Creating Heathy Routines and Habits

This can be a big topic, and there really is a lot to tackle here, but we’re going to do our best to walk through some different thoughts. Hopefully, you’ll be able to pick up on some ideas and begin incorporating them with your family!
First of all, I’d define a healthy routine as something that you want your family to participate in on an almost daily, if not daily, basis. To not do these things would be unhealthy habits. Let’s talk through some practical steps:
1. Make these daily habits consistent
When teaching your kids the importance of creating and repeating healthy habits, these need to be things that apply to them often. For example, after we finish eating, we always pick up our dishes. Or every night before bed, we brush our teeth. Some things don’t have to be chore related, but can still be a good habit to instill like reading a certain amount every day (maybe even before screen time).
2. Say what you are doing and why
My 19 month old has already picked up on the fact that we pick up after ourselves because it’s a mess, and messes get picked up. It’s a simple concept but helps her to understand the reasoning behind picking up our toys, cleaning our hands after eating, etc. It also helps our children to understand that it’s a way of taking care of the things that we have. That is a bigger lesson that’ll continue to be developed as they get older, but is a good one to get started on now! Another example would be explaining that we read the Bible every day so we can know more about God. My daughter loves reading books already, which is great, but I also want her to understand why we prioritize reading this specific book every day.
3. Keep at it even if the concept seems lost on them
Don’t be afraid to stay consistent even if it seems like it’s not catching on at first or that they may be too young. If my 19 month old can say “Grinch” first thing when she wakes up and all throughout the day because she wants to watch it all the time, then I think she can pick up on “time to pray before bed” or “let’s pick up our mess before we move on to another activity.” Hearing the same message over and over is one way they learn!
4. Make sure some of these healthy habits are enjoyable
Hopefully, all of the daily habits you want for your family are always enjoyable for everyone! But the reality is, that may not always be the case. That is why I feel it’s important to make sure that many of the healthy habits are things that your kids look forward to throughout the day. If we’re lucky, these habits will become some of their favorite things to incorporate. Examples of this for me would be that Isla loves bath time, so I make sure she is getting in a bath at least every other day, if not more (she’s been asking for one on a daily basis lately). She also enjoys helping me unload the clean dishes out of the dishwasher, put clean clothes on each morning, and eat fresh fruit. Because she enjoys these things, I try to make sure I’m making an effort to see that these happen often. As our kids grow up, the list of things that they will need to accomplish will only continue to lengthen. My hope is that I can facilitate a healthy and fun atmosphere around daily habits.
Overall momma, what do you want your home to be centered around? Daily habits that I have for my home may not be the things that you prioritize in yours, and that’s totally OK! Just be sure that you have identified those things that are important to you and your family, and stay consistent. It’s amazing how quickly kids pick up on bad habits and routines. If we are on a road trip and let Isla watch the iPad while traveling, she’ll expect it to still be there when we get back home and aren’t traveling long distances anymore. This habit that’s been established within a couple days takes at least that long to undo. Consider that it’ll take some time when setting up healthy routines if you are also trying to break a few bad ones at the same time as well. I’ll end with this thought–do you want to encourage helpfulness, imagination, and creativity? Shut down the screen time after a certain amount of time and explain why. It can be easy to redirect their focus if a different activity is still engaging them, even if it’s just you doing the engaging! We have the responsibility of raising up these young ones that have been entrusted to us. Hang tight and reach out to other moms for support if you are feeling overwhelmed with instilling any habits that are going to be healthy for your home because it is worth it and you can do it!
I’m Grateful For…
The role and task of teaching my children how to behave and know what is expected of them as participating members of the household. I want my kids to feel they are just as much a part of the family without thinking that they are in charge. That is my role along with my husband, and we want to take it seriously because we love them so much!

Making Christmas Memorable for Yourself and Your Kids

Image result for christmas cheer


In this blog post, I wanted to include ways to make the Christmas holiday memorable for yourself as well because I’m finding it easier and easier for the holidays in general to lose their magic and sparkle, but I don’t think it has to! No doubt, finding ways to make it fun for our children can be easier, but I have put a list together of some ways I think the Christmas season can be a special time for parents and children alike.

1. 25 Days of Reading

Wrap 25 books for your children to open every day in December leading up to Christmas. This not only creates a fun moment your children can look forward to every day, but also ensures some family time together as you follow up with reading that book along with them.

2. Look at Christmas Lights

Growing up, I feel like some of my most favorite memories are were the ones that cost little to nothing. This can definitely be one of those memories for you and your kids! Whether it’s driving around from neighborhood to neighborhood admiring others’ hard work or seeing a professional lighting display put on in your local city or town, this can be made into a tradition I guarantee your children will remember for years to come.

3. Baking/Decorating Gingerbread House

This is a great way to stir up holiday cheer for all involved! Not only do we get the satisfaction of enjoying the fruits of our labor afterwards with either some hot cocoa or glass of milk, we also got to have fun as a family being in the kitchen together laughing and making memories.

4. Watch ALL the Christmas Movies

I exaggerate a little, but really, watch a bunch of movies together! Sometimes watching a favorite Christmas movie can be just the thing to help us parents also get more in the Christmas spirit. Do this with your kids but also with your spouse after your kids have gone to bed. Holiday cheer between adults is super important and fun too!

5. Decorate!

I want to start off with this, more or less, obvious way to make Christmas memorable for your family by saying that I feel like there should be no rules when it comes to this. This year, we decided to put our Christmas tree up a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. Some may think this is too early, and that’s just fine for them to think. But in our household, it’s extending our favorite time of the year and allowing us to enjoy the beauty of the lights on the tree even longer! Since my daughter, Isla, is only a year and a half old, she isn’t able to help put ornaments on the tree yet, but this is definitely a tradition we look forward to continuing through the years!

6. Be Generous

Tis the season to be generous to others. Create opportunities for your kids to watch you giving to others whether it’s through giving presents, your time, or even just kindness (especially when we want to be impatient or rude to the people crowding the grocery stores and shopping malls–where did all these people come from?!) Being able to demonstrate generosity in front of our kids is a wonderful lesson we can teach them, and there are many ways to let them join in on it too!

7. Read Luke

For this idea, read a chapter in Luke from the Bible every day in December. There are 24 chapters, so you can get through the whole book together as a family by Christmas. Luke 2 contains the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth, and the rest of the book goes on to talk about his life on Earth. This can be a wonderful tradition to establish as a family that may even go beyond just the month of December! If your family isn’t already in the habit of reading Scripture together, this is great way to incorporate it long-term within your daily routine.

8. Fill in the Blank

Incorporate any other Christmas traditions that have been passed down through your families that you want to hold onto. It can be anything! It’ll be special to you because of fond memories from your past while creating new memories with your children.

I hope this list gives you some ideas if you are feeling stumped this Christmas season. It can feel like it’s a lot easier for children to get into the holiday spirit, and while that may be true, I think it’s also important for them to see their parents taking part in Christmas cheer. It doesn’t hurt if we find ourselves a little less stressed and overwhelmed because of it too!

I’m Grateful For…

Past memories during my childhood that helped to shape my fondness towards Christmastime and the wonderful opportunities that I have no to pass down a lot of those same traditions to my children.

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m grateful for preparation

When you’re looking forward to something, doesn’t it seem just as fun, if not more fun, sometimes to go through the planning process? Like with the anticipation of an upcoming vacation where you’re packing and getting everything ready while dreaming about all the fun you’re going to have. Or for me in this case, planning the menu for Thanksgiving dinner as I eagerly countdown the days until the day is actually here. I absolutely love the preparation process.

Mixed in with Thanksgiving planning, I find myself also starting to prepare for Christmas. I am definitely not a Scrooge—I welcome Christmas celebrations whenever anyone wants to fa la la. I do not judge because I know how happy this season makes me as well. It’s a whole new world too when you have kids and can see the experience as being so fresh in their eyes. I’m grateful for this season of thankfulness and preparation leading up to the holidays.