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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Four Fun Ways to Help Your Kids Love the Bible (GIVEAWAY)

BBB Sheep cover

As Christian parents, we want our children to develop a love for Christ and know that the stories in His Word are true and still meaningful today. So, how do you foster a love of God’s word in your children? How do you encourage them to appreciate the Bible, make it applicable to real life, and continue to read it as they grow older? Start when they are young! Make the Bible come alive to them as you share stories that capture their imaginations and teach them about the character of God.

Kids love to interact with books and the stories they tell. However, in this time of digital, interactive, and animated content, children expect to be entertained more than ever before. Providing a way for them to learn more about God without staring at a screen of some kind is becoming much harder to do – but it is not impossible. Below are some ways you can make learning about the Bible fun without the help of tablets, TV, or any other type of screen.

  • Find books that encourage your little ones to act out the stories you are telling. Watching them as they pretend to walk on water or pretend to see for the first time will be fun for you and for them.
  • As you read through a book with your child, think about ways you can put the lessons learned into practice. Some examples would be taking dinner to a sick friend, cleaning up the neighbor’s yard, or sponsoring a child who needs help. Plan together and help others!
  • Create small craft projects that help them remember and engage with the stories you read together. Some craft ideas include:
    – Have them find as many pictures of bread and fish as they can and glue them into “baskets” showing God’s provision for our needs like the time Jesus took care of the 5,000 hungry people who were listening to Him teach
    – Use brad fasteners to create a movable scene retelling the parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites
    – Let them color Joseph’s coat of many colors with their own design
    – Be creative and come up with ideas of your own!
  • Find books that have creative formats that will engage your kids. And what is more fun than a book that is also a toy? Bouncy Bible Buddies are fun, interactive, engaging stories from the Bible written for kids 3-6 years old. The easy grip handles turn these lovable animals into carry along friends. Push the handle down to make them bounce! This creative and fun design will draw little ones in time after time and help them learn more about God’s word and His love for them. Daniel in the Lion’s Den and The Lost Sheep are available now!

There are many benefits to sharing these experiences with your children. You will build a stronger relationship as you spend time together, your child will learn to love God’s word, and who knows – you might even learn a few things yourself.

Want to win some adorable Bible Buddies for yourself? Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Each winner will receive BOTH Daniel in the Lion’s Den and The Lost Sheep!

BBB LION cover

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When Your Kid Is THAT Kid

When your kid is THAT kid

For most people, it seems like it’s the second child who is THAT kid. The wild one, the one for whom you have to create the rules, the one who is causing you to run wildly all over the place while your friends sit and sip coffee and their obedient children give you the side-eye.

For me, it wasn’t. My second child was an awful baby. He was lactose intolerant, wanted to be held nonstop, and didn’t sleep through the night until he was 15 months. But then he became the easiest toddler in the world. At 4 1/2, he is still quiet, focused, brilliant, and altogether pretty easy to parent.

But then we had a third.

And my Joshua is THAT kid.

See above: while waiting for his brother and sister to be done at the dentist’s office, Joshua grabbed a Sesame Street book and climbed into a stranger’s lap and insisted said stranger read him the book. (Note: the stranger obliged, for which I am very grateful.)

When your kid is THAT kid

I’m pretty sure Joshua exited the womb with a sneaky grin on his face. He has always been giggly and finds everything hilarious. At 2, he makes silly voices and tries to trick Mommy and Daddy by hiding behind doors.

It’s not all fun and games, of course. He also runs away in parking lots, refuses to obey any and all rules, swings from stair rails, and I live in fear that he will break all his bones or bust his head open on a daily basis.

So what do you do when your kid is THAT kid? When people give you funny looks because you’re nonchalantly watching at your child runs laps in a public place or dives from chairs onto your lap 36 times or is singing loudly at the grocery store?

You take deep breaths. You try to keep him safe while letting him have free reign and make his own mistakes. You remember that he belongs to God and not to you.

blue tongue toddler

You make peace with the fact that most parents see the inside of the ER with their child. You figure out what is a big deal and what is not. And you pray. And pray and pray and PRAY.

Most of all, you try not to worry about what other people think. It’s what God thinks that matters. So others may think I need to discipline more/less, structure more/less, school him, unschool him, go back to work, work less … but I have to keep my mind on what God has for him and our family.

I pray that one day my sweet Joshua will aim that joy to rejoicing in Jesus.

smiling toddler


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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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?

Like a Gardening Toddler by Jessie Weaver

It’s a hot afternoon in June, and Libbie and I are on the back deck. My poor basil plant is withering, the one thing in our yard I claim to care about – since it provides the crop for our Summer Bow-Ties, fresh pesto, gorgeous pizza – and it’s nearly dead. My dependence on the rain to water it is not a smart choice in the drought we’ve had.

I hand Libbie her little yellow spray bottle and ask her to water my plant. I will dump some more water on it later, of course, but her helpfulness needs an outlet that does not include stirring hot pots on the stove or trying to help her brother sit up. She gives it a good spray and then keeps on watering the friends around it: the bushes, the grass, and the weeds that grow around the weathered deck.


Beautiful, but a prodigious weed

She does not discriminate, joyfully doling out to each one, weed or treasured food-bearing plant, its share of needed water. And I think this – this is the faith of a child. This is what Jesus meant.

Libbie does not know to differentiate between people, plants, colors. She doesn’t know that one plant is helpful and one plant is a nuisance to the garden. She sees them like I believe Jesus sees people: each one as His favorite. Each one important to Him. Each one beloved, in need of some tender nurture. And often, I think He gives us children to learn some of these simple lessons, the truths we’ve forgotten since we, age two-and-a-half, watered our own weeds.

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 (2) and David (6 months).

Challenges & Blessings

If you know me at all, you know that I don’t cook … especially on the weekends. So eating out most meals on the weekend has become a habit. A habit that is about to dramatically change. Our 18-month-old, Jack, is getting to the age where it is difficult to go out to eat with him. Sunday was a perfect example. 

One of my favorite burger places opened a new location in our town, and I was super excited. We decided to try it out on Sunday after church … our first mistake for two reasons:

  1. The restaurant had only been open a couple of weeks and apparently everyone had the very same idea we did. It was packed!
  2. Sunday lunch is not Jack’s best time. He’s hungry, exhausted, and ready for a nap. (In case you are wondering why we don’t head straight home for this reason, we eat somewhere close to church to ensure Jack gets lunch before falling asleep on the way home.)

112_eating-out.jpgWhen we saw the crowd, we were tempted to turn around and head somewhere else, but I was determined we were going to make it work. I really wanted that burger! The trouble started when we realized there were no available high chairs. We tried just having him sit in a big chair and on our laps with no success. Luckily, by the time our food arrived, a high chair became available. However, by that time, Jack had reached his limit. He began screaming and pointing at random things on the table. I would offer him the things he was pointing at (his drink, a bite of his lunch, etc.), but nothing seemed to help. He just kept screaming and randomly pointing. We tried to calm him down for what seemed like an eternity. (Luckily, it’s a very loud restaurant so I’m thinking we didn’t disturb those around us too terribly much.) I was getting ready to make a quick exit if necessary. Finally … in an act of desperation, I offered Jack a french fry! (I know, I know … a terrible choice … but like I said … I was desperate!) That apparently was what he had wanted all along. (Not sure why that didn’t occur to me earlier. I guess I was in denial … only offering him the better choices.)  We were able to speed through the rest of our lunch offering Jack a steady supply of french fries!

So … what exactly did I take away from this experience? As a parent embarking on this new phase of toddlerhood, I am reminded of how each new phase has its unique challenges but also its many blessings. We may not be able to eat out as often as we used to, but it is amazing to watch Jack as he learns new things every day and is beginning to show so much personality! I’m also amazed at how sacrificies (such as not eating out, being too tired to stay up late, and not getting to sleep in) don’t really feel like sacrifices in light of the tremendous blessing that our little man is! It makes me hesitant and excited all at the same time to see what each new phase of Jack’s life brings!

What are the challenges and blessings that you are facing in your child’s particular phase of development? Share your thoughts with us. 

Development Checkup

I am the mother of a very busy little boy. Jack is 13 months old and is walking very well. He is constantly on the move exploring every corner of the world around him. There is never a dull moment when he is around. Needless to say we have to keep a constant eye on him.

When Jack turned 1, we went to see his pediatrician for a well-child checkup. Does anyone else stress as much as I do over the developmental surveys that you have to fill out? You know … the ones that say Is your child pulling up on furniture? Can your child pick up finger foods using his pointer finger and thumb? (and many, many more specific questions). I agonize over each question … wanting to answer it honestly and sometimes nervous about what my answers might mean.

74_Baby-with-book.jpgI knew Jack would score very well on his motor development (as evidenced by his perpetual motion) … however, when I got to verbal development, I was a bit concerned. I couldn’t honestly say that he was saying specific words (knowing what they meant) or that he understood me when I gave simple commands. But I filled out the survey to the best of my ability and decided not to worry about it. When the pedicatrician, who is famous for being overly cautious, talked to us about the results he seemed fairly concerned … concerned enough that he wanted to test Jack’s hearing (a traumatic event for both of us). But Jack passed with flying colors (just like I knew he would), and the pediatrician decided we would wait and see how things progressed over the next three months.

Since then, we have made an even bigger effort to to read to Jack as often as he will let us (he generally doesn’t like to stop moving long enough to read a book) and to label all of the things in his world. Since the doctor visit, I can tell he has made progress … especially in comprehension. If you ask him where your nose is, he can tell you without hesitation. We’re still anxiously waiting on that first official word, but my mind has been set at ease for the moment.

For information about your child’s language development, be sure to check out the 1 to 2 Years Growth Spurt article "Communication Counts" in the August 2009 issue of ParentLife.

Have you ever been concerned about a certain aspect of your child’s development?