River Relay KidMin Activity

Bible Connect: Exodus 1 – 2:10
Best for Kindergarten and up

Supplies: Basket

Prepare: Make sure to have a medium to large open space. Have the children line up in a straight line facing all in one direction.

Do: Talk to the kids about waves and imagine the basket with baby Moses going down the river. Imagine the basket going up and down the waves of the Nile river. In this activity, the basket is going to over their head to the person behind them; then they run back to the end of the line. The person with the basket now passes it between their legs, then runs back to the back of the line.

So the basket goes over then under, over then under, and with the kids going to the back of the line, this activity can keep going all over the room.

Some extra ideas: 1) Lead the kids to the storytelling area. 2) Time the kids 3) Put a baby doll and make sure they don’t drop the baby

Talk about: Did baby Moses know about God’s protection? How did God protect baby Moses? How can God protect us today?

If you have any additional ideas, let me know.  I did this activity with 4s and 5s, and it was doable.  It took awhile to explain, but when it got going, the kids really enjoyed it.

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Helping Your Child With Their Fears

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Everyone in life will experience fears, but it get be difficult when our children start becoming afraid of things in the world. It starts off small, like a loud noise or a room filled with people, to later in life when they start fearing rejection or being home alone. Even as adults, we have fears from death to budget concerns.

Fear is just a part of life, but our children don’t know that yet. And telling them it’s normal can be very discouraging to hear.

Fear begins when our imaginations start developing. That coat in the closet can easily become a person. That shadow on the wall could be a monster. Imagination plays a big role in fear in our children.

But as the child develops, fear also happens through observations from their parents. A parent being uncomfortable in an environment will cause the child to be afraid. One time, we were on a trip away from home with the youth and a storm was coming. As the adult leaders, we were well prepared and knew the dangers. We were calm and collective, but a parent back home wasn’t and called their child. Calling their child in panic, caused their child, who was hundreds of miles away, to get fearful of a storm that we knew was coming.

As parents, we can do a couple of things to help with your child’s fear.

First, we need to stay calm and confident. I know it can be hard to be calm especially if you awoken every night. And sometimes we don’t have confidence because we don’t have the right solution to fix their problems. But what you can do, is walk and talk with them about their fears and show them that there is nothing to be afraid of. Say that with sincerity and confidence will come out.

Second, reward bravery. Do not worry if the accomplishment is small or big, it is an accomplishment. Reward them with something that fitting for the task. For example, if they are afraid of the water, and they decide to take on their fear. Reward them with a trip to their favorite dinner spot.

Finally, relieve your child’s fear by allowing them to tell you what will comfort them, even if it sounds dumb. Let them lock the door or window, if they are afraid of someone coming. Give them a night light, if the dark is causing problems. Let them tell you what will make them feel safe and if it’s reasonable let it happen. Obviously there are some realistic boundaries, and if something comes up that is unrealistic, give them a better option.

There is no doubt about that life is scary, and there are realistic fears in this world. We cannot protect or keep every fear away from children, but we can help them know that there is comfort, and there is peace in this world as well.

What kind of tips do you have with dealing with fears? If it is constructive, let me know if the comments below.

Photo Credit: Medo / Fear by xaimex via Flickr (Creative Commons)

2 Important Tips When Potty Training Your Child

There are many milestones that you will have with your family, especially during the preschool years. To name a few, you will see them be born, eat solid foods, get their first-hair cut, and their first food that makes them have a weird face that grandparents love to record. But none in my opinion is more exciting than potty training! Saying goodbye to diapers, you think wouldn’t be that exciting, but you would be wrong. The idea that you don’t have to buy diapers anymore, that you can use that money for something else than being defecated in, is such a great feeling.

Being diaper-free is a great moment for every parent.  No parent looks back and say’s “I wish ______ could be back diapers again.”  Although it is a great feeling it, unfortunately, isn’t easy when you are going through potty training.  Potty training can be the most tiring, most aggravating, most hair-pulling experience a parent will have in their child’s life. For some it’s no big deal, their child learns quickly and has no problems. But for others, it is a test of will, of endurance, and of patience.

If you want a surefire way to potty training with no fuss or mess, then you are misguided. There are plenty of blogs, books, websites, and advice columns telling us the best way to potty train, but I believe there is not one method or belief that fits all children. Why? It’s because every child is different, from their temperaments to their cognitive skills. Some parents are convinced to have their child ready before two while others wait until right before they start attending preschool. One child might be able to be trained in the one-day method while the other won’t until they are ready. There is not one method that works for every child.

Though the methods are different and plentiful, there are some good indicators of when to start.  Here are some basics that I think help, especially if this is your first child.

  • Can they understand basic directions?
  • Are they able to hold their bladder for a few hours?
  • Do they complain or not like being in a dirty diaper?

Typically if they are showing those indicators, you are ready to go into potty training.  Like I said, some parents will start sooner, that is up to your family and sanity of when to start, but I think if they are doing at the least one of these three indicators, go for it.  Mayo Clinic has some other indicators to ask before starting, which you can check out here.

If your child is ready, the next important step is to get a routine. Routines vary from family to family, so be flexible to your own family, but you need to be consistent. If you want your child to be consistent, you need to be consistent in training. Routines will never happen if you are unable to create consistency. When they wake up, put them on the toilet. Before bath time, put them on the toilet. Before you leave the house, put them on the toilet. Create a routine and be consistent that is flexible to your family.

The final step and one that any method will tell you because it is the most important is to praise them for achieving but show grace when they accidents. Your child will eventually figure it out, but they most likely will have accidents afterwards. Praise them for their accomplishments, but also handle their shortcomings with grace. If you start that mentality right now, while they are young then you are building a Christ-like attitude in your family that will have a long-standing impact. Because eventually, your child will grow up, and they will have accomplishments that deserve praises, but they will also have setbacks and failures that need to filled with grace.

Whatever method you use for potty training is up to you, if you want a list of different methods you can check out Potty Training Techniques from parentingscience.com.But whatever method you choose, remember to be consistent, and to praise for accomplishments and show grace when they have accidents.

Helping With Separation Anxiety

Even today, when I am walking out the door and heading to work, my youngest boy will sometimes say’s to me “Don’t Go.” Oh man, I love my job but it is hard to say goodbye to your child when they are so lovable. I just want to call off sick and spend the entire time with him. But, I know I will see him at lunch, so I kiss him on the forehead and tell him, I will be back in a little bit. Clinginess and wanting you to be around is a healthy reaction to separation. Our children want to be with us, and we want to be with them. That is a normal and something that we want to cherish, because, hopefully, as they get older, when you leave for work or whatever, they won’t care too much of you leaving. Do they like that you are leaving? No, but they know you are going to come back. In the meantime, how do we handle our children having separation issues right now? Though we cannot be with our child every minute of every day, there is someone who is with us always. And that is God. God is always with us, and there is nothing that can separate us from His love and affection. Romans 8:38- 39 say’s

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can rest in the fact that God is always present with our children, and is constantly loving them. So when we leave every morning, we can hug our children, feel their sadness and remind them that God is always there and is always loving on them.

Extra Tips

1. Develop a good-bye ritual. Do not leave without your children knowing. Instead, seek them out and say your good-byes.

2. Be Consistent. If at all possible, come back home roughly around the same time every day. Being consistent will not only help your child’s anxiety, but also score major points with the spouse.

3. Leave With Certainty And Only Come Back When Needed. If you leave and come back often, it does nothing more than reinforce anxiety. If your child knows, if they throw a fit and you will be there, reinforces bad behavior. A recent example of this happened at Junior High camp. An 8th grade student pretended to be sick so his parents would pick him up from camp. This trick worked when they were young and still works when they are older.

Curbing Separation Anxiety

Either you have gone through it, in the middle of it, or it is going to happen soon.

Separation Anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a normal behavior for very young children (8 months to a year and a half). All children at some point in life will experience the fear of being along. It happens when a child fears being away from their parent. The child has no idea if their parent will come back, even in a game of peek-a-boo.

Unfortunately as life progresses, separation anxiety should go away, if it does not go away it will turn into a disorder which is a bigger problem that could result in therapy or medication.

One way to curb separation anxiety is for the parents to be the presence of peace in their child’s life. Why? Because a parent’s personal anxiety, and nervousness can rub off on your children. So it is important for them to be an example of peace.

Philippians 4:6 (NIV) say’s “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

If you are feeling anxious about anything, whether it be dropping your child off at preschool or having a stressful day at work. Give those anxieties to God, and you will be teaching your child, even at a young age, to trust in God.

Comparing Other Parents

Being a parent is hard work and sometimes we can wonder “How well am I doing?”  We can hear and we can see other families that appear to be doing a better job, so we start comparing.

Comparing ourselves to others is normal.  Sometimes we can compare that makes us look like we are ahead of the curve while other times we are behind.  We can get easily discouraged when our child is noisy in church, or won’t go to Sunday School class and it feels like every eye comes in our direction is saying, “My child would never be like that!”  So we start comparing and questions come in our heads like “Why can’t my child go to class without crying?” “Why can’t my child sit still?”

Comparisons can be harmful to our self-esteem.  It is easy to fall into this trap, especially if this is your first child.  Before we start avoiding other parents, it is important to realize that we all have good and bad days.  No one is a master at parenting.  Every parent is struggling with their child.  So, stay on course, of loving and caring for your child and remember we are all in this together.