The Busy Mom’s Guide to Starting Your Own Quiet Time Routine in 2020!

Why all moms need a regular quiet time routine

As moms, one of the things we need the most but probably get the least is a consistent quiet time. And I’m not talking about the 2 seconds you break free to go to the bathroom. Let’s be honest – if you have little ones waiting “impatiently” outside the door – that doesn’t cut it for quality quiet time

They always seem so interested in what I’m doing in there. Lol

Having a “quiet time” seems like a misnomer in a home filled with loud little people running around. Quiet is a luxury most of us just don’t have. And time is the other luxury we seem to come up short on day after day even if your children aren’t little anymore.

Why all moms need a regular quiet time routine

Most of us press through each day trying to make it to the end, so we can get up and do it all over again. Kind of like Groundhog’s Day for moms.

We all know the benefits of practicing a regular quiet time routine – time to connect with the One who created us and allow Him to shape us into who He created us to be. Time to invest in ourselves and our personal growth, so we can be ready to live out the good life He promised.

But we so often feel like we can’t afford to take a few minutes for ourselves. That’s selfish and unnecessary, right? But I’ll step out there and say you can’t afford NOT to.

Why You NEED a Quiet Time Routine

You NEED time to recharge, rest, grow, and reflect. Notice I didn’t say deserve. Although I believe we all deserve our own deserted island and personal wait staff for all we do as moms – what we need jumps to the front of the list.

And we NEED a regular quiet time routine to be effective as moms, wives, and every other title we hold in our lives.

Without it we’re just pouring out from an empty vessel. And let’s face it – our job description as moms is pouring.

But something happens when we become empty – we still pour. Only what comes out then is resentment, anger, and burnout. Sound familiar?

We’re vessels who are desperately needed by our families so giving of ourselves on a daily basis is really our privilege to do so. So this “pouring” is something I get to do and not something I have to do.

But allow me to be transparent for a moment, as moms, we’re the heartbeat of our family. And we need to be sure our heart stays in great condition because if we’re tired, angry, frustrated, and filled with resentment – our family feels that and feeds on it.

Understanding the purpose of quiet time is key to tapping into its power. So we can stay filled up and pour out the love, help, support, and encouragement our family needs from us.

Related: Creative Ways for Moms to Grow in Faith When Life Gets Overwhelming!

The Purpose and Power of a Quiet Time Routine

The purpose of a quiet time routine is to connect intimately with Christ, our Savior so He can show us who He created us to be. And allow the process of transformation to take place in our lives.

And most of us think it’s literally just time in the quiet. Nope! There’s so much more potential here.

The power of practicing a regular quiet time is that you and everyone around you get to reap the results of your daily transformation by becoming – day by day – the person you were destined to be.

Most people believe that quiet time is for just getting a break and doing a list of activities like praying and reading. And while these activities are extremely effective to do during your quiet time; having the right heart and understanding of its purpose is how you really grab hold of its power.

Doing random things, no matter how good they are, without connection to a bigger picture rarely leads to substantial change.

Change is what we’re ALL after. That’s why we read books and articles like this one. That’s why we set goals and have desires for more opportunities to earn more income or start new dreams. We all have somewhere we want to go.

I firmly believe there are places we’re called to go and things we’re destined to experience, but we’ll never get the opportunity until we become the person who’s qualified to open those doors.

If you find yourself desperate to make a change, I’d love to share with you a book that was such a life-changing blessing to my soul. It’s Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Related: How to Find the Courage to Fearlessly Chase your Dreams

Are You Being or Becoming?

In other words, when we devote more energy on “becoming” that person we know we are on the inside and less on just “being” who we are now, the journey to our purpose becomes a whole lot easier.

Take a moment and visualize your dream self. What do you look like? Are you in better shape? Healthier? Happier? Richer? More fulfilled? Stable? Confident? Sexier? 😉 A better mom? Wife? Friend?

What will it take to become her? Not to try and manufacture her, but to actually become her?

One thing’s for sure – it’ll take work. But if you have that vision of yourself – I can confidently say that it’s your vision. It belongs to you and should be your mission in life to become that vision.

And to be clear, this isn’t about going on some mid-life crisis or selfish pursuit. This is about you becoming your best version of you so you can love your family from a place of fulfillment and joy. No more burnt-out mom who yells out of utter exhaustion, frustration, and the fear of never changing.

I’ve been there, feeling like a failure who’s better off not being their mother. One yelling fit after another with guilt piling up around me.

The truth is, I’ve always been an awesome, loving mom. But I was stuck in the cycle of stagnation. I didn’t understand the purpose nor the power of giving time to myself with a clear focus. I spent most days trying to survive and when late afternoon came around, I was rushing the day forward so I could see a new, better day tomorrow.

Sadly, the better days never came because I never created them. I was floating with no intentional focus on how I thought about my days and how I could make them better. I started each year with the hope things would get better and ended each year with the disappointment that everything was still the same.

It wasn’t that I was miserable every day, but there were things that I knew I needed to change, but just didn’t know how.

Now I spend my days living in the present moments and I use my daily quiet time to reflect on who I’m becoming and where I’m going. And even though I have a long way to go, I’m fulfilled in knowing that every day I’m growing toward my goals.

Related: The Truth About Mom Guilt and 4 Steps to Get Rid of It Forever

How to Get Started with your Quiet Time Routine

Let me start off by saying quiet time, especially for moms with small children, is a huge sacrifice. So exactly when and how much time you’ll spend for your quiet time is going to be different for every mom.

Just remember, anything worth doing is worth sacrificing for! But if you’re not currently in the practice of having a quiet time routine at all, start off small and work your way up.

Depending on the day, I spend 30 minutes to an hour very early in the morning before I start my work.

If you don’t have a quiet time right now, here are a few tips to show you how to quickly get started with your own quiet time routine!

  1. If you’re pressed for time, roll your alarm back 15 minutes earlier every day. I recommend starting light and adding more time as you grow. Everyone can get up just 15 minutes earlier!
  2. Use a journal sheet that has prompts, questions, and/or blanks to fill in. This helps you have a plan already set and you don’t have to do anything but show up!
  3. Have a place to go every day. Even if it’s your own bed and you just roll over, having a place set for your quiet time tells your brain that you’re serious. By the way, if you’re just starting out the bed isn’t going to be your best option for longevity.
  4. Be focused on change. Remember, having a quiet time isn’t just about doing stuff or having “me time.” It’s the time you set aside to become that woman you envisioned earlier. Quiet time is like a cocooned space you crawl into every day and slowly emerge day by day as your true, beautiful butterfly self.
  5. Read a devotional. I find devotionals a wonderful way to read and reflect on God’s Word. There are so many that are focused on whatever topic you wish to study or work on.

Here are some wonderfully encouraging devotionals I recommend for moms:

Related: 7 Simple Habits That’ll Yield Big Results in your Life

Getting the Most out of Your Quiet Time

The following are activities I do in my quiet time. I don’t necessarily do each thing every day or follow a rigid routine. I just start with my purpose in mind and go with the flow. I recommend you do the same until you find what works for you.

Pray

The way I start my quiet time is to pray. In other words, I talk to my Creator –  my Heavenly Father. I tell Him how grateful I am for having this new day in the first place. Then I honor Him by speaking highly of who He is. In other words, I give Him praise because He is truly worthy of all the praise I could possibly give! God has been so good to me!

I pray for my family, my community, and anything else that’s on my prayer list or that comes to mind.

I also ask for the wisdom I need for my day or anything else I’m facing. God’s Word promises that if we ask for wisdom, He’ll liberally supply it to us. And of course, I use this time to pray for others who are on my heart. Basically, prayer is part of my relationship with God and allows Him the space to speak to my heart at a time when I’m free of distractions.

Journal

Journaling is widely known to provide many benefits for our overall health, well-being, and success in life. But I personally love to journal because it works and has helped me so much in my life! I’ve actually been journaling since I was very young. I guess it’s the writer in me that needs to express myself.

Journaling is the time I use to also plan and reflect. I reflect on the previous day’s events and evaluate how I felt and what was good or not so good. I notate blessings that happened that day, missteps that I want to avoid in the future, and any powerful lessons I learned. I also allow it to be a natural tracker of my transformation progress. And when I’m in a planning period, I use my quiet time for writing out my vision and goals.

Here are some wonderful journals with writing prompts to help you journal every day.

Read

Reading is one of the most effective and powerful activities you can do for your personal growth. Just pick a topic to read and let the growing begin! I start off by reading my bible which is my foundation for everything else in my life. I’ll read based on whatever reading plan or bible study I presently have going on.

I don’t spend a lot of time reading, though. Just a chapter or so is all my time will allow during this season in my life. For my other books, I try to read a few pages per day. You’ll be surprised how impactful reading really is, even if you’re only reading a couple pages per day. Just be consistent!

You don’t have to do all the things I mentioned here. You can do one or totally add in your own elements. I just shared what works for me personally. But the key is giving yourself permission to invest in yourself. To press the pause button for a moment so you can be more effective every day and grow into your very best self.

Here are more of my favorite books I know you’ll love:

Related: 4 Surprising Signs You’re a Burn Out Mom and How to Get Out

Leave a comment below to share how you use your quiet time. Do you have any questions or suggestions on how you can easily add a quiet time routine to your day? Let’s get talking!

Moms are always juggling many things. Having a consistent devotional time for quiet reflect and bible study is so important to living your best life and keeping your sanity! #jesus #selfcare #selflove #momlife

7 Ways To Be a Parent Your Kids Won’t Talk To or Share With

Tips to communicate better with your kids

Little kids and toddlers talk and share… a lot. It’s pretty much what they do best. In fact, many parents consider their small children to be “over-sharers” of oodles of random thoughts and information.

But as kids get older all that can change. Suddenly, your abundantly chatty 6-year-old becomes a tight-lipped 12-year-old overnight.

Tips to communicate better with your kids

Why does this communication phenomenon happen with so many kids as they get older?

It all boils down to trust and how we set up the boundaries of parental communication early on in our parenting relationship.

The younger a child is, the less they pay attention to what and how we say things. They genuinely just want to talk and be with us. So in order to keep this lovely over-sharing going strong into the teen years and beyond, we need to start preparing now.

It turns out the connection a kid needs to feel with his parents in order to open up and talk to them is cemented long before the teen years. Julie Romanowski, a parenting coach in Vancouver, says communication skills are built even in infancy and toddlerhood. source

And if you’re wondering how you connect and communicate with your little ones, if you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Mommy will you play with me?” you just heard it.

Toddlers and small children talk, share, and connect with us through play. I personally am not the mom who loves “playing with my kids” but it’s a necessary sacrifice that seals the path for open and healthy communication down the road.

We need to break our bad communication habits now and work to develop healthy ones that create openness in our relationship with our children.

Our Highest Priority as Parents

I believe one of our highest priorities as parents, beyond feeding and clothing, is to win our child’s heart. If you have a person’s heart, you have everything to need to be in a healthy and thriving relationship.

And it’s every parent on the planet’s goal to be in a healthy and thriving relationship with their child that lasts a lifetime.

It’s hard and is work that takes more sacrifice that our society thinks is necessary or even possible, but it’s oh so worth it.

If you strongly desire to raise kids that want to come to you first to share their joys and victories along with their fears, questions, and problems you need to be sure you aren’t making the following communication mistakes.

Kids, tweens, and teens all have their own levels of sensitivity. And being repeatedly exposed to any of the following mistakes can cause your child to inadvertently shut down and stop sharing with you on a meaningful level.

And that alone is devastating for a parent.

How to Become a Parent Your Kids Won’t Talk To

When your child decides to share the random events of their day at school, confides in you about a peer pressure situation they’re struggling with, or wants to tell you a dream they have for their future… it’s a big deal.

Talking and sharing is the access to our child’s heart and that’s always my goal with my kids – to win their heart. If you can successfully win the heart, you win the child.

But we need to be acutely aware of ways we might not even know that stand in our way of being a parent our kids want to talk and share with, especially as they get older.

Here are some really huge actions to watch out for in your own behavior the next time you find yourself in a kid conversation.

1 – You Try to Fix Everything

A huge mistake loving parents make as an act of love is to swoop in mid-conversation to help your child fix their problem. After all, we’re the parents with all the experience and wisdom, right?

Wrong. Well, yes you have wisdom and experience but you can’t use all that right now. Your kid is wading through their issue and finding the right words and emotions to share them with you.

That’s all that matters right now. Not fixing anything.

In fact, we all probably know what this feels like. My hubby does this to me all the time and it drives me nuts. We all need to vent and let our thoughts out into the open without solutions and ideas shooting out of the sky like heat-seeking missiles.

When we’re quick to offer solutions, what we’re really saying to the other person is they aren’t smart enough to come to a good solution on their own. We also rob our children of developing the skills to think critically and solve problems on their own.

2 – You Aren’t Fully Present

One of the most damaging things we can do repeatedly when in conversations with anyone is not give our full attention to the person.

Like when your kid tries to talk to you but your phone is literally still in your hand as you umm hmm through the conversation only occasionally meeting their eyes with yours.

This tells them you’re not really listening.

I know as women we’re known for great multitasking skills but there’s no place for multitasking in communication, with our kids or our spouse.

Eye to eye communication is best with our phone out of sight.

I already know what you’re thinking… the last time your 10-year-old held you hostage to talk about their awesome Minecraft world they just created you thought you actually fell asleep with your eyes open.

I get it, kids’ conversations aren’t always the most interesting for us but every conversation lays the groundwork for more meaningful ones down the road. Hang in there!

3 – You Judge Their Feelings

When your child is sharing how they honestly feel about a situation or even a person and we shift right into parent mode and say something like, “now that’s not a nice way to think about her.” or “is that how I taught you to talk to a friend?”

If your kid is in the middle of sharing their raw, unedited feelings our best course of action is to listen, listen, and keep listening.

Judging them no matter how much we may want to, in the moment, is off limits.

Again, think of how we feel when we vent to a friend or spouse and we know deep inside we’re totally overreacting but the last thing we want is to feel judged for our feelings.

All we want is an ear to listen.

After they’re done, try asking a question like, “how do you think you handled the situation?” or “would you have done things differently if you could?”

These are non-judgemental questions and allow your child to think and reason for themselves. This line of questioning helps your child learn how to solve problems and self-edit their own behavior.

Plus, they keep the conversation going and building more trust!

4 – You Try to Change Their Feelings

Imagine being in a conversation with a friend and you are very upset about a situation and they responded to you like this:

  • “I think you may be over-reacting a little…”
  • “I think you should…”
  • “This could get better for you if you just…”
  • You don’t need to cry about that...”

Everyone has emotions and we’re all probably guilty of way overusing them. And when we’re smack-dab in the middle of a cry-fest the LAST thing anyone wants is to be told their feelings aren’t valid or need to be changed.

The only thing your kid needs when they’re experiencing strong feelings is support and empathy.

To fully understand empathy in a way you’ve probably never heard but WILL open your eyes, watch Brene Brown’s super short video on understanding empathy (this will help you so much!):

5 – You Blow Them Off

Blowing a person off doesn’t always look like making a date with someone and not showing up. Nope. When it comes to our kids it’s often much more subtle than that.

This happens to me a lot… I’m working and one of my kids comes in the room and starts to share something amazing that happened at school and I say, “in a minute… let me finish this first” and then totally forget them when I’m done.

Kids (humans) know when they’re being blown off and though we probably do it so often we don’t even notice it anymore, we need to stop!

If you are truly unable to speak with your child at that moment (that’s real) we need to be very skilled at keeping our word when we are available. That means getting up and finding your child, apologizing, and give them your fullest attention.

Why should you apologize? This is not out of admitting that you did something wrong but as a means to acknowledge how sorry you are for not being available when they needed you.

And if you are truly able to stop what you’re doing at that moment… DO IT.

6 – You Make it All About You

Nobody likes a narcissist. If you compulsively turn conversations with other people toward you… stop now.

When someone is sharing with you, the conversation is and should be about them. Responding repeatedly with statements like…

  • “when this happened to me as a kid, I did…”
  • “what I would do is…”
  • “I know I didn’t raise you like that…”

…leaves your child feeling less-than in your eyes. You are sowing seeds of comparison and competition. And if you’re a mom talking to her daughter, this is very dangerous ground.

Often times self-absorbed communication stems from the desire to fix a situation so we end up looking good in the end. For example, if our child is acting out, we don’t want to be judged by others so we attempt to fix it fast.

We must keep our own motives out of our kid’s conversations and keep it about supporting and helping them. Instead of offering advice and opinions try asking, “how can I help?

If the answer is nothing or not now, leave it alone and don’t push to be the savior. This is a wonderful opportunity to pray for your child and let God work it out!

7 – You Freak Out

Let’s just all agree that part of being a parent is spending most of your time being shocked.

Shocked when your newborn blows out more poop than seems humanly possible and when your toddler paints a sharpie mural in your living room.

So when your kid trusts you enough to tell you that a boy hit her at school today and you immediately fly off the handle you’re sending signals that you’ll freak out every time you hear freak out worthy news.

You’ve gotta compose yourself and be cool. Count to ten, breathe slowly, or whatever you have to do but stay calm and listen. And help them work it out.

Then excuse yourself to your closet and shout into a pillow!


Parenting isn’t easy… that wasn’t part of the deal. But one of the greatest joys a mom can experience is the trust and loving relationship with her child. It takes work but is the greatest work we’ll ever do!

How do you connect and keep communication flowing in your home? Share in the comments below.

We want our kids to share all their deepest hopes, fears, and struggles... but there are a lot of reasons why they don't and share them with someone else. Learn the behaviors we might be doing that's costing us a close relationship with our kids! #kidsandparenting #parenting

The Coolest Free Virtual Tours and Field Trips Kids Will Love!

While the world is practicing social distancing and theme parks, museums, libraries, zoos, and more are all closed that doesn’t have to stop our kids from going to all the places…even while being quarantined in our homes.

This list of free virtual tours allows you and your kids to have fun learning and experiencing places they might not get a chance to visit, especially when most of these places are closed due to the pandemic.

Just point and click and fly all over the globe without ever leaving your couch!

Free Virtual Zoo Tours

Georgia Aquarium: The live webcams at the Georgia Aquarium are literally stunning and feature live feeds of their piranhas, blue whales, jellyfish, and more.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Your kids will love seeing the live feed of the adorable otters! There are also live feeds of the shark exhibit, close up breathtaking jellyfish views, and the cutest penguins.

San Diego Zoo: Don’t miss the crystal clear views of the koalas, tigers, baby elephants, and many more amazing animals. Plus, their site has games, puzzles, and activities to keep your kids learning and entertained.

Houston Zoo: Between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm CMT, you can view the coolest views of the rhinos, gorillas, and they even have a close-up ant exhibit!

Atlanta Zoo: See the cutest panda on the Atlanta Zoo’s live panda exhibit.

Free Virtual Theme Park and Ride Tours

These YouTube channels are perfect for letting your kids experience the best rides, shows, and parades at their favorite theme parks around the country. They are each very high-quality channels, so click to enjoy and browse through their many tour videos.

Big Fat Panda: See amazing videos of the best parades, shows, and rides at Disney. You’ll literally feel like your on the rides yourself!

Fun Family Florida: These ride tours are so well done and feature some of the best rides at both Disney Orlando and Universal Studios.

The Coaster Views: Ride all the virtual rides at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Disney Orlando, and even Six Flags.

SoCal Attractions 360: Slide down epic water rides, rollercoasters, and see shows on the country’s West Coast and never want to leave!

Free Virtual Field Trips

These field trips are opportunities for kids to visit locations from the Great Wall of China to Mars! These virtual tours are not only fun but offer an educational resource too.

Great Wall of China

A Trip to Mars

Johnson Space Center

The Smithsonian Museum

The Pyramids in Egypt

Whether you’re stuck in the house or free to roam, these virtual tours will allow your child to travel the world and beyond! They also make fantastic field trips for your homeschool. Let us know in the comments which tour is your favorite!

Activity Fun List: 31 Indoor Activities for Kids When You’re Stuck Inside!

fun indoor activities for kids

Right now the world is quarantined and stuck in our homes while we still try to keep some normalcy, work from home, homeschool our children and try not to go mad in the process. And us moms are looking for anything our kids will think is fun that isn’t attached to a screen!

But what does a mom do when the kids start crying, “I’m bored!” every 15 minutes and you feel like you might lose your mind?

fun indoor activities for kids

She finds something fun on this list and lets her kids have at it!

These fun kid’s activities will keep them happy and occupied so you don’t feel the cabin fever getting to you too much! Plus, these activities are perfect for those soggy, rainy days too!

If you have very little ones running around and messing up with the bigger kids are doing, try making your toddler a few busy bags like these.

Indoor Activities When You’re Stuck Inside

1 – Make Slime – Yes, I know this one is probably the most overdone kid’s activity ever. But for good reason! It will keep your kid occupied for hours both in the making and playing with their newest slime creation. Plus, it’s science! Here are some great science-focused slime ideas.

2 – Create an indoor obstacle course – This idea can be really fun and can use just about any supplies you already have on hand. Here’s an easy step by step post on creating your own.

3 – Do activities in a subscription craft box. My kids really love KiwiCo and each get crates (activity boxes) shipped to them each month. My kids literally scream when they see their delivery and learn a lot working through the activities each month. And if you just want to order crates in the cold months, you can pause your subscriptions in the summer months! Get 50% off your first crate here!

Here’s my little guy making his own bean bag horseshoe game! He’s loves it!

4 – Have a book read aloud sessionRead alouds are so fun for kids. My daughter still loves when I read a chapter book aloud each night. It’s great for bonding and connection over a great story. Here are some recommended read aloud books.

5 – Build and giant fort and play games inside – Kids are more apt to stay in one place and to one thing, like play a game, if they do it from inside a fort. Just skillfully pile up the couch cushions and blankets and make anything that resembles a fort. Then get your kids’ favorite board games and let them have a game day inside. Here’s a great 2019 game guide.

6 – Make giant tracks for your kid’s cars – This one may sound strange but if your child loves cars and trucks this one is really cool. Simply use painter’s or masking tape and make highway lines all over your floors that your kids can drive their cars. It’ll keep them busy for hours! Here are some fun ideas.

7 – Binge Watch a Kid’s Series on NetFlix – This idea is perfect when the whole family is sick or you just need a break. Pop some popcorn and just hit play. Your kids will be happy and you’ll probably love the show too. Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events is a fun show for the whole family and there are 3 seasons on NetFlix already.

8 – Make a Hallway Laser Maze – This is so much fun and your bigger kids can actually do the whole thing by themselves and you get time to yourself. All you’ll hear is tons of giggles and “aw man’s!” Check out the video example below:

9 – Make a window sun catcher – Though your kids might not be able to go outside, these cute sun catchers will make looking outside fun, especially if it snows where you are! Here’s a great sun catcher tutorial.

10 – Put on a play – If you have a bunch of little performers in your house encourage your kids to put on their own performance. They can create a script, choreograph dances, and make their own set and costumes. This could literally be an all day event.

11 – Learn new dance moves – We used to learn the latest dance moves by watching music videos on MTV. Now kids just learn them on YouTube. Put on some dance tutorial videos for kids and let them practice till their heart’s content. Here’s one to learn to Floss:

12 – Have a Marshmallow Toothpick Challenge – This is the cheapest game you can pull together for your kids. Just buy a bag of marshmallows and a box of toothpicks and let your kids have a building contest. They can construct whatever they want and challenge themselves! Here’s how to do it.

13 – Let them have paint! – Yes, I know this is a messier activity. But if your kids are older and to be trusted with paint alone or slightly supervised, this is a wonderful creative activity. Plus, you can buy art canvases rather inexpensively so they can even hang their creations when they’re done. If your little one wants to get in on the painting action, here’s a mess-free toddler option.

14 – Have a paper airplane flight contest This is the coolest idea I’ve seen. Simply make your airplanes and build a target with holes and scores.

15 – Make an indoor tape game – Not only can you make car tracks with tape but you can basically create an endless list of games too. Here’s an exhaustive list of indoor tape games from What Moms Love.

16 – Build a DIY marble maze – This is easy enough that bigger kids can do this on their own. Here’s the tutorial. Then let them have a contest to see who can get their marble through the maze the fastest.

17 – Learn how to do origami – My kids love learning origami. There are so many fun creations they can make. Here’s a fun and easy video they can watch to teach them.

18 – Do cupcake wars – Make a batch of yummy cupcakes and give each child three and have them decorate each one creatively. Have them present each of their designs for judging and then have fun eating them!

19 – Make a DIY corner page bookmark – My kids love reading and they actually don’t like dog-earing their pages. This adorable craft will give them a fun activity and will encourage them to keep reading.

20 – Make Toilet Paper Roll Animals – This craft is fun and can get as involved and artsy as your kids desire! Here are some ideas for inspiration.

21 – Build a rainbow prism mobile – Rainbows are beautiful outside, but this mobile craft lets you have rainbows inside! Here’s the full tutorial.

22 – Have a board game day – Just let the kids go into their games and choose a few of their favorites and play as long as they want. Here is a great board games recommended list.

23 – Play card games – Card games may not be the first thing kids think of to play with but they are still a lot of fun! Here is a post with 15 card games you can teach your kids to play with a regular deck of cards.

24 – Make an indoor scavenger hunt – Make a list of random items around the house and have the kids take pictures on their phone, tablet, or digital camera of all the items they find.

25 – Have an indoor picnic – Lay the blankets on the floor and prepare a picnic style meal.

26 – Put together a puzzle – Puzzles are fun and can take up an entire snowy afternoon. The older your kids, the bigger and harder the puzzle. The ones that cover the entire kitchen table are the best!

27 – Make DIY playdough – this non-toxic, homemade playdough is just as fun as making slime but is a less messy option for little ones. But bigger kids love playdough too.

28 – Shoot hoops – Find any ball and a larger sized basket or bucket and have a shoot out contest. I honestly can say that my husband can do this with the kids all night and they have a ball… literally!

29 – Make crystal geode eggs – This activity is so much fun and equally educational. These are naturally forming geode crystals that form inside egg shells. Here is exactly how to do it.

30 – Go camping inside – Camping is fun no matter where! So why not sleep in the living room and even get a tent. Make smores in the microwave.

31 – Have a micro treasure hunt – Every kid gets a little matchbox and has 10 minutes to fill it with as many tiny objects as they can. Thinks like a bead, a button, or even a pea.

103 Retro Baby Names That Are Perfectly Modern!

Naming your precious bundle of joy is one of the most meaningful and obviously lasting parenting choices you’ll make as a parent.

It can also make any new mom feel anxious. Should you go with a cute and adorable, strong and powerful, or totally unique and original name?

My advice is to always follow the peace in your heart. My first baby’s name was chosen many years before she was ever conceived and then my second baby’s name was given to me in a dream while I was pregnant! It doesn’t matter how you find your baby’s name, it only matters that you love it.

These are the list of names that were huge in times past and are now perfectly modern today!

Retro Baby Names That Are Modern Now

A

Adelaide, Adele, Annabelle, Ava

B

Beatrice, Billie, Bernadette, Blythe

C

Constance, Clara, Cora, Celia, Chloe, Clementine

D

Daisy, Delilah, Della, Dixie

E

Eleanor, Elsie, Edie, Eliza, Elsa, Evie, Edith, Everett

F

Fay, Flora

G

Grace, Georgette, Gwendolyn

H

Hazel, Helen, Hattie

I

Ivy, Imogen, Iris, Irene, Isabella, Ida

J

June, Jo, Jewel, Justine, Jonah

K

Kate

L

Lillian, Lizzie, Layla, Lenora, Liza, Lucy, Lennon, Lila

M

Marjorie, Mattie, Madelyn, Maisie, Maxine, May, Myra

N

Nanette, Nellie, Neva, Nicola

O

Olive, Olivia, Opal

P

Penelope, Phoebe, Pearl, Presley

Q

Quinn

R

Rose, Rhea, Roxanne, Ruby, Russell, Rory

S

Sylvia, Sophia, Sadie, Scarlett, Selma

T

Tabitha, Tillie, Trudy

V

Violet, Vera, Vivienne, Vernon

W

Willa, Wiley

More Baby Names Posts You’ll Love:

Adorably, Cute Baby Names for Girls

Strong and Cool Baby Names

The Most Unique Baby Names of all Time

27 Fun Busy Bag Activities for 2 Year Olds to Keep Them Busy

Looking for ideas to keep your little toddlers busy? I love the idea of toddler busy bags! I first discovered the idea when my first daughter was a toddler and I was beginning to work on homeschooling her while I was working from home. And I needed lots of ideas for fun activities for toddlers.

Busy bags offer fun and simple activities that are mostly focused on learning and motor skills and happily keep little ones busy for at least 15-20 minutes. And that’s light years for moms with toddlers!

Here is a list of fun and easy busy bags that are perfect for your 2-year-old. This means the pieces aren’t too small, they’re easy and engaging for toddlers to do, and they don’t contain stuff that’ll ruin your house when you’re not looking.

You’re welcome for that last one!

How to Make Your Own Busy Bags the Cheap and Easy Way

The first step is finding your bags. Many moms use reusable pencil holders. Here’s a multicolored pack of 24.

You can also just use durable slide locking Ziploc bags like these. Honestly, that’s what I use because they’re cheaper and bigger. They just don’t look at cute as the colorful ones.

busy bags activities for 2 year olds

Then you’ll want to search lists like this one and find a few busy bags you want to make. Create a list of supplies. Try to first use what you have on hand first and also look at the clearance area inside most craft stores.

Once you have your supplies, it’s time for the fun to begin! You can also allow your older kids to make the busy bags, if you have older kids. If not, put your toddler to bed and turn on your favorite Netflix show and start crafting.

This may be weird to you but I don’t like making my busy bags in front of my toddler. I love showing them when it’s all done. I don’t want to spoil the magic. But obviously do what works for you.

Finally, if you make a whole batch you’ll want to store them somewhere that keeps them from getting damaged. You can store in a drawer or a plastic bin that’s just for busy bags.

Pro mom tip: Do NOT store them with your toddler’s regular toys or in a place they can reach them on their own.

For one, you want them to be special every time you present them. This honestly keeps them playing so much longer. And two, you don’t want to walk in the room to see all your carefully crafted busy bag items all dumped into one glorious pile!

Talk about mom meltdown.

Now let’s get to all the fun.

27 Busy Bag Activities for 2 Year Olds

I’ve divided the busy bag ideas into categories so you can easily find the type of activity you want to work on first.

Looking for simple activities to keep your toddler busy and learning? This list of busy bags for 2 year olds will keep your little one busy and happy! #toddlers #activities

Fine Motor Skills Activities

No Sew Button Snake – Twitchetts

Crazy Straws – Powerful Mothering

Popsicle Stick Drop – Adventures and Play

Wooden Animal Lacing – Little Lifelong Learners

Pool Noodle Lacing – Planet of the Apels

Puzzle and Matching Activities

Super Hero Mix and Match Puzzle – School Time Snippets

Shapes Matching – Plain Vanilla Mom

Ladybug Number Match Up – Coffee and Crayons

Winter Counting Puzzle – Life Over CS

Memory Game with Lids – Powerful Mothering

Felt Counting Chain – Glued to My Crafts Blog

Alphabet Match Up – Learning 4 Kids

Crocodile Counting Match – Reading Confetti

Shapes, Letters, and Colors Recognition

Pom pom Color Egg Carton Sort – The Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide

Rainbow Sorting – Learning and Exploring Through Play

Fish for Shapes – Little Family Fun

Q Tip Counting Trays – Mama Jenn

Colored Stick to Clothes Pin Matching – Teach Me Mommy

Egg Carton Color Sort – The Imagination Tree

Alphabet Tracing Sheets – Money Saving Mom

Letter Spoon Match Up – Organized Jewish Home

Shape Sorting Ice Cube Tray – Mess for Less

Just Plain Fun Activities

Felt Tic Tac Toe Game – Childhood 101

Little Red Riding Hood Finger Puppets – Easy Peasy and Fun

Travel Felt Board – Mama Smiles

I Spy Peekaboo Bag – Childhood 101

Pipe Cleaner Lacing Game – Parents

If you’re also looking for quality online activities, check out these YouTube learning channels for kids!

3 Things That Prove You’re Already an Amazingly Good Mother Right Now

good mother

I know every single mother has asked herself this question at least once, “am I really a good mother?” Or maybe you’ve mulled over that question many, many times.

The thing is, it isn’t an easy one to answer. That’s because there isn’t a mold of a perfectly “good mom” for us all to fit into. We all make mistakes and fall into many of the pitfalls of motherhood only to find our way back again. Rinse and repeat.

But over the last decade and then some of raising my three children, I’ve grown tremendously and learned a lot. I’ve come to identify three things that if you live by, you can rest assured that you’re already an amazingly good mother!

Sure you and I both have things we need to work on, stop doing, and get better at but this is a really good foundation to stand on.

And the good news is, this list isn’t focused on outward things like how early you put your kids to bed every night or how many vegetables you serve with dinner.

These are totally heart issues and things you can pray about and work on a little bit each day.

1 –You are attuned with your child

What does it mean to be attuned with your child? Let me give you this quick illustration. Remember, when your now big kid was just a newborn and you would lay them peacefully across your lap and just stare into those sweet little ones and try to get them to smile?

You were in that moment connecting with your baby and very little could break you away from that moment. Feelings of sleep deprivation and the overwhelm of being a new mom didn’t keep you from soaking in every adorable drop of your newborn.

Somewhere along the way though, our desire for connection becomes less urgent and we become more focused on “getting it all done” and keeping everyone alive. And that happy mom can sometimes fly right out the window.

Being attuned with your child will look a bit different for every mom and family, but here are some general examples:

  • you show genuine interest in what your child loves… even if you don’t.
  • you frequently check in with how your child is doing as it relates to their world.
  • you ask questions to hear their responses to constantly get to know your child.
  • you prioritize regular one on one time with your kids individually very frequently.
  • you focus and affirm the positive behaviors of your child more frequently that the negative ones.

Even though you may struggle like I do, to get your kids out the door on time for school every morning, placing the highest priority on a heart connection with your child proves you are a good mother.

That’s because you know deep inside that having a quality relationship with your kids is vitally important to their overall health and well-being. Children who have grown up feeling unloved by their mothers often report this as feeling “unknown” by their mothers.

Being attuned simply means paying attention to the changing needs of our children. And being willing to make those changes along the way. What our toddler needs from us now isn’t the same as what she’ll need as a growing teenager.

You humbly set an example of being imperfectly perfect

Our kids do NOT need a perfect example of what it means to be human by never making mistakes. That’s because it doesn’t exist. And if we try, we simply come across as a hypocrite.

If you do your best but make a real mistake like forgetting your son’s preschool graduation and having to show up really late (I did that), or getting so mad that you accidentally break the glass top to your stove (I did that too) it’s most important to own up to your mistakes the right way.

If we never show our kids how to recover from our worst and even most embarrassing mistakes, how will they ever learn for themselves? If we don’t take ownership for our bad choices we teach our kids to blame others for their mistakes in life.

It may seem strange that making mistakes is a point of being a good mother. But I believe that it’s important that moms know how perfectly normal it is to make mistakes and have terrible days. It’s all about how we move forward from those bad moments that makes us good mothers.

It’s how our kids know it’s OK to make mistakes and that beating themselves up or blaming shifting are damaging ways to deal with our own poor choices.

In the end, you’re actually making your kids stronger and more emotionally intelligent by watching you walking through life imperfectly.

You understand your true value as a mom

Motherhood is literally one of the most important journeys we’ll ever embark on in our lifetimes. However, raising children is often under valued by society and has been for hundreds of years.

Moms can feel like their careers and dreams make them more valued and important in the eyes of everyone around them. This is a sneaky trap and one that I personally fell into as a new mom. I struggled to see my significance and true value as a mom.

This led me down another path of a tired and burnt out mom who never fully understood the gift right in front of her. I felt pulled in opposing directions because I allowed my ambition to come before my kids.

It’s not that ambition and working a fulfilling career doesn’t mix with motherhood. Not at all! In fact, many amazing moms (including myself!) are also successful at many fulfilling careers at the same time.

But when you understand your true value as a mom, you’ll never feel pulled because your family always comes first. It’s never easy but in the end it’s always the right choice.

Being a mother is a gift and if you truly see that, you are already a good mom.

Final Thoughts

Being a good mother isn’t about whether you bake the best cookies with your kids or how many books they read over the summer, it’s always about the heart.

Our kids are looking to see if we really care about them, if they can trust us with their heart, and if we succeed at winning it we’ve won the prize of a lifetime!

When your kids are grown, they’ll likely not remember all the stuff they learned in math class but they will remember stuff like when that batch of cookies you both make failed miserably, or when you went for that bike ride in the country and got lost!

It’s the little things, sometimes the weird things, and mostly the heart things they’ll remember!

Creative Ways for Moms to Grow in Faith When Life Gets Overwhelming!

How to Find time for God

How to Find time for God

Growing in faith is an essential part of strengthening you at your core. I can wholeheartedly acknowledge I wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for God!

I had a lot of challenges and struggles in my life early on. I had a good upbringing but somehow ended up a total mess as a teenager. On more than one occasion it was truly a testament to God’s love for me that I woke up the next morning.

That life feels like a lifetime ago and yesterday all at the same time. I share that because I never felt condemned by God. It was as if He has always been lovingly chasing after me my whole life, and still is. He’s chasing you too!

I have a deep need and desire to make the time to spend with my best Friend and Savior. I do this by having what most Christians call – quiet time or devotion time. I pray (talk to God), read His Word, and write my thoughts and His responses to my prayers in my journal.

Related post: The Power and Purpose of a Regular Quiet Time Routine

Grow in Faith in Your Season

I’ll be honest, my quiet time has varied greatly during the changing seasons of my life. As people do, I press in harder in the challenging times and wane in the care-free times.

Not as a deliberate choice, just something that happens. I’ve also had shorter and sometimes non-existent quiet times when I was in the thick of having a new baby and little toddlers running around. Growing in faith and maintaining a strong prayer life can be a real challenge for new moms.

But I firmly believe God loves us through it all and He knows our seasons. And is always waiting for us to pull in close or turn back to Him when we’re ready.

Depending on your current life season, you may have to tweak how you spend your quiet time to be sure you actually get that time in. And it doesn’t matter how much you treasure this time, it can easily get pushed aside in a crazy life!

Related: How to Manage Your Time Based on Your Current Life Season

How To Make Time

So here are some suggestions you can use to integrate a daily devotion time into your hectic life. And remember, you serve a loving and compassionate God who just wants our hearts to be connected with His.

He’s a whole lot less caught up in our form and fashion of how we like to do things. When we need to change things up a bit, He’s right there just enjoying the time with you – whatever it might look like at the time.

There are seasons in your life when you’re able to dive right into the Word of God with
an in-depth study plan. I LOVE those times because I love God’s Word! But also know when you’ve got a new baby or kids who suddenly find themselves in your bed at night, leaving you looking and feeling like a zombie in the morning – you’ve got to simplify your quiet time routine!

I suggest reading a daily devotional. These are typically 1-2 pages long with a scripture or two and maybe even thoughtful reflections at the end. Devotionals are so awesome for starting off your day in scripture.

You don’t need to pre-plan what you’re studying – it’s all there for you when you open up the book! You can also find some great devotionals for free online. Just be sure to do your best to get it in every day.

Not because you want to check it off your list, but it’s necessary to start your day with the reminder – you’re NOT alone! And I’m amazed how often I sit down and the reading for the day is EXACTLY what I needed.

Another tip is to listen to your Bible, especially during those very busy seasons of life. I find moms who have babies and little toddlers have a real challenge with reading their bible or any book for that matter!

Opening Communication

Reading scripture allows us to get close to God and know His heart. But the other part of a good relationship is having good communication. And prayer is our communication with God.

But again, when you’re living smack-dab in the middle of a crazy-busy life, prayer can sometimes go out the window. But let me caution you to not let your prayer time slip.

Having a relationship with God is like having a relationship with anyone we love. We must talk! If we never talked with our husbands, what would our marriage look like? Probably not good.

Our prayer time is like oxygen blowing on the flame of our life. It makes the flame burning on the inside of us bigger, stronger, and in-consumable. We need our internal flame burning hot – giving us the strength to do what we need to do in this life and the wisdom to do it God’s way.

It also provides peace and comfort in our most challenging times. I can remember many years ago when I cried out to God alone in my room because I was grieving the loss of my baby in the second trimester of pregnancy.
I was devastated and cried to God to take away my pain, so I could still be a whole mom for my daughter – who at the time was still a baby. I remember just as clearly as I sit here today, how a tangible peace literally fell on me and swept over me.

I stopped crying right at that moment because my heart was healed – completely. It was totally a miraculous event! The next day, I was able to go out and see other women big in their pregnancies and felt nothing but joy for them! We need prayer.

A Simple Prayer Framework

Here’s a simple framework for prayer you can follow every day. You can also keep a prayer journal to keep track of people or issues you’re praying for as well as your personal prayers.

You should also write down all answers to prayer. This serves as a simple way of recording God’s goodness and is also a wonderful source of encouragement when you find yourself in a dry season.

P.R.A.Y

Pour out your gratitude
Recognize the needs of others
Ask for wisdom
Your needs should be placed on the altar

This is a very simple way to pray and will help us remember to start with gratitude, putting others first, and receiving God’s wisdom before we ask for what we need.

How do you spend time your quiet time? Do you have a routine or a special place you go? Share in the comments below so we can share ideas and get inspired!

 

Read The Full Blog Series Below:

Why All Moms Need to be Intentional With a Regular Self Care Routine

The Epic Mind-Body-Soul Self Care Routine for Busy Moms{Blog Series Pt 1 Mind}

The Epic Mind-Body-Soul Self Care Routine for Busy Moms{Blog Series Pt 2 Body}

Finding time to have Christian devotions can be hard as a busy mom. Get simple tips to help you grow in faith even when your kids are little! #faith #jesus #devotions #christianliving

Making Quiet Time for busy momsHow to make time for devotionsThis epic blog series inspires busy moms to care for themselves well by creating a regular self care routine. This post shows how to care for your mind and heart by connecting with our relationships like friends and our spouse, and connecting to what brings us joy!

50 Simple Ways to Speak Your Child’s Love Language Everyday

speak your child's love language

Did you know there’s an actual language of love… no not Italian. Seriously, we all have a unique Love Language that’s tailor-made to our unique personality. A language that when it’s spoken to us, can make us feel love in a deeply personal way.

And understanding the power of love languages, especially as it pertains to our kids, makes such an impact on how we give and receive love. This post shares simple and tangible ways to bond closer with your children using their love language.

We all know what it’s like to feel loved. It’s this experience of love that hits our heart much differently than merely knowing we’re loved. So many of us live the majority of our days in the “knowing we’re loved” zone, versus actually “experiencing that love” in action.

speak your child's love language

We all want to feel that love a whole lot more than just knowing it’s there. I know I’m guilty of letting the days go by without going beyond the usual hug, kiss, and I love you as I drop them off at school. And, of course, the thought that feeding them, clothing them, and sheltering them is an expression of love.

And though they are clearly expressions of love, I have to ask myself when was the last time my child “felt” love. A love that was meant just for them, and not a one-size-fits-all love that merely got tossed to all the kids at once on the way out the door.

The truth is, far too often we all take for granted that our spouse, children, and friends simply know we love them and leave it at that. Until a holiday (#Valentine’s Day) or other special event rolls around. Then we bring out the big guns!

This list is designed to help you become an even better mom and a positive parent than you already are!

We Speak Love in our Own Language

But our loved ones need so much more than that, especially our sweet children. Who are generally sweet most of the time. 

They need to feel and experience a clear and tangible expression of our love. One they can’t question or talk themselves out of later. And the best way to do this is to show them love in their own love language.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (or mounds of your children’s dirty laundry) and haven’t heard of love languages; let me catch you up.

The concept is taught extensively by Gary Chapman who wrote several books on the topic including The 5 Love Languages of Children – which I HIGHLY recommend along with all of his other books on the topic.

He teaches that there are basically five main ways (languages) we humans uniquely communicate love to one another. We all communicate on some level using all five languages, but Gary believes we each have one overarching language that’s stronger than all the others. That’s our love language.

Why are Love Languages Important?

The interesting part is, we naturally communicate our love to others using our own love language. I mean, that’s our own language, right? But this can hinder the flow of the “love exchange” because, as you know by now, we receive love best in our own language. Confused yet?

Please don’t be. Think of love languages as actual languages. If your husband spoke French and you only spoke English, your relationship would be challenging at best. But if you knew each other’s language and chose to speak that language to each other – you’d be in business. No more mixed signals. Well, hopefully.

This gives us the challenge of identifying and understanding the love language of those we want to show love to the most – our family. This way you can shoot your arrows of love like The Mocking Jay and hit the bulls-eye every single time. Imagine that!

The whole point of understanding and using love languages is the concept of filling each other’s love tank. And doing things that fill our child’s love tank in the specific way that they need it, sends the message loud and clear to your child – I AM LOVED.

Tips to Identify Your Child’s Love Language

In case you don’t know your child’s love language, I’m going to briefly list a few clues to point you in the right direction. I’ll warn you, it may seem at first that your child has ALL the love languages.

But if you observe your child over time, it’ll become more clear. Once you know your child’s love language, you can have fun delivering love messages to them in a way that’s sure to fill their love tank all the way to the top!

Physical Touch

  • Your child is touchy-feely and never seems to leave your side.
  • Frequently grabs your hand to hold it, leans on you, or rubs you in an affectionate way.
  • Loves to snuggle, cuddle, and be close.
  • If you reject this snuggle-fest request, they’ll likely feel rejected themselves.

Words of Affirmation

  • Your child is highly motivated by your words of encouragement.
  • They tend to feed off the validation of others.
  • They also will be more affected by harsh verbal correction or discipline.
  • Compliments and praise are like fuel to their soul.

Quality Time

  • Your child will frequently ask to spend time with you, even after you just had an awesome one on one day yesterday! Lol
  • Every time you turn around – they’re there looking to see what you’re doing.
  • If they aren’t getting the attention they’re seeking out, they will often resort to getting attention elsewhere. This is where getting negative attention can come in.
  • They’ll ask to come along when you’re just running errands. The point is, they want to be with you. Here are some great ideas for family connections!

Gifts

  • Your child sees receiving gifts a special moment.
  • On big gift giving days like Christmas and Birthdays, they’ll often remember who gave each and every gift.
  • They will often collect and store seemingly random mementos from places they’ve been or from things they’ve been given by friends.

Acts of Service

  • Your child always wants to help and will even try to take over doing things like folding the laundry or putting away dishes as an act of love.
  • They will look for things that need to be done, like cleaning up the pile of blocks that got left in the corner. They’ll feel proud and accomplished after doing this, so showing your appreciation will go a long way.
  • They will naturally look for ways to help others.

How to Bond with Your Child Using Love Language

Even when you’re busy and overwhelmed with life, these ideas are so super, simple that you’ll find yourself inventing new ideas. The ways to speak your child’s love language are really endless and are only bound by your creativity and FUN! Let’s get to it.

 Physical Touch

  1. Watch their favorite TV show or read a book snuggled up on the couch. For ideas, check out my Epic Summer Reading list here!
  2. Create a special one-of-a-kind handshake.
  3. Give a lingering hug every day. One that just holds for an extra moment or two.
  4. Offer piggy-back or on the shoulder rides (if they’re still little enough!)
  5. Invite them into your lap to read as long and as often as they’ll still accept the invitation.
  6. Challenge them to an arm or thumb wrestling contest.
  7. Play a board game. Twister is a great one if you can handle it, Mom!
  8. ALWAYS tuck your child in for bed whenever possible.
  9. Wake them up sweetly with a warm snuggle instead of the light on and a, “wake up!”
  10. Do yoga or stretches together using each other for gentle resistance and support.

Words of Affirmation

  1. Write them a love note in their lunch box.
  2. Send them a text message telling them how awesome they are. Be specific and genuine! They’ll spot a canned praise a mile away.
  3. Always be ready with something awesome to say about them when they’re with their friends and/or siblings.
  4. When disciplining/correcting use the sandwich method. Praise – correction – praise.
  5. Offer words of praise that are very specific such as, “it was so awesome when you did … “
  6. Talk openly about them in a positive way around other family and friends.
  7. Always reserve correction to be given privately within your home and not around others.
  8. Create fan signs for your child at their sports games or other activities. And scream their name loudly if appropriate.
  9. Purchase a nice journal for them and write an inspiring message for them on the first page and date it. Words are important for those with this love language so journaling is usually a great activity to encourage.
  10. Create a secret journal that only you and your child know about that you use to write back and forth to each other. This is wonderful for those challenging tween years.

Quality Time

  1. Have a regularly scheduled date day. Could be simple and free like going to the park every Friday. Here are some great FREE ideas! 
  2. Go for a walk alone. Allow them to lead the conversation.
  3. Order a fun subscription box for kids. They are so much fun. My kids are obsessed with these!
  4. Find a way to include them in your work, if you work from home and they’re old enough. Get creative.
  5. Play with your child. Enter their play fort, hide really well in a game of hide-and-seek, and learn how to give their dolls the most stylish do’s for their latest date to the ball.
  6. Create a project together that the whole family can enjoy when it’s done.
  7. Reorganize or rearrange a room together.
  8. Take up a physical activity like running together. You can train together and run marathons throughout the year.
  9. Cook a meal together. Allow them to plan, shop, and prepare it.
  10. Identify a talent, hobby, or sport they love and find a way to get involved. Become a coach, a volunteer, or start your own group.

Gifts

  1. Give unique and meaningful gifts like planting a beautiful tree together in the backyard. Preferably one of their favorites, if possible.
  2. Tap into your inner DIY crafter (get on Pinterest) and find something to make for your child that they can use every day like a jewelry organizer or a nice phone charging station. The fact that you took the time to make something won’t be lost on this child!
  3. Get creative in making gifts for classroom gift-giving seasons like Valentine’s Day. They like giving gifts as much as receiving them.
  4. Give them the gift of quality stationery so they can beautifully express their appreciation for the gifts they receive from others.
  5. Make their gifts an event or experience by coordinating a gift treasure hunt.
  6. Work on a project that allows them to use their talents as gift giving opportunities.
  7. Give them gifts with a deeper meaning or significance such as a piece of jewelry or a personalized journal. And make the packaging thoughtful!
  8. Bring them a personal memento from an interesting place you went that day or from your travels. For example, a cool looking rock or flower. Repay the “look what I found” sentiment we get from them so often.
  9. Buy them personalized items with their name on it. This could be as simple as a dinner plate or cup with their name printed on it but can get more special as they get older.
  10. Create cool spaces for them to store their new gifts or mementos. Like baskets, shadowbox shelves, or cabinets with open spaces.

Acts of Service

  1. Give your child special responsibilities they personally enjoy doing such as cooking, walking the dog, or watering the plants. Allow them to have feedback in the process.
  2. Create opportunities to display random acts of kindness to strangers together.
  3. Offer to be a teacher’s helper in your child’s classroom and allow your child to work as your assistant.
  4. Discuss how you can work with them to use their interests to help others on your street. If they love animals, you can both offer to wash their neighbor’s dog for free together.
  5. Payback their acts of service by doing one of their chores secretly.
  6. Let your child HELP! Even when they roll the shirts up instead of folding them.
  7. Plan simple random acts of kindness just for them.
  8. Take the time to teach. Instead of just “doing” everything, slow down and teach your child how to do something.
  9. Always bring extra to share. If you get a snack in the kitchen put extra on your plate so you can freely share. Or better yet, offer to get them their own plate!
  10. Cook them their favorite “real” breakfast every now and then on a school morning

This is just a list to get your imagination working. As a mom, it’s important for us to take the time to learn how to deliver the message of our love in a way that speaks uniquely to them. No more generic love! 

Do me a favor and put in the comments below what your child’s love language is. My oldest daughter’s is giving gifts, and my middle daughters is physical touch. I’m not yet sure of my toddler’s yet but I’ll keep you posted.

Tell us what love expressions you’re planning next in the comments below! Let’s keep this list going beyond this 50!

Does your child "feel" your love every day in a tangible way? It's super easy when you know their love language! Get 50 super simple ways to speak your child's love language every day! #parenting #momadvice #kids #kidsandparenting #parentingtipsKnowing your child's love language is very helpful in being able to show love to your child in a special way every day. These 50 ideas will get you started today! #lovelanguage #kidsandparenting #parenting #momadvice #mom #kidsLove is unique for everyone because we all have a love language. Find out how to speak your child's unique love language today! #lovelanguage #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #momlife #motherhood These super easy and unique ideas will have you speaking your child's love language everyday and strengthening your relationship in the process! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101

7 Surprising Reasons You Yell at Your Kids and How to Break the Cycle

As a new mom of two little ones I spent my days cycling through being a happy and grateful mom to an angry yelling “blowing her top” mom, to an ashamed and guilty for yelling at my kids mom.

As the days went on the cycles got more frequent, the happy and grateful mom showed up much less often and I ended up trapped in a sad and paralyzing state of tired, grouchiness.

I snapped very often, my demeanor was pretty uptight most of the time, and I felt like a complete and total failure as a mom. Until one day it hit me and I asked myself, “why am I such an angry mom?

This certainly wasn’t what I thought motherhood was going to be like. I dreamed of being a mom and though we struggled through infertility for almost 5 years, I was overjoyed to bring our first child into this world.

Then the reality of mom life showed up… and my idea of motherhood didn’t seem to fit my reality of motherhood.

It was hard for me.

And the fact that is was hard for “me” the mom whose dream it was to even be a mom, was pretty devastating. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in over my head and felt consumed with shame all the time.

Why Good Moms Get Angry

I finally decided this craziness needed to stop. I genuinely wanted to have fun as a mom and have a close and fulfilling relationship with my children. So I got to work.

With loads of prayer, study, and tons of trial and error I’m now at a place in my life where I LOVE being a mom and actually feel like I’m pretty good at it! But that only changed when I stopped letting dysfunctional behavior patterns just happen, and started getting intentional about changing them.

One of the first things I learned (HUGE!) were my anger triggers. Little did I know, I was setting anger traps for myself every single day. And that’s what this post is about… helping you to set yourself up for those good, no-blow up days!

Now, let me be clear here, I did a lot of work in the process of healing from mental and emotional lies and past hurts that were greatly contributing to my overall anger. This is not an overnight process.

Recognizing my triggers for yelling was just a part of the puzzle but helped tremendously! Doing these things won’t likely be a total solution to why you are yelling at your kids but they are vitally important to an overall anger management solution.

Here are some helpful posts to getting kids to listen and not causing anger in the first place:

Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

How to Respond When Your Child Disobeys on Purpose

Common Parenting Mistakes Any Parent Can Fix

I would also like to add that yelling to be heard or because you tend to be on the louder side of the communication spectrum isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you just talk louder or are more intense than all your mom friends… that’s totally OK. I personally still fall slightly into this category!

In this post, I’m addressing moms who struggle with anger in this post. The kind where you feel like a horrible mom after. That’s what I wanted to break free from, and you can join me!

Surprising Mom Anger Triggers

These surprising anger triggers are the things we commonly do every day that we’re usually unaware of that can open the door to blow-ups. And as the saying goes, “when we know better… we do better.

If you read this list and notice one or more that you’re doing, I want to encourage you to make a plan to set up borders for yourself to allow yourself the change you desire.

You want to be a more peaceful mom who really enjoys her children or else you wouldn’t still be reading this post! This process is going to take work but you owe it to yourself and your family to give it all you got so you can be the mom you know you really are inside!

1 | Working with Kids in the Room

I’ve been a work from home mom since my first daughter was born. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to work right in my home while raising my kids, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it! Over the years I’ve done crappy work totally because we needed the money and work that I absolutely love – and this rule still holds true either way.

Honestly, I could write an entire post on this topic, so I’ll do my best to keep it brief. Working on your laptop (or whatever work you do) with kids actively in the room is a setup for disaster. Unless you make a very intentional mindset shift.

I can’t tell you how many times I’d be intensely working (head down, eyes on screen) and blow up because I kept getting interrupted again and again. Silly, I know.

After I realized this to be a huge anger trigger for me, I totally shifted how I work. I now get up very early in the morning and do the bulk of my work that needs my full concentration while my kids sleep. This doesn’t have to be how you do it, but find what works for you.

Then, here’s the mindset shift, I make any work that I do work on in the presence of my kids, second to their needs… ALWAYS.

It looks like this – if I’m working (on a less intense work task) and my child asks for a snack, I put my laptop down and get a snack.

If my children break out in a fight-mob in the living room, I put my laptop down and handle the issue. No more, let me finish this really quick… one more minute sweety… stop fighting! Don’t you see I’m working!

By mentally shifting to my kids and not my project as the priority, it totally changes things for me. Sure, I’m not nearly as productive as I used to be when I was putting my work first but I’m so much more peaceful and my kids no longer resent it or try to fight for my attention when they see me working. It’s a total win-win.

2 | Not Setting Boundaries Up Front

One major source of mom blow ups is when our kids don’t listen until we yell. It’s a cycle that doesn’t have to continue.

In fact, yelling undermines our authority because we don’t have to yell to get their attention. One of the biggest reasons our kids do things we don’t like is because they don’t know the boundaries.

Think of behavioral boundaries like physical boundaries. If you told your son he could ride his bike outside until 5:00, chances are, he’ll go exploring beyond where you had in mind. If you caught him riding his bike on the main road, you might be upset.

This really wouldn’t be fair because he wasn’t given a boundary line like, “do not ride your bike past our street.” Now, this doesn’t mean he won’t try to test this boundary but we’ll get to that in the next point.

For now, we need to establish simple boundaries like, “when we play with one game, we need to clean it up before we open another game.”

This keeps us from going into a screaming fit when we walk into the playroom and see every game they own dumped out on the floor after a very exhausting day at work!

There are endless boundaries you can create, but you get the point.

3 | Not Giving Natural Consequences

When we create and effectively and repeatedly communicate our boundaries, we must offer natural consequences when those boundaries are challenged.

And they will be challenged! Your kid isn’t bad when she deliberately disobeys what you just told her. She’s merely testing your resolve and if you’re really telling the truth. Hmmm, think about that for a second.

When we say, “if you don’t pick up your Legos by the time I get back upstairs in five minutes, I’m going to box them up and give them away” and we don’t follow through (if the Legos aren’t cleaned up), we’ve just lied to our child.

And they know it.

This is why giving natural consequences upfront is so important. Don’t give great big threats that you have no intention of doing just to scare them into obedience. This cycle of giving threats and not following through is a recipe for disobedience every day of the week. And your sanity goes right out the window!

Make sure your child clearly knows both the boundary and the consequence to their behavior upfront. If they cross that boundary… that’s where the next point comes in.

4 | Not Keeping Your Word

This is so important to establishing trust with your child. They know when we won’t stick to our word and it’s like blood in the water to a kid.

They aren’t trying to destroy our patience, they’re just trying to figure it all out.

Take a moment to be sure the consequence you’re about to give makes sense and you are willing to dole it out when needed.

Never ever waiver or bargain with your child. This is the key to keeping your peace.

If you’re currently trapped in this cycle, I give you permission to stop right now.

Just know, it’s going to take work and your kids will likely not appreciate your new found change. But over time, they’ll know you mean business and will listen when you talk without needing to yell.

5 | Pouring Out of an Empty Cup

As a mom, we’re in a perpetual state of pouring out. We pour out spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. We know that’s all a part of the job of mom.

But what we all seem to forget or treat as unimportant is the filling back up part.

We can’t run on empty any more than our car sitting in the driveway can. Sure, we can try but at what cost?

There are harder mom seasons than others, and in the hardest ones, we need to find pockets of rest. But when we’re not caring for a newborn or for 3 kids under the age of 3, things get a bit easier.

And it’s our job to carve out time to rest and recharge because honestly no one else is going to do it for us!

Doing things that recharge you like getting enough rest, exercising consistently, reading purely for enjoyment (audiobooks are great for moms), having a quiet devotional and prayer time, and even time with close friends you can connect with.

Just remember, these things are only effective if you schedule them regularly… not once a year around Mother’s Day.

Sure, it’s wonderful to have a family who shows their appreciation for all you do, but I’m pretty sure that’s a rare occurrence for most moms. The good news is, you can take charge of your own happiness and show appreciation to yourself. You totally need and deserve it!

6 | You Take it All Personally

Kids misbehave and test boundaries… it’s kind of their thing. It’s NOT personal towards you. There may be things we’re doing that contribute to undesired behavior, but it’s not an attack on you.

Kids are tiny humans and whether we believe it or not, they have their own reasons for doing what they do no matter how strange or annoying those things are to us.

I find one of the best ways to get in our kids’ little heads and hearts is to ask questions before we assume what we see is accurate.

One day I was looking for my daughter who was 5 at the time and heard her in her closet. When I turned the corner I almost lost it! There were clothes everywhere!

What looked like a, destroy my closet for no reason type of situation, was actually her attempting to reorganize her wardrobe. She was just doing it the really hard way kids at that age do. Yikes.

I’m grateful that in that moment, I didn’t start yelling and lecturing but mustered up enough self-control to ask what she was doing.

When I realized that she was trying to do something helpful, I dropped down and started to help her. We had a good conversation and I found out that she didn’t like the way I had organized her clothes and she felt like her way would be easier to get ready in the morning faster.

Who am I to argue that?

Even in the moments when our kids are disobedient and rude right to our faces, we must know there is something else at the root. And ironically, they need us most of the time to help them work through their emotions.

Not taking it personally helps us show up and do that.

7 | Not Managing Things Well

When life gets too hectic and I’ve allowed too many things to overtake our family schedule all the important stuff gets pushed to the side.

What’s left is a very messy house, no plan at all for dinner every night, running late for everything, and a mom that’s always on the edge of a meltdown.

I think in many ways, this is the hardest part about being a mom… the managing the home stuff.

It took me a long time to realize that something’s gotta give and I can’t allow our routines to fall by the wayside.

Making sure that the house stays livable and the kids are actually doing their part in keeping the house clean is so important. When the house is filthy, it’s very hard for me to stay in a positive mindset.

And making sure there is a plan for meals that don’t involve giving all my money away in the drive-thru is also super important. Meal planning is both my nemesis and lifesaver. I honestly hate doing it, but it’s the only way to not operate in chaos.

Finally, practicing intentionally leaving with plenty of time totally reduces fits of yelling at my kids. Running late for appointments is such an open door for yelling, tears, and frustration.

Why Moms Get Angry

This is not an exhaustive list of anger triggers. Moms yell at their kids for many reasons, some are not even being addressed here in this post. These are just some anger triggers that I became aware of personally in my own life and from talking to other moms who struggle with anger.

I want to encourage you to observe your life and time with your kids and look for those things that set you off, and do what you can to eliminate them.

The important thing to remember is, you are NOT a bad mother! Simply the fact that you’re reading this to the bottom proves you’re a good mom.

The first thing I learned is that I needed to change, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I am a Christian and knew I needed to surrender my emotions to Christ. I believe surrender is the first step to change. It acknowledges that I can’t do this on my own or I already would have by now.

I then needed to be honest with myself and transparent with others. I stopped being isolated and found out that other moms were struggling with the same issues. There is freedom in openness.

Finally, I made a quality decision to change and become the mom I knew I was meant to be. I apologized a lot to my kids along the way, and now they hardly have memory of those old days. Which means there’s a better life ahead of you that’s free from guilt and shame.

You can do it if it’s what you really want… you just have to decide.

Want to stop feeling like an angry mom and yelling at your kids all the time? These simple tips really helped me find my anger triggers and stop yelling at my kids! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingadvice

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