Tips to Help Your Children with the Daylight Savings Transition by Danielle Rowe

Do you remember the days when the “fall back” Daylight Saving Time meant you got an extra hour of sleep? Pure bliss, right?? Well, the time change in the fall is no picnic when you are a parent. Unfortunately our little ones do not understand the joys of another hour snuggled up in bed. So according to the new time, they will be up an hour EARLY throwing the whole day off kilter. You are not alone in this early rising tango as millions of parents will be going through the same thing. Good news for you is there are a few things that you can do to ease the transition. Founder of Dream Little One Family Sleep Consulting, Danielle Rowe, shares her five sleep tips for the daylight saving time transition.

5 Sleep Tips for the Daylight Saving Time Transition

1. Start the transition early. About 4-5 days before the time change you can slowly start shifting bedtime and meal times 15 minutes later every 2 days. (This is harder to do with children who attend school.) So if dinner is typically at 5:30pm and bedtime is at 7:00pm you would move them to 5:45pm and 7:15pm on day 1. Eventually it will end up with dinner at 6:30pm and bedtime at 8:00pm (which will be the new time of 5:30pm and 7:00pm) … and VOILA!! the transition is made.

2. Delay getting your baby out of their crib.
Some babies are early risers which means they will be getting up even earlier. When you start the 15min. bedtime shift you can start delaying when you get your baby out of their crib by 15min. For toddlers and older children you can use an “Ok to wake” clock to help push back the time that they get out of bed to wake you up.

3. Use Blackout shades. So once you have established the bedtime routine you may need to work on the early morning wakings. Waking up is greatly affected by sunlight entering our room. You can use a bit of trickery for all age children (and yourself) by putting up blackout shades (or taping up black garbage bags) to block out the early morning sun.

4. Make use of sunlight. When it is an acceptable time to get up you should open all shades and let in as much sunlight at you can. Sunlight exposure throughout the day helps to set the body’s sleep rhythms. This plus social cues (such as meal time and bedtime routines) sets your child up for sleep success. Use sunlight to your advantage.

5. Be Patient! When the transition is made slowly you can gently ease your child (or children) into the time change. If the transition needs to be more abrupt you run the risk of creating an overtired child, which can be very unpleasant. Regardless of how you make the change you need to remain patient. As with any schedule change it can take a week or 2 for everything to “fall” into place.

Danielle Rowe is a certified child sleep consultant with The Family Sleep Institute and the founder of Dream Little One Family Sleep Consulting. Danielle works with families to develop a customized sleep plan that best fits your child’s sleep challenge as well as your parenting style. There a variety of consultation packages to choose from to best fit your budget. She began her journey as a sleep consultant when she ran into some sleep issues with 2 out of her 3 children. It was an amazing feeling for her when they began sleeping through the night with the help of a sleep consultant. And now Danielle wants nothing more than to help exhausted moms and dads out there to get that same relief. She has a passion for teaching parents about sleep and would love to help families get the sleep they need. Dream Little One Family Sleep Consulting is your key to a better night’s sleep.

The Value of Devotions by Karen Whiting {GIVEAWAY}

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Devotions with little ones formed the framework of my mothering years. I am still seeing the benefits of taking time in God’s Word with my five little ones who are now grown. For that reason I am passionate about devotions for children, especially preschoolers.

The devotions gave us a sense of purpose, and I made sure days revolved around what we read and also made sure we’d do one each day. If we didn’t get a devotion done before bed, then we skipped desert, as I’d say, “If we don’t have time for the sweet Word of God, we don’t have time for other sweets.” That really helped my children remind me to have some of God’s sweet words!

Benefits

Let’s mention some benefits. It’s easy to realize it helps children get into a habit of reading the Bible and communicating with God to nurture their spirit. However it surprised my husband and me to realize how it also gave them a jump-start on learning. Listening and talking about a Scripture increases a child’s listening comprehension, and that promotes great reading comprehension. We also noticed they could talk with us about any topic through the years because the devotions touched on all aspects of life. They more easily conversed with adults. The Scriptures also increased their vocabulary. Thus, devotions promote cognitive skills.

In activity-oriented devotions like My Princess Devotions, the themes cultivate character development and promote motor development. I placed hospitality in May as part of a theme of tea parties. Planning and hosting teas help little girls learn to greet people, be gracious hosts, and serve others and also helps foster good manners. Other months include generosity, compassion, trust, honesty, and cheerfulness.

The gross motor development comes with activities such as praise walks, dancing, and exercises that are part of various daily devotions. I planned to emphasize using a different body part each month (i.e. feet in October, hands in February). Small motor development is promoted with craft and cooking activities in other devotions. A variety of activities help children realize God cares about all aspects of their lives and helps develop various learning styles.

Tips on doing devotions

  1. Be open-minded. Open hearts to God’s guidance and children’s thoughts. If children stray from the meaning, reread God’s Word or look at another passage on the same topic to enlighten them!
  2. Be consistent by setting up a routine and time for devotions. Choose the best time: early in the morning, after school, or in the evening.
  3. Be enthusiastic. It’s catchy! Praise your child for participating.
  4. Avoid distractions. No eating, no phone calls or TV during devotions.
  5. Plan a reasonable time limit. Ten minutes is good for growing children. When the time is too short to cover the lesson, carry it over to next time!
  6. Don’t be afraid of silence as you wait for your child to respond to a question you ask.
  7. Make Dad a part of the devotions. Choose a time Dad can participate in person or by phone/ internet call.
  8. If Dad travels often or is deployed in the military consider buying a digital copy for him to read along.

Devotions and Your Child’s Personality

Children are different and respond according to their temperaments. An outgoing child likes to act out Bible scenes and share what they learn. A shy child may prefer to do devotions in an intimate setting and will like to journal or draw but may not want to share verbally as much.

Set the stage for success by responding to your child’s personality. For the outgoing child, make it a fun time that can include visiting friends. For a child who is a natural born leader and likes to take charge, let your little one help choose the place and time to do them and also let your child have extra time to discuss the topic. For a little one who is more relaxed and would rather sit and not do things use some encouragement and follow devotions with a snack or reading another book. For the shy child, make it a special parent-child time alone and be patient to wait for the child to think and answer questions.

If you want to do devotions as a family, make sure to include everyone in discussions. A talking stick might help where you pass the stick around for each person to have a time to talk.

Results

I believe that making God part of daily life fosters a sense of purpose and helps children mature. It may not change their IQ, but I thank the Lord that my children are kind, considerate, and serve others. They have remained close to one another and to the Lord. That’s what we want the most as parents.

We can still talk about anything. I am also thankful that one son who experienced twelve years of a 24/7 migraine was able to cling to Scriptures with hope. The Lord healed him last November so we are also thankful for that.

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What about All This Awareness? by Ellen Stumbo

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October is Down syndrome awareness month, but it is also spina bifida awareness month, and mental health awareness month, and sensory processing disorder awareness month (not to mention breast cancer awareness month). In short, there is a lot of awareness happening during October!

My youngest daughter has Down syndrome, and every October I take this as an opportunity to share facts about her diagnosis, or share stories of how people with Down syndrome enrich other people’s lives. But as I parent children with disabilities (because my middle daughter has cerebral palsy, and wouldn’t you know it, October 1st was cerebral palsy awareness day), I wonder if all this awareness should be focusing on the fact that disability is a normal part of life.

Disability knows no bounds. People with disabilities make up the largest “minority” group in the world. Just in the Unites States, the US census estimates that 20% of Americans live with a disability. That means 1 in every 5 people has a disability.

But I don’t like to look at disability simply in numbers or statistics, because I live this life as I parent two girls with disabilities. Disability is so much more than a diagnosis, it is about people, it is about lives. It is about lives that have value, and meaning, and purpose.

There are several instances in the Bible where it talks about how each of us make a part of the “body of Christ.” We all have a role to play, we are all different parts of the body. We have different gifts, talents, abilities.

We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Romans 12:5

So if we are to talk about any awareness at all this month, perhaps this should be our awareness focus: we need people with disabilities in our lives, in our churches. We all need each other to function in this beautiful body of Christ.

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Ellen Stumbo is a writer and speaker. She is the mother of three daughters: Ellie; Nichole, who has Down syndrome; and Nina, who was adopted and also has special needs. She is wife to Andy, a pastor. Visit her at ellenstumbo.com.

Operation Christmas Child: Packing Shoeboxes for Children, with Children

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It’s something my husband and I have done for years and years: packed a shoebox or two full of toys and hygiene items and candy and trinkets for a child overseas. It’s not hard. It’s not very costly. And yet, it can change another child’s life.

I learned this firsthand when I got to hear Alex, a recipient from Rwanda, speak at the Allume Conference last year. (I would urge you to watch this video about Alex’s testimony, although please screen it before you show it to your kids. There is a lot about the genocide and war in Rwanda.) Alex’s life and heart were truly changed, all because someone cared enough to pack a little shoebox – and then Samaritan’s Purse was able to minister to him, following up with him, continuing to share the gospel story with him.

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, and literally millions of boxes have been delivered worldwide since the ministry’s inception in 1993. Personally I think OCC is an amazing way to introduce your children to the ideas of poverty, giving, and having a multicultural worldview.

Here are some tips for packing shoeboxes with your own children.

  • Let them choose which gender and age group to pack for. Often kids will want to pick out things that they like themselves – so maybe choose to pack for a child the same age and gender as your own.
  • Add homemade elements: ask your child to make a Christmas card, write a letter, or draw a picture to go in the box. If he or she is older, maybe he can crochet a small scarf or sew a fleece lovey or even make a rubber band ball.
  • Explain gently that these will probably be the only gifts this child will receive this Christmas. Answer questions in a straightforward and truthful manner, but don’t over-explain.
  • Pray over the boxes and ask God for guidance on what items this child will need.
  • Make sure to include hygiene items, even though they aren’t as much fun. What toothbrush and toothpaste do you kids like? What soap? What about a comb or brush? A trip to the Dollar Store can go a long way to completing your shoebox with toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, bar soap, and a few fun hair bows.
  • Remember the rules! Here are the items you should not include: used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

Will you pack a shoebox this year? Even if you don’t have time to shop, you can still put one together online on the Samaritan’s Purse site for $25. Smart!

Box drop-off is November 17-24. If your local church is not collecting boxes, you can find a collection site here.

When the Game Stands Tall: A Conversation by Kelly Mize

Last week, I had an opportunity to speak with Bob Ladouceur and Terry Eidson, the coaches portrayed in the new movie, When the Game Stands Tall, starring Jim Caviezel and Laura Dern. It’s the story of an impressive high school football team that held twelve consecutive undefeated seasons, setting a national record winning streak of 151 consecutive wins. I spoke with the movie-inspiring coaches about faith, family, and football.

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What advice could you share with parents of young children who want their kids to be involved in sports?

BL: Go ahead and get them involved in sports early, as they want to be involved, if they ask to, and then back off. Let them do what they can do. I think it’s a great learning experience no matter what happens, whether they’re doing well, or even if they can’t hack it. However, when parents get involved trying to micro-manage, it just turns into a mess. It doesn’t do the kids any good to have their parents fighting battles for them. They’re going to have to learn how to lose and be disappointed. That’s a part of life.

I love the way that this movie uses Bible passages to subtly illustrate, without being “preachy.” What role did/does your faith play in your coaching, and in your life?

BL: It’s infused in every part of your life if you call yourself a Christian. If you try your faith on like a shirt, take it on and off in different situations, that’s pretty lame, not being true to your faith.

TE: One of my favorite professors in seminary said, “Once you understand Scripture, there’s only one way you can act.” That’s always behind the curtain of everything I do.

One of the things that seemed to make your teams strong was the love the players had for each other. How did you encourage this attitude with your players and within your own family?

BL: Kids in middle/high school around the ages of 14-18 are searching for identity, a place to belong. They sometimes have a tendency to be narcissistic or myopic about it: What’s in it for me? What am I getting out of it? We tried to teach the kids that having that attitude is not how you make connections, not how you improve yourself as a human. It’s about understanding the other person, reaching out to other people and showing real concern and empathy for them. This comes in teachable moments, in listening to your kids and the way they speak to each other. We made it a point to stop and correct. “Is that building someone up or tearing them down?” As coaches, we spent an inordinate amount of time reinforcing this.

TE: Respect authority, be thankful for what people do for you, clean up after yourself, think about others. For parents, teachers, and coaches, it’s also not about being the good guy all the time. A greater love is always out there to learn.

I live in Alabama where football is a way of life and high school football is huge. How can families maintain the perspective that football is “just a game”?

BL: No matter what you’re doing, when it’s all said and done, just say to yourself, “Does this really matter?” The important things are God, family, kids, loved ones; all the other stuff, it doesn’t matter much.

TE: I think it’s great that families go to games together. Have a passion for your team, but keep the perspective that what’s really important is who you are, not the team you root for. Families can be inspired by a team’s playing and effort, but at the end of the day its important who you are.

Do you think non-football fans will enjoy this story?

BL: It’s not just about football; it’s wrapped around the human lives. The human lives are not wrapped around the football, it’s vice versa.

LE: It’s about building a team, and family is a pretty important team. In the focus groups, the film was very popular among women and mothers, even those who did not like football.

Any last words for parents of children ages 3-11 trying to balance work, family, and fun?

BL: When you do get that rare free time, try to make it family-time. When my kids were younger, I always tried to make it a point to read to them or ask about their day. Hearing some sacred thing in their lives was important. This season doesn’t last forever.

This applies to marriage too: I think one of the most important things is to never leave each other or go to bed, without telling your kids you love them and hugging them. It makes a huge difference. I think that’s critical, that human touch and connection.

When the Game Stands Tall opened in theaters on August 22. It is rated PG.

Weekend Links

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Added to Saturday Linky Love at JessieWeaver.net.

Weekend Links

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Added to Saturday Linky Love at JessieWeaver.net.

The New School Year Can Be Terrifying by Ellen Stumbo

It’s that time of the year when kids go back to school. A new year. A new teacher. Perhaps even a new backpack or wardrobe. But it also means new classmates. New friends.

As a special-needs mom, the new school year can be terrifying. I am not sure what your experience was, but when I was in school, the children with disabilities were not in class with me. They either had their own class or their own school.

Back then, I was afraid of disability. I was told to look away, to ignore, to not ask questions, to not be rude. So I thought disability was bad. Really bad. Then I became a special-needs mom and let me tell you, this is how you take a crash course on disability.

But I remember being on the “other” side, the side where you are not so sure how to respond to people with disabilities, how to act around them, perhaps even how to treat them or talk to them. And you know, your child might be going to school with a peer with who has a disability. Thankfully, we now practice something beautiful called inclusion, where kids of all abilities learn together, and learn from each other.

And this is why a new year is terrifying. Will my daughter with Down syndrome have friends? Will there be a kid in their class that will be able to look past the poor speech and see the wonderful, beautiful, funny person that she is? Will my daughter with cerebral palsy have friends that play with her during recess? Will they still include her even if she cannot run and keep up with them?

I want my children to have friends.

So dear mom with typical kids, it’s okay if you have not taken the crash course on disability (or any course at all). The only thing that matters is that you encourage your kids to get to know my kids. That you teach them that although they might be different, we are all uniquely gifted. That you stress out that disability is just a part of life, and not what defines a person.

And you know what, as your kids get to know mine, maybe we can get to know each other too. I might also need a friend.

Ellen Stumbo Head ShotEllen Stumbo is a writer and speaker. She is the mother of three daughters: Ellie; Nichole, who has Down syndrome; and Nina, who was adopted and also has special needs. She is wife to Andy, a pastor. Visit her at ellenstumbo.com.

Weekend Links

 

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Added to Saturday Linky Love at JessieWeaver.net.

8 Yummy Muffin Recipes

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Personally, I think muffins are one the best “kid foods” there are. My kids will eat almost anything if it’s baked into a little handheld snack. Want them to eat squash? Carrots? Quinoa? Bake it into a muffin!

Muffins can be breakfast, part of a lunchbox, a snack, or alongside soup with dinner. They can be sweet or savory, fluffy or dense, topped or not.

Here are eight of my personal favorite muffin recipes. What are yours?

  1. Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins – Citron Limette
  2. Chocolate Banana Cinnamon Roll Muffins – Authentic Simplicity
  3. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins – Once a Month Meals
  4. Apple Cinnamon Muffins – ParentLife Online
  5. Crumby Banana Muffins – Jessie Weaver
  6. Honey-Sweetened Pumpkin Harvest Muffins – The Finer Things in Life
  7. Sweet Carrot Muffins – Spoonful
  8. Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins – Annie’s Eats