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).

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


Overlooked Safety Traps Can Put Children at Risk

Each year in the U.S., more than 2,000 children under the age of 14 die as a result of a home injury, according to Safe Kids USA, a non-profit organization.

“Parents often underestimate their kids’ abilities and overestimate their intelligence,” says Chrissy Cianflone, Director of Program Operations at Safe Kids USA. “They think, my child’s too smart to do X and they often don’t realize how strong their kids are.”

There are so many things to think about as you safe-proof your home to protect small children that it’s easy to overlook important risks.

Most people are aware of common safety measures like covering your electrical outlets, keeping your child away from hot stoves, and watching them like a hawk as they bathe, but there are other dangers that don’t readily come to mind.

Cords from window treatments – According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, one child a month between the ages of 7 months and 10 years dies from strangulation or is severely injured by near strangulation from the loose strings or cords on window blinds and shades. A window covering advertised as cord-less does not mean that it is truly cord-free.Kenney Manufacturing’s new Truly CordFreeTM Roman Shades use a twist wand to raise and lower the shade and inner mechanisms to eliminate all strings and cords.

Dressers and other tall furniture – Dressers are dangerous because they are heavy, not always well balanced and can be pulled over if a child tries to climb them. An unsteady toddler trying to climb doesn’t understand that a heavy object can topple.  Invest in brackets found at home improvement stores or baby stores like Babies R Us to anchor dressers, TVs, and wall units. Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers, and don’t keep remote controls or temptations like candy or toys on top of furniture.

Window screensNever rely on a window screen to keep children safe from an open window.  Screens are for keeping insects out, not for keeping kids in. Invest in heavier child-proof window screens, which cost under $30.  Don’t place furniture by a window, potentially creating a climbing opportunity and the associated risk.

Open medication containers – Be vigilant about your child’s safety away from home.  A risky situation can exist when a child visits a grandparents’ home where pills may be left within their reach. Vitamins and OTC medications can be extremely dangerous to children. Remind family members and caretakers to buy pill bottles with child safety caps and keep all medicines and pills out of your child’s reach, preferably locked up.

Under the kitchen sink – More than 100 children ages 14 and under die each year from unintentional poisoning, according to Safe Kids USA. In addition to household cleaning supplies, pesticides, cosmetics, art supplies, paint products and alcohol are dangerous to children. To avoid accidental poisoning, store these products up high in locked cabinets.  It is a good idea to install a safety latch to keep the doors to under the kitchen sink secured at all times.

Consider addressing these issues in your home as soon as you can to provide optimum safety for your children.

Thank you, Melissa Kay and Market Builders for this pertinent information.

Have you made any safety changes in your home lately?

Article Help: Fathers and Children

Here’s your chance to contribute to a future ParentLife article. Just help us answer the question:

"From throwing a fastball to changing the oil, what are the things you think every father should teach his child?"

Anyone who comments here with a response will get an extra entry to the March giveaway (even if you’ve already commented on that post)! 

[Side note: if you’re looking for another chance to win a ParentLife subscription, visit The Inclusive Church!]

Ask Your Hospital to Support Healthy Baby Bags

In our March 2011 Growth Spurts section for "On the Way," you might have read about Healthy Baby Bags. These cheery green bags can be distributed to new parents at the hospital and help encourage successful breastfeeding.

The bags include nursing pads, milk storage bags, and information about the benefits of breastfeeding.

If you’d like to send your hospital a letter and further information about the Healthy Baby Bags, you can visit this blog post at By Moms for Moms, the Lansinoh blog.

Would you have liked to receive one of these bags upon leaving the hospital with your newborn?

Bieber Fever and Other Phases of the Tween Girl World by Nancy Rue

If your tween daughter is like 4.5 million other young women in the world, she may have a thing for Justin Bieber. For those parents who have been either on a sequestered jury or in a coma for the last year, I’m talking about a 17-year-old Canadian music sensation who has stolen the hearts of older tweens and younger teens with his you-know-you-love-me good looks and ultra-trendy image.

Should you be concerned when your 12-year-old stares at the cover of her My World CD for hours at a time or can’t miss a single Tweet of Justin’s Twittering? Probably not – for several reasons.

The boy wonder’s career has soared, largely because he has a way of making his young listeners feel like the music is theirs. While we adults are watching him grow up, his fans are busy projecting their new feelings of I-suddenly-like-boys-but-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-about-that onto this boy whose only “flaw” seems to be the fact that he’s singing about deep love and probably doesn’t know a thing about it.

As far as I’ve been able to tell, he isn’t promoting sex or drugs, and he has yet to be in the negative media spotlight except for a few Internet scams. On the other hand, he is providing girls with a chance to express their confusing feelings in an arena that is safe. Justin is not going to ask them out, try to kiss them, or pressure them in any way.

Tweens have been doing that as far back as there have been male celebrities. Hearts have fluttered, passionate screams have been uttered, and posters have been plastered on bedroom walls for decades. And I can’t say that any girl has really been the worse for it. Yes, now and then a young girl gets a little obsessed, but that’s usually when something else is going on in her life.

For the most part, a crush on an unobtainable male figure is not only nothing to worry about – it’s actually a healthy part of a girl’s emergence into womanhood. Before you launch into, “But nobody but God should be her idol!” hear me out. We’ll get to that.

In their tween years, girls naturally feel the first stirrings of attraction to boys. But since the guys their age are, as we call them on my tween blog, “absurd little creeps,” at least to them, girls unconsciously look for somebody a little more perfect to adore. At the same time, while they may even find boys their own age – or a little older – less than absurd or creepy, they don’t know what to do with those feelings. If a boy two years older did flirt with your tween, she would probably turn scarlet all the way to her hair follicles and run for the nearest girls’ restroom to find her BFFs. It is far safer to daydream about a kiss on the cheek from Justin Bieber than to risk having that actually happen with little Michael next door. I think all parents would agree with that!

When girls do develop a “thing” for a star, they want to fully embrace it. It may seem immature to you for your tween to paper the walls with posters of this cutie, spend all her allowance downloading his music onto her mp3 player, and write lengthy fan letters declaring her undying love. But she is immature. She is 10, 11, 12, 13 years old, untangling those sudden confusing feelings about males. She is learning what it feels like to be attracted to somebody. Sure it’s unrealistic. Deep inside, she knows that. She isn’t going to carry over this fantasy into real life. She is just enjoying being a girl.

Keep the whole thing in perspective. Your tween is not “worshiping” an idol. She has a crush. When you and your spouse fell in love, did you ditch God and pour all of your affections out on each other? You’re there to guide your tween into a healthy relationship with the Lord, and that will be her frame of reference in relationships. If you’re focusing on living a joyous Christian life with your daughter, she’s going to know that Justin isn’t taking His place.

If your daughter does have Bieber Fever – or any other symptom of tween love – be involved. Stay up on the news about her celebrity interest, so if he does succumb to the temptations of fame and go off the proverbial deep end, you can walk your daughter through it, talk about what went wrong, and how that person needs to be prayed for. If Justin starts recording songs of an objectionable nature, step in and say, “I’m not happy with this particular single, and here’s why.”

Just like anything else she passes through on her journey to womanhood, this is important to your daughter. Making fun of her, putting down her feelings, guilting her are not your best ways to help her down the path. Keep your sense of humor, and at the very least remember the cassette tapes you wore out listening to Michael W. Smith or U2. I firmly believe that God is laughing right along with you.

Nancy Rue is an award-winning author who’s written over 100 books for adults and tweens, and she travels around the country speaking to tween girls and their moms at FaithGirlz events. Moms’ Ultimate Guide to the Tween Girl World is Rue’s first book written specifically for parents. She turned her attention to parents after mothers repeatedly asked her for advice on raising their tween daughters. Her latest book is for dads and releases this month: What Happened to My Little Girl?

This month we have 3 copies of Moms’ Ultimate Guide to the Tween Girl World and 3 copies of What Happened to My Little Girl? to give away! To enter, just answer this question: Who was your biggest celebrity crush?

I confess I was a huge Hanson fan myself. Fifth-row seats to their Virginia Beach concert, circa 1998. – Jessie

February 2011: ParentLife Everyday

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!

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



A Joyful Attitude: Equip parents in your church to teach their children not just respectful obedience but joyful obedience with three practical steps (pp. 14-15).

Kids with Connections: Encourage families to build healthy, positive relationships within their families, church, and community (pp. 22-23).

A Hope and a Future: Walk alongside families who have children with autism or other special needs. Remind them of the hope God promises (pp. 28-31).

Have a Church Preschool? Pass ParentLife along to parents on the lookout for a great preschool! And help make your preschool attractive to parents who are searching (pp. 12-13).

Growing Godly Girls: Give both moms and dads this section of articles focused on daughters this month in ParentLife (pp. 34-36).

A Great Christian Camp Experience: Learn more about CentriKid camps and why this summer experience could revitalize your children’s ministry (pp. 16-17).

100% – The number of kids in your home and church who will learn about love from their parents and adult leaders. Show them God’s love this Valentine’s Day!

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

ParentLife EveryDay February 2011

Real Life Solutions: Should My Child See a Therapist? by Dr. Linda Mintle

We are proud to have Dr. Linda Mintle in ParentLife each month answering questions submitted from readers. To submit a question for Dr. Mintle, e-mail it to and include "? for Dr. Mintle" on the subject line. This month we have an extra Q&A from Dr. Mintle we wanted to share.

Q: We have been through a lot this past year. My husband was deployed and is still serving overseas, our family dog died, we’ve moved closer to my family, and my mom is battling cancer. I’ve noticed that my 7-year-old son is bed-wetting and more withdrawn in school. How do I know if he needs to see a therapist?


A: What you’ve described is a series of significant life events that can be tough for a child to manage — a move, deployment, pet death, and an ill grandma.

The stress can cause the problems you see. First, talk to teachers and others who interact with your child to get a better idea of how he is doing in settings away from home. See your pediatrician to make sure there is no underlying medical issue that could be impacting his behavior.

When you see regression in behavior like bed-wetting, behavioral problems like isolating, grades dropping in school, sadness, social withdrawal, losing interest in enjoyed activities, aggression, changes in sleep and/or appetite, mood swings, physical complaints, and adjustment problems, these are all signs that indicate your child would benefit from the help of a child therapist.

You are covered under your military insurance so you should be able to get help easily. Look for someone trained in working with children, who is good at building a relationship. Ask if the therapist is willing to do a brief consultation before you commit to that person. The therapist should be licensed in your state, covered under your military plan, have credentials and training that reflect child development, and be friendly so that your son feels comfortable.

I would recommend finding a family therapist who will include you in helping your son through the transitions and dad’s absence. In addition, you may want to identify a dad at church who might give your son a little “dad time” now and then. Boys miss doing things with their dads when dads are deployed. Hopefully he can work through all the transitions that seemed to hit your family at one time.

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons.

Fun Friday Photo — February 4, 2011

Who thought this would be a fun party game?



Thanks to William 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!

Getting Kids Into God’s Word by Bill Emeott

We’re thrilled to have Kids Ministry 101 blogger Bill Emeott as our guest blogger today! Since 2003 Bill has served as the Lead Childhood Ministry Specialist for LifeWay. His passions include childhood ministry leadership training and development, leading children’s Bible Study, and being an Uncle! Bill has been teaching children at First Baptist Nashville for seven years. He has some great insight into getting kids into God’s Word! Check it out!


billBWsmall.jpgI think one of the most important things parents do is help equip boys and girls to live out their faith, day by day.  It’s called DISCIPLESHIP and I’m afraid that many parents have given this responsibility over to the church and are simply hoping/praying that their kids will somehow grow up to be a Christ follower, a mature believer… a Disciple!

It’s really not all that difficult … and to tell you the truth, it’s a whole lot of fun … but somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the “time” to really disciple kids. I’ve often said that children are the greatest blessing in the life of a family.  That’s true; BUT WITH EVERY BLESSING COMES RESPONSIBILITY and I believe that parents (partnering with the church) must take on their responsibility to disciple boys and girls not only to conversion but to become growing followers of Jesus (disciples).

So where do you start?
Perhaps the most important part of the disciple-making challenge is helping kids to learn the value of reading God’s Word on a regular basis. The challenge includes not only reading, but learning what they read means (both literally and to them personally). After the hearing and the knowing, we want boys and girls to understand personal application and what that scripture is telling them to do. They cannot know if they have not heard (or read) and they will not do if they don’t understand.

Encourage, lead, teach, and yes, disciple kids to get into God’s Word. Help them know the value of having a daily time with God. Equip them with the tools that will allow them to be all that God plans for them to be.

Bottom Line: If we never teach kids to hear God’s Word for themselves (read and understand what they are reading), it becomes more difficult for them to join God in His plan for their lives.

May I recommend these daily devotional resources for kids:
1st & 2nd Graders:  More
3rd & 4th Graders:  Adventure
Preteen 5th & 6th Graders: Bible Express

What are some ways you encourage your child to spend time in God’s Word?