Archives for December 2010

Fun Friday Photo — December 31, 2010

Our Fun Friday Photo of the year … is the cover of our new redesign! We can’t wait to share the rest with you in the new year. Remember, our new design premieres with the March 2011 issue! And keep sending us your Fun Friday Photos. See details below!

PL_3-11-Cover.jpgPhotos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

Get ParentLife at Church!


Ever wonder how to get ParentLife at your church? Each issue of ParentLife is great to share with other parents in your church or to use with outreach to  let your community know that you care about them!

First, take your copy of ParentLife to your pastor or appropriate minister (prechool, children, family, or education minister).

Second, tell them they can order ParentLife at a great reduced rate ($1.55 an issue) by placing a standing bulk order in one of the following ways:

1.  Use their LifeWay quarterly literature order form.
2.  Go online to
3.  Call Customer Service toll free at 1 (800) 458-2772.

It’s that easy!

Depression in Children


Could your child be depressed?

Depression is a serious mood disorder that often goes undetected in children because it may not look the same as it does in adults. Kids experience many of the same feelings and symptoms, but find it difficult to articulate and express. Diagnosis is also complicated by the fact that changes in academic, social, or emotional functioning can be normal childhood behaviors. For instance, increased temper tantrums and misbehavior could indicate depression rather than defiance.

Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Frequent irritation, sadness, anger, or boredom
  • Excessive crying
  • Withdrawal, loss of interest in hobbies, friends, or playing
  • Unexplained aches and pains; stomachaches and headaches are common
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Thinking about death or suicide

Children who appear depressed may actually be experiencing anxiety. Pay attention to your child. If she is showing symptoms that do not resolve with communication, support, and encouragement, a visit to the pediatrician is in order. Treatment generally includes professional counseling, medicines, and family work.

Thank you to ParentLife contributor Vonda Skelton and Dena Cabrera at Remuda Ranch for this pertinent information.

Have you ever suspected or confirmed your child is depressed rather than just sad or upset?

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Time for a Media Diet?


After a season filled with record-setting cell phone and gaming gifts to preteens, iShine is announcing the release of the Family Media Diet Calculator. The calculator is a new tool providing customized awareness to families in regards to how much time they spend connected to media in comparison to the amount of hours they spend plugged in with real life interaction and content consumption.

By visiting, parents nationwide will be able to plug in amounts of time their families spend texting, browsing online, consuming television, and more. They will then be able to print a free custom analysis of where their families are spending their time in comparison to their involvement in recreational and faith-based activities along with family time and reading. The campaign is not an anti-technology movement. It is about use awareness and being intentional about the content.  
MediaDiet2.jpg“We as parents must be deliberate of what media our kids consume, understanding that it is forming the way our kids look at everything – self image, friends, parents, leaders, themselves,” remarks iShine founder and Chief Creative Officer Robert Beeson. “If we as parents aren’t actively forming the person our kid’s are becoming – make no mistake – someone else is.”
iShine, known for bringing family-friendly media options through tours, music, television and radio mediums, is sponsoring the free Media Diet Calculator.


Merry Christmas! from the ParentLife Team


Fun Friday Photo — December 24th, 2010

Erica (left) is 2 and Mary Lane (right) is 5 months.


Thanks to Jeanette M. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!


Bike Helmet Safety

Since many children will receive bicycles for Christmas, we thought this was timely information. Enjoy!


November Bike Rider

Sports are the most frequent cause of injury for adolescents, and each year more than 3.5 million kids suffer sports- and recreational-related injuries.

However, by equipping your child with the proper plastic safety gear, you can help reduce their risk of injury by 46%. Did you know that according to the Bike Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI), establishing the helmet habit as soon as your child begins riding a tricycle is the best way to ensure that it will become a habit for a lifetime which can reduce the risk of head injuries by 85 percent? In order to ensure your child is biking safely Plastics Make it Possible compiled the following to help your child select their perfect biking helmet:

Fit Factor

Be sure the plastic helmet fits right — if it’s too big or too small it may be uncomfortable for your child and it is not as effective.

Plastic bicycle helmet fit guidelines:

  • It should be snug and fit flat on top of your head when in place.
  • There should only be one to two inches between the eyebrows and the ridge of the helmet.
  • It should not obstruct your vision.
  • It should have a tight (snug) chinstrap that is centered and always kept snapped.

Bike in Style

Let your child participate in picking out their own plastic helmet. They come in a variety of cool colors, patterns and even styles, which allow kids to express their own individual sense of style. Kids are more likely to wear a helmet if they like the looks of it!

Hard Headed

Look for a helmet made with hard ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) or fiberglass, which are hard and crack-resistant.

Know when to dump it.

If you’ve been in a crash, it’s time to find a new helmet. Helmets that have only been in minor fender-benders can weaken significantly and not be able to protect in the same way again. Write “crashed” on the helmet in permanent marker, and kiss it goodbye.

What else?

Beyond the helmet there is a variety of safety gear available for kids. As they progress to bicycles, scooters, and skateboards, essential equipment like wrist, elbow, and knee guards will help keep kids safe on the go. Tough plastics in protective athletic gear help prevent injuries from falling and crashing. Research for some of these activities shows that wearing wrist guards could reduce the number of wrist injuries by 87 percent, wearing elbow pads could reduce the number of elbow injuries by 82 percent, and wearing knee pads could reduce the number of knee injuries by 32 percent.

Protect your kids’ heads—buy helmets to go with those new bikes!

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons.

Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Still looking for a few last-minute gifts to put under the tree Friday night? Here are a few products that we couldn’t squeeze into our December gift guide but that we recommend!

Time’s Up Time Out Bear (, $25)
How long until I eat? When do I have to stop playing? When does Mommy come home? This unique teddy with a mechanical timer in his tummy will help preschoolers develop time sense. He is also handy as a TV or video game time monitor. (Kids can play until he dings.)

Marshmallow Blower (, $8)
This gadget is good for soft, safe, and somewhat rambunctious play. Mom or Dad supplies the mini marshmallows which load into the barrel with a turn handle; kids supply the lung power to poof them toward parental-approved targets.

Traverse® 20th Anniversary Edition (, $25)
A chess-meets-checkers hybrid, Traverse requires players to move their geometric pieces from one side of the gameboard to the other. Easy, right? Not when each shape is limited in its direction or means of movement, and not when opponents use the same strategies to block moves.

What’s the most innovative gift you’re giving this year?

McDougal Kids Win Talent Search

In a May 2009 ParentLife article entitled "A Carpenter’s Mission: Building a House of Love," we featured the McDougal family. At the time, they were building an allergen-free home to live in due to the fact that three of their four children have cystic fibrosis.

mcdougalkids.jpgIn October, the McDougal children (Jeffrey, 12; Sean, 10; Katie, 8; and Grace, 6) entered the Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Awards convention talent search. Out of 30 contestants, the McDougal kids won first place! They will recieve a three-song recording session with producer Gene Higgins and a single release to radio from HMG Nashville.

The family was able to move into their allergen-free home in November. They sell their CD, The Work of a Carpenter, to help raise money for the home.

Congratulations, McDougals, from the ParentLife team!

ParentLife Everyday December 2010

Each month ParentLife pulls together a one-page document for preschool and children’s leaders and teachers that highlights articles that might help families they work with. But this also is a great tool for parents!

All of the articles below are in our current December issue of ParentLife. Read the articles that minister to your family and pass along a copy to those who might benefit from it!


Know Busy Parents?
As kids get older, they seem to get busier. This article will help parents in your ministry maximize their tie connecting with their preteen through minimum planning and focused effort (pp. 16-17).

"I cannot raise this girl, but You can. I give her back to You."

—Max Lucado’s prayer about his newborn daughter, Jenna, when faced with the fears of becoming a new parent (pp. 18-21).

Help Parents in Uncertain Times
Are parents in your ministry fearful? Fearful of the economy? Fearful of job loss? Fearful of the future? Max Lucado inspires parents and points them toward God who holds the future (pp. 18-21).

Walking Through the Storm

Guide parents in your church who are going through difficulty. Angie Smith’s testimony and example of strength through a season of loss will inspire you (pp. 34-36).

Listen & Learn
Equip divorced parents in your church to know how to listen to their kids and help them navigate the impact of divorce. Counselor David Thomas answers common questions regarding the children of divorce (pp. 24-25).

Fixing Our Fibbing

Encourage families in your church to practice honesty and personal integrity. This article emphasizes the importance of setting an honest example for children (even in the small things) (pp. 22-23).

Everyday Teaching Moments

Equip parents in your ministry with practical ideas for experiencing God in daily family life. Pass along these three articles to help parents to teach their kids about God (pp. 26-27, 47).

—The percentage of ParentLife readers who love Christmas! Equip parents in your ministry to put Christmas in perspective this year with these six articles (pp. 38-41, 43-44).

For a downloadable pdf of this content, click on the link below: