Parents everywhere want to know how to tire out a toddler. If you have a toddler in your home, you can attest to their boundless energy, and endless excitement for life. Some of the ideas that I share in my popular post 10 Indoor Activities That Tire Kids Out may be beneficial to you as well, but when it comes to toddlers, I have a few more things that work wonderfully.
How to Tire Out a Toddler
The toddler stage is one of my favorite stages because it seems like their brains are on fire and learning so much every day. It is also because of this stage that I think toddlers can really wear out their parents, or care givers.
Getting Fresh Air
Getting out in the fresh air always induces sleep for myself and my children. Spending at least an hour outside a day, especially before nap time or bed time will help to encourage your toddler to get their energy out and breathe fresh airs.
There is something about fresh air that can really make a person feel relaxed and still energized. I don’t have any scientific reasons why, but a trip to the park or on the swing in the back yard has always been a wonderful way to tire out a toddler in our house.
Some of the other fun activities I have done with my toddlers outside have been:
- bouncing or kicking a ball
- blowing bubbles
- riding a toy bike
- going for a walk
- learning to hop or skip
- playing tag
- chasing the dog
- hop scotch
Most kids get plenty of exercise, especially if they are doing any of the things outside that I just listed. However, I have found that my toddlers love to do exercise videos with me. They only make it through about 5 minutes, but to their little bodies that is a lot.
Other forms of exercise that will tire out a toddler is jumping jacks, head and shoulders, wind mills, running in circles around the house, and climbing the stairs.
We have always allowed activities in our house that some parents don’t allow, but as our children get older we tend lessen the activities or send them outside to get their energy out.
When our oldest was a toddler, she hated to do naps and bedtime. I don’t think we would have survived her toddler years without the aid of music.
Depending on the music, it can aid your child to relax, and begin to settle down in order for sleep to come to them. They may sing for a while before falling asleep, but I would allow it for a time because it does help them relax.
This has been our experience with our daughter and on of our sons. In fact, my daughter still uses music in her adulthood to go to sleep if she isn’t able to fall asleep on her own.
Reading to Them
I read to my younger two before nap time, while I was weaning them and it was such a precious time for them and me. It often allowed my cuddles to relax them, while listening to my rhythmic voice reading softly to them.
Our favorite book is the Big Book for Babies, and is perfect for the toddler age. The pictures are adorable, and the poetry is short. It is obvious it has been a favorite book during that age, because it is falling apart on us.
It was hard for me to believe just how relaxing bath time could be for a toddler, until I tried it myself. Once I got our children out of the tub, and dressed for bed, you could always see a change in their behavior and a shift in their attitude.
Moms know the power of a relaxing bath, but don’t forget it works on toddlers, too!
I have been known to have music playing in a tub to aid in relaxing, so don’t forget to try this if you toddler needs to use several of these ideas.
I love lavender oil so much to help me fall asleep. I need it myself, as a sleeping aid, but it is powerful on toddlers, too. My favorite lavender oil is Counting Sheep roll on oil for kids. It is easy to apply, and really helps a restless toddler to fall asleep easier.
This is an oil that I don’t like to run out of… EVER!
As difficult as the toddler stage is on parents, I can’t stress enough how fast this time goes. I really encourage these steps to how to tire out a toddler because it engages the parents with the child, and promotes a calming environment for them to thrive in while learning healthy habits of sleep.
You may also enjoy my post, 10 Indoor Activities that Keep Kids Quiet…
The day I started my menstrual period, I thought I was dying. Although I lived with my parents, and two older sisters, no one had prepared me for the changes my body was going through and certainly not what a period was, and what I was suppose to do with it. I was so unprepared for that change that my emotions took a huge hit that day! I guess parenting tips were just something that people didn’t share back then.
How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Period
I will never forget that day when my period started, and the events surrounding it.
Our family was preparing to go to a birthday party for a neighbor, and we still had our evening things to do for dinner before going. I hadn’t felt very good in my stomach that day, but didn’t say anything because I thought that my mom wouldn’t let me go to the party.
About an hour before dinner, I went to the bathroom and instantly, I thought I was going to die because I had never heard of anyone bleeding like this. I knew that I was sick, and that I needed to tell my mom.
Crying hysterically, I told my mom, expecting some kind of commotion to save my life.
Instead, she hands me the largest bandaid that I have ever seen and told me to put it on. That is it… a bandaid! As well as where to find more of them, and how I needed to change them often.
Like all bandaids I have ever seen, I applied the sticky part to my skin, and went to my bed to cry because even my own mother wasn’t bothered that I was dying.
Listening to my mother, I went to change the bandaid often to only find that the bleeding was getting worse and how horrible it hurt to remove those bandaids!
My sister finally found me, on my death bed, crying that no one loved me and wondering if they would even notice when I died or if the party would go on as normal.
As all big sisters do, she explained to me that I wasn’t dying but that I started my period. She continued to say that I will have this happen every month, and it isn’t anything to be afraid of.
When I finally calmed down, I asked her why the bandaids had to hurt so much and if there was a way to make it easier to change.
She laughed so hard when I told her how I had applied these ‘bandaids’ and further educated me on the proper applying and name of the feminine pads.
When we went to the party that evening, I thought everyone knew. I felt so awkward that I just wanted to go home.
As I share my story with other women with daughters, I do it to help them understand what it is like for a naive girl to find out about this on her own, and how traumatic it really can be to them.
It doesn’t have to be, with just a few things in place.
Knowledge Is Power
Change can be a scary thing. It is the unknown that often gets most of us. In all of my own life experiences, the more I know about something new, the easier it was for me to go through.
From child birth, dental procedures, surgeries, seizures caused by fevers and more were all made less stressful because I was given knowledge to know how to handle this new experience.
There is a calm that comes with knowledge.
Share With Excitement
My daughter was well prepared for the day she started her period because I didn’t want her to go through what I did. I decided that I wanted her to be excited about the day her body started its path to womanhood.
She knew what feminine pads were, and how to use them.
We made plans that the day it happened, we would go out on a mother/daughter date to celebrate the start of her womanhood. It seemed like the perfect way to build excitement around what could be an emotional day for a girl.
Eliminate All Myths
Girls and their imaginations can come up with all kinds of myths and believe them.
Things like believing that everyone will know the moment they start because they now have a different look. That isn’t true, so be sure to let them know that people don’t know when someone has their period unless they tell people.
In addition to thinking that they look different, they may think that people will think differently about them. Ensure your daughter that no one will ever think differently of a person because of a natural change that all women experience.
Explain the Limitations
Having your daughter understand that with a period there may be limitations to what is normal for her.
This may include bleeding heavier when running or being active. Let her know that during that time, she may want to try a heavier absorbent feminine pad, verses a regular one that would be just fine any other time.
Swimming may not be an option, unless you feel comfortable sharing tampons knowledge with her.
You may also want to explain how a period could also cause mood swings and possibly even stomach cramps. Always provide a solution for your daughter to reassure her that there are options to any of the limitations she may experience.
Teach Her How to Track Her Period
Not all girls understand how important it is to track the start of each period. Some girls experience lapses in their period and they become irregular.
The more she understand how important this is for many health reasons, the more of a habit it will become.
Start this Talk Early
Don’t wait until your daughter is in her teens, because many girls today are starting at 9 and 10 years old.
Start discussing the changes as soon as you are ready, but especially when your daughter is approaching 9 year old, because the last thing you desire is for her to think she is dying. Trust me on that one!
Have you ever heard of a hope chest? I was a mother of three before I have ever heard of the term, and what it really means to have a ‘hope chest'. The moment I learned about it, I was ready to reawaken the tradition with our daughter and we did on her 16th birthday.
Preparing a Hope Chest: Reawakening the Tradition
When I first came across the book, The Hope Chest: A Legacy of Love, I hadn't ever heard of the tradition for a young girl to prepare a hope chest for her own future home.
Being a romantic at heart, as well as a practical woman who loves to give gifts that will last a long time, this concept of preparing a hope chest appealed to me immediately.
At the time when I shared the idea with my husband, he thought it was a great idea for our daughter's 16th birthday that was approaching. He would have loved to create a hope chest on his own, but the time wasn't available to us, but looking back, I really wish we had made the decision to have my husband hand craft one for her.
At the time of us giving the hope chest to our daughter, she was still in that awkward stage of not feeling much like a lady, although she knew she strongly desired to be a wife and mother. Part of her problem at that time was that she really didn't enjoy the work in the kitchen, although she had great skills for cooking and baking.
What we didn't expect when we gifted her with her own hope chest was that her interest of all things home would ignite because of the gift.
She immediately started finding things in her room that were important to her. Things that she would want to hand down to her own daughters one day, like her American Girl doll, America Girl ornaments, her favorite books and more.
Once she got the feel of the meaning of her hope chest, her heart changed and she wanted to start collecting things that would fill her home. She started filling the hope chest with things that belonged to me that I wanted to offer to her, items she purchased on her own and things that were gifts to her for many years since then.
It was during that time, that she even started her own cookbook! She would ask my friends for recipes of things that they made that she really liked, and she would add them to her personal cookbook. She still uses that same one today!
Today, as she is in her early 20's, her hope chest is full and she is waiting for the man that will capture her heart. I'm so happy that we took an old fashion tradition, and turned it into a legacy of love for our daughter. I know you would love the tradition, as much as we have.
If you liked this post, you would also like, Top 10 Gifts for Girls…
Do you ever wonder how people leave their children home alone? As a mother of four, with over 21 years of experience, I have had to do this quite a few times. My first time doing it, I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest, and every imaginable thing that could happen was playing in my head. With experience, I found that the key to doing this successfully is about how to prepare your children to stay home alone, and these tips will help you learn how to do this naturally and with less stress.
How to Prepare Your Children to Stay Home Alone
That very first time that we left our children at home was a spare of the moment situation that my husband wanted to take me for a ride on his new motorcycle. I told him that I couldn't because of the children, and he insisted that our oldest could handle the situation for 30 minutes, and my husband can be very persuasive, so I gave in.
Prior to leaving, I made sure they knew not to answer the door or the phone until we came back. The three of them, the oldest being a very mature 12 year old, all agreed and watched us drive away from the window.
Immediately, as we drove away, my mind went through all kinds of things that could have happened in my absence and the stress was building. My husband was having a wonderful time, as I was imagining neighbors turning us in to the CPA for child neglect, much like the scene that Allison played out in the Mom's Night Out movie.
Our first trip only lasted for about 10 minutes, and to my horror, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law came while we were gone and my children wouldn't answer the door, passing their first test with flying colors, however my in-laws could hear them inside the house the whole time.
I knew that there was some preparation I needed to do to prepare our children to stay home alone, because my husband made it clear that we were meant to take many of these rides on the weekend.
Focus On Their Interaction
One of the most stressful things about leaving your children home alone is how they interact with each other. If you have a lot of strife in your home while you are there, it will only increase in your absence. I know this for a fact because my own brother would get physically mean when my parents were gone, and because of this experience, we didn't permit our children to hit one another, ever.
We also didn't allow our children to boss each other, as they are equals, regardless of their ages. We instructed them to encourage each other if one of them were struggling with obedience or their responsibilities, but they were not allowed to usurp authority over each other.
This made it easier when we would leave them home alone, but we still needed our oldest to be ‘in charge', so we had them memorize the verse, “Obey those that have the charge or rule over you.” (Hebrews 13:17) We would have our oldest be the one in charge, each time, and she tended to be bossy on normal days, so we needed to remind her that it is better to serve than be served, to teach her humility.
Set Guidelines for What Is Allowed During Your Absence
Having a list of things that they can and can't do while they are home alone will help a lot. From what they can watch, play, eat or call should all be on this list.
I learned this the hard way!
Many years ago, while I was speaking at a local MOPS meeting, I left my children home to do their school work and knowing that they have done this before, I didn't expect any issues but left my phone on just in case there was an emergency.
Right in the middle of my talk, my cell phone rings. It was home, and my heart raced! I apologized to the group of ladies, and answered it, to only find out that my 12 year old son wanted a mid-morning snack and wanted to be sure it was okay. I heard my 14 year old daughter in the back ground telling him that “I told you not to call her! You are going to be in trouble.”
My daughter was completely right!
Create a Family Phone Book
You never know what may happen while you are gone, and your children are left home by themselves, so having a phone book with numbers to neighbors, close friends and emergency numbers in a place where it can always be found is a tool that you may already have and use.
We went further with this and programmed important numbers into our phone, so they can easily dial it, in case of an emergency. This helped when our son had a febrile seizer and my older children had to help us get help immediately.
Keep Your Children Accountable
I can't stress how important it is to keep your children accountable the moment you return home. Always take at least a few minutes to ask each of them how things went, and if you need to deal with any issues. Having this accountability will allow all the other preparations to stay in place, and will allow all your children to know that the system in place is there for a purpose and you will ensure it stays that way.
Enforce any consequences immediately, and remind those that had issues that the next time you leave them home, you may add consequences if the same issues arise in your absence.
Don't forget to praise your children for following the guidelines and working together as a family!
Once our family had these preparations in place, my husband and I had more freedom to take advantage of babysitting aged children, and went on more dates with each other, and our time away grew as our trust in our children proved itself.
I still have crazy thoughts that come into my mind of all the possible things that could go wrong, but I will have to write about that another day.
I would love to hear any tips that has helped you prepare your children to stay home alone!
What is going on in our society? It seems more and more strangers are taking the liberty to literally step into a conversation I have with my child and give their own advice, and often times tell my child that they can do the opposite of what I just told them they can't do. This past weekend, I had so many situation of this happening to me that I just needed to make a public stand and ask adults to ‘stop overriding my parenting', while reminding myself not to become these kinds of strangers.
Stop Overriding My Parenting
I want to start this out by saying that I appreciate insights and information that I may have missed about one of my children, because I'm well aware that I can't see everything and if you have raised your children already, I cherish the wisdom that you may have for me and long for it most days.
I welcome the little corrections from loved ones, when my watchful eye didn't see something that my child was doing, and love that you care enough to help my child learn to do the right thing, at the right time, as long as it is done with love.
This post has nothing to do with these situations, and involves perfect strangers, who have no idea about my child and where they are struggling or overcoming at the moment. The unknowing face of a person that has never crossed my path or that of my child but seems to have more insight about parenting my unique child in that brief meeting, than I have learned in the years of his life.
This is who I write this for, and hoping that with all ability within me that I don't become this person to another mother that I have the opportunity to share a moment with in public on any given day.
When I happen upon your yard sale or visit your store, and you hear me instruct my child to not touch anything but look with his eyes, not his hands, please do not override my parenting, but voicing in front of him, “It is okay if he touches them.”
Do you not understand that my son may be practicing first time obedience, or maybe he is struggling with nagging me for too many things on this one errand and he needs help to find his self-control.
He may look so sweet with his big brown eyes, and his sandy hair, as you were quick to point out, but he is 100% boy, and those figurines that you are trying to sell are as breakable as the next glass thing that we may encounter on our outings today. Although, you may think it is trivial for this mom to teach her son not to touch what isn't his or that he needs to enjoy things with his eyes, and not his hands, I'm trying to train my son in responsibility, which means if he broke your figurines or the cherished china of the next persons that we visited, I would have to demonstrate that responsibility means to pay for the damage you caused another.
A Mom Trying to Raise an Honorable Man
Dear Second Stranger,
Do you not understand how awkward and inappropriate it is for you to take a pair of pants off your shelf, and proceed to ‘fit' them to my son, even after I told you there were 2 sizes too big for him and not what we were looking for today.
I'm capable of knowing my son's size and needs, and just because he is the same gender for the majority of the clothes you are trying to get rid of at your sale, please by no means, mistaken my son as a sales tactic and pull him toward you, in the attempt to sell your goods.
And when you scare people away so quickly because of your boldness, I would like for you to consider that his brother, which stood next to him, was already taller than I am, and I don't need to hear you call after me with threats of ‘he will grow faster than you realize' in hopes to get me to turn back and purchase your pushed wares.
A Protective Mom Who Knows How to Provide Clothing for Her Son
Dear Third Stranger,
Imagine how uncomfortable you would have been when you insisted that my son could keep playing with the thing that I told him to not play with and he broke it, but I wasn't willing to pay for it (I'm not that kind of person, which is why I insist on my children to not play with things I haven't given them permission to play with).
Do you not realize that I know how rough my boys can be on things, and I'm only respecting your belongings by limited what my children do with them. I would have hoped you would appreciated the care I was taking with watching my boys around your belongs, so they didn't damage them and allow others to purchase them.
I would have staying longer, and looked around more, however I had to leave because my boys mistaken your input as overriding my parenting and caused them to disobey me by continuing what I asked them to stop doing. The best solution was for me to avoid the temptation for them, and just go on with our other things.
A Mom Who Is Doing Her Part in Raise Responsible Young Men
We run into ‘well-meaning strangers' all the time. I'm sure it is because my boys know how to behave themselves in public, most of the time, and they can see a difference with their responses to me, that they feel that my boys wouldn't be the kind to make a mistake and break something, or get too wild when enjoying a toy.
Unfortunately, they are these types of children because most children don't plan on breaking things or play too hard on a toy, it is just part of what happens too often.
My hopes with writing this post is to help all of us remember that parents know their children best, and even if we don't understand their instructions to their children while they are in our present, doesn't mean they are wrong and surely, doesn't give anyone the right to speak up and override their parenting.
I would hope that more and more people will begin to appreciate the guidelines that parents enforce with their children, and begin to see them as people working to make a better community by raising character filled children, who one day will be adults in their communities.
Encourage them in how they are parenting their children, and recognized that these boundaries are to teach respect of others, and it started at your front door.
With the extra time that summer usually brings us, I would encourage you to use some of that time for summer service to others. Demonstrating to others that they matter is a lesson often forgotten and so important to learn. Starting somewhere is a good thing, so I'm going to share seven ideas with you for summer service that your family can do together, but start with the one or two that fit who you are best. You will be glad you did!
7 Summer Service Ideas for Your Family
- Raise Money for an Orphanage – Our hearts are tied to Door of Hope Palawan, but you may know of another. Do a yard sale, bake sale or just collect change and donate it to an orphanage.
- Collect Denim to Make Shoes – There is a great opportunity to help those who need shoes for their health and an organization is meeting this need with denim! Learn how you can be a part of this great way to recycle old denim for a new purpose with Sole Hope.
- Collect School Supplies – Every year our family does Operation Christmas Child, which packs shoe boxes for children around the world. They only give one box to one child and that child will hear about Jesus before getting their first gift and owning something for the first time. Read about how I met one of those children who received a box and literally changed his life. Take the summer when school supplies are cheapest and ask those you know to donate for your own boxes for later in the year.
- Collect Winter Coats and Blankets – Often times, summer finds families cleaning out their closets and getting rid of excess. This is a great time to collect items for the homeless in your area.
- Visit a Nursing Home – Most people think about this around Christmas time, but all year long is a great time to visit the elderly.
- Start a Food Pantry – There is needy all around us and what a great opportunity to do a service in the summer to start a food pantry in your home or church. Collecting canned goods or boxed items and delivering it to those you know could benefit or having them come to you for their needs is a great thing! If this is too big for your family, considering helping organizations that do this every day, like Food for the Hungry.
- Be a Good Neighbor – Do you know of those in your neighborhood that could use an extra hand? Maybe an elderly couple could benefit from your family doing their yard work, a stay-at-home mom needing some child care help, or maybe new parents or those who are sick needing a home cooked meal.
If you want more serving ideas, check out A Year Schedule for Family Charity Fun…
We all look forward to summer and the feeling it brings. We have some ideas of things we want to do in summer, but do you really plan for the summer you desire in a way that will help you make the most of the added family time and beautiful weather that allows for so many activities outside?
Summer time is upon us. How will you spend it?
For many families, they focus on a family vacation and put all their planning efforts to make that week amazing. Why not plan to make the rest of your summer amazing?
How to Plan for the Summer You Desire
Enjoy Your Area
Why not vacation in your own area? These vacations are called ‘Staycations' and are just as amazing as planning one week somewhere else. Often times there are free or cheap things to do with your family in your own area that will prove to make your summer amazing.
Keep Learning ALIVE
Children are often bored if they don't have enough to entertain them. I created a Summer Learning Checklist that my children can do on their own, filled with learning through play that will give them a great summer of learning!
Create a Summer Bucket List
Before the summer comes in a full swing, consider making your own summer bucket list with your whole family. You may not get to everything on this list, but it would be a great list for your family to work on each summer. Add more things as you think of them and just keep working on them, as you go through this summer.
Find Time to Just Relax
Summer is a perfect time to find time to relax, rather at the pool or on your porch in the evening. It is really the perfect time to grab one of those books you have been wanting to read and get started resting your body, and engaging your mind.
Plan to Save
The more you plan for your family's summer, the easier it is to save money while on a summer vacation. Some places have discounted days, or even free days. You just need to plan ahead and you can really save big!
Start a New Hobby
We love to work on skills during the summer, and it has proven to be a good thing to do during the summer. I have list 10 Hobbies Perfect for Summer Fun that I'm sure your children will enjoy, because they are the ones that my children have learned during their summer breaks.
Focus on Helping Others
We all love to do something good for other people, but often times our schedules stand in the way of really doing what we desire. I encourage you to plan at least one of these summer ideas for charities that I'm sure your family will love as much as our family does. Our family always does something special for our favorite orphanage.
You may like my tips on cruising…
Sibling rivalry is becoming more and more of an issue to families. I often hear people asking for ideas to build sibling relationships within their own children, so I thought I would write a list of things that we have done to help create a natural way for siblings relationships to blossom.
5 Ways to Build Sibling Relationships
- Refer to Your Children As Best Friends – We have always told our children that they are each others best friends and we worked hard to make their relationship this way, by creating lots of memories for them with in our home and on outings to build this important relationship.
- Set Sibling Time Daily – Our afternoon schedule includes a set time for sibling time. This is time that they play together for the purpose of building relationship with each other. I have found this to be a great way for them to learn how to prefer each other's likes over their own and to find common interests.
- Limit Strife in Your Home – Children are going to argue, there is nothing that you can really do to keep this natural part of a relationship for happening, especially when you share the same home. Creating a way to limit the strife is key to building a good sibling relationship for your children. We did this by getting to the root of a situation, not just the action, that was causing strife. Often times, parents correct a child that hit another child because hitting is wrong. However, the hitting was the reaction to a root issue and if you don't find that root problem, you can easily build resentment in one child, while empowering another in being mean with their words and actions to that child. This is the biggest issue in most sibling rivalry and often because parents don't want to take the time to get to the heart of the problem.
- Don't Allow Physical Fighting – We are a family that will wrestle, throw pillows and play rough, but we have never permitted our children to hit each other for the purpose of fighting. To allow it, even in a young age, will only create division and allow for bullying to happen with a family.
- Require Heart Felt Apologies – Children will apologize when you tell them to apologize to each other, but it doesn't mean they mean it and children know if an apology is meant. I have so many memories of having my child hug each other when strife was present and not letting go until I could see they had moved past their anger and had a heart of love for their other. Over time, the time it took for their hearts to soften toward each other lessened and lessened until it was never needed because they would quickly apologize when they realized they hurt the other.
Our children are not perfect in their sibling relationship, but they love each other and it is very evident, even to people who just meet us. They don't stay frustrated with each other for long and spend a lot of time together. That is saying a lot when you see a 20 year old spending time with a 5 year old because they enjoy each others company, or when a 19 year old takes his 12 year old brother golfing with him to just spend some brother time together.
The younger years are hard but so worth the reward when you put time into building sibling relationships.
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Family time is always important to everyone. As important as it is, one on one time with our children are always the kind of thing that build lasting memories and often times will be the thing that children talk about often because they always make them feel special. We love to date our children, but sometimes, we can't always fit it in one on one, so we will try to do what we can, when we can.
20 Easy Date Ideas for Parents to Do With Their Children
- Go to the Park
- Build Something With Legos
- Make a Cake
- Watch a Movie
- Do a Puzzle
- Go for a Bike Ride
- Build a Model Toy
- Make Cards
- Do Something Silly
- Go to the Library
- Help a Neighbor
- Make a Movie
- Read a Book
- Go to a Museum
- Run Errands Together
- Play a Game
- Make a Tent
- Go for Ice Cream
- Make a Meal Together
- Create a Memory Book
If you like this post, you may like… 10 Things Parents Should Do With Their Children at Least Once
We all want to give our children a great childhood. Having adventures is one of those things that we may not put a lot of thought into, but is so important to a childhood. The best memories are made from times when we were children and we were being adventurous. Aiding our children in being adventurous is where we may struggle, but it isn't that difficult.
5 Ways to Raise Adventurous Children
Read to Them
Ideas of adventure abound in living books that inspire children of places they have never been, but would love to explore, people that experienced adventure first hands, but they can only meet through stories, and things that inspire them to be anything that they want to imagine for themselves.
Children of all ages can benefit from a daily read aloud time. For younger children, a story before nap or bedtime is the perfect time to read to them. Older children may enjoy a book in the morning (if you homeschool) or afternoon, but some may only be able to fit it in at bedtime.
Provide Them with Dress Up Clothes
Adventure starts in the mind. Providing your children with dress up clothes can give them hours of imaginary play, reenacting the stories that they listen to and fosters the love of adventure in their childhood that will provide many memories that will be cherished for years to come.
Dress up clothes are not just the kind that you may get them at Halloween or for their birthday, but could also include clothes that you find at Goodwill stores. Some of my children's favorite dress up clothes are made up of these kinds of things: women's wool jackets (red and blue) to play scenes from the Revolutionary War or their favorite men from that era, sports pants that go along with the jackets to play more of the parts of those kind of uniforms, army clothes, western clothes and much more.
When my daughter was younger, she loved to dress up in my older dresses, clothes that looked like prairie clothes and Indian type looks.
Allow Them to Create from Their Imagination
My children has so many memories of creating from their imagination that stemmed from living books that I read to them. Ordinary things from around the house became prompts in their imagination play as they lived out the adventures from the stories we were reading.
Sometimes, we would get inspiration for them when we were going to yard sales!
Children are quickly losing the ability to be adventurous because so much of their time is spent in front of electronics, dulling their ability to become inspired through books and to play through imagination, like we did as children.
It is so important to learn how to balance your family's electronics to ensure you are raising adventurous children.
Give Them Hours of Free Time Each Day
There is nothing more beneficial to raising adventurous children than to give them hours of free time each day to be adventurous. This is the time that the ideas that come from the other four ways can grow and flourish. Packing our children's schedule with activities that rob them of these important hours of the day will ultimately hinder the ability for them to implement their adventurous ideas into their play, furthering their ability to be creative and grow in their imagination.
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Making memories as a family is one of my main priorities as a parent. I desire my children to look back on their time at home with us, and have some memories stick out more than others. The kind of memories that went against the grain of my daily parenting. The kind that took them by surprise and captured their heart because they ‘knew‘ I was in the moment and that it was all about them!
10 Things Parents Should Do With Their Children At Least Once
Our children grow so quickly and before you know it, they will be ready to leave your home. Why not send them off with some memories that they can look back and see that their parents are fun and exciting? It will give you a lot to laugh about together!
My husband grew up camping and loved it. I only have a few memories of camping in a tent. We wanted to give our children some of those memories and so we made it a point to do that a few times. We made such awesome memories doing that with our children that it was worth it for us to get away from the normal of life and become secluded with just our family.
Have Ice Cream for Dinner
Years ago, my nephew was visiting us and it was his first time. I wanted to make him feel special, so I asked him what he would like for dinner. He had just turned 13, so I wasn't too surprised when his reply was ‘ice cream'. I will never forget the reaction when I said, “Okay! Let's go to the store to get ice cream for dinner!” He smiled the whole time and to this day, as he is quickly approaching 30, he often will mention the day ‘we had ice cream for dinner'.
Knowing the impression it left on him, I have made it a yearly tradition to have ice cream for dinner one summer day. We go out and buy peanuts, bananas and toppings for our own banana splits and giggle over ice cream for dinner.
Take the Day Off and Let Them Plan the Day
Not everyone has the ability to just take a day off when they feel like it, but this can be planned in advance, just don't let your children know until that day arrives.
When they get up, tell them it is a special day and they get to plan the whole thing!
If you need to, you can give them a budget for the family to do something with or just say it has to fit in the FREE category. This privilege will be a memory that they will not easily forget and neither will you!
Talk About Your Childhood Memories
Sometimes, it is hard for our children to picture us at their age. One of our favorite things to do is talk about when we were our children's age and the kind of memories we have of family time, birthdays or just random things that our memories hold.
Alright, I'm not a fishing loving kinda of mom, but my boys love fishing. When my son's last year of high school had started and although we value education of books, I wanted to give him something a little different for starting out his last homeschooling year. When they woke up that morning, I told our children that we were going fishing for our first day of school.
I'm sure you could only imagine the joy that filled our home that morning and the busyness of my boys gathering their gear, while my daughter grabbed her camera for a chance to enjoy her love of photography.
While we were there, I wanted to remind my son that we are called to be fisher of men before we are called to do anything else. I was so proud of that moment that I just went with a desire rather than sticking to the books. I know he will never forget that day or his first catch in a new fishing spot that we went to that day!
Start a Food Fight When Dinner Didn't Turn Out
I will never forget the first time (yes, this has happened more than once in our home) when what I made for dinner didn't turn out the way it should and I felt so disappointed with myself. As I sat at the table trying to figure out what I missed or didn't do correctly, my family was trying to encouragement me that I'm a great cook and other stuff to help me not be too bothered that no one liked it.
I knew I was going to throw the food away, so I started throwing it around the table. The next thing I knew we were all laughing, well, maybe not my husband because he removed himself from the realm of flinging food and looked at me with a shocked face. There was food everywhere around the table, on the walls and on the floor. We all picked it up, laughing again and again.
This isn't something that has happened more than three times, but each time has proven to my children that life is better when we laugh at our mistakes and seize the opportunity to make memories.
Get Your Child Out of Bed When They Least Expect It
Yes, I know! You think I'm crazy. I may be, but crazy with amazing memories.
I have gotten my children out of their deep sleep to enjoy something with them that I didn't expect. One time it was a family of raccoons on our back porch. Another time it was to look at the night's sky that was absolutely amazing.
These times always proved wonderful for breakfast conversations!
One time, I even got my children up to watch one of my favorite movies when I was their age. We now have a DVR, so I wouldn't do that again for the TV purpose.
Talk About a Foolish Thing You Did in Your Childhood
Children feel so foolish at times, especially during the ages of 10 through 15, when so many things are changing in their bodies and they are dealing with things that are so new to them. Add to that, the things that they should know better but still do foolish things again and again.
It is during these times that correcting them can seem overwhelming and daunting as a parent. There is something special when a child knows that correction is coming and instead they get a heart to heart with a parent that shares some of their own foolishness during this age and how they learned to overcome the foolish or their own consequences for continuing in them.
Again, children just have a hard time relating to their parents as people that have walked in their shoes. Maybe it is because many of us don't talk about these things with our children or because children are so absorbed in their own world to even think about others, but either way, this is so effective that you may choose to do it more than once.
Play with Your Kids Without Being Asked
Our children have always asked us to play things with them, from board games to outside sports. Often times, these requests come at inconvenient times for parents, but imagine the delight of a child's heart when you approach them to play something. It is truly PRICELESS.
Jump on the Bed With Them
Yes, I'm certain that I'm going to hear from some readers about how jumping on expensive beds is not responsible and that it can damage the mattress.
I already know this, but there is absolutely nothing like grabbing the hand of your child and taking a few jumps on your bed together. In fact, it is one of those things that I have done with all four of my children. It may just be that I love children and I love to hear them giggle, but remember my title… ‘at least once‘. How badly can you damage your bed, if you only do it once? (Don't answer that)
If you can't bring yourself to do this one thing that is okay!
You can hide under the blankets with them, or use a flashlight while you talk about something important to them. All of these have been practiced and loved in our family, so maybe you can find a way that you can make a memory, filled with giggles for your children in your bed, other than TONS of cuddling time.
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We all want children that emulate the virtues that are important to us, but this is something that doesn't happen naturally on its own. It takes purpose in your parenting and staying consistent in your efforts. It is hard word, especially if you get sidetrack from time to time, as we all do, but so worth every effort to raise children with virtues.
5 Tips to Raise Children with Virtues
I'm still working on my own virtues from time to time, but I know that having a plan of action is important to reaching our goal to raise children with virtues. Having two adult children already and knowing what things we did that worked well, I would love to share with you these tips that we are doing with our younger children, and what new things we are doing that are good things.
- Focus On Habits – Habits, both good and bad, are started at a very young age. It is dangerous to think a child will grow out of lying, being mean or being lazy. It is true to human nature that the more we do something the harder it is for us to undo that habit. If a child is showing undesirable habits at a young age and they are not corrected, these will continue and grow into their adulthood. It is so important to understand the need for focusing on habits when your children are younger, to help them grow into good habits that only become stronger with time.
- Identify Where Your Children Struggle – As parents, we know where are children struggle most. In our home, we have had to deal with lying, cheating, stealing, selfishness, being unkind and dishonor. Thank God, not all at once and not all in the same child, but these things poked their head early in our children's lives and being able to identify them early, gave us the ability to focus on these habits and work diligent to teach the opposite of what they were struggling with daily.
- Use Scripture to Train Your Children – We love using scripture to train our children. There is no better way to teach virtue than through the verses that are all through the Bible to help us in our daily walk. Teaching children scripture at a young age will make it easier in your parenting and easier for them to learn and emulate the virtue you desire them to have evident in their lives.
- Praise Them for all Improvements – If you know that your child struggles with lying and you see them speaking the truth, especially in difficult situations that lying would be easiest, you own it to that child to praise them for making the virtuous choice. The more we praise our children the more they grow. They desire our praise and acceptance, so giving it to them freely in your efforts to raise virtuous children will only improve your child's ability to grow in them.
- Demonstrate the Virtues in Ever Way Possible – If we want our children to be truthful, we need to be truthful in our own example. We have found that even as powerful as that life lesson can be in our efforts to raise children with virtues, we improve the lessons in what it means and look like by purposefully demonstrating these virtues through stories, illustrations and anything that we can share with them that prove to be good things.