The Science Behind What Motivates Your Child to Succeed and Achieve Their Best

how to motivate your kids to succeed

We’ve all been there, you ask your kid to sweep up the floor after dinner while you go into the kitchen to start loading the dishwasher. You come back to see that your very capable child chose to use the “spot-cleaning” method under your dining room table.

how to motivate your kids to succeed

You take one look and know full and well he was rushing so he can get back to playing Fortnite as promised. Point blank – he didn’t even come close to trying his best. And moms have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing when our kid did their best at any moment.

I have one simple request in my home and that is when my kids put their hands to doing something, that they do their best. Notice I said their best, not the best. As your kids get older you tend to know when your kid is rushing or fluffing something off and when they’re actually struggling and need help… if you’re paying attention, that is.

Beyond our “mom-sense,” this is where having a strong relationship and connection with your child plays a huge role in parenting. Asking lots of questions helps you to see where your child is to figure out how you can actually help them do their best.

Why Should Kids Do Their Best?

It may seem like there’s a lot of emphasis on doing their best which as I stated earlier shouldn’t get mixed up with doing the best. That’s because the result of a person’s individual effort isn’t nearly as important as the process of effort they put in to actually achieve those results.

For example, it’s more noteworthy when a student works diligently to learn and stays accountable to do their school work and still brings home C’s on average. In contrast to a student who barely studies beyond glancing at a few pages prior to his tests and doesn’t take school seriously but still manages to bring home straight A’s.

The second student is likely to have a bent where learning and memorizing materials come more easily. Whereas the first student may not and might even be struggling with a learning disability or concentration issues that make learning more challenging.

Which child should be praised? The straight A student or the C student?

It is my personal belief and how I chose to parent my own children that praising results is a huge mistake over placing effort front and center.

The Dangers of Results-Driven Parenting

I remember growing up and having friends who did very well in school and also worked very hard but were scared to go home if a B showed up on their report card. This type of results-driven parenting can produce harmful stress in children which can contribute to depression in kids and teens.

When we focus on our child’s results – their grades, accomplishments, and whether or not they win in the game we are setting expectations for our child. And expectations are actually a really good thing. In fact, they’re the keys to getting kids, or anyone for that matter, to do their best.

But result-driven expectations are focused solely on ability and outcomes rather than the effort the child actually put into the process to succeed. When putting the sole focus on your child’s natural abilities or the outcome of a goal, it can be frustrating because these things are hard for your child to control.

Another problem with ability expectations is that if children attribute their successes to their ability-“I won because I’m so talented”-they must attribute their failures to their lack of ability-“I’m failed because I’m stupid.”

Psychology Today

The Science of High Performance

An unfortunate side effect of performance and results focused expectations is that we often unknowingly put labels on our kids. They could be more positive labels such as smart, driven, and high achiever. Or they might be less positive labels such as picky eater, shy, hyper, or learning disabled.

Even if we don’t outright call our children by these labels, we do so in subtle ways. For example, if your child is extremely shy you may introduce her to her new teacher by saying, “this is my daughter Cassie. She’s very shy so she may need some time to make friends.”

This innocent introduction is merely a parent’s gentle way of protecting their child from rejection or judgment… Our way of “helping” our kids along. But we often do more harm than good because our kids consciously and subconsciously grab hold of these labels (good or not so good) and live up to them.

She’ll naturally find herself holding back when in the presence of new people and because she’s been wearing a label of being shy, she most likely won’t push herself to grow in the healthy behavior of building positive relationships in her life.

Dr. Robert Rosenthal did exhaustive research on the topic of expectations of others and labels. He was fascinated to see how humans functioned when given arbitrary labels and whether or not those labels could change a person’s behavior. His research was on experimenter expectancy effects and the Pygmalion effect.

The Pygmalion effect is the scientific name for a self-fulfilling prophecy which is when a person believes something about themselves so strongly that they subconsciously work hard to make it a reality in their life, even if it’s not actually true.

This is so very important for us as parents to understand because it will help us set the right type of expectations for our children so they can most effectively achieve their best in life.

How to Set the Right Expectations for your Child

Whether we like it or not, we’re always establishing expectations for our children. They learn to anticipate our reactions to grades and performances and on a deep level work to meet those expectations. But setting the wrong ones can be detrimental to our children.

Focusing on their natural talents and gifting may seem like a good thing but if not guided properly can lead to an unhealthy sense of self-worth if their gift suddenly stops working or they’re prevented from using that gift for unforeseen reasons.

We need to be sure their identity isn’t wrapped up in their gifts and personal achievements.

Rather the healthiest and most effective expectations we can give our children are Effort Expectations. This is when we help our child focus on the process – the magic that happens in between the goal and the desired outcome.

When children (and adults) stay focused on the process of how we’ll achieve our goal we work harder and lean in at a higher level. The best part is, we know how hard we worked and if we come shy of that goal we still feel a high sense of satisfaction in how far we progressed.

When we only look at the endgame, we feel anxious and have a strong fear of failure. Those negative feelings are majorly reduced when we’re too busy putting the work in to achieve our goals.

An Experiment in Expectations

Now that we understand how to have the right type of expectations for our kids lets dive back into the science of why healthy expectations are so powerful.

Dr. Rosenthal conducted an experiment to test his theory on expectations. He had teachers give their students an IQ test that was labeled the Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition which basically measured whether a child was “ready to bloom” or not.

To protect the integrity of the experiment the teachers had no previous experience with this test and no knowledge of the experiment itself. After completion of the test, students who scored in the top 20% of this test were labeled as “ready to bloom.”

The teachers were given a list of children who scored in the top 20%. But here’s the twist, they were actually given a list of completely randomly selected names that fell in all scoring ranges.

At the end of the school year, all the students were retested to determine if any changes took place in their IQ scores. The results showed a tremendous increase in IQ scores in one group. Can you guess which one? Yep, the randomly selected “ready to bloom” students scored much higher whereas the students who weren’t labeled remained the same.

This is profound because it proves how powerful expectations are in the hands of teachers, parents, and other leaders. These teachers were told these students were above average (even though most weren’t).

As a result, they began to teach them as above average. In turn, when these children were talked to and interacted with as “above average kids” they simply rose to the occasion. A powerful concept indeed!

This is why we as parents must be aware of the labels we give our kids and the words we speak into our children. The bible says it this way:

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

Proverbs 23:7

It also says that life and death are in the power of our tongue. In other words, we have the ability to speak life into our children through the words we speak and the labels we give them. We can highlight labels that hold our kids back or encourage them to rise above those labels.

When we expect the best from our kids, you better believe they’ll be inspired to rise up to them!

Final Thoughts

Let me close with a personal example. This understanding of expectations doesn’t merely effect children, it’s for us too. We’ve all been in a situation where a boss, a friend, our parent, or even our spouse didn’t believe we were capable in some way.

It can feel demoralizing and extremely de-motivating. On the other hand, when we have people in our lives that believe in us, even more than we believe in ourselves, it can help us feel powerful and inspired to rise to what they see in us.

If you’re reading this and know you’ve been putting labels on your kids or doling out tons of results driven expectations do not feel hard on yourself. We’ve all done it. What’s more important is taking steps to change the narrative your child has been hearing.

Also, a parent’s job is to protect our kids, so never allow others (grandparents, teachers, etc.) to put negative labels on your child either. Simply tell them nicely that we don’t want to label our kids so please refrain from using that term with our child. It’s that simple.

Let me urge you to look beyond the surface labels in your child like talented, shy, picky eater, class-clown. And help them discover their purpose and achieve their dreams. Work to inspire them to push beyond their safe place and discover a place of their own greatness.

They just need to be told they can!

What to know the secret to getting kids self motivated to succeed? This surprising study shares insight that you can start using with your kids today! #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parenting

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

Raising happy teens

It really bothers me when I see teenage angst played out on TV and in the movies like it’s a natural part of the growing process. Spreading the lie that all teens must have an attitude problem and get into loads of trouble.

The truth is, being a teenager is hard and so much of the time we as parents are getting it wrong. That’s not to say every issue we face with our teens is our fault. The tween and teen stage is full of changes that can be hard for them and for you.

Raising happy teens

But we as parents are the single most important influence our kids have and how we parent and relate to our kids really matters… especially during the teen years.

Does it ever seem strange that your teen can seem totally logical and mature in one moment and completely illogical and impulsive in another?

That’s because their brains are still under construction!

Because the prefrontal cortex is still developing, teenagers might rely on a part of the brain called the amygdala to make decisions and solve problems more than adults do. The amygdala is associated with emotions, impulses, aggression and instinctive behavior. source

This is why it’s hard to be a teen and can be equally hard to raise a teenager.

And to top it off, we live in a very image and selfie-focused world. When we send our kids to any typical school, we’re really sending them into a war zone. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s sadly very true.

There are so many instances of bullying, the pressure to conform, and exposure to things we never intended when we drop them off for their education every day.

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

Parenting Teens with Compassion

In the lives of many tweens and teens, they’re simply getting an education in survival. And this is very sad. No wonder teens are widely seen as angry, unengaged and apathetic people!

As parents, teachers, youth workers, and family members of teens we should be practicing parenting with compassion. And strive for connection and understanding before rushing to correction and judgment.

Don’t we need to focus on character development and discipline with our teens? Absolutely!

But first, we need to do everything in our power to win the heart of our child before they ever reach the teen years. And do everything in our power to keep it!

The heart is the access point to a person’s heart and when you have it you have everything you need to be an amazing mom.

So how do we win the heart of our kids and teens? Start by asking more questions. Not judgment-laden questions, but ones that focus on really getting to know them.

And do LOTS of listening. Way more listening than talking. And trust me, as a mom this is a HUGE challenge. At least it was for me!

We are born and bred to talk, talk, talk and lecture, lecture, lecture as a way of parenting. But we learn so much more when we shut up and listen.

The Secret to Raising Happy Teens

One of the starting points to raising thriving teens is our expectation. Our society programs us to expect the worst when our kids reach their teen years.

It’s referred to in the fabric of our culture over and over again. We’re taught to fear our kids becoming teenagers.

It’s no different than when we all feared our first child turning two because we were all told it was going to be terrible.

I’m kind of different in my thinking… kind of like a teenager. I don’t like being told, “this is how it’s going to be.” As if I have no control over the matter.

Here’s the thing, we do have a say! We do get to choose whether we buy into the lies or write a new story for our family.

I didn’t say it was going to be easy every day but at least when you go into something with the expectation that it’s NOT going to be terrible… that it’s going to be great… you’re starting from a winning position.

There’s so much power in our expectation and having low or fearful expectations actually changes the way we parent.

This is why I choose to expect that my children will all thrive in their teen and adult years… whether they do or don’t is another issue altogether.

My expectation is that they won’t be overcome by bullying and peer pressure, that they’ll be confident to stand on what they know is right, and know how to love themselves and others well.

I hope you choose to expect the same for your kids. And these tips will help you get there. It’s not easy being a parent in any stage, but we were made for this and have the capacity to exceptionally parent our teens.

Know When to Take a Break

I feel it’s necessary to start here when talking about raising tweens and teens. Not because they are bad (we’ve already covered that) but because they’re largely hormonal. Aside from hormones, teen moodiness can be related to issues outside of hormones.

After puberty sets in, kids have a much harder time managing their emotions. Aggression, sadness, and impulsive behavior are just some of the emotions raging in a typical teen.

That means even on the best of days, there are plenty of opportunities for blow-ups.

Even the most mild-mannered adult can find themselves in an all-out verbal war with their teenager.

So when you find yourself going back and forth in a heated discussion with your teen and your blood pressure is steadily rising, practice taking a break.

Just flat-out say that we need to stop this discussion until we both calm down and try again later. That’s it. It’s not worth saying things you’ll regret and you can’t take back.

You never want to risk verbally wounding your child or tearing down the walls of your relationship that you’ve worked so hard to build. Take a break and talk about it later, or if appropriate consider letting it go.

Become a Master Observer

There are so many changes that take place in our children from their tween years into early adulthood. And many of those changes or behavior shifts are a normal part of their growth and development.

However, sometimes major behavior and personality changes can point to trauma. And even seemingly little traumas can cut really deep and make much larger impacts on their reasoning and behavior.

And trauma to a teenager can range from being rejected by a close friend, being introduced to drugs through peer pressure, being a victim of bullying, feelings of depression or suicide, and even sexual abuse.

It’s vitally important that we don’t make the false assumption that all teens withdrawal and become anti-social to their families. This simply isn’t true.

Many, many of these typical teens were traumatized in some way and simply don’t know how to handle it or ask for help. Mainly because they feel it was their fault or that they’ll get into trouble.

I was personally a teen that was traumatized many, many times and all of these encounters warped my mind and how I related to others. Unfortunately, my behavior shift was rolled into the assumption that I was just being a “typical teenager.”

I wasn’t… I was deeply hurt and wounded. And sadly remained that way for much of my adulthood.

We need to put down our distractions and pay attention, be present, and fight for our kids. There’s nothing more important than that.

And I must point out that we don’t need to rely mearing on our own observations. Praying for our kids opens the door to being able to hear from Holy Spirit who will point us to issues with our kids we might never be able to observe on our own.

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

Model Kindness & SelfLove

One of the things teens get a bad rap for is lacking compassion. The easiest way to raise compassionate kids is to be compassionate. We need to model both compassion and kindness to others in front of our children so they can see these qualities in action.

We can’t simply leave it to the world to do it because it’s not really happening.

Kids are like little tape recorders walking around doing and saying everything they hear and see at home. I served in children’s ministry for over a decade and I’ve seen a lot! Your kids are telling all your business. Lol

The point I’m trying to make is we want them to be instinctively walking around and seeking out the hurting, the left out, and the unloved. Because they see us doing it first.

We also need to be modeling healthy self-love and self-esteem! Our kids are growing up in an image-focused world and it’s easy to feel like you don’t measure up.

Talking about our wrinkles and cellulite all the time isn’t setting the best example. It’s up to us to learn to love our own bodies and who we really are just the way we are… imperfections and all!

Teach Teens the Value of Grit

Grit is probably one of the most powerful qualities a person can develop and grow to live their best life. Grit is defined as passion and perseverance over the long term.

Grit supersedes talent, intelligence, connections, and the ability to overcome your own fear. Grit is what determines whether you’ll stay where you’re supposed to be and abundantly thrive there.

As Angela Duckworth points out in her Ted Talk below, how to teach grit in kids is still unclear. That’s why I believe teaching kids the “value” of grit is so powerful.

Instead of putting all of our emphasis on talent and intelligence we need to encourage our children to see their goals over the long haul. That they absolutely have the power to create their own destiny if they take the passion-driven right actions long enough.

Lead them to their Passion

Most of the time passion manifests through what we see as a talent. Maybe our child is really good at baseball, dance, or excels in their artistic ability. If that child is equally driven to grow in that gift… you have a passion!

Other times a passion can be people, need, or problem-driven. For example, this teen was filled with a passion to help cancer patients when her mom and sister were battling cancer.

She started a non-profit organization and it has grown enormously and is helping so many people.

The source of your child’s passion can come from many places. However, the important thing is that we help nurture their passion and give them every opportunity possible to rise beyond their potential.

The reason passion is so important for kids and teens is because it serves to keep them focused and occupied in something that deeply matters to them.

This is a very good thing as long as they practice healthy balance, of course. But the biggest factor is when a teen is filled with a passion, they are less likely to be influenced by peer pressure, teen boredom, low self-esteem, and bullying.

Why? Because they’re busy building something! They just don’t have time for the foolishness.

It’s NEVER a good idea to have a bored and uninspired teenager. Never.

Related: How to Stop Standing in the Way of Your Child’s Purpose

Be an Undistracted Parent

One of the reasons I believe it’s possible to make such a positive impact as a parent is by actually being there. And I’m not talking necessarily about not working. Most of us, including me, have to work for income.

I’m talking about being a Present Parent. One that’s not distracted by their phone, their busyness, or even their own dreams and passion.

As a mom, our first ministry is our family. And making the hard sacrifices to be there physically and emotionally must be our first priority. Especially over money.

The last several years we weren’t living a very glamorous life. We had a few setbacks in our business and ended up struggling in our finances. I wasn’t making any money from blogging at the time and my emotions and fear pointed me toward getting a job.

In the end, I stayed home and worked my butt off to stay focused on my family and work extremely hard in the fringe hours to build a business that I can work from home. All with the dream of earning an income that allows me the freedom to be with my kids.

Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t need to work for income you can still struggle to be a present parent. Present parenting has so much more to do with your priority of Family Time and making connections with your kids.

Praise Effort Over Results

Our kids are literally just trying to figure it all out every single day. And it’s hard.

Intentionally offering praise and encouragement when our kids take the right action is so key. When they take the initiative to clean their room on their own, to study for a test without prodding, or anything else you notice it’s important that we take a moment to reinforce that behavior.

They may not clean their room the way you like it done or might get a less than perfect grade on that test, but they took imperfect action. And imperfect action is a million times better than no action!

If your child is consistently earning C’s in school but they work diligently and make every opportunity to do well, then they should be praised the same as a student that earns straight A’s.

Why? Because of their effort. I always encourage my kids to do their best… not someone else’s best.

If we know our kids tried their best, then we praise them for their effort first and then the result.

If we only praise based on results, we run the high risk of marginalizing kids who don’t naturally fit into the high-performing or high-achieving model.

Related: 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Personal Accountability and Stop the Blame Game

Fill Their Love Bank

Think of your child’s heart as a bank. We all have a love bank and it works the same as our real bank accounts. We put deposits in and take withdrawals out.

How do we fill out child’s love bank?

By showing them love through encouragement. By affirming them way more than we correct or criticize them. And by always showing up, even when they push us away and say they don’t want us to.

Withdrawals happen when we scream at our kids in anger and frustration. When we judge them before we ever try to understand them. When we disconnect because we feel rejected.

Remember, it’s hard to be a teen. And much of the time, they’re struggling with complex emotions they don’t know how to deal with. Some days our teens just need a long, love-drenched hug… even if it’s just a verbal one.

Related: 50 Simple Ways to Show Love to Your Child Speaking their Love Language

Never Tolerate Disrespect

Finally, we must never tolerate disrespect to anyone. This really needs to start when they’re toddlers.

If kids are allowed to talk back to you or other adults or aren’t corrected when they’re outright disrespectful it’s like giving them a giant green light. And it only gets worse as they enter their tween years.

Talking back is a matter of personal expression. We all have the urge to say what’s on our minds and have the last word when we’re angry or frustrated.

And being able to develop the personal restraint to hold your tongue in these situations is an important social skill everyone needs to be able to do. Sadly, too few don’t.

When we allow our kids and teens to over-talk us, say rude comments or talk back it must be a non-negotiable action that’s always grounds for discipline.

If they’re allowed to be disrespectful to their own parents it’s likely this behavior will transfer to teachers, coaches, and other parents. If not dealt with, there’s a good chance they will grow to become rude people.

Please don’t raise another rude person. We have too many already!

All jokes aside, this is an area that needs boundaries and constant attention until they learn how to more effectively handle their emotions.


Which areas are you most excited about focusing on with your teen? I know this post showed a lot things we can work on with our teens. Don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed or discouraged.

Just take the right actions one step at a time!

Share your teen struggles and questions in the comments below!

 

Having struggles with your teen? Try these simple tips to help you raise happy and confident teens in a negative world! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #teens #tweensHaving struggles with your teenager? Try these simple tips to help you raise a happy and confident teen in this largely negative and image focused world! It's possible! #kidsandparenting #teens #tweens #raisingkids #parenting #parentingtipsTeenagers are great. Having struggles with your teenager? Try these simple tips to help you raise a happy and confident teen in this largely negative and image focused world! It's possible! #kidsandparenting #teens #tweens #raisingkids #parenting #parentingtips

Want to know the secret to raising confident and happy teens? The answers may surprise you! Check out how to help your teen and tween be their best! #tweens #teens #raisingkids #parenting #parenting101

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

Want to know the secret to making your child feel loved every day? It's learning to speak your child's love language! This post will both help you learn their love language and give you 50 simple ways to speak your child's love language every day! #lovelanguage #parenting #kidsandparenting #positiveparenting #gentleparenting

60 Strong and Cool Baby Names with Powerful Meanings

2018 Strong and cool baby names

I love names and my husband and I took the naming of our three kiddos pretty seriously, but we also had a lot of fun too. Right now strong and cool baby names are very popular, and today’s parents are all about unique! 

2018 Strong and cool baby names

Names are important. When we call someone by a name, that’s the meaning we are assigning to them. In essence, we are calling them a meaning.

Let me say it like this, we wouldn’t want anyone calling our kid stupid, right? First, you wouldn’t believe that was true, but also you don’t want your child hearing over and over that they’re stupid, dumb, or any other negative attribute.

 

 

 


 
On the flip side, we want to speak powerful words and encouragement into the hearts of our children. Let’s say your child’s name is Wisdom or the Greek equivalent, Sophia. I know several children by both of those names and they are beautiful. And each day they are called Wisdom… very powerful!

 

 

 

In the case with my children’s names, we started with the meaning we wanted to speak over our child every day and tirelessly poured over hundreds of names until we found the ones we loved.

In the case of my middle daughter, her name came to me in a dream. I loved how beautiful her name sounded and the meaning fit the description we wanted so that was easy!

In this list, I wanted to offer baby names that sounded fresh and cool but also have strong and powerful meanings. I also purposefully didn’t separate boy names from girl names because parents are switching up names so much these days I wanted to leave that up to you.

These are perfect strong baby names with powerful meanings for 2019!

Want to research more name meanings? Try this free resource. Enter in any name and discover it’s meaning. Related: Popular and trending baby names.

Related: Everything You Need for Your New Baby!

Breastfeeding class

Strong and Cool Names with Powerful Meanings:

Abigail – Joy of the Father

Ace – Number one, the best

Amara – Eternal

Amora – Love

Axel – My Father is Peace

Asher – Blessed and Happy

Aaliyah – Rising

Alessandra – Defender of mankind

Balan – A Knight Of The Round Table

Barke – Barke

Bazyli – King

Callie – Most Beautiful

Caelan – Powerful warrior

Chance – Good Fortune

Creed – Guiding principle; I believe

Dante – Lasting and Enduring

Declan – Full of Goodness

Denzell – Powerful

Edric – power and good fortune

Elliot – Lord is my God.

Esme – Loved

Ethan – Strong and Firm

Faye – Loyalty; confidence

Felix – Happy and Prosperous

Gabriel – Devoted to God; a hero of God

Griffin – Strong Lord

Hannah – Favor; grace of God

Henry – Ruler

Ian – God is gracious

Ida – Hardworking

Jayce – Healer or the lord is salvation

Julian – Father of the Skies

Karson – Christian

Kay – Pure

Levi – Joined in harmony

Lucas – Light-giving; illumination

Milo – Soldier

Mila – People’s Favor

Malik – Sovereign

Noelle – Day of Christ

Noah – Rest, Peace

Owen – Young Warrior

Paisley – Church

Nova – New

Quillion – Crossing Swords

Raine – She is singing; queen.

Reyes – King

Reign – Rule, Sovereign

Reese – Enthusiasm

Reilly – Courageous

Ronin – Well-advised ruler

Salem – Peace

Scout – To listen

Tiara – Crown

Verena – True

Valerio – Strength

Walt – Army Ruler

Xander – Protector of Men

Zale – Sea Strength

Zana – God’s gracious gift

Which baby name is your favorite? Share in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

These baby names are the coolest and freshest baby names for baby boys and baby girls. Plus many of these baby names are gender neutral!! #babynames #coolbabynames #pregnancy

27 Creative Pregnancy Announcement Ideas You’ll Want to Steal!

Epic pregnancy announcement pictures

With over 200 million pregnancies surprising and delighting families every single year, that’s a lot of pregnancy announcements being shared with the world! Especially on social media.

Announcing your pregnancy is one of the most fun things to do after you find out you’re pregnant. Once you and your spouse decide on the right time to announce your pregnancy you probably want to start with your family and friends first.

Epic pregnancy announcement pictures

As long as you are comfortable on your timeline, you can be as creative or as laid back as you want when you make the official announcement to family and close friends. In other words, a simple excited call to your parents is just fine.

If that’s not fun enough for you, try buying a cute gift to announce to your parents, siblings, and even best friends. Here are some adorable ideas!

 

 

Pregnancy Announcements Gift Ideas

Click to get your mug!

Click to get your gift onesie

Click to get your best friend mug

Click to get your gift onesie

Click to grab your mug

What’s the best way to present your cute little gift?

There’s no right or wrong way! Just have fun and let this time bring you and your family joy. Simple invite your family to dinner or a simple lunch and present your fun little gifts at the end for a fun surprise.

If you’re more of a party girl, get inspiration here on hosting a cocktail announcement party.

 

 

27 Creative Ways to Announce Your Pregnancy on Social Media

Once you’ve made sure to announce your pregnancy to your closest loved ones, it’s time to share your blessing with the rest of the world. And what better way to do that than on social media!

These fun pregnancy announcement ideas are fun and creative and are sure to bring you and everyone who sees your announcement tons of joy!

pregnancy announcement ideas

Pregnancy Announcements Ideas for 1st Time Moms

Your first baby is such a rollercoaster of emotions! There’s nothing in the world like it. Here are some super fun ideas to share your first baby bump!

 
 
 
 
 
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Related: The Ultimate Baby Essentials List for the Minimal Mom on a Budget

 
 
 
 
 
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Pregnancy Announcements for Baby #2 and on…

When you have the honor of being blessed with baby #2 and so on those pregnancy announcements go to another level of fun! Try bringing in the siblings for a whole family announcement.

 
 
 
 
 
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Related: 60 Unique and Cool Baby Names with Powerful Meanings

 
 
 
 
 
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Related: 25 Sweet and Feminine Baby Girl Names with Strong Meanings

 
 
 
 
 
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Pregnancy Announcement Using Your Ultrasound Images

We all get those sweet little ultrasound images, at our first pregnancy appointment. Why not use those pictures to announce your pregnancy?

 
 
 
 
 
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The Sweetest Pregnancy Celebrations

Pregnancy after infertility, IVF, or miscarriage is the sweetest celebration of all! I’ve personally experienced pregnancies after both long-term infertility and miscarriage. You’ll just love these heartwarming announcements.

 
 
 
 
 
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Let me know which announcement is your favorite! Vote in the comments below. Please click on any Instagram to follow these amazing moms!

 

Looking for fun and super creative ways to announce your pregnancy? These super cool pregnancy announcements will be so fun to try to announce your bundle of joy! #pregnancy #pregnancyannouncements

9 Surprising Things That Happen After Giving Birth That’ll Totally Shock You

surprising things that happen after giving birth

The postpartum period a woman endures after giving birth is almost as traumatic as the birth itself. Sorry to say, but it’s true for most women.

There are things that happened after giving birth that I never expected until I was there in the hospital watching them happen. I remember feeling hurt and confused (physically and emotionally) because no matter how much googling I did on labor and childbirth… I wasn’t prepared.

surprising things that happen after giving birth

That’s why I’m writing this post… so you’ll be ready. And you won’t have to feel mad at all your other mom friends who didn’t have the heart to tell you.

Let me warn you, if you’re squeamish be prepared now. Childbirth isn’t pretty… it’s actually downright disgusting. I mean, the circle of life part is beautiful but everything else is gross.

Surprising Things That Happen After Giving Birth

I’m simply going to go down the list of what’s mostly likely or could happen to you in the order that it’s most likely to happen.

Every woman’s body is different and I’m sure there have been new moms and will be one’s that don’t experience each of these lovely experiences. Just be ready and know that you’re not alone, even if it feels like you are because no one ever seems to want to talk about them.

You Give Birth a Second Time

If you have a vaginal delivery, after you finally push that giant (no matter their actual size!) baby out of you, you’ll quickly realize that your labor experience isn’t over.

While you’re still all tears and joy holding your new baby on your chest and thanking God it’s all over, you’re told it’s time to deliver the placenta. The wha-what?

I felt shocked and a little dumb that I didn’t know this and so I had to give a couple very small pushes to help deliver the placenta. Yikes.

After it’s delivered the doctor will fully examine it (I recommend you go back to staring at your baby now) to be sure it’s completely in tact.

There’s a small chance if the placenta isn’t delivered intact that the mom could be in danger of hemorrhage or infection.

It’s Time for the Stitches

If you’re like me and most women who deliver their babies vaginally, you’ll probably need stitches from tearing your perineum while pushing. Ouch! I know, the thought makes you cringe.

Honestly, I did not earn my batch of courage for not tearing in childbirth and have to say it is certainly not the worst part of giving birth. My first birth experience was pretty traumatic, so this wasn’t even on my radar.

So getting stitched up is par for the course and it’s pretty quick and I don’t remember any pain during the procedure. If you’d like to minimize your chances of tearing read this for some great tips.

And here are the best tips I could find on how to take care of your perineum after birth.

The Bleeding, Oh the Bleeding

I never, ever imagined how much blood would be coming out of my body right away and in the days after giving birth. As a woman who’s experienced a rather heavy period every month for years and years before having kids, I assumed it would be a similar experience.

In fact, I really didn’t even know that I was supposed to be bleeding like the heaviest period I’d ever had in my life! I was shocked when I was given these giant mesh panties because I had no idea what was coming. You’ll love to use these ones instead!

I literally was afraid that I was hemoraiging all the time. I knew this was a possibiliy but wasn’t the case. However, these are the hidden signs you might be hemorraging after birth. This is very serious and a close friend of mine almost died from a postpartum hemmorage.

In a normal postpartum experience, the bleeding is very heavy at first and will begin to taper off each day until you are discharged. The full course of the bleeding will most likely continue up to a few weeks. If your bleeding suddenly becomes much heavier or bright red, seek medical attention right away.

It’s Time for a Very Unpleasant Massage

I think we’d all agree that a relaxing massage after giving birth is a great idea, but that’s sadly not the kind of massage you’ll get! A nurse will, at some point early after giving birth, will come in your room to give you a fundal massage.

This is where your nurse will push and press on your uterus to encourage it to contract fully the way it’s supposed to. This helps along the uterus in it’s natural process of contracting back into it’s pre-baby size. That’s not a bad thing at all!

It also helps to reduce exessive blood loss too. And as we said, you’re already losing enough! The only drawback here it that you’re contracting… as in contractions. It really doesn’t feel great, but you get the gist.

Your Baby Needs to Eat Too

Whether you decide to do the breast crawl, try to breastfeed your baby right after the nurse lays her on your chest, or wait a bit after her bath. That part is your choice and also based on whether those things are even possible due to complications.

In any case, your baby will need to eat! That means while you’re knee-deep in all this birth-chaos, you have a hungry baby to feed. Breastfeeding your new baby is extremely challenging for most new moms. I know it was for me!

My biggest tip is to ask for help from the resident lactation consultant. They are usually so, so helpful and can get you and your new baby off to a great start with breastfeeding. Do NOT suffer alone if you are having problems.

Also, know that your breastmilk doesn’t come in right away, and what your baby will be drinking following birth is actually colostrum. This is a thinker and extremely nutrient dense milk that your baby needs to help them grow strong and healthy. Your breastmilk will actually come in after a few days postpartum.

The Cramps, Oh the Cramps

Not only are you bleeding like you’re on the biggest period of your life, you will be cramping like it too! It sucks and taking Ibuprofen is safe even if you’re breastfeeding.

Just like with your period, the cramps will ease as the bleeding does so you have to let things run it’s course.

Cuddling that sweet baby honestly does seem to work like a natural pain reliever though! Or at least that’s how I remember it.

It’s Like Potty Training All Over Again

After you give birth you all of a sudden become deathly afraid of both your first pee and first poo after birth for obvious reasons.

As a result of fearing to pee many new moms secretly reduce their water intake. Do NOT do this! It makes your pee more concentrated causing it to sting more. Ouch! It can also encourage constipation which you do not want right now!!

Using a peri-bottle to spray warm water down there as you pee is very, very helpful. This peri-bottle is way better than the one they give you at the hospital!

As for having your first postpartum BM, you’ll need to do it as your ticket to going home. Make sure to take your stool softener as directed by your doctor which sure helps things along.

The key is to reduce your anxiety and take it slow… very slow.

If you’ve developed hemorrhoids from pushing, you can use a topical cream like this one. It helps to reduce the swelling and pain from that area and make it easier for you to go.

Get Ready to Sweat

With your body retaining so much fluid during your entire pregnancy, your body needs to release that fluid somehow. And since you won’t lose it all during childbirth, much of that fluid will come out in night sweats.

I remember waking up that first night with a soaking wet gown. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, but now I know it’s all part of the magic of birth.

It could take up to 8 weeks for your body’s fluid levels to get back to normal.

Belly Be NOT Gone!

Finally, one of the most disappointing and shocking parts to my first birth experience is the fact that when you leave the hospital, you basically still look pregnant! Seriously?

I was very thin my first pregnancy and not a soul told me to be prepared to walk out of the hospital looking like I did when I walked in. This really was heartbreaking for me because I bought a new “going home outfit” for myself which was a pair of size small pink sweatpants and a slim tank top.

I know, I know weird choice but that was almost 13 years ago and I was in my twenties. I literally looked terrible and even split a hole in my pants putting them on! Talk about emotional scarring.

My best advice is to bring clothes that are very soft, stretchy, and comfortable. Trust me, the last thing on your to-do list after giving birth is looking stylish.

Final Thoughts

The postpartum period is very painful, stressful, and exhausting for mothers. Don’t try to go faster than your body will allow. Take it slow and give yourself the grace and time to recover completely.

And make your total focus adjusting to motherhood and loving that precious new gift!

These are the surprising things that happen after giving birth that you wish someone told you! Get the 9 Shocking things that happen after labor. #pregnancy #babies #parenting
Want to really know what happens after labor? Learn 9 surprising things that happen after giving birth that will totally shock you! #pregnancy #babies #motherhood #parenting

60 Fun Questions to Ask Your Kids to Get Them to Open Up and Share 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 the questions being asked.

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!

Questions to Ask Your Kids 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 Your 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 Your Kids 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 Ask Kids to 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!

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 #momlifeIf you really want to get to know your child's heart, try asking the right questions. These questions are guaranteed to get your kids talking and having fun! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101 #momlife #kidsThese super fun questions to ask your kids will keep the fun and conversation going! Perfect for young kids and older teens too! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #momlife

Really want to get your kids to share their heart with you? Try asking these fun questions to get to know your kids. These questions to ask kids to get to know them are sure to keep the conversations going! #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids

7 Reassuring Newborn Tips for the Tired and Anxious New Mom

Newborn tips for new moms

I firmly believe that God intended for a full nine months for babies to grow to full term before birth. It could have just as easily been three or even six months, but moms need a full nine months to fully prepare for what’s coming… a little human.

A precious little human that will be totally dependent on its parents for every single thing they need! A newborn’s first few days and months can be extremely overwhelming for new parents.

Newborn tips for new moms

This is the case for newborns that don’t have any issues or challenges but for moms with babies that have conditions like colic or reflux it can be downright scary.

My son had severe reflux and later suffered from obstructive sleep apnea that required surgery. I remember the sleepless nights all too well.

If you’re a first time mom who is exhausted and anxious that you might make a mistake along the way, take a breath and know that you will. I know you probably weren’t expecting that answer but it’s true. All parents make mistakes!

These are the best newborn tips for new moms that will give you more confidence in your newest motherhood journey! These are the perfect newborn tips for tired new moms from some amazing mothers and I wanted to share them with you.

Here are also some helpful tips on the best baby essentials you need, how to get started with breastfeeding your newborn and increase your breastmilk supply.

How to Avoid Day-Night Confusion in Your Newborn

Getting your newborn on some level of a sleep schedule can be challenging even for seasoned parents. However, the first step to getting your new baby to sleep through the night is avoiding day-night confusion. Here’s Rachel’s tip from A Mom Far From Home:

The best way to establish day night rituals is to be consistent. During the day you’ll want to make sure your baby is awake to feed, then purposefully try to avoid fully feeding them to sleep.

Read the full post here!

The Best Way to Dress Your Newborn in the Cold Months

One of the most frustrating things for new moms is trying to dress their tiny newborn in the winter months. And when it’s time to leave the house, it can be totally exhausting. The trick is using layers to keep your baby warm and cozy while still being able to get them into their carseat safely. JD from Semi-Delicate Balance gives her best hack:

You can’t put thick jackets or chunky sweaters on your baby and then put the car seatbelt over them. It’s best to put them in a long sleeve or a thinner jacket. Then just turn the thick jacket around, and then slip it over their arms.

Read the full post here!

The Easy and Safest Way to Swaddle Your Newborn

It’s a known fact that most newborns loved to be swaddled as it mimics the constant cradling they experienced every moment of their time in the womb. Some babies don’t need to be swaddled or don’t even like it. If that’s the case, don’t bother. If they do, here’s a tip for swaddling your baby safely from Uplifting Mayhem:

For the healthy development of the hips, babies’ legs need to be able to bend up and out at the hips. Swaddling for short periods of time is likely fine, but if your baby is going to spend a significant amount of the day and night swaddled, consider using a swaddling sleep sack that lets the legs move. 

Read the Full Steps to Swaddling here!

How to Beat the Baby Bath Time Blues

I’m not sure if this is true of all newborns but all three of my brand new babies hated their first baths. I think the new experience can be a sensory overload so making this process as warm, quiet, and as comfortable as possible goes a long way. Here’s a great tip from Swaddles N Bottles to make this happen:

Babies take comfort in having an extra towel or light baby blanket placed on top of them. Only remove the blanket as needed to wash each part. After you are done washing the baby, place baby in towel (baby will be slippery!) and swaddle up.

Get all the tips here!

Understanding Your Newborn’s Hunger Ques

Many moms prefer to feed their newborns on demand versus on a feeding schedule. There are many benefits to feeding your baby on demand, but there are also many concerns such as knowing if your baby is getting enough and how to know when your newborn is really hungry.

Stork Mama shares this helpful graphic to Pin that shows each of the different signs of hunger in your newborn. Also, read the full post about on-demand feeding here.

How to Not Panic if Your Newborn Gets Sick

It can be terrifying when your new baby gets sick. I know it was for me when my 4 week old daughter had an ear infection and a fever of 102 at 3 in the morning! This was a huge shock because my oldest daughter didn’t even get a cold until she was over a year old. Here is a helpful tip from Mastering Mom Life for monitoring your baby while she’s sick:

Jot down when you noticed symptoms, when you administered medicine, took steam baths, and when baby naps or does anything out of the ordinary. This can help you look back and see progress, be a reference when baby gets sick again, or help you remember symptom times and dates when you take baby to the doctor.

Get all the tips here!

The Best Way to Handle Visitors After Birth

Whether you have family and friends visit you and your new baby in the hospital or after you get home, these tips can really help reduce your stress and anxiety. The most important thing to remember is you and your new baby’s needs always come first. Heather with Very Anxious Mommy shows us a great way to handle this:

Some visitors just may not know when it’s time to hit the road, especially when there is a new baby to see. So try to have an out for when you are ready to say goodbye to visitors so that you can have alone time and rest. A few ideas may be, “I need to breastfeed now, so I will see you later”, or “I am really tired so I need to take a nap.”

Read all the tips here!

Final Thoughts

Just remember that every mom has been a first time mom at one point and all of us felt unsure of the decisions and choices we made for our new baby every day.

Take comfort that you aren’t alone and you already are an amazing mom!

These comforting newborn tips for anxious new moms will help tired first time and experienced moms get answers to their biggest newborn questions. #babies #newborn #parenting
Bring home a new baby brings with it tons of anxiety and exhaustion. These are the absolute best newborn tips for new moms. These newborn tips for anxious new moms will reassure you that you're doing just fine! #babies #newborn #pregnancy #momlife

The Most Unique Baby Names of All Time that are Actually Really Cool

Unique baby names that aren't totally weird

Naming your new baby is one of the hardest and most exciting thing a new parent can do. There are just so many things to consider like the meaning of the name which is so important to me personally.

You also may want to consider how easy it will be for your child to spell their name and everyone they’ll ever meet to pronounce their name. That’s a big one!

Unique baby names that aren't totally weird

Is it important for your child to have a more popular name or an unusual, unique or strong baby name? Should their name sound cool and modern or romantic or cute?

If you perked up at the thought of choosing an uncommon and unique baby name that isn’t overused, then this is your list! Enjoy looking through the most unique baby names of all time and get inspired. There’s a great name for every letter in the alphabet!

My favorite part of choosing uncommon baby names is that so many of them are perfect gender neutral names. At these names are uncommon baby names that aren’t overused!

The Most Unique Baby Names of All Time

Abina – meaning ‘born on Tuesday’.

Axel – Divine reward

Adrian – Dark one

Areo – Flight

Ace – The Best

Adesina – meaning ‘she paves the way’

Adin – Fiery, man

Adriel – Symbol of skill

Bakari – Hope, promise

Bannon – meaning ‘descendant of O’Banain’.

Blaise – Firebrand

Brier – meaning ‘heather’

Beckett – Bee cottage

Cade – Round

Calla – Beautiful

Camden – Winding valley

Corliss – Cherry

Cicero – The historian

Daelan – Aware

Dakari – Happy

Dash – Enlightened one

Drew – Warrior

Delta – Mouth of a river

Draco – Dragon

Eagan – Fire

Edric – Rich and powerful

Eldon – Of old age

Everly – Grazing meadow

Emery – Ruler of work

Emrys – Immortal

Enzo – Ruler of the house

Fatima – Baby’s nurse

Fawn – Young deer

Finlay – Fair-haired courageous one

Flynn – With a ruddy complexion

Fraser – of the Forest Men

Galen – Healer

Gannon – Fair-skinned

Gia – God is gracious

Greer – Alert and watchful

Ginny – Virgin

Garnet – Red gemstone

Haden – Hedged valley

Hadley – Heather meadow

Harley – The long field

Hollis – Near the holly bushes

Hermione – Earthly

Idris – Fiery leader

Imara – Great ruler

Indigo – Deep blue dye

Ira – Watchful

Itai – The Lord is with me

Jace – The healer

Jacinda – Hyacinth

Jade – Green stone

Justice – To deliver what is just

Jair – God enlightens

Kaden – Companion

Kai – Keeper of the keys

Kingsley – King’s meadow

Kane – Little battler

Keane – Fighter

Kelis – Beautiful

Keefe – Beautiful and graceful

Lear – of the meadow

Lexi – Defender of mankind

Landen – Long hill

Lane – Narrow road

Leith – Broad river

Mace – Heavy staff

Madaio – Gift from God

Maddox – Generous

Marley – Bitter

Myron – Myrrh

Nash – at the ash tree

Nolan – Champion

Nasir – Helper

Oakley – From the oak meadow

Oceana – Ocean

Onyx – a precious stone

Orsa – Bear

Osais – Salvation

Patience – The state of being patient

Patten – Noble

Pax – Peace

Penn – Hill

Priya – Loved one

Quaid – Fourth

Quinlan – fit and strong

Rae – Ewe

Raiden – God of thunder

Ramsey – Wild garlic island

Rex – King

Ryker – Powerful leader

Saber – Sword

Sian – The Lord is gracious

Soren – Brightest Star

Suri – Red rose

Taj – Crown

Taine – River

Talise – Lovely water

Tao – Like a peach

Torin – chief

Tien – Fairy child

Upton – High town

Uri – My light

Urban – From the city

Van – Son of

Veda – Knowledge and wisdom

Visara – Celestial

Waverley – Meadow of Aspens

Waylon – Land by the road

Winter – To be born in the winter

Wren – Tiny bird

Xylia – From the woods

Xavi – The new house

Xaria – Gift of love

York – From the yew tree

Yarden – To flow downward

Yara – Small butterfly

Zahara – Flowering and shining

Zain – The handsome son

Zara – Blossom

Zayan – Bright

Zeke – God strengthens


I hope you loved this list of cool baby names you probably haven’t thought of, and please let us know your favorite in the comments below!

Looking for uncommon baby names that aren't overused? This list of full of over 120 of the most unique baby names that aren't overused and cool baby names you probably haven't thought of! Get the most unique baby names of all time! #babynames #babies #pregnancy
You'll absolutely flip for this list of unique baby names that you probably haven't thought of and uncommon baby names that aren't overused. Get all the most unique baby names of all time here! #babynames #babies #pregnancy

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

Our kids have needs that we know and also personal deeply felt needs that we may not know. This list will help you identify if you are meeting the most important needs of your kids. #kidsandparenting #parenting #parenting101
Every child has very important needs that they must get from their parents. Sadly, many of these needs aren't easy to spot! This list gives you 9 things your child wishes you'd do but doesn't always know how to tell you! #kidsandparenting #parenting101