Archives for March 2011

The Why and Ways of Spoiling

In our April issue, we featured the article, "Keep It Fresh! The Dangers of Spoiling Your Children" by Carrie Bevell Partridge. The article has some great advice on breaking the cycle of spoiling, but to help us understand it more fully, here are lists of the WHYS and WAYS we spoil.

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Why You Spoil Your Child

  • Not wanting her to dislike you
  • Fearing tantrums, which will embarrass you
  • Wanting to have a happy child, which makes you look like a “good parent”
  • Wanting to give her things to help her enjoy life
  • Wanting to keep her quiet or to eliminate conflict
  • Being too lazy to discipline
  • Fearing saying “No” to a sick child
  • Having an “I never had … so my kids will have everything” attitude
  • Convenience
  • Wanting her to have what other children have
  • Wanting her to be well-liked or to fit in with peers
  • Wanting to be a “cool” parent
  • Feeling guilty for not spending enough time with her
  • Wanting to build her self-esteem


Ways You Spoil Your Child

  • Always letting her have whatever she wants, whenever she wants
  • Never saying “No” and meaning it
  • Not giving her any experience in working or waiting
  • Not challenging her on thoughts or actions
  • Allowing her to dictate what she will eat at meals
  • Giving her certain items just because “everyone has them”
  • Being her friend instead of her parent
  • Putting her needs ahead of your spouse’s needs on an ongoing basis
  • Continually bailing her out when she gets in trouble, makes poor decisions, or is irresponsible
  • Dropping everything to listen to her when she demands it
  • Allowing her to treat you as her servant

Do you think these are accurate? What would add or take away?

**Remember, this is the last day to enter the March giveaway!

Photo by Tammra McCauley; used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Dealing with Disappointment

55.Divorced.parents.gifThis week I attended a meeting about transitioning kids into middle school. Yikes, middle school! Does that bring up not so pleasant memories for you as it does for me? There aren’t many people I know who talk about the middle school years without thinking of the difficult moments.

As I listened in that meeting, the speaker shared that one of the best things you can instill in your kids is a sense of resiliency, dealing with disappoitment and loss and moving forward. And I have to agree. Too many times it is easy to cover up issues rather than deal with them, pretend you are not hurting, or avoid conflicts altogether.

This reminder of building resiliency is a good one not only for middle schoolers but also for parents too. How do you say you deal with problems? Difficult times are going to come. Preparing your kids for them takes a lot of work.

Here are some ways to help build resilency that I thought of while reflecting on that middle school meeting.

  • Model yourself how to deal with disappointment.
  • Admit when you deal with things badly.
  • Ask forgiveness when you mess up.
  • Talk openly your disappointment with trusted confidants.
  • Realize that is OK to feel the disappointment or loss. Don’t cover up the pain.
  • Address issues that arise when your emotions are in check but without putting aside for too long.
  • Don’t let fear determine your behavior. Recognize that it does take courage to get back on the horse!
  • Pray to God for clear direction. Praise Him always for His goodness and thank Him for His blessings!

What other ideas would you add to the list?



The Camp Experience: All About CentriKid by Meredith Teasley

There is just something special about a week away from everything normal and familiar. Many Christians say times when God spoke most clearly along their spiritual journey were retreats or camps. God uses these away-from-home experiences in a big way. Why not start at a time when most kids make a decision to follow Christ or begin to own their faith? Going strong for 10 years, CentriKid staff teams are made up of more and more college students who had their own lives changed through CentriKid!


Camp Basics

CentriKid camps provide a five-day, four-night camp for church groups with children who have completed grades 3 through 6. Churches bring kids and chaperones, but CentriKid staffers take care of all the preparation and programming. If your church has never brought a group, you can start with your own child and yourself. Most CentriKid sites are small college campuses or conference centers. Groups are separated by church into dorms, hotel-style rooms, or other campus housing. Each church makes their own rooming assignments.


A Typical Day

In the morning, kids are introduced to “Quiet Time” where they spend time alone with God. “I Can’t Wait!” kicks off the day, getting everyone up, moving, and ready for the day. Kids go straight to “Team Time,” where they experience creative presentations of biblical truths and play fun games.

In the afternoon, kids pick their favorite activities — pool games, archery, soccer, art, cooking, and more. After “Hang Time” and dinner, the entire camp worships together. Church groups have time to connect back with just their group. The day ends with a fun party – where campers compete to win games on stage. After the party, kids are wiped out from the day, and it is lights out! 

Chances are, your child will come home saying, “I wish I could have stayed another week!”



Adult Involvement

What about adults? Some call it a vacation! Adults get their share of late nights and early mornings, but they can focus on their main responsibility, investing in their kids. CentriKid even provides a refreshing time of Bible study and worship just for adults, called “Adult Gathering.”


CentriKid Promises

Consider four promises CentriKid is committed to provide.

  • A safe place — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Many parents say that safety is their biggest concern in sending a child to camp. At CentriKid, campers are supervised every hour of the day. Church groups sign off that all of their adults have completed background checks, and CentriKid staff complete a vigorous hiring process. Campers are encouraged to ask questions, share struggles, and begin to own their faith. 
  • Age-specific teams. CentriKid Camps recognize that a third grader learns in a much different way than a sixth grader, and groups are planned accordingly. Campers are placed on teams with kids their own age and with staffers who are passionate about effectively teaching the Bible to kids!
  • Ministry through relationships. Kids are bound to meet lots of friends and great role models at camp. The students who serve at camp embrace their role in building relationships with kids … they learn kids’ names; hang out with them; and have conversations about sports, school, friends, and God!
  • Kid-friendly programming. CentriKid embraces the latest technology, executes each piece of camp with excellence, and makes everything an experience for kids — because connecting with kids on their level is a top priority and a promise to parents.


Homesickness Tips

  • Try a test run. Let your camper stay at a grandparent’s house or with a trusted friend. Having been away from home before, he is likely to do better at camp.
  • Talk about the details. Go over the schedule and what you will be up to. Many kids do not want to miss what is happening back home!
  • Set ground rules for calling. CentriKid recommends that campers call home once per day. Many churches have a “no call” policy except in case of emergency. In this case, parents call the church for updates from camp, and campers are not even tempted to call home.
  • Encourage your camper. All too often, parents can cause homesickness without realizing it. Let go. Enjoy watching your child take one more step toward growing up.


5 Tips for Packing

  1. Label each item that goes to camp — every shirt, sock, and sandal!
  2. Expect clothes to come home dirty … and some to not make it home at all.
  3. Plan each day’s outfit. Pack each one in a labeled gallon-size bag. 
  4. Kids love to have money for the camp store, snacks, and missions offering. CentriKid recommends $25.
  5. Pack an easy-to-read Bible that your child will be comfortable reading and using in Bible study.

CentriKid Information

Visit to see the 2011 camp locations, request more information, or register for camp! As a parent, you can even preview a day of camp as a guest of CentriKid at no cost to you. 

Do you have plans for your kids to attend a camp this summer?


Meredith Teasley works as a Camp Specialist for CentriKid Camps planning camp year-round. She and her husband, Nic, live in Nashville, Tennessee and are active members at Grace Community Church. They love volunteering with 3rd-6th graders. Meredith blogs at

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

The Miracle Boy: How Early Intervention Aids in Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

In the April 2011 issue, we feature Jennifer Shaw, a musician who went through a troubling time. Here’s some more of her story about her son Toby’s battle with a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).


SPD is a dysfunction of the brain in which sensory signals from the body (vision, auditory, touch, olfaction, and taste) are not processed normally by the brain. For Toby, any touch was received by his brain as hurting. “Food in his mouth hurt. Droplets of water hurt,” Jennifer explains. “Clothing felt intolerable. These children go into survival mode and they don’t learn to speak. That’s why speech delays are the first marker.”

Occupational therapy made the difference for Toby. “Any therapy before the age of 3 is critical,” Jennifer advises. “The brain is able to be re-wired at that point. So don’t wait. Don’t second guess yourself.”

Play-based, with no medications involved, Jennifer watched as Toby’s therapists positioned his body in weird ways, forcing his brain to make new connections. “We did everything they did at therapy at home as well,” Jennifer notes. “We didn’t want the girls to feel ignored because we had a child [with special needs], so we really tried to involve them in his therapy.”

Toby’s progress was rapid. The folks working with Toby called him “The Miracle Boy.” Today Toby is healed completely. Jennifer remains clearly grateful to all those who helped Toby. “It was like they led him out of prison, the prison of his own body,” she says. “They let him be who God made him to be.”

Is your family going through a difficult time? Maybe it’s a diagnosis of special needs or a death in the family or _________ (fill in the blank). Find encouragement in Jennifer Shaw’s amazing testimony in the April 2011 issue.

Fun Friday Photo — March 25, 2011

6-week-old Zion’s T-shirt says it all!



Thanks to Erin S. 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!

Nature Rocks!


Nature Rocks is a national initiative created by REI, The Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, and ecoAmerica, to inspire and empower parents to get their kids and families out into nature, as spending time in nature can help make you happier, healthier, and smarter. 

They’ve just come out with their Spring Activity Guide [PDF], full of 30-minute and 1-hour activities to do outdoors with your kids, as well as helpful tips and tools.

Here’s a sample activity from the guide:

Frisbee Frenzy
Stay active while you’re waiting for your picnic dinner to come off the grill. Grab 2 paper plates from the table and make your own Frisbee! In addition to the plates, you will need crayons/markers, staples, and scissors. Poke a hole in the center of 2 paper plates so you can cut out the middles of the plates. Line up the plates (eating side to eating side) and staple sides together. Decorate your Frisbee and you are ready to go out and play!


  1. If you have a larger group playing where attention can wander, ask everyone to call out the name of the person they are throwing to so the recipient is ready to catch it!
  2. Once familiar with throwing the Frisbee, add challenge by throwing it longer, shorter, or to the sides for people to run and catch.

The guide will help you plan fun outside, whether it be a 1/2 hour, an hour, or a whole day! There are even tips for a kid-friendly backpacking trip.

Do you try to get out more during the Fall and Spring seasons? Where do you go?

Never a Dull Moment


I don’t know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but in Middle Tennessee the past two weeks have been beautiful, complete with sunshine and temps in the 60s to 70s. And for my family, spring couldn’t get here soon enough! Jack is now 2.5-years-old and he is an outside boy. He would spend every second outside if we let him. Being cooped up so much of the winter is difficult for him … and for us!

A few weeks ago, I was the closest I’ve ever been to claiming Jack was in his terrible 2s. We were dealing with difficult behavior and meltdowns more than usual. My patience was wearing thin … and I was worried that it wasn’t going to get any better. I was starting to panic that maybe I wasn’t doing a good enough job as a mother, maybe we weren’t using the right form of discipline, or maybe he was going to turn out to be defiant child!

Enter springtime. We have spent almost every free minute outside in this beautiful weather. It’s amazing to me how outdoor activities, sunshine, and fresh air make a huge difference in Jack’s mood and behavior. He sleeps, better, eats better, and listens better when he has spent time outside. For now, order has been restored in the Skulley household.


The longer I am a parent, the more I am discovering that challenges seem to come in phases. Just when you are ready to give up, things smooth out again. Don’t get me wrong. It’s never “easy.” But with time (and lots of prayer) the challenges become more manageable, and eventually a specific challenge becomes a thing of the past.

I’m reminded of this as I talk to friends who have recently had babies. I faced many of the challenges they faced with their newborns and infants, but looking back now, it feels as if it was a lifetime ago. It is easy to forget how many challenges you have overcome.

Old challenges are replaced with new challenges but that’s what makes parenting an adventure. There is never a dull moment … and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Our next big challenge? Potty training! Aren’t you jealous?

What is your current parenting challenge? What challenges have you already been through?

The Story of Jesus – Easter Activities for the Whole Family by Christi McGuire

"The Story of Jesus” is presented in a colorful way in April’s ParentLife. Use this teaching tool to encourage your family through Bible study in the days leading up to Easter. Get everyone involved!

StoryofJesus.jpgThere are 24 stories of Jesus’ life in this teaching tool. As a family, read one passage each night from April 1 to Easter Sunday on April 24.

Divide each color block into different ways to share the story.
Read the blue passages aloud; act out the yellow passages; draw pictures to describe the story for the red passages; create a puppet show for the green passages.

Talk about or make a list of everything you know about Jesus.
Read the Bible stories together and see what new things you learn about Jesus! Make a list of all the new things you learned in Scripture about Jesus; pray together to thank God for continually learning through His Word.

Worship together by singing songs to go with the different passages about Jesus’ life. Song ideas might include: "Silent Night," "Jesus Loves Me," "God Is So Good," "Zacchaeus," "Fishers of Men," and "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." (For toddler and younger elementary-aged children, Wee Sing Bible Songs is a great CD with a singing book to follow along.)

Make a timeline of Jesus’ life. Cut apart each of the colored passages and place them in order on your timeline.

Read the Bible passage and let younger kids color a picture on that color of paper.
During the month, hang the pictures in a hallway to tell the story of Jesus’ life.

Cut up the colored Bible passages and mix them up.
Challenge older kids to place the passages in the correct order of Jesus’ life.

Give each person in your family a color to coincide with the Bible passages. Then each family member is responsible for planning the Bible study for that color passage. Challenge older children to create a song, activity, or game to go with the Bible passage. Help younger children retell the Bible story in a few simple sentences and create motions to a song.

Strengthen older children’s skills by hosting a Bible drill challenge. Each night, the first one to find the book, chapter, and verse of each passage gets to read it!

Do you do anything with your family to mark the weeks before Easter?

Thank you, Christi McGuire, for these helps. Christi is a freelance writer in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. She and her husband, Matt, enjoy each new day with their two daughters Mary-Allison (5) and Mia (3).

AAP Advises Keeping Your Child in Rear-Facing Car Seat until Age 2


The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new statement advising parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they exceed the height or weight limit for their seat’s rear-facing capacity.

Right now, the law in most states is that children MUST be rear-facing until age 1 and/or 20 pounds.

CNN reports, "A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing. Another study found riding rear-facing to be five times safer than forward-facing."

While this may come as a shock to some parents, the AAP has been encouraging parents to keep car seats rear-facing since 2002.

This video from Seattle Children’s Hospital explains some of the reasoning and also shows how to install a car seat.


Infant Car Seat Safety from Seattle Children’s on Vimeo.

How do you feel about this new push from the AAP? Will it change when you go front-facing or will you switch your child back to rear-facing?

March 2011: ParentLife Everyday

ParentLifeEveryday_Art.jpgEach 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!

The articles below are in our current March 2011 issue of ParentLife. Read the articles that minister to your family and pass along a copy to those who might benefit from it!

Check out the new ParentLife! Each cover will capture playful moments in life that parents and teachers love!

Provide parents with this effective monthly tool for family worship times. Equip them with a week’s worth of family devotions (that coordinate with what children are learning at church) as well as a calendar packed with application activities to enhance learning throughout the month (pp. 25-27).

Inspire families in your church to watch for and take advantage of teachable moments that arise in everyday life, no matter thier family situations. Remind them that children learn amazing truths by watching the adults in their lives live out their faith in practical ways (pp. 38-39).

Looking to train parents and teachers with the latest and best information about their children? Growth Spurts provides this information about all aspects of a child’s development in this new easy-to-read format.

Hear. Know. Do. Teach these three basic principles to parents and teachers in your children’s ministry in order to build healthy, strong spiritual foundations in the children of your church. Establish hear, know, and do as the first steps in a lifetime of spiritual development! (p. 28).

Pass along Mom- and Dad-centered articles each month by Angie Smith and Carey Casey to encourage moms and dads in their parenting journeys.

Download a PDF of ParentLife Everyday to pass along to your children’s minister or parents in your church:

ParentlifeEveryday_March_2011 copy.pdf