What to Do When Your Child Swears

Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].
— Ephesians 4:29 (AMP)

Children learn from what they see and hear around them, and while it can often be exciting to observe what they have learned, sometimes it can be frustrating or even embarrass and anger you.  Having said that, there is, unfortunately, going to be a day in your life as a parent when your child tells you about a new word he learned - a swear or curse word.  Or, you may hear your child use such a word when speaking with friends or siblings.  At first, you may be shocked to hear that word coming out of your child’s mouth (innocent as he or she may be). But, you must act quickly to counter this type of unacceptable speech.

First and foremost, be honest.  Did your child learn that curse word from you or your spouse?  Again, you cannot expect your children to do as they are told and totally ignore what their parents do.  Clean up your mouth before you enforce “no cursing” rules on your children.

It is critical that both parents agree that these types of words are not acceptable – period.  It will be very confusing for your child if you tell him that swearing is not acceptable speech but then your spouse laughs when he curses and things he’s cute by saying those type of words.   As with any other issue that involves raising children, parents must have a united front when dealing with cursing and decide together how violations of your parental rules will be dealt with.

It is imperative that, instead of getting upset with your child and yelling at him to not do it again, you speak to him about the meaning of the word and why he should avoid using it.  Let your child know that words like those are not pleasing to you or to God.  God wants us to use our voices to praise Him and uplift others, something we cannot do if it our mouths are cluttered with foul language.  Select and review with your child Bible verses such as Ephesians 4:29 that establish exactly what God wants to hear from us and why anything else is displeasing to Him.

It is also important to be willing to answer your child’s questions about curse words.  If your child feels that he can ask you anything without you getting angry and judging him, he will make you the first person he turns to when learning about something new, including words like these.

Assist your child to learn other words that are not curse words and to be able to select and use these words to best describe how he feels.  This will help him to develop word intelligence and self-control. For example, if your child is upset about what a sibling did, help your child to come up with words to express his feelings, rather than curse words.  Later on, when he is in the middle of an argument and angry, he should be able to tap into his extensive vocabulary to express himself without resorting to curse words.

Be prepared with a plan on how to deal with your child cursing.  It will happen one day, so it is better that you nip it in the bud right away rather than allow it to escalate into a difficult problem.

Choosing the Right Babysitter

As working parents, it can be very difficult to juggle your home, professional and social lives - after all there are only 24 hours in the day.  Parents need to be able to spend time together.  Sometimes, assistance with the children is a necessity and you must seek a babysitter.  Finding the right babysitter is important for both you and your children.  Here are several factors to take into consideration.

Is the person able to work within the rules and boundaries that you set? With a new babysitter in your home, it is critical to set rules and boundaries from the beginning.   What do you want your children to be doing and when?  For example, what time do you want each child to take a bath?  Set out a list of times with corresponding activities, such as reading, homework, having dinner, bath time and sleep time.  If the person balks at following your rules and boundaries, that person will not make a good babysitter.

Does the person understand children and want to spend time with them? Take into consideration the personality types of your children.  Does the person understand that each child has his/her own personality and likes and dislikes? Will the person accommodate them?  Try giving the person tips on how to go about dealing with each child.  Does the person seem willing to accept your suggestions?  What does the person want to do with each child while you are away? 

What is your budget for paying a babysitter?  Typically, parents hire a high school or college-aged student as a babysitter.  These students are usually just looking to earn some extra money for the remainder of the school year. Even so, there can be a risk of underpayment. While there are no strict rules about how much to pay a babysitter, you should do some research on average wages in your area and ask friends and work colleagues.  This information will be helpful in setting a comfortable budget for the both of you.

How do you know if this person is dependable?  Again, ask friends and colleagues for recommendations as to who to hire and who to avoid.  Keep your rules in mind when posing your inquiries. Parents should be very protective of their children, so consulting one who has similar values can be a huge assistance in your search for the right person.

Ask your children about their time with the babysitter.  Parents typically talk with their children about school or social activities, and they should also do so about their children’s time with babysitters.  You are hiring and entrusting that person to watch over your most precious possessions and to follow your guidelines.  Asking your children about their experience will encourage them to cooperate while you are away.  Also, children are notorious truth tellers. Just give them the opportunity to talk and they will let you know everything - from playing games with their babysitter to watching their sitter take a nap while no one was supposedly looking.

The health and happiness of your children should always be your top priorities, whether they are in your presence or not.  The search process for a good babysitter can get tedious, and sometimes feel never ending, but the comfort in knowing and trusting the person who has your children in his/her hands will definitely be worth it.

Raising Thankful Children

I came across this quote and was taken aback by how simple yet forthright and impactful it was.  Saying “thank you” is such an important part of our relationship with God, our Father, yet how often do we truly do it during our busy days?  How are we teaching our children to be thankful for all that He has given us?  1 Thessalonians 5:18 states “Give thanks in every circumstance for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

It’s the day after Christmas and I’m certain that we all had a lot of gifts to open and indulge in as well as scrumptious meals to enjoy.  We should be thankful for all that He has given us, not just for these physical, worldly gifts, but most importantly, for the intangible ones - our lives, our health, our family, etc., etc.  I could go on and on naming what we can be thankful for each and every second of each and every day.  

Whether we like it or not, we are role models for our children.  If we are not verbally expressing our thanks and showing thankfulness through our actions, the likelihood is that our children will not either.  To raise thankful children, we must first be thankful as parents.  Try expressing thanks out loud each day as part of the family routine, such as when you are driving them to school.  Make it fun and playful.  Point out how they can thank each other for simple acts of kindness.  As a parent, you can thank your children for things that they do, and they should be thanking you as well.  Nurture a thankful spirit within your children and they will be kinder and more loving to you and others. 

How Much Time Do You Spend Each Day Listening to Your Children?

During these busy holiday times, it is especially difficult for us to take our time as parents, slow down, and listen to our children when they speak.  Active listening skills can be developed - it just takes your desire to want to do it.  I love this quote from Catherine M. Wallace on today’s blog because I believe it is so true.  Listen to your children today and show them you love them so that when they grow up, you will always be considered as a parent to talk to.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have some very important information on their website about parenting and developing the skills of active listening with your children.

Active listening is one of the most important ways to build a close and loving relationship. Here are some of the active learning skills that the CDC recommends:

  1. Stop what you are doing and focus your attention exclusively on your child.
  2. Engage in eye contact when speaking.
  3. Get down to your child’s level physically.  If your child is sitting down, sit down too.
  4. Reflect or repeat back what you understand your child to be saying to make sure that you completely understand it.  
  5. Don’t worry about getting things wrong.  It is more important that you are listening and trying to understand.

On this website, the CDC gives examples of active listening skills so you can read for yourself and get suggestions.  Please visit it to learn more: CLICK HERE.

Biographies are Wonderful Books for Children

I truly like this statement: “Every hero has a story”.   Who are your children’s heroes?  Have them read about their heroes’ stories.  If they don’t really have any yet, introduce them to heroes.  Your children will learn about the lives of different famous persons, the obstacles that they had to overcome, and what made them heroes.  They may even aspire to become like them!

Are your children interested in wars or major battles?  Have them read about famous generals and important battles.  Are they interested in famous writers?  Help them research about different authors and read their biographies.  Are they interested in sports figures?

There are many books about famous athletes.  Are they interested in the presidents of the United States?  Children’s books have shortened versions of these biographies.  I could go on and on.  If there is a person whom your child admires, try to find that person’s biography.  Inspire your children to learn and dream. 

Include Summer Reading Programs in Your Children’s Summer Plans

Please do not let the summer go by without having your children be a part of a summer reading program.  There are many everywhere at no cost whatsoever, so search for the best ones for your children.

Typically, children enroll in a reading program and then read a certain number of books.  If they reach the required reading goal, they are awarded some sort of a prize.  This helps children continue to improve their reading skills, set goals that are both short term and long term, actually accomplish goals, and then receive a reward.  

Usually, the public library where you live will have a good summer reading program.  Many companies now offer them as well – such as HEB, Barnes and Noble, Scholastic, Chuck E. Cheese, Pizza Hut and even Pottery Barn.  Again, research what programs are available.  Your children may be able to enroll and participate in more than one.  They’ll be surprised how fast the summer passes while reading good books.

Let Your Children Help Plan Summer Vacation

As with any and everything having to do with your children, I highly recommend planning your summer vacation with them.  Are you considering traveling with them or just taking time off from work to spend a few days with them?  If your children are old enough, allow them to assist in planning.   
An article on the website www.schoolfamily.com actually recommends that parents let their children do the planning because they will learn many life skills.  First, sit them down and explain to them what is involved.  Give them a budget and have them come up with the plans.  Will it be a family road trip or a cruise or something else?

Second, give them a deadline within which to come up with their plan and then have them present it to you.  Third, have them get travel brochures and maps or print off the internet information about the various destinations and types of trips.  At the destination they select, ask them to develop an itinerary – what will the family do each day?  After the trip is selected, assign tasks to each child.  For example, have one child be the photographer and another child keep a written journal.  

There are unlimited ideas that parents can adopt to help make this summer vacation memorable. To read the article, click here.

Creating Comfortable Space for Your Children to Enjoy Reading

Creating Comfortable Space for Your Children to Enjoy Reading

Having a plethora of books available at home is one way to encourage your children to read.  Another important way is to have a comfortable space in or around the home where your children can enjoy that quiet reading time.  If the space is there, they will certainly take advantage of it.

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Creative Ways to Help Your Children Become More Thankful and Encourage Reading at the Same Time

Image from www.courageforkids.com

Image from www.courageforkids.com

    I write often about the importance of literacy.  Since this month is November - the month of Thanksgiving Day - I want to merge the concepts of being thankful with reading.  How can we help our children become more thankful and encourage reading at the same time?

    As a Christian, I always turn first to the Bible for guidance.  With so many research tools available online as well as electronic Bibles, it is relatively easy to search for verses with the words “thanks” and “thankful” in the Bible.  There are many.  Encourage your children to read some of these verses and write them down.  One of my favorite verses is Psalm 188:1 - “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” 

    Another idea is to have your children write on sticky notes once a day what they are thankful for and create an area in your home where they can put up these sticky notes as reminders.   Examples are “I’m thankful for my dog” and “I’m thankful for a sunny day to play outside” and “I’m thankful for food to eat today”.  Encourage your children to read them every day.  

    Also, help your children write “thank you” notes for gifts or for any occasion when such a note can be used.  I recently received in the mail a “thank you” card from one of my teenage nieces thanking me for a birthday gift I sent to her.  It was very special to me because it showed me that she took the time to think about thanking me and about what to write to me and then she took the time to actually write it out to me.  That one little handwritten note showed me that she cared for me and wanted to let me know how much she cared.  

    The list of ideas is endless.  Begin incorporating some in your day to day activities. 

Author Soraya Diase Coffelt

Getting Our Boys to Read More

MY son, James, with his first book.

Many parents talk about the difficulties they have in getting their sons to read more.  They complain about the fact that reading is seen as being nerdy and it’s challenging to find books that boys like.  In classrooms, teachers often seem at a loss as to how to encourage the boys to read more.  Many just don’t know about the plethora of subjects that boys like to read about and what books are available.  

 I’m a mother of two sons and understand those sentiments.  However, I profoundly believe that parents should be determined and assertive in fostering the good habit of reading in their children.  My late husband and I were good role models for our sons because we read a lot, individually and as a family.  I often would go to my sons’ schools to speak to teachers if I believed reading wasn’t being encouraged enough and suggested good books for the students.  We even purchased books for a school’s library to encourage reading.  

 Now with the internet, there is so much information available and even websites dedicated to boys reading such as www.guysread.com so there is no excuse.  Don’t just sit back and expect your children, especially boys, to develop the love of reading.  Find out what subjects they are interested in and then go and look for books on those subjects.  If your son is interested in robots for example, actively search for books on robots.  I found that my sons loved reading books about intergalactic wars and soon found that many came in wonderful series.  We visited bookstores and libraries to get as many books in various series as we could.  

I would love to hear what you have done to encourage your children to read, especially your sons.  Please let me know.

Scientific Evidence That Reading Positively Affects Children’s Brains

In a study issued in April, 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed scientific evidence of the positive effects that reading has on younger children. For years, pediatricians have encouraged new parents to read to their babies as early and often as possible. Now there is actual scientific proof through MRI testing establishing how reading to children influences different brain activities which then helps in the development of oral language skills and ultimately reading skills.  The children who were a part of the scientific study underwent MRI testing while they were listening to stories via headphones. The researchers were able to monitor their brain activity.  Here is an excerpt from the article in Science Daily that discusses the findings:

We are excited to show, for the first time, that reading exposure during the critical stage of development prior to kindergarten seems to have a meaningful, measurable impact on how a child’s brain processes stories and may help predict reading success,” said study author John Hutton, MD, National Research Service Award Fellow, Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Reading and Literacy Discovery Center, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “Of particular importance are brain areas supporting mental imagery, helping the child ‘see the story’ beyond the pictures, affirming the invaluable role of imagination.
— Science Daily

Read more of the article by CLICKING HERE.