My Favorite Kids Discipleship Resources

This post originally appeared at Twinning Babywise as part of Babywise Friendly Blog Netword Swap day.

One of the most daunting tasks as a parent has to be discipling our children and raising them in the Lord. There is nothing in parenting that I hold with the same importance and nothing that I pray and beg God for than my kids salvation. But, I think it is of the utmost importance to remember that salvation rests only and always with Jesus. My greatest victories as a parent cannot save my kids and my greatest failures cannot ruin them. Salvation rests only and always with Jesus.

That being said, I think it is Biblical and God-intended for us to raise our children in a way that they know in their heads and grow in their hearts the truth of God's word. That we teach them and train them according to what the Bible, God's perfect word, tells us is THE truth.

Through the years, both as a mom and as a former children's director, I have gathered some of my favorite resources to help in the discipleship process with our kids. I hope they help you as you walk this journey with your own babies!



Bibles

Baby Blessings Bible - I like this Bible for babies up to age 2. It was recommended to me this past year by a friend who gave it to Archer as a gift, and I'm sad I didn't know about it before. It's padded and durable, and while it is more of a "story" book, every story in it points back to Jesus.


The Big Picture Story Bible - This Bible is my favorite for 2,3,and 4 years olds. The pictures are big and beautiful. The language is easy to understand and captivating and it asks good questions. And again, every story points to Jesus.


The Jesus Storybook Bible - This is my all- time favorite Bible for children. I think you can use it with any age but probably the best fit is 5 years+ . The whole point of this Bible, every single part of it is to point back to Jesus being our rescuer and redeemer. Every part. If you don't own this Bible, you need to.


Missions

Maps - If you want to teach your kids about how much bigger the world is than just our little western bubble, if you want them to be mission-minded, if you want them to love ALL people no matter their skin color or where they are from, you have to SHOW them. We have maps all over our house because I want our kids to be curious. I want my kids to ask questions. I want them to see how tiny of a dot our location is on the map compared to the rest of the world. And when I tell them that God SO LOVED the world, I want them to see what that really means. It doesn't take anything fancy. You can print off free world maps from the internet. You can find maps online geared towards kids. You can find wall maps like the one I have in our playroom. It doesn't matter which kind, you can find something to fit your needs and budget.

Give Your Child The World
This book is a resource full of other resources. I have yet to make my way through the whole thing, but it is absolutely worth the cost of it.

Missions in a Box

This is a brand new resource published by the WMU and I can't wait to get it for myself. I actually had a very similar idea for a missions curriculum and was so excited to see this out on the market.


Music

Seeds Family Worship - This is straight scripture in fun kids' songs. Also, it's not annoying. It's catchy and is sometimes good for the Mama heart too.


Hide 'Em In Your Heart - this is my favorite from when I was a kid and I have now passed it on to my own kids. Again, straight scripture and a great way to help your kids memorize verses. My daughter especially loved these songs! See here sing some of them here: LK is hiding them in her heart.


Church

Your church is one of the greatest resources you have as a parent, especially if you have an active children's ministry (active meaning more than just nursery). Every week after church, we ask our kids two questions: 1. What did you learn? 2. How can it/does it affect your life. Two, easy-to-remember-questions that can help make the Bible applicable to their life, just over a conversation at Sunday lunch. I HIGHLY encourage you to press in here.

Devotions/Books

The Biggest Story - This book is the story of the Gospel clearly and BEAUTIFULLY laid out for kids to see, understand, and WANT to read. We often use this book in family worship


Long Story Short/Old Story New - These are 10 minute devotions that are great for Family Worship or great for an older child to work through independently. The Long Story Short is focused on the Old Testament while the Old Story New focuses on the New Testament. They are OFTEN on sale on Kindle for only a couple dollars and sometimes free.



Hopefully these resources can help you. My prayer is for you to be encouraged as you faithfully raise your kids in the Lord, and I beg Him to save and rescue our babies!

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Hi! I'm Carrie! I like to drink Earl Grey Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, hang out with my man, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, play with my babies, take long bubble baths, and learn about Jesus. Connect with me on Facebook for even more Wiley Adventures!

How To Do Rest Time During School Breaks

Today is Babywise Swap day!  You can find me at Twinning Babywise sharing some tips on surviving the hard mom days.

Over here today, Valerie from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is sharing some tips for How To Do Rest Time During School Breaks. This is so needed around here as I try to work out schedules for my older kids during Spring Break and plan for this Summer. Hopefully you can glean some things from her wisdom!



Ahhh, summer vacation. Or Spring Break. Or Christmas Break. They can be so rejuvenating and a time for fun memories with the children. Without any structure, however, these vacations quickly make you realize why the line in "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas", "And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again" even exists.  

A simple long weekend can be fun to wing, but if you have an extended break, you will want some structure. Many parents worry about how to have "structure" on non-school days because that structure isn't part of the every-day norm. Let me ease your worries. They may also worry because in general, rest time has been dropped since their child entered school.

Your school-aged child is accustomed to very predictable structure at school each day. Being at home with some structure, even if it isn't what it is like at school, will feel normal. We also need to give our children major credit. They are smart beings. They understand school is different from home, and they understand that just because they don't always do something at home doesn't mean they can't sometimes do things at home. Some benefits of rest time include:
  • Time to rest and even take a brief nap in the middle of the day. I love something like rest time in the heat of the day during summer months to get out of the sun, drink some water, and rest up.
  • A quiet house. This can be good for your sanity and also very helpful if you have younger children who need to take a nap.
  • Time to be alone. When siblings spend all day every day together, they can easily bicker.  A break is good for everyone.
  • Structure to the day. It is nice to have just a little structure every day to help keep everyone grounded. 
Currently at our house, our three school-aged children do not have rest time Monday-Saturday, but they do on Sunday. Even though it is only once a week, the foundation we set with naps and rest time when they were babies, toddlers, and preschoolers means that when mom or dad say "Rest time!", they know what that means and what to expect. They also know there are no negotiations or complaints that will lead to happiness. 

Here are some suggestions for successful rest time when your school-aged children are home on break.
  1. If your child is still young, establish that habit and expectation now. You will thank yourself later. 
  2. I find it best to give some warning before the rest time happens. If you tell your children at breakfast, "Today we are going to do rest time at 1:30," you will have more compliant children than if you declare so at 1:30. With that said, however, if your children are having a hard time getting along and you weren't planning on rest time, absolutely declare a rest time last minute. 
  3. I allow my children to read books during rest time. You can have your own list of acceptable activities that are quiet and independent. I have two girls who share a room. I do not allow them to be chatty with each other. I want it quiet and individual. 
  4. Remember rest time can happen in any quiet location. If you have children who share a room and have a hard time being quiet for rest time, you can have one set up on the couch. 
  5. Have a set amount of time for rest time. We vary from 30-60 minutes, depending on what we want time for after rest time and also how much the children need some time alone. 
  6. It doesn't have to be daily. Rest time is great, but you can easily skip it on days that you feel like skipping it. Are the kids having a blast outside and you don't want to stop the fun? Skip rest time that day. Do you want to go to the splash pad all day? Skip rest time. Does your child want a friend over to the house and it would cut over rest time? Skip it. 
If you want your child to have alone time but don't necessarily care about it being rest time, independent playtime is a great alternative. 

During your next school break, remember you are the parent and you get to decide what is done. If your children need some rest time, don't be afraid to do it! Even if it is only every once in a while. 

For more on rest time, see:



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Hi! I'm Carrie! I like to drink Earl Grey Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, hang out with my man, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, play with my babies, take long bubble baths, and learn about Jesus. Connect with me on Facebook for even more Wiley Adventures!

Freedom and Responsibility for Older Children

(This post originally appeared here at The Moses Home as part of a Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day.)


I naturally have always struggled not to underestimate my kids’ abilities, and I’m always surprised by how much they actually can handle and are ready for. I have always been the parent that would notice my kids’ friends doing something and think to myself, “Oh, I guess my kid could do that too!”
My oldest is 8 now and I am just now starting to be able to stay ahead of the game and recognize her readiness for new freedoms and responsibilities. I have found that it does take intentional thought and sometimes a little trial and error.


Here are some readiness Markers to Look For:

A Happy Heart – This is a phrase we use often in our home. We work towards our kids obeying right away, all the way, with a happy heart. But a genuine content, happy heart signals to me a certain amount of maturity. If my child is in a season of complaining, grumbling, whining or being easily frustrated, then I don’t think they are exhibiting the maturity necessary that could “Buy” them certain freedoms.


Peer Standards – While every child is created differently, there are such things as developmental milestones and age-appropriate expectations. This particular readiness marker has been the most helpful for me with my oldest, because she will always be my first 8 year old, 9 year old, etc… So I think it’s important to educate myself on what peers her age are doing at each stage. Most of the time I am intentional about this, I find myself surprised and have a new goal or activity that I can implement.


Intuition – I think parental intuition is not something to take lightly. There are sometimes in my parenting that my husband or I will just KNOW or FEEL like something is right or our child is ready for something new, or the next stage. Have we been wrong before? Yes! But I will say that our intuition has been more right than wrong. This is something we pray heavily about and ask for wisdom for as we guide our kids.


Trial and Error -And that brings me to the last point. Sometimes it just takes some trial and error to see if they are ready.  When my son Shepherd was 2 and half, we really felt like he was ready to potty train. So we did the whole shebang: Potty Party, Undies, rewards, etc.. It flopped and 9 months later he was still having consistent accidents. On the other hand, when my mom told me that my oldest helped her efficiently with the dishes at her house one night, I decided to try and see if she was ready to handle that responsibility at our home, and she absolutely was! Sometimes you have to just try it and see what happens.


Here are some Freedoms and Responsibilities to consider if your older child might be ready for:

Bathing – this is one of the first things we allowed our daughter to be responsible for on her own. Turning on and off the water, washing her hair and her body thoroughly, drying off, and getting her pajamas on and brushing her teeth.


Cleaning/Chores – Like I mentioned earlier with the dishwasher, this is an area that is SO HELPFUL when they are ready for more chores and responsibilities around the house. Valerie Plowman wrote a very helpful article for A Beginner’s Guide to Childhood Chores on my bloga while back. This has some  really helpful tips for training your kids to be ready for chores.


Cooking – There are some basic cooking and food prep that I have allowed my oldest to help with. In particular when we have date night, we feed our kids early and this is simple easy food prep that my daughter can help with: making PBJs, warming chicken nuggets, dividing chips on the plates, etc… (Read about How We Do Date Night here).


Later Bedtimes – After a while of my daughter lying awake in her bed and taking longer to fall asleep, and after a chunk of time of observing a happy heart from her, we decided to extend her bedtime a little bit later than her younger brothers. We still have her read and wind down during this time (Read about how “Reading Time” has been a Sanity Saver here), but she is allowed the freedom to be awake longer. She has handled this beautifully.


Activities – We try to be pretty careful about our kids commitments and time. But as they get older, I have realized how much more they really can handle because of their maturity. This can be anything from clubs at school to Sports, Dance, Music etc…


These are the readiness markers and areas that I have experienced when it comes to freedoms and responsibilities in our family! What about you? What would you add to the list?

Hi! I'm Carrie! I like to drink Earl Grey Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, hang out with my man, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, play with my babies, take long bubble baths, and learn about Jesus. Connect with me on Facebook for even more Wiley Adventures!

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