Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kids Need Caregivers

Kids need people who will take care of them, teach them how to live, and protect them from evil influences.  These people need to care about the kids as much as they care about themselves in order to do a good job.

If you have kids that are in your care, then you need to make sure that those kids are being adequately cared for. 

Caring for kids means more than meeting their physical needs.  Healthy diet, exercise, a safe environment in which to sleep, eat, and play - all these are extremely important.  However, caring for kids means more than that.  It means helping kids develop character, wisdom, and common sense.  It involves showing them how to be honest, deal with their emotions, work hard, and make a positive difference in the world. 

Kids are naturally foolish, meaning they think they know what's what, but they really don't.  They don't naturally know how to be kind to others, how to give to those in need, how to be polite, or how to work for a living.  Their minds are childish and childlike.  The childish side is the foolish side that needs to be taught how live a healthy live.  The childlike side needs to be protected from evil. 

Evil in kids' lives can take the form of people who abuse, neglect, bully, or exploit.  It can also take the form of messages: "It's all about you;" "Do whatever you think is right;" "If it feels good, do it;" "You should be able to have whatever you want;" "Your worth lies in your physical appearance."  There are many more.  Evil messages like these pour into homes all accross the country every day.  Media is the main delivery method.  Know what your kids are watching/reading/listening to.  Don't let them feed their brains with junk.

Thought for the day:
Kids need caregivers who will provide for their physical needs, teach them how to live, and protect them from evil.  If you are a caregiver, how well are you doing your job?  Are there ways you could do better?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


KIDS ARE IMPORTANT.  They need us.  They can't figure out life on their own.  Our culture poisons kids.  It teaches them lies about life.  Our job is to teach them the truth.  Only then will they be able to grow into healthy, high-functioning adults.

This blog is about parenting our kids against the flow of the cultural current.  It threatens to sweep kids away to destruction.  We need to fight it with all we've got.

Here is one of the strong currents of our culture: kids aren't important.  They are secondary to adults.  THIS IS A LIE.  This might sound corny, but it's true: kids are the future of our country and our world.  They are the ones who will carry on after we're gone.  If we care about them at all, we don't want to leave them to face life on their own.  Instead, we want to find ways to instruct, train, and guide them into maturity.  Kids don't do well physically when we neglect to feed them healthy food or provide them with adequate shelter.  Similarly, kids's character development suffers when we don't teach them how to live life in a healthy way.  They don't learn how to make wise choices on their own.  A child's heart is naturally foolish.  Only with instruction in the truth will a child grow into a wise adult.

So the key thought for today is: 
Kids are important.  They are just as important as anyone else, including me.  I am not more important than my kids.  My needs are not more important than their needs.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stuck At Home ABCs

Stuck at home with your kids with nothing to do?  This is my list of Stuck At Home ABCs.  Feel free to add to the list and share with others.

A - ACCEPT the fact that you are indeed stuck at home for the day.  Rather than be grumpy about having yet another day at home together, count yourself blessed that you have yet another day at home together.  A time will come when you aren't together but wish you were.  Make some memories and enjoy the time so you don't regret it later.
A - ART is great fun for some people.  Draw pictures of each other.  Get out the paints and have a painting contest.  Make stamps out of apples or potatoes and stamp up a storm.
A - ACT out a play that you write/make-up together.  Or, if your kids are older, try a little Shakespeare.  Dress in makeshift costumes; use props and paint scenery.  Or, simply assign parts and read through them together.  

B - BAKE something yummy.  Let the kids help measure out the ingredients or cut out the cookies.  Then try out the freshly baked goods.
B - BUILD a fort with pillows, cushions, blankets, etc.  Cover the dining room table with blankets and hide underneath.  Tell stories, play games, eat snacks, or sing songs in your fort.
B - Bust out the BALLOONS!  Find those left over balloons from the last birthday party, blow them up, and play balloon toss or balloon volleyball.
B - Cardboard BOXES can be used to make all kinds of fun things: dollhouses, boats, hats, robots... See what kinds of things you can come up with.*

C - COLOR together.  Bust out the crayons, print out coloring pages from the Crayola website, and show off your pictures when you're done.
C - CHARADES can help you while away the hours.  Take turns miming while the others try to guess.
C - COLLAGES made of pictures cut from old magazines pasted onto paper might brighten up your day.

D - DANCE together.  Get out your favorite dance music and have a dance contest.  Get some exercise as you groove to the music.
D - DECORATE the rooms of the house for winter (or spring).  Families enjoy decorating together for the holidays, so why not try it on a snow day.  Make snowflakes by folding up paper and cutting out shapes.  Or make flowers from brightly-colored paper and hang them around the room.  Use glitter or aluminum foil to make things sparkle.  Paper chains or mobiles are also fun to make.

E - EXERCISE together.  Push back the furniture and follow along with an exercise video.  Or make a space for running sprints or laps.  Time each other with a stopwatch.  Do push-ups and jumping jacks.
E - EXPLORE the world via the internet.  Ask your kids what country they've heard of but know little about.  Look it up online and find out about other parts of the world.  Or find a subject your children are interested in and find out more about it together.

F - Hold your own FAIR (or carnival).  Put together simple games like ring/beanbag toss, three-legged races, obstacle courses, and art/singing/dancing/story-telling contests.  Make crafts to share or "sell".  Eat treats you wouldn't normally eat in the afternoon.
F - FIND the missing toys.  Go on a toy finding hunt and award whoever finds the most.  Or give one piece of chocolate (or one sticker) for every toy found.  Get out the flashlights and search under the furniture.  Speaking of flashlights:
F - FLASHLIGHTS can be use to make shadow puppet theaters.  Hang a white and shine a flashlight at it.  Make different shadows with your hands, feet, and various objects.  Put on a show.
F - FOLD the laundry together.  Teach your kids how to do this important task.  Ask littler kids if they can guess whose clothing you're folding.

G - GO FISH could mean the card game or you could make your own fishing game.  Tie a magnet (from the fridge) to to the end of a dowel (or a wooden spoon).  Draw, color, and cut out fish with your kids.  Stick paperclips through the mouths of the fish and you're ready to go.  Simply scatter the fish over the floor and have your kids take turns catching fish with the magnet.
G - GAMES are a great way to pass the time and have lots of fun.  Dig out board games such as Chutes and Ladders, Memory, Jenga, and Chinese Checkers.

H - HIDE-N-SEEK can be a lot of fun if you have the space for it.  If not, play HIDE the Button (or other small object).  One person hides the button while everyone else counts with eyes closed.  The "hider" gives the seekers "warmer" and "colder" clues to let them know if they are getting closer or farther away.  Whoever finds the button hides it next time.

I - ICE cubes make fun building blocks - for a while.  Freeze ice cubes tinted with food coloring and let your kids built with them or simply scoot them around the table or kitchen floor.  Just be careful of little kids who might choke on them.  You can also try freezing different condiments (put each condiment in an separate compartment of the ice cube tray and make a diagram on a piece of paper showing what is where) and comparing them after they've had a couple hours in the freezer.  Have the kids guess the results beforehand.

J - JUMP ROPE if you have the space and surface.  Or play leap frog.  You can also have little kids pretend to be different hopping animals - frogs, kangaroos, rabbits - and then look for videos of the animals on YouTube.
J - JUGGLE if you know how or try to learn if you don't.

K - Make KITES in anticipation of spring.  Use trash bags, strapping tape, dowels and string.  Cut the kite shape out of the trash bag and decorate it with permanent markers.  Cross the dowels and tape them together and to the trash bag with strapping tape.  Add the string, tying it onto the kite where the dowels cross.  Make a small slit in the trash bag at this point, too.  Attach some strips of trash bag or streamers on the end for the tail.
K - Learn how to KNIT.  You can find instructions online.  It helps to have a supply of needles and yarn, though.  Yarn but no needles?  Try finger knitting.

L - LETTER WRITING can fill an afternoon (or at least ten minutes).  Write to distant friends or relatives and decorate the letters with stickers or drawings.  Take photos, print them out, and send them along.  Teach your kids about letter writing including how to address and stamp the envelopes.
L - LEGOS are big fun for most ages (chocking hazard for kids under age three- Duplos or Quatros are safer for them).  Build spaceships, houses, cars, airplanes - make an entire town or space station if you have enough.

M - MASKS are fun to design.  Use paper plates or construction paper.  Cut out the eyes and mouth.  Add ears or a large nose or yarn hair.  Attach to a dowel or popsicle stick or tape a strip of paper or yarn around the back of the head to hold it on.
M - MAKE a MOVIE with your digital camera or camcorder.  Come up with a plot and characters, costumes, sets, etc.

N - Play NUMBER games like Sudoku together as a family.  See who can count the highest or fastest.  If your kids are little, practice counting objects.  Use manipulatives like Cheerios or goldfish to demonstrate how to add or subtract.  Show kids fractions by cutting up an apple.  Look for shapes around the house.

O - ORIGAMI instructions can be found on the internet.  Fold paper to make all sorts of cool animals and other designs.
O - ORGANIZE your desk drawers by having the kids sort items by type.  Or organize the toy or book shelves.

P - PLAY with PLAYDOH.  You can even make your own dough (search for a recipe online).  Make people, cars, animals, food, etc.
P - PUT on a PUPPET SHOW.  If you don't own puppets, make some out of old socks or paper bags.  Use yarn for hair and draw the faces with markers or (if you're more crafty) use buttons and thread to make eyes and mouth.  Fabric bits are useful for clothes.  Set up a theater by suspending a sheet across a doorway or two chairs.
P - Look at old PHOTOS and home videos.  Share memories of your youth with your kids.  Let them see what you looked like when you were their age.  Or tell stories about when they were little.

Q - Play a QUESTION game like I SPY.  Someone spies something in the room and everyone else can ask yes or no questions to find the item.

R - Teach your kids the colors of the RAINBOW including their order.  Have them draw or paint rainbows.  Or cut out strips of colored construction paper and put them in order.
R - READ an age-appropriate book to your kids.  If your kids are older, have them take turns reading aloud.
R - RACE each other.  Try a sack race with pillow cases, a relay race, a sorting race, or a dress-up race.

S - SING songs with each other.  Take turns picking songs and doing solos.  See how many songs you can remember.
S - Set up a STORE.  Have your kids pick out items, add price tags, use change or play money, and teach them how to use a calculator or their heads to figure out change.  Take turns being the cashier and the customers.
S - SECRET acts of kindness can really brighten your day!  Write each person's name on a slip of paper, mix them up, and have each person draw a name.  Secretly do something kind for the person whose name you drew.*

T - THROW A PARTY.  Play games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey or Musical Chairs.  Bake a cake and or eat ice cream.  Have the kids make cards and/or prizes.
T - Play TIC-TAC-TOE, Hangman, and other pass-the-time games on paper (or chalkboard/whiteboard).
T - THUMB WRESTLE each other.  See who wins the championship.
T - Use TV wisely.  Try not to let your kids watch TV all day long, but do watch a fun video together as a family.  If the TV has been on all day, turn it off and try one of these other suggestions for a while.  Too much TV isn't good for anyone.

U - Wear your (clean) UNDERWEAR on your heads and chase each other around like mad people.  It's amazing how funny people look with underwear on their heads.  This game is especially fun in dim light.

V - Record silly VIDEOS of each other.  Record yourselves doing some of the other activities mentioned.

W - WRITE A STORY together.  You could make up a story or write the story of your family.  Or write separate stories and read them to each other.

X - X MARKS THE SPOT on the treasure map.  Make a treasure map for your kids and hide something special (or ordinary) at the X.  Or have your kids make treasure maps for each other.  See if the others can follow the map and find the treasure.

Y - Practice your YO-YO skills.  Have a contest.  Learn new tricks.

Z - ZIP around the house like crazy until everyone is so worn out they want to go to bed early.

* These ideas came from Anne-Marie.