A Time-Tested Way to Encourage Good Behavior by Becky Brandvik {GIVEAWAY}

Jesus was always generous, kind, respectful, hardworking, truthful, responsible, and so much more. He’s the perfect role model for all of us – kids and adults alike!

When I was a child I sometimes spent summer vacations with my grandparents, who lived in Florida. My sister and I were allowed to eat candy for dinner, sleep in half the day, and go and do wherever we wanted. The mantra was, “Anything goes at Grandma and Grandpa’s house!” We never felt like they disciplined us, but we were always anxious to please them by doing the right thing. There was just something different about my grandparents, but as a kid I couldn’t quite put my finger on it!

My grandparents liked to teach us grandkids good behavior by modeling the life of Christ. They lived and spoke Scripture regularly. As a kid, I thought this was a goofy thing to do. Whoever heard of going around and quoting Scripture all the time? One day it hit me! This was their teaching style! They weren’t trying to annoy us– it was simply their “subliminal method” of teaching and reinforcing good behavior in their grandkids. My grandparents sincerely wanted to model to us how the Bible can be a real, living part of our lives. It’s not just a dusty old tome that you allow to rot on your book shelf. It’s a testament to how we should live our lives every single day.

God’s Word is there to help us through our time on this Earth giving us guidance, comfort, and teaching us right from wrong. My grandparents modeled this principle numerous times to us in ways that no other believer has ever done for me. They actually modeled good character by inspiring us to be just like Jesus.

Just Like Jesus Storybook

There is no better way to teach children right from wrong than by showing them how to model the character of Jesus. Author and songwriter Stephen Elkins has written a great resource called I Want to Be JUST LIKE JESUS. In this fun and colorful book, stories are paired with lessons that teach about the character of Jesus. Lessons about Jesus’ character – how He was always humble, caring, hardworking, kind, honest, respectful, generous, and so much more.

When applied to everyday living, we should walk as Jesus walked and live as Jesus lived! After all, HE is the perfect role model for living our lives the way God intended us to live. So, the next time the kids misbehave ask them, “Who wants to be JUST LIKE JESUS?” That’ll get their attention for sure! They’ll strive to please God which in turn will please you as a parent!

Sneak Peek Lessons:

If you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. 1 Peter 2:20

You must be very patient to catch a fish! Jesus showed us how to be patient. He spent three whole years teaching people about God’s love.

He was never in a hurry. He even prayed for people who did unkind things. He knew they were lost and needed His love. Jesus was “fishing” for people who would love Him back!

Want to win a copy of I Want to Be JUST LIKE JESUS? We are giving away five copies. Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter!

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Over 100 Bible Stories and Songs Help Kids Remember Key Bible Truths {GIVEAWAY}

My Sing-Along photo

My Sing-Along Bible provides hours of fun and activity for kids ages 3 and up. Through easy-to-understand stories, catchy songs, and colorful pictures, children will learn about God and his character. They’ll come to understand and embrace Bible-based concepts such as God always keeps his promises, we should pray every day, Jesus wants us to follow Him, and many more.

Perfect as a “keeping me busy” activity, bedtime story, car ride, Sunday school, or family devotions, these stories connect the Bible stories with sing-along songs and key Bible themes. Also included are bonus songs to help kids learn and memorize the names of the books of the Bible.

Author and songwriter Stephen Elkins is the creator of My Sing-Along Bible. His Nashville publishing company, Wonder Workshop, has been producing book, music and DVD products for over 25 years.

Want to win a copy? We have FIVE copies to give away. Use the form below to enter the giveaway!

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Making Toys Count by Christine Satterfield

Before I had my son, I knew nothing about children. I never had siblings or cousins to “practice” on and babysitting wasn’t my thing. So the first time I walked into the big baby warehouse with my husband I was floored! Who knew babies needed so much stuff?

Well, I’ve since found out that children don’t need much. Diapers, clothes, a lot of love, and — if you don’t have empty boxes and plastic containers around — a few toys will keep them occupied for hours.

Picking out toys for our children, though, can be quite cumbersome. If you frequent one of the big toy warehouses you may know all too well the temptation to buy every single toy in the store. Even trips to the consignment sale and discount store can tempt you into buying more than needed, because the toys are such a good deal! Toys are tricky. As parents, we want to provide our children with every opportunity to learn, but we don’t want to overwhelm them with so many choices that they don’t even know where to begin.

I’ve decided to be quite choosy with the toys my son has at home. The toybox isn’t overflowing, so we try to be very purposeful with the toys he has to play with. The goal is for each toy to help instill the Word of God in his heart and reinforce the principles and stories of the Bible.

Instead of choosing a cartoon coloring book, I’ll choose one with a Bible story theme. Instead of letting him watch cartoons on TV, I’d rather he watch something like VeggieTales. When he’s learning shapes, we’ll choose the toy pictured here most often so he can hear the story of Noah’s ark.

Being choosy with toys won’t necessarily ensure that our children will grow up to love God with all their heart, soul and strength. But I want to utilize every opportunity to teach my son (and future children) about God and His Word. I want to live out Deuteronomy 6:5-9 and literally repeat His Word to my children, talk about it when we sit in our house, walk along the road, when we lie down, and when we get up.

Christine Satterfield loves Jesus, her family, and the church. She spends as much time as possible playing with her son, and she’s constantly cleaning his toys. You can find out how she cleans them on her blog iDreamofClean as well as learn other household cleaning tips and tricks for the busy mom.

Originally published October 10, 2010.

Help! My Kids Won’t Stop Fighting!


I’m afraid those words have been part of my life too much the last several weeks. With my daughter out of preschool for the summer (and going to kindergarten!), she and my 3-year-old son have fought and Fought and FOUGHT!!!

So, since I’m a child of this generation, I asked for help on social media. Here are some of the answers I got. What would you say?

Me: PLEASE share me with your creative corrections for siblings who are hitting? Mine are 5 and 3 and it is out of control.

  • I gleaned a load of perspective from Janet Lansbury, an Respectful Parent Educator who studied with Magda Gerber. This post may be a good place to start. Her posts are often timely to me and have helped greatly. I hope they are a blessing to you as well. It can be sincerely trying at times. So sorry for your stress at this time.
  • This is not earth-shattering advice, so I apologize in advance, and, admittedly, my kids aren’t particularly prone to hitting-type behavior. They’re more the argue/bicker sort of children. Anywho, the most effective way I’ve ever dealt with it is to simply separate them and refuse to allow them to play/interact together. “If you can’t be kind and respectful to one another, you just can’t be together. Go read/color/play by yourself, quietly. I don’t want to hear you say one word to each other right now.” They wind up so stinkin’ lonely, they pull it together and behave. (JessieLeigh)
  • This is one reason we came to RIP (Regional Intervention Program) with a five and three year old fighting constantly. There is a program in Cleveland if you are interested! It brought the joy back to parenting for me. To start, they teach you how to give instructions “keep hands to self” instead of “don’t hit” and then you reward with specific positive attention every time you catch them interacting appropriately. “Libbie, you are keeping your hands to yourself! I am so proud of you!” Other than getting to church, learning this approach has been the single best thing I’ve ever done for our family.
  • Mine are 7 and 5 and it’s still out of control.
  • A friend suggested I try the “Get-Along Shirt.”
  • We seem to do *ok* with time outs. Same # of minutes as their age. It doesn’t solve it all but it helps. Mine are 9 & 6. It didn’t start as early as yours are, but I’m not quite out of it yet.

So, tell me … what do you do about fighting siblings?

When Your Kid Won’t Go Outside



In the car yesterday afternoon, my 5-year-old daughter made a big deal out of the fact that there were yellowjackets on the playground and she just left them alone. Granted, this is the preschooler view of how things happened. But she named off several of her classmates who apparently insisted on hovering around the insects. I praised her for being brave and thought maybe – MAYBE – she was turning over a new leaf.

Libbie’s always been wary of bugs, but a few years ago she was stung badly when she picked up a watering can that was filled with wasps. She can’t even confront a ladybug without vast amounts of tears. Her 3-year-old brother is her hero when he deposits dead ladybugs into his heating vent.

But Libbie’s playground tale gave me some hope. And then we got home. I shooed the kids outside as it was over 80 degrees and gorgeous. They were outside approximately 4.87 seconds before I heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Libbie ran back inside, crying that there was a bee right “near the front of the porch” and thus she couldn’t possibly be outside.

I’m sure you know that little ones need outside time like a fish needs water. It makes a huge difference in their behavior. And while I know my highly sensitive little girl isn’t making up her fear of bugs, it’s hard to be understanding about something that seems so trivial! My solution of “ignore it and go somewhere else” doesn’t seem to resonate with her.

Many online searches suggest a trip to the library, studying bugs and teaching her that they are harmless. But what about bees, which she knows are not actually harmless?

Do you have any great tips that will help us get her outside this summer?

photo source: Mike Baird via Flickr


Horses and the Bible

horsey art


“Some trust in chariots. Some trust in horses. But we trust in the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7, NIrV

Each week this summer, I am hoping to do a themed week with my kids. This week our theme was HORSEYS, at my 2-year-old’s request. As I outlined on my personal blog, we did lots of crafts, read books, and danced to music all about horseys.

But I also wanted to touch on where horses are in the Bible. I wasn’t sure how much I would find – aren’t there mostly donkeys in the Bible? And are donkeys horses? – but there are a few good instances!

  • Pharaoh’s army chased the Israelites on horses when they left Egypt (we had a good coloring page of this in our Gigantic Coloring Book of Bible Stories – love that thing!)
  • When Elijah is lifted to heaven in a whirlwind, there is a chariot of fire and horses of fire (2 Kings 2:11).
  • King Solomon had 12,000 horses. Can we even imagine that many horses? (1 Kings 4:26)
  • In the Book of Esther, Mordecai rose a horse through Susa when he was honored by the king.
  • And of course, and most exciting, when Jesus rides victorious He’ll be riding a white horse! (Revelation 19:11)

Any of these biblical stories could be told and made into a craft to go along with a horsey-themed week at your house. And Psalm 20:7 makes an awesome memory verse for the week.

Stay tuned for more in this series as the summer goes on!

At All Times by Jessie Weaver



My three-year-old, Libbie, really never ceases to amaze me.

She can turn a conversation so quickly it gives me whiplash. One minute we’re talking about trees and the next minute she’s giving her teddy bear shots.

One Sunday morning on the way to church, she suddenly declared, “God made Daddy, and Mommy, and even David and me! And God died on the cross!” We gently reminded her that Jesus rose again from the grave. Then she chimed in with, “And Jesus walked on cars!”

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

As we tried to turn the conversation to the fact that maybe she meant water, not cars, Libbie was already on to a different story, one about Cinderella being captured by a scary witch. Worlds colliding.

She doesn’t know to separate the religious and the secular, and I love that.

The psalmists loved to remind the reader that being with God is an all the time event.

“I will extol the LORD at all times” (34:1).
“Trust in him at all times” (62:8).
“My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times” (119:20).

Consumed with longing for His laws? Really? How much time do I spend longing to live in obedience to God as opposed to determining how I might skirt around them or at least not stumble too much?

Libbie is learning what it means to be with God at all times, in her own simple way. If that means a land where God and Cinderella can coincide, I think that’s OK. For me, I think it means I can read novels, write blog posts, and chase my kids on the playground while still “extolling” Him. It means I consider whether or not I am convicted not to read a novel or watch a certain TV show. It means I write what He places on my heart and fingers to type. It means I teach my kids His ways: kindness, mercy, grace, love.

There are not two worlds; there is just life. A life where our lens is God.

SNV32999 copy.jpgWhen Jessie Weaver is not busy being the resident ParentLife Blogger, she writes at Vanderbilt Wife and also for magazines like HomeLife and ParentLife. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband, where they run after two little ones: Libbie (3) and David (1). Jessie is currently expecting their third child, due in March. 

Mommy Time-Outs by Jennifer Holt

My little boy, Jack, will be turning 2 in only four months, and I have a feeling that I’ll be putting Jennifer Holt’s tips for reclaiming 2s from tantrums (in the March 2010 issue of ParentLife) to good use! But sometimes it is not just your child that needs a time-out. Parents need time-outs too.  Consider the following extra tips from Jennifer!

Mommy Time-Outs

123_angry_2s.jpgSometimes despite all our best efforts, toddlers can get the upper hand. If you feel your blood pressure rising, it might be a good idea to take a time out of your own.  Here are some ideas.

  1. Walk away to a quiet place. If you are in your own home, be sure your toddler is in a safe place and take a moment for yourself. You may even need to go outdoors.
  2. Get distracted. Turn on your favorite TV brain drain or put your mp3 player headphones in. It’s OK to take a moment for yourself before you lose your temper.
  3. Get a drink of water if you can’t physically walk away. It will cool your body down and hopefully your emotions.
  4. Make a phone call to a friend. I’m sure you know someone else who has children who can sympathize!
  5. Just breathe. If you know any deep breathing techniques, they can be helpful. If not, just take a series of five deep breaths, filling your entire stomach with air from your nose, then pushing the air out through your mouth.

Damage Control
Many times you can see the writing on the wall just before your toddler explodes. When you see your child escalating, try some of these tips. Eventually, your child may learn to self-soothe with these same techniques.

  1. Pretend Play. Ask your child to pretend he is someone else. What would Thomas the Train or Spiderman be doing right now? What would they say?
  2. Start the Music. Singing a happy song (with hand motions!) often helps. I love to use “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” even when you’re not so happy.
  3. Physical Touch. If you have a sensory kid, she may respond to a tight hug, a back scratch, or a rocking motion.
  4. Distraction. Carry a favorite toy or snack in your purse as a distraction. Sometimes a “stress ball” or squeezable toy will help children to self-calm.

What are your favorite (and effective) ways for dealing with tantrums? 

Get a Head Start on Reading by Joy Fisher

Reading to and with your child prepares him for a lifetime of curiosity and learning. For preschoolers, choose books with bright, colorful illustrations and minimal text. Beginning readers like repetitive language and humorous rhymes. Don’t forget to read to your older child too! Select books on topics of his interest, and use them as a starting place for great conversations. And remember, enjoying books is free when you visit the library!

New Books


Always by Ann Stott: “No matter what you do,” says Mom, “I’ll always love you.” For babies and preschoolers.


ImYourBus.jpg I’m Your Bus by Marilyn Singer: Back-to-schoolers will enjoy this rhyming story told from the perspective of a yellow school bus. For ages 4-8.


OliversGame.jpg Oliver’s Game by Matt Tavares: Treat your baseball fan to a story abouthow World War II interrupted one young man’s dream. For ages 6-10.


 Oldies But Goodies


The Napping House by Don and Audrey Wood: A snoring granny and a dreaming child share a bed with an assortment of household creatures. For ages birth to 3.


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff: Give a mouse a cookie, and a whole adventure unravels and comes full circle again. For ages 4 to 8.


FrogandToad.jpgFrog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel: Lessons in friendship abound in the first of a timeless series. For ages 4 to 8.



ThreeLittlePigs.jpgThe True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka: Get the wolf’s side of the story! For ages 4 to 8.




Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.: Each page leads to the next with rhythm and cadence kids adore. Illustrated by Eric Carle. For ages 4 to 8.



Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan: In 1910, Sarah comes to be a new mother for Anna and Caleb. For ages 9 to 12.



The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner: A story from another era describes how four orphans survive on their own. For ages 9 to 12.


Joy Fisher is editor of LifeWay’s Bible Teaching for Kids Special Buddies, a Bible study curriculum for school-age children who have special needs. She is a former editor and frequent contributor to ParentLife.

Do you know all the benefits of reading to your child? Be sure to check out the article "A Head Start" in the August 2009 issue of ParentLife.

How Time Flies!

My baby boy turned 5 on Tuesday! I can’t believe it. It seems like it was just yesterday when Christopher made his entrance into the world. But he was destined not to be a baby for long. Almost from the beginning he wanted to be like his big brother. Christopher walked and talked earlier, liked the shows and games his brother watched, and wanted to play sports with his bro — no matter that Christopher is five years younger. How quickly this time has passed!

14_Jonathan&Christopher.jpgWe thought about the reality of these changes as we completed an “All About Me” poster for Christopher’s preschool to display on his birthday. We spent a day perusing every photo we had of Christopher to pick out our favorites (this is one of our favs of the boys). Then came the whittling down process. We chose photos representing every year of his life and included every family member: aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and first cousins. Sound tiring? It was! But afterwards, we looked with amazement at how blessed we are as a family.
Of course, we celebrated Christopher’s birthday in many traditional ways — delivering cupcakes and treats to his school and opening presents between slices of pizza and video games at Chuck E. Cheese’s. We certainly made several more great family moments! But it is hard to top a poster overflowing with five years of memories. It will become a keepsake for our family, reminding us of how God has been good to us!
What about you? Share with us some of your favorite ways to celebrate birthdays and capture memories of years gone by.