By Julie Polanco, guest blogger When we chose to homeschool our children, I knew our journey would be different. But I didn’t know how different. I understood school as children sitting at desks doing what the teacher told them to. I figured that homeschooling would be like that, only in my home. Those assumptions proved to be wrong as well. In fact, homeschooling my four children—now age 19, 17, 13 and 11—taught me a lot about God, learning and parenting…. Read more

Do you attend church with your kids? By that I mean, do you sit together during the worship service or are you in the sanctuary and your kids in children’s church? While there’s nothing overtly wrong with children’s church, in this week’s video, I make the case for attending church in its entirety as a family on Sunday mornings. I also address the four most common reasons why parents shuffle their children off to children’s church rather than sit in… Read more

Whether you homeschool or send your kids to private or public school, the re-entry back into the school year doesn’t have to be rough. Here are some tips for helping your kids prepare for school that will make the transition easier on everyone. It’s August, which means the school year for thousands of kids will soon begin. After a summer of fun, sun, and fewer rules, most kids aren’t ready to focus on reading, writing or arithmetic. I’ve asked other… Read more

A few weeks ago, my husband, myself and our four children (who range in age from 10 to 15) visited Colonial Williamsburg for the day. My two teenagers expressed their disinterest in going, but beyond that, resigned themselves to the trip. One of my tweens was very verbal about his dissatisfaction with our visit, complaining about waiting for our tickets, having to go to begin with, etc. Generally behaving like a brat. Being an old hand at this parenting thing,… Read more

By Julie B Cosgrove, guest blogger When I was a young parent-to-be, I asked my mother what made her such a good one. She winked at me. “I was there when you needed me, even when you didn’t want me there. Still am.” How true. I recall as a teen I didn’t particularly want her around, but I wanted to know she’d be around when I wanted her. She represented my refuge. And I knew, without a doubt, that even… Read more

We all wrestle with fears about our children, but keeping a healthy balance is key to not letting anxiety run away with us. In this week’s video blog, I discuss how anxiety about our children and their futures can color our parenting—and why that’s not a good thing. I also give three easy tips on how to not be anxious. To connect with me and read more about raising kids, visit www.sarahhamaker.com.   Read more

By Glenn Haggerty, guest blogger One of the things parents struggle with is how to help their children find friends. Fiction can be a great way to introduce children and teens to the concepts like what being a friend means and how to go about finding friends. Guest blogger Glenn Haggerty provides some insights from his tween fiction book, Run. In Run, 13-year-old Tyler demonstrated two friendship blockers. First, he thought he was so cool he could only hang out… Read more

A mom asks how to figure out what is an appropriate amount of time to spend with her four children…and how to fit that into her busy day. In this week’s video blog, I provide a framework for thinking about how much attention children really need—and how to devise a schedule that allows for all the necessary work related to the care and feeding of young children, time for mom and dad, and solidifies the parent/child connection. For example, being… Read more

My 6-year-old comes up to me, a hopeful expression in her eyes. “Mom, can I have some Girl Scout cookies?” My response is automatic. “No, sweetie, it is almost dinnertime.” As she walks away, I overhear her tell her friend, “We will ask her again in a few minutes because she won’t remember she said no.” Raising children is tough. No one will disagree with that statement. Raising them as a stroke survivor is tougher. It presents a whole new… Read more

Why do kids have tantrums? In a nutshell, it’s because they want what they want when they want it—it’s a visceral reaction to being thwarted by circumstances or another person. In this week’s video blog, I give tips on how parents should react to a child’s tantrums. Here are my top three tips for tantrums: 1. Ignore the tantrum. 2. Establish a tantrum place. 3. Never give into a tantrum. For how to actually implement those tips, watch the video…. Read more

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