I asked mothers to write in and tell me some fun things they do with their kids. It is always fun to hear what others do. So here are some of the responses.
1) READING: I got a lot of mothers saying they read to their kids everyday. Here is what Nathalie, a mother of 7 wrote about reading: The first thing that comes to my mind, of course, is reading out loud to my kids - not just little story books, but novels.I've been reading novels out loud to my family for years. They love it. I would recommend starting out with the "Chronicles of Narnia" for all ages. 4 & 5 year olds up to teenagers and adults enjoy this series. The biggest tip I have about reading to the kids is this: DO NOT make them sit quietly with their arms folded when you read out loud to them at home!! This is not church! In the past, I've told mothers how much I read to my children, and the response has sometimes been "but my kids won't sit still and listen". Let your kids build with blocks or legos - or have them color or draw while you read out loud to them - let them play! You'll be amazed at how much they learn and remember from the book as you let them do other things while they listen to the story. And as the mom, it's fun to peek at them and see what they're doing while you're reading. Many times, they're building, drawing, or acting some part of the story. It provides them inspiration for their imagination! The only rule we have is that when mom or dad is reading, you must be quiet. If you talk, sing, yell, or make other sound effects (which boys are famous for!), you may leave the room. That's it! Make it fun for the family. Every once in a while during the winter when it gets dark early, we turn off all the lights and get out our candles and oil lamps from the storage room. Then we light them, and have a fun night of popcorn and reading to candlelight - the kids love it and pretend they're in old times. We also like to discuss the books we read at mealtimes. Reading is a wonderful way to create fun family time together!
2)STORY TELLING: Kori, a mother of 2, wrote this: One simple thing I did that captured Jake's attention (he's 2 1/2) more than I thought it would was to tell scripture stories in my own words. I was trying to feed Christian (11 months) and Jake was running around distracting him so I started telling Jake the story of Nephi. He just stood there listening. When I got done, he said, "Tell it again!" So I told him another one. "Tell it again!" So I told one more. . . and one more after that. I really thought he needed pictures to pay attention, but he was spellbound at the simple stories. I was amazed.
3) WRITE LETTERS: Cherie wrote this great idea: I love to write a letter to each child on their birthdays. I have done this since each of their first birthdays and it's been a treasure.
4) ONE-ON-ONE TIME: Many mothers wrote how important one-on-one time is. Cherie says: Also, I take each child on a date night about every other month (and my husband does the same). That way, they get a date night with one parent once a month. I absolutely CHERISH this time with them because they feel so special and loved---having that personal connection. One time my daughter Savannah and I went mini-golfing and I hit a hole in one and started doing a funky dance, while all the bells and whistles went off. She still laughs about that and tells all her friends, and it's been 2 years now. Focused one-on-one ANYTHING is a treat for a child. Kori wrote: I've found, as probably every mom has, that my kids just want my attention. Doesn't matter what we're doing, they just want me to be with them as much as I can.
5)ART DAY: Ashley wrote: each week we have one day that is Art day. For us it is Thurs after school. Last week we drew our favorite toy and this week we made salt dough and made hand molds. I have a 7 year old and a 1 year old and they both love and look forward to it every week. In the summer we plan to do fun stuff like tie dying. (On a side note, Ashley's husband also teaches their kids music and piano.)
6)COOKING: Ashely also gave this: we are going to start around the world cooking and my kids are going to help me create different dinners from around the world (ie: Mexico, Japan, Italy, Greece, America, France etc...)
7)JOURNAL: Another great tip from Ashley: I have also started my son his own private blog but we just call it his " CharLee News Journal".
8)DONATING: More from Ashley: Every other month we give our kids a bag and they fill it with toys, clothes they don't use and we make a healthy treat( ie. flax seed balls) and give them away to someone we know would like them and then we organize what we have left.
9)Great tip from Heather: I think I have just found that you just have to enjoy the journey, find whatever your kids are interested in and support them!Be at everything! let your not being at an event an exception and not the rule.
10)Outside: In the summer when I was growing up Mom would have us find pictures in the clouds and then draw them. While we drew, Mom would teach us about clouds or whatever it was we were drawing. "Women's Devotional Bible"
12)House Boat: Pretend that your house is a giant boat on an imaginary journey. Travel around the world and learn about new places. "Women's Devotional Bible"
13)Make a Family Song: We made a fun family song that is to a catchy tune. The song has 6-7 short verses but each one is something that we hope our kids will remember when they are at school or away from home. Ex: Our family reads scriptures everyday, obeys quickly, loves to share and help others, resists temptation, listens to the prophet and follows Christ. This has been a lot of fun. We sing it at least once a day and they jump around, dance and clap. -Baker's
14)Outside: Fill a bucket with water, and use paint brushes to paint on the driveway and sidewalks.-sent in by Jeffan15)Outside: Go to the local lake and feed the birds or ducks with cheap breadfrom the day old store or with bread ends saved over a period of time and kept in the freezer.-sent in by Jeffan
16)Outside: Picnic in the park with sanwiches and foods made with the children. They always like food they helped prepare better than food made for them.- sent in by Jeffan
Thank you everyone! Please keep sending me things as you come up with new ideas. Thanks.
We have found in our family that when we have scripture study around the kitchen table every night that the kids listen and sit still better than when we used to do it in our room or one of the kids rooms. Dad is also the initiator of it and we call it Daddy Scripture Study Time. We also try to incorporate songs and games each night.
Look up the Home Organization and Chores website
I just got their books, "Managers of their Chores" and "Managers of their Homes." So far I have only read about half of "Managers of their Chores" and done the ChorePacks it talks about and it is really helping! This is the same program that the Duggar family uses to get their 18 kids organized and helping around the house. It is designed for homeschooling families but anyone could benenfit from them.
What Latter-Day Stripling Warriors Need
By, Ardeth Green Kapp
We learned that today's stripling warriors feel secure when they have specific guidelines, rules, policies. They want someone to follow up and reinforce their confidence, to reassure them that they're doing well. We learned that sometimes they need to suffer the consequences of wrong choices and learn-often painfully-from their mistakes, knowing all the while that love and acceptance are unconditional. We learned that they need reminders during the early stages on bad habits they need encouragement and direction by example. It is important to praise in public and counsel in private, and to help them understand the difference between sin and error. We learned that stripling warriors have fears that are real. Their response of support and loyalty seemed strengthened when we acknowledge some of our own feelings of inadequacy and dependence on the Lord. Working with theses young men and women, we learned that genuine love and understanding, combined with clearly defined, consistent boundaries (not strong as steel. We learned that the making of a man or woman begins in a mother's arms and at a mother's knee.
At least once a week have personal interviews with each one of your children. We do ours on Sunday. My husband does them and asks how their week was, is there any thing bothering you, what did you learn this week, how are your friends, etc... These interviews each last 15-20 minutes and they begin and end with a prayer.
Set Family Goals
These can be prayed about to see what will work best for your family. However, one that we all have in common is to Return Back to the Celestial Kingdom as a Family and Live with Heavenly Father and Jesus through the eternities. Then, as you are teaching your kids throughout the years, be reminding them that you are teaching them these things so that they can help in accomplishing family goals. You can also remind them as they are making choices in their everyday life that each choice should help bring them closer to accomplishing the family goals.
Set these goals up together, then write them down and if you can hang them on the wall to remind all of you what you are working toward.