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Surprising Causes of Child Disobedience and How to Finally Break the Cycle

when your child disobeys on purpose

Children disobey. It happens whether you’re raising toddlers or teenagers. In fact, we disobey too. Like when we deliberately go a bit or a lot faster than the posted speed limit sign because our kid was going to be late for school for the third time this week.

The fact is when we disobey we often take the “it’s justified” stance based on our circumstances at the moment. However, when our kids disobey we assume that our kid is acting out.

when your child disobeys on purpose

There are many underlying causes for child disobedience that may actually surprise you. And many situations where a child is being called “strong-willed” is actually being caused by something else entirely.

Part of being a loving, positive parent is learning to become a detective who looks for clues most people can’t clearly see on the surface. We need to do some digging to find the real answers to our parenting struggles.

It May Not Be Defiance at All

Like I said earlier, all children disobey. That’s totally normal and not necessarily a symptom of an underlying problem.

That’s because there may be a logical reason for your child not listening. Let’s say you called your 4 year old to dinner and they didn’t come downstairs. You called three more times with no response before finally storming upstairs with your frustrated meter on high.

You find your daughter in her closet trying to put away the game she was playing. She’s visibly frustrated with tears welling up in her eyes because she can’t figure out how to get the game in the box by herself. You’ve been spending time lately teaching her how to put away her toys when she’s done.

Frustration meter suddenly plummets and you feel terrible for getting upset.

The most helpful way to handle this situation is to offer positive encouragement by acknowledging how she cleaned up before dinner.

But this praise must be followed by a clear reinforcement that whenever mommy or daddy calls you, you answer… no matter what.

Surprising Reasons Children Disobey

But what if your child disobeys a lot… on purpose? This can be frustrating and requires us as parents to look deeper for the source.

First, we need to explore the possible causes for your child’s disobedience. Again, these may surprise you and help you change your approach to discipline.

1 – Your Relationship Needs Strengthening

It may not seem or feel on the surface that your relationship with your child needs strengthening but often that’s exactly the culprit.

There’s a need built into children to want to please and obey their parents just as we have the same need to put a smile on our child’s face. However, when there’s a lack of trust or connection this can lead to a child acting out.

If you feel that you aren’t as connected as you once were with your child, try setting aside a small amount of time every day to have one on one time together. This can be just talking and asking questions or doing fun activities together.

Building trust and connection with your child isn’t done overnight and should be a priority for the long haul. Relationship and connection with our children should be at the top of our priorities as parents.

2 – No Clear Boundaries

If your child doesn’t have clear expectations or boundaries as it relates to his behavior he will consequently spend much of his time testing those boundaries.

He’s not testing to irritate you but to simply locate those boundaries so he knows how far to go. This can feel to a parent like your child is always testing the limits. That’s because they are!

It’s our responsibility as parents to establish those healthy expectations for our child from very early on. This task is one that never goes away and needs constant refining and reminding along the way.

It’s much easier to spend your moments teaching and modeling proper behavior, even ad nauseam, than it is to spend your days constantly correcting the wrong ones.

3 – Constant Labeling

This is a big one for today’s parenting where social media cultivates all the “labels and names” we can give our children without ever considering if that’s even true of our child. Labeling actually holds us back as parents.

Terms like the terrible twos, bratty teenager, and even strong-willed child are all labels that limit our own will as parents. For example, if we buy into the lie that all babies who reach the age of two become terrible we set ourselves up to hunker down until it’s over.

We stop looking for solutions because we believe it’s all a part of the journey. I mean, every mom is struggling with their teenager, right?

I’ve refused to believe in the negative labels about children and as it turns out when you expect your child to be a certain way, they will. That’s because my expectation that my kids will be well-behaved greatly influenced my parenting choices.

Kids will always rise to our expectations!

4 – There is Tension or Stress

If there is tension in the home because of constant fighting or maybe financial pressures that spill over into your child’s world, they can internalize this as stress causing them to act out.

They will often not fully understand why they are acting this way because they don’t understand how stress effects the mind and body.

Also, if your child is under another type of stress like academic pressure or too many high-stress activities they may feel the need to blow off steam which often looks like getting into trouble.

We should be taking an intentional measure of our child’s stress levels by talking with them on a daily basis. Simple check-ins and one on one talks help to let your child know they’re not alone.

If you find that you fit into one of these reasons and feel overwhelmed, don’t be hard on yourself. Parenting is the hardest thing we’ll EVER do. Just make positive changes in the right direction every day and you’ll see the difference!

How to Respond When Your Child Disobeys on Purpose

When dealing with a disobedient child we should be focused on finding solutions as to why the disobedience is happening in the first place. Instead of being totally punishment focused.

Here are 4 ways to handle deliberate disobedience:

1 – Pick Your Battles

Backtalk, intentional disrespect and lying are non-negotiable offenses in our home that always get addressed in some way.

But there are days when my toddler wants to wear his Spiderman PJ’s or my daughter doesn’t want to eat what I cooked for dinner. Some days I dig in and others I don’t.

I pick my battles and live to fight another day.

2 – Hold Your Child Accountable

Part of good parenting is establishing those healthy boundaries we talked about. And the only way those boundaries are effective is if we hold our kids to them.

If your child repeatedly forgets to turn in their homework resulting in poor grades, you must have already established consequences set in advance.

After they fully understand what’s expected of them, it’s our job to be the enforcer. If we say they lose their phone for a month if their grade falls to a C, then they lose their phone for a month. Period.

3 – Offer an Explanation

So I know I’m probably getting some eye rolls from all you old school parents. Trust me I hear you. I believe children should listen and obey regardless of whether an explaination is ever given.

But in the spirit of changing our kid’s behavior, sometimes a simple and very brief explaination can do wonders in making kids do what we’re asking.

There was a study done that showed how it was so much easier for a woman to cut in line if she offered a reason. Let’s face it, as adults we LOVE explanations. We don’t like it when people just ask us to do things and don’t offer a reason. Kids are the same.

Occasionally telling your kid why you need them to do something doesn’t make you a weak parent. I promise.

4 – Stay Calm and Firm

You are the parent. Losing your cool or entering into a debate or argument with your child undermines your authority. It also turns your power over to your child.

Kids are smart and will learn what pushes your buttons and what they can say or do to get you to give in out of frustration.

Though kids are skilled with the keen ability to set their parents off in a moment’s notice, we don’t have to take the bait.

We don’t yell and lose our cool at work or other places when people irritate us because we have self-control. We need to keep our control by acting like the adults we are even with our kids.

Conclusion

Parenting is hard and there’s never a day off. Just know that your desire to help your child make better choices is the starting point to healthy change.

And making connection with your kid your highest priority is going to help you tremendously on the hard days.

There is a right and easier way to respond to your child's disobedience. There are also surprising causes of child disobedience. Try these positive discipline strategies when your kids don't listen. #positivediscipline #parenting #positiveparenting #kidsandparenting
Back talk, tantrums, and intentional disobedience are often the result of these 5 reasons. And these positive discipline tips will help you raise happy and more obedient kids. #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #toddlers

End Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrum Quickly with These Simple Steps!

toddler tantrum tips

Toddler temper tantrums can happen in a split second and can be caused by many different reasons. But the resulting cause every single time is frustration and even embarrassment when your sweet little angel decides to unleash her reign of terror in public.

That’s why I believe we as parents should work to skillfully play offense with our kids instead of pounding it out on the defensive line. There, I sounded like I know what I’m talking about with football. My husband would be so proud!

How to stop a temper tantrum

Basically what I mean is, working on the front end to prevent temper tantrums in the first place instead of working so hard to stop them when they happen. Yes, it’s really possible!

That’s why created this first post, Easily Prevent Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrums with These Fool-Proof Tips, and I recommend you read it first. Unless, you’re in the midst of a tantrum right now and in that case, please read on!

However, even when you do all these things to help prevent tantrums, chances are, one or more will still happen. Here are some easy and effective tips to help calm your child and your nerves when your child is in full-on fit mode.

1 – Get on Their Level

No one likes being talked down, including our kids. Toddlers are short and if we want to stop talking down to them, we need to intentionally get down on their level.

Talking to your toddler eye to eye isn’t just helpful during a tantrum but really is how we should be talking to our children every time.

If you ask your little one to do something and you’re getting totally ignored, don’t keep repeating yourself. You’ll only get more frustrated and angry. Simply stop and get down to where they are or bring them up to where you are, and speak to them in a calm and direct tone.

And look them right in their eyes.

This takes some practice, and in the beginning, you’ll most likely be met with aversion and them trying to escape your space. But keep at it. Once they realize you’re no longer going to be towering over them barking demands, they’ll begin to respond positively.

Doing this ensures they’ve actually heard you and also makes them focus. This practice is extremely effective with my toddler son. And talking to him from across the room almost never works.

And one more thing, talking to anyone in this way is a sign of respect. It shows them they’re important and deserve your full attention. This really goes a long way.

Think about the last time someone talked to you while staring at their phone. Feel ignored much?

Related: 50 Ways to Make Your Child Feel Loved in their Own Love Language

2 – Give them a Firm Hug

I know, I know giving your little tornado of terror a hug in the middle of a tantrum is probably the last thing you’d want to do. And you’re probably thinking it’s equally as ineffective. (source)

I dare you to give it a try the next time your toddler goes into fit-mode. Not a warm and fuzzy hug, though. Give them a close, firm and disarming hug.

Think of it like those weighted blankets that help people overcome night-anxiety or how swaddling a baby helps them feel safe.

Pulling your toddler close when they’re acting out is like yelling I Love You to your husband in the middle of an argument… it’s a pattern interrupt.

It’s also a lot more effective than walking away, yelling, or punishing them for their tantrum.

3 – Lower Your Voice

This tactic pretty much works for any human interaction with conflict. If you’re talking to an angry person, the least effective thing to do is elevate your voice too.

Instead, lowering your voice to one that is calm, confident, and firm is the perfect way to talk to your angry toddler. NEVER, yell! I know this can be really hard.

But it’s really only a way to release your own frustrations but it in no way helps the situation get any better and really just models that yelling and emotional outbursts are OK.

Also, toddlers can be really sensitive and will often hold onto your anger.

Try these practical tips to get your kids to listen without yelling and the corresponding regret. 

3 – Control Your Own Anger

Here’s where things can get a little sticky because when our toddler isn’t listening, talking back, or having an outright tantrum it’s really easy to allow our emotions to go into overdrive.

When our emotions are in control we’ve more likely to say things that aren’t helpful, add to the problem or things we don’t mean and will regret. So when your little one is acting out, always take a breath before you say anything or make any parenting decisions.

As silly as this may sound, take a couple slow and deep breaths or count to ten in your head. This serves as a reminder to you that you’re the parent and you’re the one in control – not your toddler.

Then decide how you want to handle the situation. Just remember, that once you open your mouth and say something, you need to stick by it.

If you say to your child that if he runs through the clothing racks at Target again, he isn’t going to get that cookie he asked for. And you can’t go back on that… ever! No matter if you went too harsh with your punishment and feel guilty.

Take a moment to think first and don’t act out of your own emotions.

4 – Get Outta There!

If you’re in a public place, get out as fast as you can. It’s obviously great for all the innocent bystanders and just plain good manners. But it also resets the location and works to interrupt their tirade.

Just a few words to consider while you’re running out of Wal-Mart. Stay calm and take this time to breathe and count, NOT to yell, complain, and yank your kid’s arm off.

I know this is easier said than done. I’ve screwed this one up many times. But modeling calm behavior is SUPER important!

5  – Hear Them to Understand

Remember, tantrums are a form of communication. Not the best, but communication none the less. If your child’s form of getting their way is a tantrum or if tantrums are a way of life in your home, I would strongly suggest reading this post.

This is a sign that your child hasn’t learned a more appropriate way of sharing their feelings. And this behavior isn’t likely to go away on its own as they get older. I have witnessed many shocking tantrums in public with older kids berating their parents. #Sad

This occurs when children aren’t taught how to properly communicate and haven’t been shown that this is unacceptable behavior. Or at least, they haven’t in the right way.

However, on the occasion tantrums or angry displays of emotion do happen and this is where we need to do our best to find the source and help them work through it with compassion.

Related: 9 Things Your Kids Wishes You’d Do but Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

6 – Stay Firm and Do NOT Bargain

Never, ever bargain with a child! If you were headed to get ice cream and needed to make one last stop at the store and your child starts misbehaving, give her a firm warning that she won’t be having any ice cream if she doesn’t stop NOW.

If she doesn’t listen, no more ice cream. Period.

They may cry, beg, and try to bait you into a bargaining session, but you Must. Stand. Firm.

7 – Keep Your Language Positive

As tempting as it is to unleash your true feelings of frustration and call it like you see it, do your best to reign it in. Calling your son a bad boy over and over isn’t going to fix the problem.

I’ve witnessed name calling from parents many times and it rips my heart out because they just don’t know how powerful their words are and the impact they make.

Our words have power and calling your son a “bad boy” is actually making a declaration that your son is bad. Certainly not what you really want to accomplish.

I always work to speak what I desire to see in my children, my life, and my family. Our words have creative ability and have the power to change our circumstances.

In Romans 4:17, it says to “call those things that do not exist as though they did.”

Instead, try saying something like, “you are a good boy, so let’s start showing it.”

Do you have some effective strategies to stop your toddler’s tantrums? We love to hear it! Please share in the comments below!

Related: How to use Your Words to Raise Brave and Vision Focused Kids

If you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a toddler temper tantrum and feel your own tantrum coming on... try these tips to stop that tantrum in it's tracks! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101 #kids #momlifeThese simple and highly effective steps will help you defuse and end your toddler's temper tantrum fast! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife Toddler temper tantrums are hard to deal with. But with these simple steps, you can end your toddler's tantrum fast! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #kids #toddler

9 Things Your Kid Wishes You’d Do But Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

9 things you kid wishes you would do

Kids are honest. They tell us the brutal truth in almost every situation. Like when you wake up with a lovely zit right on your forehead and your kid feels the need to point it out to you at their first waking moment, as if you didn’t already know.

They haven’t formed their filter yet and so children have a way of telling it like it is. Which isn’t a bad thing, you just gotta be ready for it when it comes.

9 things you kid wishes you would do

But there are some things our kids don’t always tell us. Things they should but don’t have the capacity to find the words. Or they just have no idea how to tell you. These are things they desperately need us to do for them, that often times go unmet. Tough, right?

These are the things that children wish their parents knew, so we could easily be equipped to meet their unsaid needs.

This is a sticky situation for both the kids who need them and the parents who unknowingly fail to deliver.

That’s why I created this list. To help moms like you and me shift our focus just a bit because parenting is hard and complicated and we all miss it from time to time. Until we watch an inspirational video or read a post online that hits us between the eyes and helps us get where we always wanted to be.

This has happened to me a million times since becoming a mom over a decade ago.

Related: The Secret to Raising Happy and Confident Teens in an Image Focused World

9 Things Your Kid Really Needs

We have the power to meet our children’s deepest felt needs with purpose and intention. When these needs go unmet for long periods in a growing child, it leaves a deep hole that they desperately look to fill with something or someone else.

If you read this list and feel that you’ve been missing one or a few needs, please don’t feel discouraged, judged, or condemned. Just take intentional action to reconnect with your kids in that area. The wonderful thing about children is their resiliency and their ability to forgive without question.

You may also read this list and think, these are no-brainers. Well, congratulations you’re probably a fantastic parent. But take a moment and look around at your kid’s school, at their soccer games, and dance recitals. Talk to many of your children’s friends. You’ll quickly see these aren’t happening for every child as they should.

We need to get it out there and talk about it. Not so we can be finger-pointers and parent shamers, but to shine a light on what’s lacking in this world. And how we as moms can make such a huge difference in this world through the gift and privilege of motherhood.

When we raise happy, resilient, and kind adults… we’ve made a tremendous impact in this world! And that’s what this list is all about.

Now let’s find out where we are…

1 – Love Them Intentionally

What does it mean to love someone intentionally? It means to give thought and purpose to how we actively show love to another person, in this case, our kids. It’s not enough to love them by providing a good home and sending them to a good school. Our kids need much more than that.

Money is the smallest thing our kids need from us… even though it doesn’t always feel that way. Parents, myself included, tend to work our fingers to the bone to give them a better life. In the end, our kids aren’t looking for that alone. Sure, they want their basic needs met and, yes, kids love asking for and spending money. Whew! I know mine do!

But what they really need is for us to lovingly learn who they are and how they need to be loved. That’s where the power and beauty of love languages come in. If you know your child’s love language it can make all the difference.

Simply showing up and taking an interest in what your child loves can go so far… even when their interest is gross, boring to you, or just plain annoying. Because sometimes they just are!

 

2 – Be Present and Pay Attention

This is a really huge need for children and doesn’t go away as we become adults. There are many adults in marriages where the spouse provides a good home, puts food on the table, but isn’t really there. When your spouse doesn’t make any attempt to connect with you, it hurts deeply. I know because I’ve seen it happen.

It’s the very same with kids. They want you there physically but much more, they want you there emotionally. My daughter played soccer for a couple years and she was really good and it was fun watching my little girl dominate the field with both girls and boys. During this time, I saw a lot of different parents on the sidelines.

One in particular stuck out to me. There was a little boy who obviously played soccer for many years and was very good. He would ferociously kick the ball into the goal again and again like he was in the World Cup. The crowd would cheer and you could see him immediately look where his parents were sitting to catch their approval and instead would repeatedly see his parents walking around talking on their cell phones… never looking at the field.

When I’d look back at that child, every time you could see the disappointment in his eyes. Though we could applaud his parents for both being there physically, we can see that week after week they weren’t really there.

In this amazing article, there was a study done of College athletes that asked them what their parents contributed to making them feel joy during and after their games. The answer will shock you.

It showed the power in 6 words a parent can say that can make ALL the difference, ” I love to watch you play.” Wow! That’s it! Parenting can feel complicated and overwhelming at times, but our kids are really as simple as needing us to just show up.

3 – Support Them No Matter Their Choices

I know my Type-A moms are wincing back at this one. Stay with me for a second… please. I didn’t say “accept” all their choices, I said to support them no matter what their choices are. Support your child, not the choices.

Life is hard and we all need a support system. We also all make mistakes and miss the mark from time to time. And it’s really hard to live life feeling like when we make a bad choice or totally screw up, that our support system is always in jeopardy.

Sure, it sucks to have a kid that can’t seem to get it together or a teenager or young adult that looks on the surface like a total disappointment despite how you raised them. I know this because I was that screw-up kid. I was an angry, hurt, and messed up kid for a lot of reasons I can’t get into here. But the one thing my parents did was support me every step of the way. NEVER my awful choices… ME.

How did they do this? By always keeping their loving doors open, never shaming me even when it was justified, and praying incessantly for me. They never gave up on me. And though my parents weren’t perfect, I always knew I was loved. And they taught me about Jesus who loved me unconditionally. And that was what I believe made all the difference in turning my life around.

4 – Say No And Give Them Borders

Yes, I said it. Our kids need us to say no and they need us to give them safe and healthy borders. Kids that have parents that say yes to almost anything, even the questionable things, are telling their kids they don’t care about them.

It’s true. Though your kid may be kicking and screaming because they can’t go to the slumber party at Amy’s house, they know way under the surface that you care. That might not be helpful right at the moment, but it’s the hardest decisions of love that linger the longest.

In this crazy, upside down world we live in, I say NO a lot. I don’t really have a choice because I love my children. And it’s my job to protect and lead them through the tough choices and teach them how to make better decisions. For example, at my daughter’s sixth-grade orientation last year, her teacher mentioned a tip about taking your child’s phone and keeping it in your bedroom at night.

At the time, I’d never thought of this because my daughter never gave me a reason. I’m so glad I heard this tip because it made me see the importance of simple ways I can remove the opportunity for her to be accessed at all hours of the night. It’s unnecessary and has the potential to be dangerous.

I treat social media accounts the same way. Our children don’t need unfettered access to unfiltered content on social media at very young ages. You can read more on why here.

Creating borders helps your child know how to place healthy borders for themselves later on.

5 – Let Them Live Their Purpose

I believe every person born on this planet has a God-given purpose. A purpose that was given to them by their creator. We may have grown them in our wombs, but God gave them life and purpose. We need to honor the gifts they’ve been given and help them grow in them.

Our kids need us to tell them they are special and unique and even when they’re scared and feel totally unqualified. That they need to discover and pursue their purpose with passion and intention.

Too often parents want their kids to pass on the family business, whatever that may be. Or to choose a more “sensible” profession instead of the one in their dreams. And I’m talking about when they’re older and not their dream of becoming a princess or Superman.

We often try to create a life plan for our kids without ever considering they already have one. Our job as parents is to help them find it and to embrace it.

There are millions of depressed, suicidal, and hopeless adults who were pressured to pursue a “sensible” career that was totally outside of their purpose. And though they may have attained success in the world’s eyes… they feel empty. Though we may not understand it, we owe it to our kids to lead them into their purpose instead of away from it.

Related: How to Naturally Lead Your Child to Their Purpose

6 – Discipline Them

Just like our kids need to be told no, they also need and want to be disciplined. The Bible teaches that we discipline those we love. There’s so much truth to that. Discipline isn’t necessarily punishment, it’s the intentional act of shaping and molding into the right behavior. And that takes work and compassion.

It doesn’t require love to want someone who’s done something terrible to face punishment. But it does require love to allow them to face that punishment while teaching and guiding them into the right behavior.

We don’t want to discipline our kids with the “rot in jail and throw away the key” mentality. Yes, punishment and consequences are all a part of the discipline process because that’s what prepares them for real life. But it’s also the compassionate and sometimes time-consuming teaching of the right behavior that makes all the difference and shows how much we love our child.

Related: How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

7 – Give Them One on One Time

Tricia Goyer shared this concept from her book Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom. It was so simple, yet profound. But it does require endurance on your part. And it’s an investment of your time, depending on how many children you have! Yet, it’s time well spent.

If your spouse and your children each have your undivided “eyes only” attention each day, it sends a powerful message to them – YOU Matter. And there’s no revelation more powerful than that. Try carving out small 10 minutes times for each person, each day. And then work your way up as you develop discipline in this habit.

Here are my kids and I playing at the park after a very long day. But our sacrifices go a really long way!

8 – Give Them Independence

Kids need space and independence to grow and learn how to make good choices. This may seem to be in opposition to “be present” but it isn’t. Giving your child independence simply means allowing them to work things out on their own… with your guidance.

This teaches them about how their actions have both positive and negative consequences. And as they get older they need to be able to safely make both good and bad choices. You’ll find that in doing this they learn to self-correct at a much faster rate than us always doing it for them.

Just remember to give large doses of grace as they will make mistakes!

9 – Embrace and Love Their Uniqueness

In this “fit in or get out” world we need to be intentional about embracing our children’s uniqueness. Our kids need us to affirm that though their uniqueness makes them stand out, it’s that uniqueness that makes them special.

As a child’s minister years ago, I taught my kids that it feels uncomfortable to stand out and be different. And we have this desire to blend in with what the world says is beautiful, talented, or cool.

But I asked them to think about the biggest stars and icons in the entertainment industry and describe what makes them more of a star than all the other entertainers. And the majority of the answers were… the biggest stars worked very hard to stand out and be different.

Think of Lady GaGa and Michael Jackson. Their biggest claim to fame is doing what no one else has done before… to produce a sound no one else has heard before. That takes guts, confidence, and the ability to fully embrace their uniqueness.

As parents, this is probably the hardest thing to do. But no matter how many times you tell your daughter her curls are beautiful or that your son’s bright red hair is amazing, and they brush it off… keep saying it. Until they believe it.


I hope this list gives you some inspirations on ways to be more connected with your kids. Let’s face it, we all fall short of hitting these perfectly – especially in busy seasons.

Perfection is the enemy of progress and it’s better to be aware and make changes than to try for perfection any day. What are your thoughts on this list? Did I miss anything? Please add in the comments below!

Parenting can be hard and sometimes we miss the important things. This list reveals the things your kid needs the most that they don't know how to tell you. #parenting #kidsandparenting #momadvice #momlife #kidsIt's very easy to get distracted on the wrong parenting priorities, this list helps to remind us of the most important and often surprising things our kids really need! #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #mom #kidsEvery child has real physical needs and emotional needs. Too often we are busy meeting the urgent needs and forgetting the most important needs of all. Find out what they are here! #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #momadvice #familyThe most important things your children really needs isn't something they usually know how to even ask for. Get the list to see how you're doing! #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #kids

All children and people have needs but there are deeply felt needs that all children have that we should work to understand and meet for our children.

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

Why Moms Yelling At Their Kids Isn’t the Problem – and What Is

There are tons of articles floating around the internet telling moms how and why they should stop yelling at their kids. And while I’ll admit I’m one of many bloggers who’ve written on this topic – I want to set the record straight.

 

Personally, I struggled a lot in my early years as a mom with getting my kids to listen without yelling or constant nagging.

That’s why I simply don’t believe the yelling is the problem. If our kids don’t listen without the shock of a yell from us or needing to be reminded a hundred times, our system isn’t working.

It’s not the yelling that needs fixing, it’s the system!

And a lot of the parenting advice today can leave moms feeling hopeless for why they can’t control their own temper or why they can’t figure out how to get their kid’s attention without yelling.

If that’s you, know you’re NOT alone and you’re NOT a bad mom!

Moving right along…

Related: How to Really Get Your Kids to Listen

All Moms Yell at Some Point

Yelling happens to all moms at some point. I don’t know a mom who’s never lost her cool. If that’s you, I’ve seriously got to meet you and sincerely shake your hand.

The cold, hard truth is motherhood can be painfully hard some days. And when we combine the behavioral issues of our kids, our own emotional challenges and seriously crappy days – yelling seems like an inevitable occurrence.

In my early days as a mom, I probably yelled at my kids at least once every day. Sometimes my yelling was just high energy talking like when we’d be running late and I needed to announce it upstairs to the whole house at once. Let’s go!!

But other times I yelled when I was angry like when my kids would start arguing in the living room over what to watch on Netflix and start wrestling over the remote. 

In the beginning, it all seemed normal. When I yelled, it always got everyone’s attention and made me feel like I was doing a better job than simply taking a passive approach. 

I felt proud of the fact that my kids were always some of the most well behaved kids in the room. I always got compliments and comments about how respectful my children were, even when they were just toddlers. 

What people didn’t see was, I was using yelling as part of my parenting strategy. A strategy that gets results but doesn’t last. One that required ME to make it work. 

This overwhelm and exhaustion only perpetuated my yelling and anger. It was like I was angry because I had to yell in order to get anything done. 

I’m convinced that if there was a way to measure the stress hormones surging through my body in those days, mine would’ve been off the charts! I was always running on a 10 and found it very hard to be in a state of calm or ever be relaxed or playful with my kids.

Click below to get my FREE guide that shows you how to quickly identify surprising mom anger triggers and how to calm down before losing it!

What’s Really Behind All The Yelling

I didn’t really want to yell or scream at my kids. But at the time, I felt like it was my only option and was my go-to method that always gave me that quick win.

I wished there was a way I could talk to my kids like Claire Huxtable who always knew just what to say to get her kids to listen, teach a valuable life lesson, and make a priceless connection with her kids – all after a long day at the office. 

What I didn’t know at the time was my communication process with my kids was broken and that parenting like Claire wasn’t a total work of fiction.

The problem with yelling all the time is it hinders our ability to truly connect to the heart of our children. Think about if you yelled at your spouse all the time when they got on your nerves. Instead of communicating in a more respectful way you just yelled and nagged.

Or what if your partner was the yeller and lost it every time they didn’t like the way you did something. Hmm. I bet there wouldn’t be a lot of intimacy happening.

It’s the same with our kids. When we’re angry and yelling, it sends negative and fear-laden messages to our brain about the source of our anger. Who just happens to be our kids. 

Yelling also sends fear signals to our kids’ brains and studies have shown that yelling also has damaging effects to their brains and overall development.

When you combine how yelling makes us feel and how it makes our kids feel – it really hinders our ability to have a close, intimate, and even playful relationship with our children.

Again, let me emphasize that yelling here and there isn’t likely to be a problem. What I’m talking about here is a lifestyle of yelling.

Related: Surprising reasons moms really yell

What We Need to Ask Ourselves

If you find yourself yelling on a daily basis, I want to encourage you to take a moment to ask yourself why. 

Are you dangling at the end of your rope? 

Are you stressed and exhausted beyond anything you’ve experienced? 

Do you need a better way to get your kids to be self-motivated and listen without you needing to yell? 

Is there a source of unresolved anger that’s bubbling under the surface?

Only you know the answer to those questions and only you know if you need and want to change. It’s not my place or anyone else’s to tell you that you have a problem or need to change.

You’re smart and capable enough to decide that for yourself.

I made my own decision to change because I didn’t like how I felt as a mom anymore. I didn’t read a parenting article that told me I should stop yelling. I just felt inside that there was a better way for me and my family.

What You Probably Don’t Know About Yelling

Yelling is two things…

The first is something I didn’t know early on. And that is yelling is a reinforcer of the behavior we don’t want. Yep. Every time we yell and our kids finally jump up and do what we ask, we‘ve reinforced that ineffective pattern of behavior.

We’re essentially training our kids to only listen and obey when we yell. In fact, I used to say that to my kids when I was annoyed… “you guys are training me to yell more because you don’t listen until I yell.” 

Sure, I was just venting my frustration, but the truth was they weren’t training me… I was training them! 

The second thing is that yelling is more about us and how we’re feeling in the moment than it is about our kids and what they’re doing in the moment. 

Imagine your spouse just came home and gave you the devastating news that his position is being phased out of his company and he’ll be getting laid off next month. 

Suddenly, you’re heart starts racing and you’re flooded with high levels of anxiety, fear, frustration, and maybe even anger at the situation. You walk into the kitchen to get a glass of water and you’re jolted when see your 4-year-old decided to take his older sister’s giant pack of colored sharpies and make a mural on the kitchen wall. 

How do you think you’d react to the wall and your son in that moment? What would you say? What would you do? Do you think you’d be yelling or screaming?

Now let’s change that scenario up a bit. Let’s say your husband came home and announces that he’s finally been given the dream promotion he’s been working on for two years. 

 

His salary and bonuses will be increasing significantly and you can finally move out of your cramped house and into the neighborhood you’ve both been eyeing for over a year. 

 

You’re elated and filled with a renewed sense of hope. As you bounce into the kitchen for a drink of water you suddenly notice your son’s art project. 

 

How do you think you’d react to the wall and your son now? Is it a much different reaction from the first one? Do you think yelling and screaming would be involved? Or do you think you might even have a sense of humor about it. 

 

I’ve seen many awful messes made by toddlers whose moms decided to make a video and post it on social media. I’ve always thought, “she must have been in a fantastic mood when that happened!

Seriously, the BEST News Ever!

Now that we know what yelling is… let’s talk about what yelling is NOT. Yelling is not something that has to control you. We get to decide.

 

If yelling is more about us and NOT our kids… that means we have the power to control the only thing we can control… us. 

 

We can’t make our kids behave differently, make better choices, or do everything just the way we want it. That’s the definition of owning a robot. And if you’ve been a parent beyond 5 minutes, you know there’s no off switch or mute button!

 

That said, we can take courage to make a change within ourselves. One that allows us to learn easier ways to get our kids to really listen without all the yelling and constant reminding (yes, it’s possible!) And one that helps us manage our emotions in a healthy way. 

 

This is the work I did for myself. I got very honest with myself and asked God to help me through this process. And He did. I surrendered my guilt, frustrations, and my pride before God and decided that it was time I committed to doing the work I needed in order to change. 

 

And make no mistake about it, this was WORK. God gave me the grace, but I had to walk through the hard stuff for several years while making all the mistakes until I made it to a place that feels like peace. 

 

I can’t express the gratitude that I feel for giving myself permission to be brave to go somewhere I was terrified to go. 

 

I still get mad, irritated, and yell from time to time. I’m human and those old instincts still come out if I can stressed and tired. 

The difference for me is I know exactly how to calm my nerves in those anger-inducing moments. I’ve done it for so long, I even surprise myself sometimes!

But the most priceless gift is having kids who truly listen to me and the relationship I’ve been able to build with each one of them. 

Less Yelling is Just a Happy By-Product

If you’re feeling stuck in a cycle of yelling and can’t figure it out… it’s time to do some work. That’s because you don’t have to yell unless you really want to. 

NOT yelling shouldn’t be your focus. There’s always an underlying cause that needs more attention.

You can become a mom that’s calmer and more playful than you’ve been in a long time. 

One who’s not burnt out and overwhelmed to your max. 

If I can do it… you can do it.

Yelling less at our kids is simply a by-product of fixing the actual problem!

If you’re a mom who’s stuck and feels alone… please hear me now. You are NOT alone! You are NOT a bad mom. And you do NOT need to spend your days in guilt and frustration. There is freedom for you. 

You can start your journey to a calmer way of life by grabbing your free copy of The Calm Mom Formula! It will teach you how to start training your brain and understanding your anger triggers.

 

How have you overcome anger? Share your tips in the comments below. Or share your biggest struggles and questions and I’ll be sure to answer them below!

With all the advice telling moms to stop yelling at their kids, I believe this is bad advice for moms. Why? Because there's something huge that's missing when we say to moms to just stop and calm down. Here's what moms should focus on instead... #kidsandparenting #momanger #parentingtips

How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling and All the Regret

How to get your kids to listen without yelling

Ever wonder how to get your kids to listen without yelling? I know, it’s frustrating! But this simple strategy really helps to get your kids to listen without screaming your head off. You have to work it… but it really works! 

I’m not talking about when you shout upstairs for your kiddos to get in the car because you’re running late for school for the third time this week.

How to get your kids to listen without yelling

Or when your 12-year-old’s friend who lives down the block stops by and you kindly let her (and the whole house) know to come downstairs. I’m kind of loud in general… maybe you are too.

I’m talking about when your toddler decides to morph into Captain America for the hundredth time this week and starts throwing his shield across the living room and you kindly ask him to stop. At which he shows no visible signs of hearing and therefore you remind him again a little louder this time. 

Bam!  The shield slams into your wall once again and there goes your sanity and here comes the yelling.

This was me… every single day for years.

I knew something had to change because I wasn’t enjoying being a mom which I knew wasn’t right because I loved being a mom. But I just couldn’t figure out how to break the vicious cycle of yelling and regret.

Then through prayerful observation and help from my husband who could see what was going on all along, I saw that I was the cause of this cycle – not my kids. And that’s what I want to share with you in this post.

Do I still have a set-back every now and then and yell at my kids in anger? Sure, but those are infrequent and much less than they used to be. If you find yourself losing your temper frequently with your kids, I strongly encourage you to read and try these tips.

They really do work!

Why Yelling Doesn’t Get Your Kids to Listen

The first step to getting your kids to listen when you’re disciplining is to not be angry. Feels impossible, right?

I mean, sure they “hear” you, but our goal is for them to listen which isn’t the same thing.

Even if you need to step away, it’s important to release or control your personal frustration before diving right in. That’s because disciplining when you’re angry undermines your authority.

I’ve come to learn something along the way. Yelling really never worked, and kids lose respect for yelling parents. 

I thought it was working because when I talked normally, no one ever moved. Until I broke out in a nice yell. That’s only partially true because they simply learned to respond to the yelling.

Not only does disciplining when you’re angry undermine your authority, but you’re also teaching your child how to have loose and untamed emotions by watching you. Ouch!

Yelling like a lunatic and saying hurtful things to your children can have lasting consequences. And whether they tell you or not… those words run deep.

Our yelling is really more about us than it is about them.

This is so, so important for us as parents to let sink in. When we get overwhelmed at the situation and break out into a yelling fit we are acting no different than our toddler who drops to the floor in a temper tantrum.

And when we feel tempted to have a mommy tantrum… we need to give ourselves a mommy timeout.

This is really important to allow us to cool down so we don’t let our emotions take over and do or say something we’ll most certainly regret. And need to apologize for!

Lax Parenting is your Enemy

Lax parenting – without firm and consistent boundaries – opens the door to being challenged by your child at some point… really every point.

And we have the tendency be most lax when all is well and we’re having a stress-free day. Little things get overlooked over and over again. We’re afraid to make any adjustments so we don’t rock this peaceful boat we’re in.

For example, you’re in the grocery store with your toddler and things are going great. #MomWin

He asks if he can walk, and since you only had to run in for a couple things (another #MomWin) you let him walk.

In a nano-second, he starts to touch things. He’s just touching and not knocking things over… so what’s the big deal you tell yourself. Deep down, you’re terrified to do anything to end this no-chaos bliss thing happening. So you don’t tell him to stop.

But wait!! Here’s the kicker, he’s just mentally and physically recorded that it’s ok to touch stuff at the store.

Fast forward to your next trip to the store when you need to grab a cart full of stuff (no #MomWin). To top it off, your son didn’t get a full nap today and you’re so exhausted you think you might need glasses.

This time your son reaches out to grab and pull down every item he can get his hands on. You’re embarrassed, frustrated, and headed for a melt-down.

The key to setting boundaries is making them consistent. In the Good Times AND in the Bad! They need to know what to expect EVERY single time.

The Importance of Staying Consistent

Children desperately need consistency to learn. Not only do they need to know what to except, but that expectation you need shouldn’t change every day of the week. And we can’t be wishy-washy.

I use to be the Queen of the Threat. I’d rattle off statements like, “Do you want to go into Timeout?” or “Do you want a spanking?”

When in reality, I didn’t plan on following through. I was banking on the “threat” doing its job. But the truth is, our kids are just too smart for that. They can see right through our weakness. I think they can smell it too!

Inconsistent or nonexistent consequences do nothing short of undermining our integrity and authority.

In short, they learn not to trust what we say.

Here’s a quick tip – make sure to think about the punishment when you’re not emotional. If you rattle off that your teenager is grounded for 6 months… if it doesn’t fit the crime, you’re going to be in a dilemma.

Do I let her off the punishment early or make her stick it out just to prove a point?

Either way isn’t the best scenario.

Firm doesn’t mean harsh.

Not only should our discipline be consistent but it also needs to be firm. They need to know you mean business.

But by the same token, they shouldn’t be afraid of you. I know, this kind of goes against many old-school parenting methods. But instilling fear is never helpful. There’s a clear difference between firm and harsh.

You may feel this is beneficial when your children are small, but as they get older – they need to know you’re there for them.

Think of all the crazy things young people have to deal with in our current times. Having a parent who blows their top over every little thing will keep your child from confiding in you – when they need you and your wisdom the most.

Let me also mention, that when I say harsh I’m not talking about spanking either. Spanking, done in a loving environment, without anger, can be a very effective discipline tool. And should only be done in love. Although it can clearly be misused and over-used.

Harsh discipline is done when we’re angry and led by our disappointment, embarrassment, guilt, or some other emotion. And can happen in every form of discipline from timeouts, lectures, mean words, shaming, and spanking.

The whole point of discipline is to teach our children what’s right and wrong. And we do this out of our love.

Discipline Should Come From Love

We see so much destruction in the news today, and I wonder how many of those individuals had no boundaries in their formative years.

Discipline, done the right way, is an act of love. It’s one way we keep our kids safe.

The Bible provides so much practical wisdom on correction and discipline. And the focal point always comes back to love. Proverbs 3:11-12 

It’s our job, really our privilege, to shape our children’s lives in a positive way. Giving them the best possible chance at life by teaching them the proper way to conduct themselves.

I want to emphasize here that the actual form of discipline and punishment you choose is not as important as being consistent and doing what you say.

Not only that, but each child is different and will respond differently to various forms of discipline such as timeouts, removal of privileges, and so on. There is no cookie-cutter formula that’ll work for every kid.

This is an on-going process and one where we need to fully depend on the Grace of God to do well. And rest in that same Grace when we miss it because we all do!

Do you have some tried and trusted methods for getting your kids to listen? Share them in the comments below! We’d love to hear them!

Tired of having to nag and yell to get your kids to listen to you? There's a better and much more enjoyable way to get your kids to listen the first time! Read to learn how to get your sanity back. #kidsandparenting #parenting #motherhood
Getting your kids to listen without yelling is easier than you think. There are simple things we must do and be consistent to see amazing results!

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

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

60 Fun Questions to Ask Kids to Get to Know Their Heart

Tired of your kids clamming up? Try these questions to get your kids to open up and get to know your child's heart. #parenting #kidsandparenting #parentingtips #parenting101 #momlife

No matter how naturally talkative your child is, it seems the older they get the less they share… with their parents, that is. It used to be that every day was an adventure they couldn’t wait to tell you all about when they got jumped in the car after school.

But now, you’re met with the all-encompassing “good” when asked how their day was. The problem isn’t with your child and their ability to pour their heart out to you or their lack of desire to share. It’s all about having the right questions to ask kids.

Tired of your kids clamming up? Try these questions to get your kids to open up and get to know your child's heart. #parenting #kidsandparenting #parentingtips #parenting101 #momlife

Asking the right questions is one of the most powerful positive parenting tools we have as moms. In fact, if we spent more time asking questions instead of lecturing and telling our kids how they need to think and behave we’d learn so much about our kids.

Here are 7 tips to help you ask questions in the most effective way.

Fun Questions to Ask Kids

Kids, and especially teenagers, require you to find the combination of words asked in just the right way to get your kids to open up and share their heart. It’s sometimes like completing a riddle at the end of a level in a video game.

I’m not sure why this is the case, but it seems to be so for most parents. And if it isn’t, you’ve probably already cracked the code!

Here are some fun questions to get to know your kids at different times of the day. For example, after school, after they attend a party or sleepover or a play date, after church service, and just plain fun questions to ask anytime to get the conversation flowing and get to know your child’s heart!

You’d be surprised how many things can happen in a day and our children don’t always know how to communicate their fears, their victories, and their questions. That’s why these questions are super helpful!

I’ve categorized them in sections so you can easily refer to them again and again!

You’ll be surprised how easily these questions will get the conversation going and how quickly you’ll get to know your growing child. Have fun!

Looking for a printable version of this list? Click this link to download the FREE resource The Keys to Connecting with Your Kids. This list is bundled with this great resource.

Questions to Get Kids Talking About School

1. What was the funniest part of your day?

2. What was something you did today that made you feel brave?

3. What was something that happened today that made you feel scared or alone?

4. How did you help someone today?

5. Tell me one thing that made you feel smart?

6. What new fact did you learn today?

7. What challenged you at school today?

8. If you could be the teacher tomorrow, how would you do things?

9. Does anyone in your class have a hard time following the rules?

10. How does that make you feel?

11. Who do you want to make friends with that you haven’t already?

12. What subject is the hardest for you?

13. What subject is the easiest for you?

14. If you could stop doing anything in your school day, what would it be?

15. If you could add anything to your school day, what would it be?

16. Are there times in your when you feel left out?

17. Do you ever feel like someone at school is a bully to you or anyone else?

18. What is the most popular thing to do at recess?

19. How would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?

20. If anyone in the world could be your teacher for a day who would it be?

Questions to Ask Kids After a Play Date

21. What was the most fun thing you did at the party/sleepover/play date?

22. What was something you did that was helpful?

23. What did you eat for lunch/lunch/snack?

24. If there were ever a zombie apocalypse, which one of your friends would survive?

25. What was the funniest thing that happened?

26. Was there ever a time when you felt afraid or alone?

27. Did anyone upset you? How?

28. If you could have your own party, who would you invite?

29. Were they kids at the party who you aren’t friends with?

30. Did you meet a new friend?

Questions to Ask After Church Service

31. What was the silliest thing that happened at church?

32. Was there anyone who came to service for the first time?

33. How did you make that person feel welcome?

34. What was something you learned for the first time?

35. Do you remember the memory verse, and what does it mean to you?

36. Did you make a new friend today? What was their name?

37. If you could teach your service next Sunday, how would you do it?

38. What will you do differently after today?

39. What’s one thing I can help you remember or talk more about this week?

40. What’s one thing that made sense to you today about God/bible/church?

Questions to Simply Get to Know Them

41. If you could create a new planet what would you name it, and what would it be like?

42. If you could change your name, what would you name yourself? Why?

43. If you were given a million dollars and had to spend it all in one week, what would you buy?

44. What’s your favorite thing to daydream about?

45. What’s your biggest dream that you wish would come true?

46. What have your friends been up to lately?

47. How do you show people you care about them?

48. What does it mean to show love?

49. What is one place you want to travel to one day?

50. If you could change anything about your family what would it be?

51. If you could change anything about your life what would it be?

52. If you could change any of rules of this world which ones would you change?

53. Where would you want to go on vacation if we could leave right now?

54. If you could create a new Crayola color, what would if look like and what would you name it?

55. What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

56. If you had your own motto, what would it be?

57. If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be?

58. If you could go on vacation anywhere, where would you go?

59. If you could live on your own private island but could only take 5 things, what would they be?

60. Describe the house you want to live in when you’re a grown-up.

Do you have some favorite questions to ask your kids to get them to open up? Please share them in the comments below!

Need Simple Tips to Help You Stay Calm When You Feel Like Losing It?

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