3 Ways to Balance Your Family’s Electronics

Our homes are filled with electronics, from the television, to DVDs, video games, Kindles, Tablets, iPads, iPods and cell phones. Families are often seen overflowing with electronics that it can really be something that pushes them apart. If you are like me, and want to balance your family's electronics, these 3 ways should prove useful to you as well.

3 Ways to Balance Your Family's Electronics - Includes printables to helping you set boundaries for electronic use. | www.joyinthehome.com

3 Ways to Balance Your Family's Electronics

If your home has free access all day to the many electronics in your home, your children may take a while to adjust to these steps but each are worth implementing to balance your family's electronics daily.

These 3 ways can be summed up with one word – ALL!

A – Attitude

In our home, attitude is the fuel to everything fun. If our children have a bad attitude in homeschooling, relationships or responsibilities, it will effect how much electronic time they will actually get that day or the next day.

It is important to explain that good attitudes will give you a full allowance of electronic time, but you will need to decide what that looks like for your own family.  When a child is having a good attitude a day, they can earn allowance for the next day or they can loose their allowance if their attitude has been difficult.

Here is a free printable Attitude Allowance Coins to getting electronic allowance time. Just print, laminate and cut out. You can determine how many minutes each allowance coins is worth and change it for different ages. When you laminate it, you can write names and time allotments on the back and wipe them off, if you need to change them.

Attitude Allowance Coins | www.joyinthehome.com

L – Limits Based on Chores

Electronics should be something children earn, at least in our home, unless it includes their homeschooling assignment.  If children want to earn additional electronic time in addition to their attitude allowance coins, they can earn them through chores.

These Chores Allowance Coins can be printed and then write the chore on the back and how many minutes the chore is worth in electronic time, laminated and cut them. Your children will have a new way of looking at things to do around the house and could actually help them earn or keep more of their Attitude Allowance Coins.

Chores Allowance Coins | www.joyinthehome.com

L – Lists Work Amazing

We use lists for so many things with our electronics that really help our children stay within the limits that we set for them in the time that they earn. We record on a DVR for our television watching, which allows us to not let it control us but also so we can fast forward through commercials and have safe things for our children to watch during their allotted times.

We also have different folders for their Kindles, one for educational and another for play. If we give them education time for this electronic, they can only play with what is in that folder, but if they earned additional time to play on their Kindles, they are free to pick from their play folder.

I hope these three ways to balance your family's electronics will empower you to use the resources available and give your children the power to earn what they really desire through their own actions.

You may also like my DIY Chore System

DIY Chore System | www.joyinthehome.com



10 Indoor Activities that Keep Kids Quiet

When our children are stuck inside, whether it is because of cold weather and short days or extremely hot weather, it is always a joy to have them doing something quietly. I know that I'm not the only mom to think so.  You may not know what to suggest to your children to do that will keep them content and quiet for hours inside.

10 Indoor Activities that Keep Kids Quiet | www.joyinthehome.com

10 Indoor Activities that Keep Kids Quiet

I would love to share with you my list of activities that provide hours of quiet for our children when they are stuck inside. Please note that these activities are for a large range of ages, and some should be done with adult supervision.

  1. Reading – I love to provide my children with a basket filled of books that interest them. My own shelves are filled, but mostly with homeschooling living books, so I love to fill the basket with books from the library. Many times, there will be books about animals, the history of weapons, books that teach a skill like calligraphy, sports, knot tying and more.  Implementing a time for quiet book time is really a good thing that all ages would benefit from, including mom.
  2. Building – Children love building! Early stages of building can easily be done with Duplo Bricks and Lincoln Logs. The beloved Legos wouldn't be far behind, and even more building with the equally loved wooden train tracks. As children grow, they love to build tents and forts, transforming their bedrooms and living rooms into imaginary places that can easily give hours of fun.
  3. Creating Videos – My boys, as they grow, have turned their love of Legos, army men and cars into stop motion videos, with their Kindle Fire that has a front and rear camera and a free app. This will provide hours of fun far into their teen years.  Our five year old can even do this with his own Kid's Edition Kindle Fire that is made just for his age, and comes with a 2 year warranty that makes it easier for us to give him the freedom to create videos and photos on his.
  4. Writing – Not all children love to write, but if you have a writer, like I do, you can easily give them hours of writing fun with just a few writing tools. My daughter loved calligraphy and gel pens to practice writing special letters to friends. I loved providing her with her own stationary, which often came from the dollar store and a book of stamps that gave you the ability to sent one or two letters a week. Letters quickly turned into writing her own stories and provided her with hours of quiet time several days a week.
  5. Drawing – My children all love to draw! We provide them with their own sketch book, colored pencils and drawing pencils. My children love books that have step to step directions on how to draw, like Draw Write Now and Draw and Write Through History.
  6. Play Dough – Children love play dough! In our experience, having some tools and accessories will provide hours of quiet play for children of many ages.
  7. Making Jewelry – My daughter loved doing beading.  The more her interest grew in it, we got her some tools to make more advanced jewelry that she even sold for awhile. When she was young, Rainbow Looms were not around, but she has still taken time to learn this new art of jewelry making.
  8. Creating with Yarn – My children loved learning how to knit with looms that made it easy and quick to make projects. They also enjoyed learning the skill of crocheting for kids.
  9. Whittling and Carving – My children have loved learning the skills of whittling and carving. They loved the beginners guide to whittling to learn the skill and project ideas.
  10. Making Models – My boys have loved models of all kinds. Car models, wooden models and anything that they could build that had directions and a finished project.

If you liked this post, you may also like 10 Indoor Activities that Tire Kids Out

10 Indoor Activities That Tire Kids Out | www.joyinthehome.com


10 Things that Girls Love to Call Their Own

I wanted more girls, but I have been blessed with only one. My daughter is such an incredible learner, and always happiest when she has tools that will help her learn more about her interest.  It didn't take me long to see that there were several things that she quickly wanted to be able to call her own.

10 Things that Girls Love to Call Their Own | www.joyinthehome.com

10 Things that Girls Love to Call Their Own

  1. Music – This is probably one of the most important things in my daughter's life. We purchased an MP3 player earlier in her teens because she always was singing. Prior to that we were always giving her CDs of her favorite artists, but now we only get her iTune gift cards to keep that love going strong.
  2. Sewing Machine – When our daughter turned 12, we gave her a sewing machine, mostly so she would leave mine alone. She was so happy to make all kinds of things and even help with mending clothes if it was needed. She enjoyed sewing more than I did, so this was a perfect gift for her and now she has something for her own home.
  3. Recipe Book – My daughter hated to help in the kitchen, even though she was an amazing cook. One year, she got a recipe book ‘for her own recipes' and next thing I know she was asking my friends for their recipes and her attitude about helping in the kitchen changed. She only puts the recipes that she likes in there and is creating a wonderful tool for her own home.
  4. Knitting Loop – My daughter loved to have her own knitting loop! She was always making hats for the new babies that were coming into our family or friend's family. This is one things that she thought girls would enjoy to have for themselves, as it adds hours of creative fun with very little to learn.
  5. Calligraphy Kit – My daughter loves to make things pretty. Giving her a calligraphy kit was a great way for her to experiment with creating beautiful letters for one of her favorite things to do… writing.
  6. Stamping Kit – The love of writing was always fun when our daughter was busy at creating her own cards with rubber stamps. She loved to make thank you, thinking of you, get well and congratulation cards, as well as birthday cards. She enjoyed having her own stamps to use and keep in her room, away from her busy brothers that didn't always take care of things properly.
  7. Stationary – Letter writing was a favorite activity for my daughter, and still is in her 20's.  She always loved having her own pretty paper and envelopes to write to her friends. We even would give her a book of stamps for her own.
  8. Pens – This is something that I should have done sooner! I was always losing my favorite pens. When my daughter was busy with making her cards or writing to friends, she wanted to use my colorful pens. She was so happy when we invested in some gel pens that were all for her.
  9. Jewelry – Girls grow to be women, so of course, jewelry is something that would be on the list of what she would desire to call her own. Earrings, necklaces and anklets are all important to her. She loved when we bought her tools to make her own jewelry.
  10. Digital Camera – It doesn't take long for a girl to fall in love with taking photos. Today, with the cell phones, digital photography is easy, however for many girls, they desire to take more professional photos. Our daughter filled out when we purchased her Nikon camera. What a great way to invest in her interest for many years to come, while she became the family photographer, again and again.

If you love this list, you may enjoy seeing my list of 10 Things that Boys Love to Call Their Own

10 Things that Boys Love to Call Their Own | www.joyinthehome.com



10 Things that Boys Love to Call Their Own

We have three boys, all at different ages – 18, 12 and about to turn 5.  One thing that I have learned about boys is that they have certain things they they love to call their own. I find it amazing that these items tend to be things that men cherish and desire to own as well. Kinda proves that boys will be boys and that they should be allow to enjoy hours of outdoor time to work on the skills that men will desire.

10 Things that Boys Love to Call Their Own | www.joyinthehome.com

10 Things Boys Love to Call Their Own

  1. Pocket Knife – This is the first of all knives for boys and once they have their first one, they will cherish it because it means they are trusted to be more like their daddy and that speaks volumes to their heart. If you family is like ours, the little boys will grow impatient for their first knife and you may want to appease them with their own toy pocket knife.
  2. Hunter Knife – When a boy becomes hunting age (12 in our state), they will want to have their own hunting knife and they should.
  3. BB Gun – A BB gun is much like a pocket knife to boys. It is the one that is first entrusted to them. Learning target practice will be a great skill for the hunting years.
  4. Sling Shot – My sons have always become interested in the sling shot once they learn the story of David and Goliath. They use rocks and marbles to hit targets. This is always the first step before guns for our boys.
  5. Bow and Arrows – If your sons have every read or watched Robin Hood, a bow and arrow is quick on their wish list. Targets attached to hay bundles work for a great target practice or you can buy one, as does cardboard boxes when first learning. My almost 5 year old has a great eye and is getting really close to the bull eyes. Of course, he is supervised and loves it!
  6. Ax – Thanks to the love of Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket, the love of an ax grows quickly for a little boy. We have a rule that when they work to cut down a tree, it must be with supervision and ones that they can hold their hands together while wrapping it around the tree. As their hands grow, so do the options of trees.
  7. Hammer – Daddy is their hero and once they see him swinging his hammer, they are hooked! Hammers are a must for all boys, regardless of the age!
  8. Whittle Set – Creating their own wooden project is something that every boy with a pocket knife things about because they get tired of whittling the ends of sticks. These are a great hobby for them to learn for those longer days of winter.
  9. Airsoft Gun – If you boys are attached to video games, I would recommend some airsoft gear and an open place for boys to be their own game. My oldest son still enjoys this activity even after 5 years. He may never grow out of it.
  10. Binoculars – Once they get into the hunting ages, boys will want to have their own set of binoculars. However, ours have loved doing nature studies and watching for birds.

These have been some of the best things we have done for our boys! Well that and a lot of free afternoons to work on these skills.

If you like this post, you may also enjoy 10 Things that Boys Should Do When They Are Young

10 Things Boys Should Do When They Are Young - The imagination of boys are worth tapping into while they are young. | www.joyinthehome.com



10 Audios Your Family Should Own

When our older children were very young, we started investing in audio books for our family. This has been one of the best investments that we have made in raising our children, as our younger ones are still listening to them today… and loving them.

We have invested in more than 10 audios, but this will be a list of our top ten that I know your family would enjoy as well.

10 Audios Your Family Should Own | www.joyinthehome.com

10 Audios Your Family Should Own


Sugar Creek Gang | www.joyinthehome.com

The Sugar Creek Gang is one of our favorite audio series that includes adventure, suspense and wholesome values for the whole family.

The Sugar Creek Gang audio book series features this well known group of boys who always find a mystery to solve and an adventure to be had. Your boys will love falling asleep listening to these stories, or let the whole family listen on your next long car ride, even mom and dad will like to listen!

There are six audio sets in this series. We love to add a new series every Christmas and is a perfect gift for the family or an item to share with grandparents or other family that love to give gifts for holidays and birthdays.




Jonathan Parks | www.joyinthehome.com

Jonathan Park is amazing! My children learned so much about creation, and why evolution doesn't make sense just from these audios. Our whole family loves them and often will listen to these on long trips. I have even missed a turn to NY, which I know the way like the back of my hand, but I was so into the audio that I wasn't realizing that I missed the exit.

Each adventure is based on real places and scientific discoveries– all designed to build your faith!


Sir Malcolm | www.joyinthehome.com


Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince is from Lamplighter Publishing, which are one of my favorite kinds of books to read to my children. Their CDs are a new product and AMAZING!

A bold intervention by the King's most trusted knight could prove to be the cure for an unfitting heir to the throne. Far from the walls of the palace, will an unworthy prince learn what it means to be an entrusted king? Dare to join Finnian as he ushers Thomas into the legendary world of Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince, a place of adventure and undeniable truth. 



Hedge of Thorns | www.joyinthehome.com



The Hedge of Thorns is another Lamplighter Publishing products. The message in this audio is powerful for all ages.

John is determined to find out what is on the other side. And that which is forbidden makes his quest all the more irresistible! Desperate to break through the hedge, he devises a plan that unknowingly places his little sister in perilous danger. In a moment of passion and disregard for his parents' warnings, John does the unthinkable-and learns the hard lesson that there are grave consequences to crossing the boundaries that God has set for him. This unforgettable lesson has left an indelible mark on his life and will leave the same upon those who hear this story!



Charlies Choice | www.joyinthehome.com
Charlie's Choice is from the Lamplighter Publishing collection. One of my favorite books about the importances of good choices.

Hold on to your seat because you are about to take a journey with Charlie, a boy of adventure and risk. Dissatisfied with his lot in life, Charlie dreams of a better future, where money can cure all ills. He dreams of living in luxury and ease, and is determined to make his dreams come true!




The Captive | www.joyinthehome.com


The Captive another of the wonderful collections from Lamplighter Publishing is one with suspense and adventure, with a lesson tucked inside.

Kidnapped by Algerian pirates, our recent graduate Anselmo finds himself on a merciless slave ship heading to the auction block in a foreign country. Having escaped the cruelty of his first master and the death grip of the desert, Anselmo is taken captive by a new master, where he finds mercy as well as condemnation.






The Pilgrims Progress | www.joyinthehome.com The Pilgrim's Progress is a timeless book full of Biblical allegories. This audio is a dramatization of the unabridged book. Your entire family will love how this book will come to life and bring them into the story. Truly, one of my favorite!

I have amazing memories of this playing on a trip and seeing my husband's tears run down his face from the moving story that symbolizes our perilous journey.  Then my children wanting their daddy to reenact some of their favorite parts, at one of our local playground.






The Pilgrim's Progress: Part Two Christiana | www.joyinthehome.comThe Pilgrim's Progress: Part Two Christiana is a must listen to after your family listens to the first part. My children needed to know what happen to Christian's family and we all loved it!

The journey is full of adventure and suspense with victories to celebrate.






Hinds' Feet on High Places | www.joyinthehome.comHinds' Feet on High Places is similar to the Pilgrim's Progress, as it is written in allegory format.

“Oh, if only I could escape from his Valley of Humiliation altogether and go to the High Places.” It is with this cry that Much-Afraid, crippled and disfigured, begins her journey, leaving her Fearing relatives behind, and pressing on the Realm of Love. As the Chief Shepherd explains, no Fears can live in this realm, because “perfect love casts out fears and everything that torments.”





Living Principles of America | www.joyinthehome.comLiving Principles of America is a one of a kind CD series consisting of 36 CDs that are dramatized to share our American history from Columbus through some of our most famous inventors like Edison and Ford.

This has been one investment that we will be making for a second time, since our first ones were cassettes and they are growing tired and worn from the hours of enjoyment that our family has received from this series.



10 Indoor Activities That Tire Kids Out

Are your kids bouncing off the walls, or acting bored? These indoor activities will give them the opportunity to get some of bound up energy out, and get them ready for a good night's sleep even if the weather won't them get outside.

10 Indoor Activities That Tire Kids Out | www.joyinthehome.com

10 Indoor Activities That Tire Kids Out

Cooler weather is already here and in fact, we have already had some really cold days. My little guy needs some ways to burn off his full energy self every day, so I decided to list ten things he can do INSIDE to get that energy burned.

    1. Indoor Trampoline – My son has loved his indoor trampoline as much as the outdoor one, but we only have it come out during really hot weather or cold weather. This Fold & Go Trampoline is a perfect way for kids to get some energy out while stuck inside.
    2. Mattress Jumping – So many parents do not allow the children to jump on the bed, but why not?  Every time we have guest visit from out of town, we pull down a double mattress from the attic and the first thing my kids want to do is jump on it. My son knows how to remove his twin size mattress to use as a climbing obstacle and jumping fun. Yes, it makes the room mess and takes a few more minutes to put him in bed at night, but he is tired enough to go to sleep and that is important to us.
    3. Build a Tent – Getting the mind and body engaged is a great way to getting your kids active and moving together. Building a tent is something that can last for hours with the right size blankets and creativity. Move furniture around to allow for a room size tent for long lasting fun and then have them put it back together when they are done.
    4. Moving Electronics – Video games have come a long way! I remember when I changed my mind about having one in our home because of the level of the body getting in motion and having it be a family game. We enjoy the Wii or XBox 360 to bring our bodies in motion, while laughing and exercising together.
    5. Dancing – Children LOVE to move their bodies, so why not use dance to get their energy out. Not everyone agrees on the same dance, but I'm sure the library will have a variety of DVDs to learn different ones. I love line dancing and so does my husband and daughter, but with the love of everything Disney, I know that many kids love the Just Dance for the Wii. I can't personally give my opinion because I have never seen it, but I know some families that use it and have mentioned it to me.
    6. Exercise – Mommy's love of Walk at Home and they even have a FAMILY WALK that you can do together. There are different kids exercising DVDs, so maybe let them choose the one that looks fun to them! And of course, they enjoy doing a treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical  or other exercise machines. Of course, just the old fashion stairs, sit ups, push ups and such can do the trick, too!
    7. Active Board Games – The first game that comes to mind that can work out the body is Twister! Getting the kids moving with Charades.
    8. Indoor Obstacle Course – I remember times when my children would rearrange things to turn them into obstacles and run through things. Yes, up to a certain age, we allow our children to run in the house if the weather doesn't allow them to get outside. With the use of painter's tape, you can create an obstacle course up and down the hallway that will get your children feeling like spies working to avoid the laser beams, as the navigate from one side to the other.
    9. Pillow Fights – There is NOTHING that can get your children into moving than a good old pillow fight. Be sure to set rule before starting to ensure no one hits down on the head of someone else, or that can cause some injuries. Aim for the belly and having fun!
    10. Wrestling – Clear out a good area of your living room or the children's bedroom and let them wrestle! It is fun and hilarious to watch as well. What is a hoot is when you challenge your early teen boy and can still pin him down without a problem. Yes, I have to let them know I'm still MOM.

If not of this helps your active children, you may want to just pull the CHORE card and get them moving to get the house clean, because we all know that tires us out!

Want more ideas for indoor activities? Read 10 Indoor Activities That Keep Kids Quiet


Fever Induced Seizure: What Every Parent Should Know

Fever Induced Seizure: What Every Parent Should Know | www.joyinthehome.com


It was Thanksgiving day 2003. My parents were visiting us from out of town, I was struggling to get dinner on the table because I had been up with my feverish 17 month old all night. My mom was helping me, as I continued to take breaks for my baby. He finally feel asleep, so I put him in my bed and went back to getting dinner on the table.

He quickly woke up crying, so I went to get him and found him leaning against the hallway wall. I gently picked him up and he was burning up even more. I felt his legs twitching some, but just thought he was weak from the sickness. My husband had finished eating so he took him from me and my parents decided to run to the store for dessert, since I wasn't able to make it for our family.

As soon as I was done eating, I went to the couch and placed my sweet baby boy on my chest and we both started to fall asleep.

I woke up to him pulling on my t-shirt, so I looked down at him and my world changed instantly!

I didn't know what was going on, but my baby was all deformed in his face, making weird sounds and his hands and legs were curled up and twitching horribly. I jumped up screaming for my husband to help me. He grabbed the phone and called 911.

I just held my baby, crying and praying, as I yelled “He isn't breathing!” all the while, watching him turn blue.

We ran outside, without our shoes, grabbed our other children, while leaving our house completely open and the phone on the floor in front of the open door.

My seven year old son looked at me and said, “Mommy is he dead?”

I can't explain the emotions of that moment, but everything in my world stopped and all I could do was cry and pray. My husband was speeding on a very windy road on our way to the closest help we could think of and my mothering instincts kicked in and I picked up my baby, rolled down the window and stuck his head out of the window for the wind to hit his face.

At that moment, he started to breathe and cry at the same time!

We arrived at Patient First and they were all surrounding him, while calling 911. The firemen were at our house and they made their way to us, to take us to the hospital for help.  As they were arriving, my parents were driving by but my mom never prayed for the person needing it, which is always her habit.

When they arrived home to our car gone, the door open, the phone on the floor… they knew it was us!

Emotions were high that day, as we learned about Febrile Seizures, fever induced seizures and the risk to young children.

Our little guy recovered nicely and although he had a fever a few other times, no reoccurring seizures.

Fast forward to Valentines Day 2011, when our feverish 14 month old baby was sitting in my lap. I was rocking him and he was sweetly smiling at me, as he started to go into a Febrile Seizure.

My world was spinning out of control and I panicked all over again.

Immediately, I remembered that our new neighbor had been a pediatric nurse for many years and I told my older two children who were in bed with over 101 temps to run next store to get her.

Although it was only a few minutes, it felt like an eternity, as my husband and I were doing what we could do for our son, my holding him and praying, while my husband called 911.

The moment my neighbor came in, she took our baby from me, yelling out for cold clothes and details about his sickness. My hands were shaking out of control, as I watched her place my baby, who had stopped breathing, on his side and taking off his diaper to replace it with the cold cloth. Then she placed another one under his armpits and around his neck.

Next thing I hear is his soft cry and I started to cry knowing that my baby was going to be okay.

The lessons I learned that day are what every parent should know…

Fever Induced Seizure: What Every Parent Should Know

  • Monitor Your Child's Temperature – Children under 5 are prone to having Febrile Seizures, which are caused when temperatures rise quickly.
  • Know Your Family History – Febrile Seizures run in families. My husband's side of the family had these and my children's cousins have them. I had never heard of them until our child had one.
  • Journal Your Medicine Routine – In an emergency, it is incredibly hard to remember what you gave your child and went. Having it written down could help provide the medical care your child may need.
  • Have Acetaminophen Suppositories in Your Medical Cabinet – This is crucial when a child is having a fever induced seizure because you need something to bring down the fever, but oral medicine is impossible.  Knowing when the last dosage of medicine was administered can help to avoid overdosing your child.
  • Keep the Hot Spots Cool – Most children scream and holler when you put them in a cool bath, which can help bring down a rising fever. Keep light clothing on them, usually just a diaper and t-shirt or underwear and a t-shirt, and place cool to cold clothes in these areas: the forehead, around the neck, under the arm pits and between the legs. We now use Be Cool Sheets when our son has a fever.
  • Place Your Child on Their Side – I learned that my ignorance of what to do when a child has a seizure is what almost killed my two sons. They were suffocating on their own saliva. If you child has a seizure, place them on their side, to allow for the extra saliva to come out of their mouth, not down their throat.
  • Always Check the Expiration Dates on Your Medication – We keep Children's Motrin and Children's Tylenol in our cabinet because our doctor has our son on a medicine routine when he starts a fever.
  • Keep Liquids and Popsicles Going – Cold water and popsicles help to pull down the inner temperature, so it is important to keep both of these going with a child. We only give our child 100% fruit popsicles.
  • It Can Take an Hour for Your Child to Recover – When our first son had his Febrile Seizure, the doctors wanted to do a spinal tap, but I wasn't willing for that to happen because the EMT explained what he was experiencing on the trip to the hospital and my husband wasn't with me to help make that decision. The doctor gave us an hour and told us that if he doesn't improve he will have to insist on doing the procedure. During that time, I rocked my son and talked to him, encouraging his speech to return. I asked the nurse for picture books and read to him, asking him questions about what they animals said and where they were in the book, to encourage him to move his limbs. When the doctor checked on him, he had his full functions back but was extremely tired from the trauma his body went through. Understanding that your child needs time to recover is important and doing things to encourage the recovering is a good thing.
  • Once a Child Has a Febrile Seizure They Are Prone to Having Them – A child can have these types of fevers up to age 5 and once they have one, it is more likely for them to have others. Keeping these tips in your mind will help to keep a fever induced seizure from happening. Talk with your doctor for a plan if you child has had one already. Being prepared can help them from returning and can also help in recovery.

Our fourth child has had three Febrile Seizures and each one has gotten easier for us to help him with knowing these things. He could have had several more but understanding the signs, staying on a medicine routine and knowing his temperature has helped us avoid more.

These tips are very important and could help parents know what to do if this was to happen to their child. Knowledge is power!

Please help spread the word and share this with your friends and family.

How To Harness a Strong-Willed Child the Right Way

If you are raising a strong-willed child, like we have, I know you are looking for anything to make it easier. I do mean ANYTHING!

Once you have a strong-willed child of your own, you can spot them anywhere and everywhere, but most parents will just have understanding of where you are and share in your pain, as they are walking through it themselves.

I was given words of wisdom by my mom when my own daughter caused me to feel like a failure when she was just a little girl. These words were ‘harness her the right way and she could change the world‘.


How to harness a strong-willed child the right way | www.joyinthehome.com

I contemplated this for years and have considered that a ‘harness' is used to train a horse in obedience. When a harness is placed in a horse's mouth, it only requires a little tug one way or the other for the horse to know the direction its rider desires it to go and will follow.  It doesn't hurt the horse, unless the horse is unwilling but even then, some horses will buck through the pain and resist the direction of the rider.

It is in the situation that many riders will resort to other methods to train the horse.  Some of the most successful horse trainers use different methods but building relationship and trust is one of them.

How to Harness a Strong-Willed Child the Right Way

Children can benefit from a harness, but not one placed in their mouth. This kind of harness is one that requires more things to be put into place successfully. When a child bucks out in rebellion, you need to use other methods, as well.  Here are some that we have used with success.

  • Set Up House Rules – Boundaries are so important to any child, but for a strong-willed child, it is imperative.  Don't go by the seat of your pants in parenting, but parent with purpose.  Decide with your spouse what rules are most important and be sure to choose things that really matter to their heart, not just how things run in your home.
  • Set Up Consequences to Breaking the House Rules – Setting up consequences for disobedience and rebellion before things happen will eliminate the stress in the moment and help you to parent with purpose not by emotion. Having a strong-willed child and an emotional parent is a bad combination for the home environment.
  • Be Consistent in Enforcing the Rules – Once you have your house rules and consequences in place, you will need to be a united team in parenting, because it can be very tiring for a full time parent to be the only one doing the harnessing of a strong-willed child and will need to have a tag-team player often.  Even if the child has been improving, and seems to have only a small step back, be consisting in enforcing the rules. Be consistent out of the house, and out of town.
  • Correct with the Right Attitude – The worst thing a parent can do with a strong-willed child is correct with a wrong attitude. I know, I have done it and it has only made a bad situation… horrible!  If you aren't able to correct with a right attitude, write a consequence for ‘cool down time', which will still be a consequence for the child but allowing the parent time to cool down, gain perspective and be ready to parent with purpose.
  • Praise Good Choices and Improvement – When your child is showing improvement, even in the little things, give that child praise. Hug them often and show them with your words, just how proud you are of their accomplishments in choosing obedience. Speak positive in their life, knowing that they were uniquely and wonderfully made.
  • Empower the Strengths of Your Strong-Will ChildA strong-willed child has overlooked strengths that need to be empowered. Find situations around the house that will empower these strengths and give them the sense of accomplishment and worth in the family.
  • Provide Good Things for Free Time – A strong-willed child can be more difficult with free time that isn't spend well. Their minds need to be engaged with good things.  Having hobbies and activities for them to do during their free time will help a lot when their strong-will would rather be devising other ideas.
  • Use Good Moments to Talk About the Hard Times – Like everyone else, a strong-willed child doesn't like to go on and on about how their actions are inappropriate or wrong. Having the consequences and enforcing them quickly should be enough for them. However, we have found that when your home and family is in a healthy place, to talk with your strong-willed child about how their choices affected the environment of your home and hindered your relationship. Discuss possible ways things could have gone better, including any mistakes in how you parented them. The more you have open discussions about the good and the bad, the more you will win their heart.

Our strong-willed child is an adult now, and I wish that I could do many things differently. She turned out amazingly, despite our mistakes and still demonstrates a strong-will in many areas. I'm thankful she has such determination because I know that it serves a purpose and it just makes it so important that she learns how to harness herself, for her own happiness and home environment when she becomes a homemaker.

If this post encouraged you, this one will really help you – How to Stay Encouraged While Parenting a Strong-willed Child

How to Stay Encouraged Parenting a Strong Willed Child - Days are hard when parenting a strong-willed child, but these tips will help you on the hardest of days. | www.joyinthehome.com



5 Overlooked Strengths of a Strong-willed Child

I know you are already thinking that I have never raised a strong-willed child to making this statement, but rest assured that not only have I raised a strong-willed child, I made mistakes and she still turned out amazing. I know how hard it is to stay encouraged while parenting one, too.

I remember the day when my sweet daughter, who was only around six months old, demonstrated her strong-will and how all my parenting bliss was confronted with my daughter willingly and repeatedly returning to a plant that was poisonous to ingest and here it was all around the living room of a house we were visiting.  Each time she crawled over to it, I would do what all the ‘experts' would say, “Distract them and they will forget what they were doing.

You guessed it – it didn't work at all!

Some may think it was just the surrounding and not a strong-will but as a mother to this child, allow me to assure you that in that moment her will was found, enjoyed and became her best friend, while becoming my pain and nemesis from the start.

I asked myself, “Where did my sweet baby go?

She was still there and thriving with this new found power that I was clueless to combat.

A few years later, I called my mom crying because I was struggling in parenting her and I needed my mom to console me. Her words shocked me and have stayed with me to this day.

“Harness it the right way and you will have a world changer!”

So, now I had to parent a strong-willed child and figure out how to not mess up, so she can grow to change the world and all without direction or help.  It didn't take me long to look to her Creator for the answers and I opened up the Bible to find direction and help. As always, I found it.

She was uniquely and wonderfully made!

I learned a lot in these 20 years of being her mother and watching her grow, directing her in obedience without changing the uniqueness of my baby girl and watching the wonder of her developing before my eyes.

This is what I learned in my parenting this sweet girl, who often brought me to tears at the end of the day and at times, at the beginning of the day…

5 Overlooked Strengths of a Strong-willed Child

  1. Leadership – She possessed a strong need to be a leader, often taking the initiative to clean, not only our home but others, to care for other's children or to decide what was going to be played with her peers. ‘Harness it the right way' and she could lead others to Christ. She could lead her generation to living with purpose. She could lead her own children in the right way.
  2. Influencer – It didn't take me long to see that she influenced the atmosphere of our home. A good day could go bad, quickly. She could bring music into our home with one melody. She could influence her siblings to do anything she desired to do with them. ‘Harness it the right way' and she could change a bad day into a good day. She could change the world with her love of music. She could encourage and motivate anyone needing a little encouragement or direction.
  3. Strong Beliefs – Even when she was wrong and had all the evidence of what she did wrong, she still stood strong in her belief that she could convince you otherwise. ‘Harness it the right way' and she could share her belief in Christ, His sacrifice, His gift of forgiveness, His unending love and eternity life through Him.
  4. People Lover – Relationships have always been so important to her and a very loyal to the people in her life, even if these people weren't the best influence on her young heart. ‘Harness it the right way' and she could be a missionary of souls where ever she resides. She would be the best kind of friend and there whenever you needed her.
  5. Passionate – It didn't matter what the situation was or who was involved, she was very passionate from the beginning of her life. She would sing loudly, play hard, study deeply, research more to learn about her interest, practice until she learned an instrument, be there first if you were hurt or needing help. ‘Harness it the right way' and she would be unstoppable to becoming the best she could be.

If you are a parent, raising a strong-willed child, I want to encourage you as my mother did me… “Harness it the right way and he/she can change the world.”

Learn how to ‘harness it the right way' with these tips!


If you are raising a strong willed child, you will need to be sure to stay encouraged! This will help, How to Stay Encouraged While Parenting a Strong-willed Child…

How to Stay Encouraged Parenting a Strong Willed Child - Days are hard when parenting a strong-willed child, but these tips will help you on the hardest of days. | www.joyinthehome.com



6 Steps to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit

Out of my four children, all of them have to be broken from the pacifier.  These steps have worked wonderful to successfully break the pacifier habit in my fourth child and were collected in my experience of breaking the older three children.

6 Steps to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit - Prolonging the use of a pacifier will make it harder to break, but these steps will make it easier. | www.joyinthehome.com

6 Steps to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit

My first child was by far the hardest one to break, my second child mastered how to successfully break the pacifier habit, while the third child was key to adding a gentle weaning necessary for some children (and parents).  We didn't attempt to break the pacifier habit until my daughter turned 3.  I had already determined that this is too late to successfully break the pacifier habit because it has become so much of the child's routine. However, I was completely surprised when my second child did this himself just before his first birthday. My third and fourth children were both broken of this habit before their second birthday.

My Son Demonstrated How to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit

It all happened one day during his nap time and completely unaware to me. When I went to get him out of his crib, I noticed that his pacifier was literally bitten off.  Yes, I said bitten off!  That night, he wanted his pacifier and I gave him it, with the smallest piece of rubber still attached.  He put it to his mouth and just held it there with his hand, as contently as if it were still there. The next day, the pacifier was under the side of his crib and I left it there to see if he really would forget about it… he did!

Use a Gentle Weaning Time to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit

We started with a weaning process with our third child, as I experienced this in nursing to be easy on both the child and mommy. Before he turned eighteen months, I would leave his pacifier in his crib.  It only took a few days to let him know that this was for sleeping time only.


steps to breaking the pacifier habit

6 Steps to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit

Now, our fourth child arrived and we had several different examples and like most experiences, I decided to combine the last two experiences and see what happened.


  1. Being weaning process by only allowing it in the crib or when sick
  2. At least a month prior to the next step, remove all other pacifiers from the house, diaper bags and vehicles {they are everywhere!}, so that only one exist in the house
  3. Before nap time, cut two-thirds of the tip off the pacifier and place back in its normal spot in the bed
  4. Offer the broken pacifier and allow the child to detach from it mentally and determine what needs to be done with it (our fourth child wanted it in the garbage, where our second one needed a little time)
  5. When they cry for it, remind the child that the pacifier was broken and you threw it away
  6. Encourage the child as being big now

In our experience, if a child begins to successfully break the pacifier habit before two, they will be able to do this in only three days. By that time, they are aware that it is gone and have been able to release it. Waiting too late, will prove, like in the case of my daughter that it is more difficult and can take years if the thumb becomes a replacement.

You may also like this post, How to Teach Your Toddler to Pick Up Their Toys

How to Teach Your Toddler To Pick Up Their Toys - These tips would also work with older children. | www.joyinthehome.com