutions.  For butter, oil and margarine in recipes that involve baking, he recommends using applesauce or mashed fruit. For frying, grilling or sautéing, he recommends substituting one-half with olive oil or coconut oil.  For regular sugar, try substituting one-half with locally sourced honey.  For brown sugar, he suggests adding 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to the honey.  For mayonnaise in recipes, substitute plain yogurt.  On a sandwich, try pesto or drizzles of olive oil.  Dr. Galati has many more recommendations and I encourage you to read his entire article.

Traditional family meals bring families together to continue bonding and building life-long friendships.  Substituting more healthy ingredients will keep these traditions alive and be teachable moments for your children.  

To read more, CLICK HERE.

Be Sure to Have Your Children Vaccinated in Time for the Coming School Year

Are your children up to date with their vaccinations? As the new school year is about to begin, it is critical for us as parents to make sure that our children have the required vaccinations.  We should prepare them for that day as well.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has established five important reasons for children to be vaccinated as follows:

1.    Immunizations can save your child’s life;

2.    Vaccinations are very safe and effective;

3.    Immunizations protect others whom you care about;

4.    Immunizations can save your family time and money; and

5.    Immunization protects future generations.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention also has a website page with information that will assist parents with preparing their children for vaccination day.   It suggests to pack a book or a toy for a young child to comfort him.  With older children, speak to them about the importance of vaccinations and be honest with them, letting them know that shots do sting a bit, but only for a while. 

Please do prepare your children for that visit.  I remember one visit with my youngest son James when he was about 5 years old.  My late husband and I took him to the pediatrician for his usual annual checkup before school started but unfortunately, we did not prepare him for the visit.  Unbeknownst to any of us, he had to get not just one, but several shots during that visit.  After the first shot, James jumped off the examination table and ran and hid under the doctor’s desk, crying.   We all finally made it through the rest of the shots, but it was truly an ordeal.  Needless to say, that was the most memorable visit to the doctor that we ever had with him!

The bottom line is that vaccinations are crucial for your children’s good health and must not be overlooked.  Planning and preparing for that day will help everyone to get through it.

Read more by clicking one of these links:

Help Your Children Build Their Social Skills

It’s summer and your children should be out meeting new people and working on their social skills.  What can parents do to encourage their children to become more social?  Telling them “Go out and make friends” just doesn’t do it.

I recently came across an article entitled Social Skills Activities for Children and Teens: Evidence-based Games and Exercises by Gwen Dewar Ph. D. at the website below which contains 17 social activities for children that all derive from research.  Dr. Dewar states that “to develop and grow, kids need first-hand experience with turn-taking, self-regulation, teamwork, and perspective-taking.”  She presents many wonderful ideas for activities for your children, from toddlers to teenagers. What I like so much about this article is the amount of research that she references to support the suggested activities.

One of the interesting activities is to help children learn how to read facial expressions better.  People who read expressions well have been found to be more helpful towards others.  Dr. Dewar provides a separate link to another online article on facial expressions and that article delves more deeply into why having children learn to read facial expressions is important in developing their social skills.  There is quite a bit to learn!

Another interesting activity (remember that there are 17 in all!) is to have children read a story with emotional content and then ask the children to talk about it.  Dr. Dewar concludes as follows based on the research: “When kids participate in group conversations about emotion, they reflect on their own experiences, and learn about individual differences in the way people react to the world. And that understanding helps kids develop their ‘mind-reading’ abilities.”  At the same time, children learn about their emotions and the emotions of others.

I suggest that you read the entire article and then select an activity to do as your and your children’s schedules permit.  There is a lot that they can learn and have a fun time as well.  

For more information, please CLICK HERE.

Spend the Month of July in Space Exploration with Your Children

Starting on July 16, NASA has a series of scheduled events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing.  This is a wonderful time to introduce your children to or expand their knowledge of the history of space exploration and NASA’s plans for the future.  NASA’s website has a wealth of information specifically for children.

The events commemorating the 50th anniversary range from interviews with past astronauts to discussions of the agency’s future plans.  Please visit the website below to get all the information and how to participate in or just view the events.

On another section of its website, it has information about its plans for the future, which it refers to as “Moon to Mars”.  Specifically, its plans include the following: “Working with U.S. companies and international partners, NASA will push the boundaries of human exploration forward to the Moon and on to Mars.  NASA is working to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon within the next decade to uncover new scientific discoveries and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.”  It states that the missions to the Moon and Mars are intertwined as the Moon will be an experimental area and stepping-stone for eventually traveling to Mars.  There can be no doubt that the mission to Mars will be challenging, as it is a 34 million mile trip to get there.

NASA has dedicated a portion of its websites to students, whom it refers to as the “Next Generation of Explorers”.  A considerable amount of information is provided in a child-friendly format. There is even a link to NASA’s Kid Club with games for children to play, from test driving a machine on Mars to a printable puzzle booklet.  

This month is a unique opportunity for children to learn more about space exploration and exciting plans for the future.  You might even learn a thing or two as well!

Please visit:

When Was the Last Time That You Took Your Child to Work?

Keeping your children’s brains continually active during the summer vacation months is a challenge.  I will continue to provide a number of ways for you to do so in my blog posts.  In this week’s blog post, I suggest considering setting aside a day to bring your children to work with you to see and learn about what you do for your profession.  There is a national day set aside for bringing your children to work during the month of April, but I think that summertime may be a good time as well to have them visit.  Be sure to speak with your employer first and get the visit approved.  And, importantly, plan for what they will be doing.

There are some excellent ideas at the website below that you can use.   You will need to plan for and cater to children of different ages.  Please remember that this is not a free-for-all to have your children running around the office or having co-workers babysit for you.  This is a teachable time for your children. You can plan for a half-day or full-day visit and include other parents who may be interested as well.

You should also consider having your children visit the workplace of a close friend or relative.  That way, they will learn about a variety of professions.

Be sure to talk with them at the end of the day about what they have learned.  Ask them questions and listen to their answers.  Take the time to help them understand what your profession is all about.  They are growing and learning and need your assistance.

For more ideas, please CLICK HERE.

Make Plans Ahead of Time to Celebrate July 4th

July 4th is just around the corner.  What plans do you have to celebrate this holiday?  My children’s book It’s Not About You Mrs. Firecracker – A Love Letter About the True Meaning of the Fourth of July is available to help you and your children learn more about this important day in our history.  Why do we celebrate that day? It is not all about the food and firecrackers!  

To learn more and order a copy, please CLICK HERE.

Plan College Visits with Your Children During Summer Vacation

Summer vacation is a wonderful opportunity to visit different colleges during your travels.  Let’s face it – a college degree has almost become a must have for a successful future.  By encouraging your children at an early age to begin considering attending college, they will be focused and ready when the time comes to narrow the choices and make the ultimate selection.

My late husband and I did just that.  When we visited family for Christmas vacation one year, we all went to take a tour of a local university in the city.  We made it a family affair: included our two sons, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandma.  Our oldest son complained about it as he just wanted to “have fun” during his Christmas break, but reluctantly went along.  It turned out to be an interesting and informative opportunity to visit the university, tour the grounds, and talk with various representatives.  Our sons took other campus tours at various colleges with their classmates, but guess where both our sons attended college?  Yes – at that same university we toured during that break!

Be sure to visit the college’s website and find out when there are tours available.  It is best to join a formal tour provided by the college than to just wander around the campus not knowing the area.  During the tour, you can ask important questions about scholarship programs, financial aid, dorm living, etc.  You can always wander about after the formal tour!

To learn more about the benefits of college tours, CLICK HERE.

Service Projects for Children This Summer

Among the many interesting things that your children can be doing this summer are service projects in your community.  These projects teach children gratitude, how to care for others, be kind and helpful, and instill a sense of pride in them.   There are various non-profits that are committed to many different issues so whether you partner with one or do your own project as a family will be up to you.  I have included in this week’s blog some ideas for you to consider.

Start off by talking with your children about what projects they would like to participate in.  The last thing you want to happen is have a car full of complaining children because you are “forcing” them to do something they do not want to do.  Do they like dogs and cats?  If so, consider having them volunteer at an animal shelter.  Of course, check with the shelter and other non-profits first before you plan a service project to ensure that they can accommodate children. 

Do they complain about trash at the park? Organize them and their friends to do a clean-up.   Have they accumulated a lot of clothes that they have outgrown?  Help them gather the clothes together and donate them to a women’s shelter.  I have listed at the end of this blog a couple of websites that suggest a number of service projects.

Before, during and after each service project, talk to your children about the importance of what they are doing.  Encourage them to do more. Praise them for their efforts. 

For ideas on service projects and getting your children ready to serve, please read these two online articles:

Make Sure Your Children Participate in Vacation Bible School This Summer

Churches have developed wonderful programs for children during the summer that have become known as vacation bible schools or VBSs.  Some programs last one week, others up to one month.  They are excellent programs for your children to learn more about the Word of God, develop friendships, and have a lot of fun.

There are many professional companies that produce annual vacation bible school programs, from teaching materials for teachers, to music videos, song CDs, skits, and bible verse memory cards.  Each program differs but they usually follow a format.  There is typically one simple theme and bible verses are selected that support the theme.  For example, a company has as one of its themes this year “Life is Wild – God is Good” with a jungle motif.   Another theme is “Athens – Paul’s Dangerous Journey to Share the Truth” with a Greek motif.

The creativity of these programs is amazing.  The appeal to children exceptional.  No longer do church leaders have to be concerned about creating their own study material and music, as everything is prepared and provided for them to lead a successful vacation bible school.

Importantly, vacation bible school is not a babysitting service.  As a lay children’s minister who volunteered as a leader for many VBSs, I was saddened to see that often parents thought of it as that.   It is instead a wonderful learning program where children thoroughly enjoy themselves. 

If your church sponsors a VBS, please enroll your children in it.  If not, research other churches in your community that do.  Your children will truly be blessed by participating!