6 Ways to Combat Back-to-School Anxiety

Lessons for Parents and Kids

Heading back to school can be an anxious and stressful time for kids — and for parents, too! New schedules, new notebooks, new teachers and classmates add up to a lot of excitement and oftentimes, anxiety. All that change can get everyone in the family into a tizzy. One important element to consider is the way in which a parent or caregiver can intentionally help children face the upcoming school year, especially if they are feeling nervous about school. Here are a few proactive tips to help smooth the transition this fall:

6 Ways to Combat Back-to-School Anxiety

Is Your Child Lazy?

How to Find the Gift Behind What Seems Like a Challenge

Is Your Child Lazy-

Lazy Child, Lazy Adult?

As parents, we hope to raise children that turn into productive, helpful adults, but the path to getting there can seem rough. Getting kids to do daily chores; like making their beds, helping with meals, or doing yard work can feel like an exercise in futility–or for sure an exercise in nagging. How can parents inspire kids to get up off the couch, away from a screen and ready and willing to tackle their chores? Connected Families believes that taking a different view of unwanted behaviors in kids is one of the first steps in helping your children grow into responsible, capable adults.

We often receive letters asking for parenting advice.  Here’s one we just had to share about one family’s struggle with a “lazy” child.  Read on to gain a new perspective on laziness.

Is There a Gift in Laziness?

Hello Jim and Lynne,

What is God’s gift in laziness? I have a youngest daughter that only does exactly what is asked and nothing more, even if it’s obvious there’s something else that needs to be done to complete the job. She also seems to go to the bathroom at inopportune times and makes herself scarce when there is work to be done. Please help me see the gift in my child.

Debbie

Respond to Sibling Conflict with Wisdom and Confidence (Video link)

Connected Families' Four-Level Framework

Kids fight. Sibling conflict is a reality in just about every family. It is hard to know how to parent with wisdom and confidence in the middle of a battle over who has the most space in the backseat or who got the bigger piece of cake.  These kinds of fights seem to happen every day and wear parents out the most because they seem to ramp up so quickly.  Suddenly, the fight is no longer about the seat space or the cake but about bigger issues–like selfishness or your child’s character.  Things can get out of hand pretty quickly and it is hard to know how to respond to conflict in a way that promotes growth and peace instead of hurt and anger.  Many parents feel stuck in defeating patterns when their kids are fighting.  Perhaps it is time to think about new ways to help with sibling conflict.  

Connected Families developed this 4-level framework to help parents rethink about sibling conflict from a place of wisdom and confidence.

Take a look at this 5-minute video which teaches about a helpful approach to look at the ways that conflict can be an opportunity to build wisdom.

Some highlights from the video:

  • Attempts at solving sibling conflict by implementing a formula of “Apologize, go to your room, and don’t come out until you are ready to be nice,” often are counterproductive.
  • We learned to change our perspective about misbehavior and began to think of things like conflict as an opportunity to build long-term skills and wisdom in our kids.
  • We began to realize that our homes and our families needed to have connection in order to thrive.
  • In order successfully create peace and connection at home we needed to spend some time thinking about how we could build skills and wisdom in our own lives as the parents.

Sibling Conflict Online Course is now in session. Register today! (Registration closes August 22, 2016)


Announcing our new tagline!

Big changes at Connected Families.

Hey friends,

We’re excited to introduce our new tagline to those of you who helped form it. With your fantastic suggestions regarding the value you find through Connected Families, we condensed and interpreted what you told us.  Here it is:

Connected Families
Your guide to peace and connection at home.

We LOVE the themes you identified because they resonate so well with our vision. The four key words each have special meaning to us, and we thought you’d like the significance of your cumulative choice. The words:

Guide – We count it a privilege to share with you our experience with thousands of families over the years. We’ve paid close attention and learned from our own struggles and from many different parents. We continue to learn about the unique ways God’s timeless truths work from parent to parent.  We don’t just teach theories, we want to walk with you through the challenges of parenting as guides who have personal and professional experience.

Peace – Kids long to know that their parents are calm, reliable shelters in the storms of growing up. For parents, maintaining peace in their families is not dependant on circumstances alone, but on the peace of God that transcends understanding in Christ Jesus. Parents who cultivate peace through growing in their relationship with God are models of true and authentic faith their children can rely on.

Connection – A connected family is defined by the following: 1)  joyfully connected with each other, 2.) connected in life-giving relationship with God, 3.) and connected by reaching out together to a world in need. When kids grow up well-connected, they grow up confident in who they are and why they’re here.

Home –  Home is the place your kids will come to understand what it means to be human, to follow Jesus, and to be a part of the Church. When God’s grace, peace and truth are alive in your home, even in the messes of daily life, God is honored in the midst of your family.

Whether Connected Families has been guiding your parenting journey for weeks or for years, YOU are part of the story. Over the next several months you’ll see several changes in the look and feel of our website, the emails you receive from us, additional product offerings and more. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback!

Most importantly, we want to hear your story!  How did you hear about Connected Families?  How have we been helpful for you in your parenting journey?  Tell us a little bit about your family. Share your story here, and we may use your story to spread the word about Connected Families.  We believe that every family should have the chance to thrive.  Your words may be the encouragement someone needs to hear.  Thank you for your support of this ministry.  

Joyfully,
Jim and Lynne Jackson
Co-founders

An Open Letter to the Cincinnati Zoo Mom

Dear Cincinnati mom,

You. Your son. An encounter with a gorilla at the zoo. These things have made you an unsuspecting internet sensation. We don’t know you. But, we do know that parenting is hard enough without the world scrutinizing your every move.

We are guessing, of course, but we’re pretty sure you love your kids with ferocious love. You want what’s best for them, and you are their protector.

You had a lapse, like most parents do, but had you any notion that in that fleeting moment your son could defy the apparent safety of the zoo’s barrier, you’d have kept his hand in yours and assured his safety.

How could you know or ever realize that between your kids and the gorilla was a flawed barrier, or that your child could breach it? He must be an extremely observant and determined young man – the kind of youngster that can take the world by storm!

We once had a child like him. Our son is grown now, but twice he scared the liver out of us. Dubbed “Little Tornado” by his grandpa, he was constantly on the move. Exploring. Discovering. And sometimes disappearing. We covered the ledge near our kitchen table with chicken wire to protect him from crawling onto the table, over the ledge and down a staircase. After each meal we strapped the kitchen chairs to the table so that as a two-year-old he couldn’t pull the chairs over to the counter tops and climb the cabinets. And, as some have suggested in response to the Cincinnati zoo incident, we even used a leash sometimes so he wouldn’t vanish when we were out in public.

4 Sure-Fire Tips for Parents to Survive the Summer

Tips to Survive Summer

It’s summer again, and you know what that means: a totally different rhythm to schedules and family time, with lots of time for connection… and conflict.

There are long, glorious days ahead: sunshine, free time and the slower pace of summer means that you can create lasting family memories. It also means more time for tempers to flare–yours and your kids’–when expectations for a great memory-worthy summer don’t happen the way we imagined. We don’t want you to feel like you are just biding your time until school returns. You can make the most of your family time this summer, and make it the best summer yet with grace and connection.

We thought we’d help you kick off your summer by re-sharing one of our favorite summer posts — 4 tips to help you retain your parenting sanity this summer.

Final tagline vote! We need your help!

cf tagline demo

Dear Friends,

Recently, we sent an email with seven options for our new tagline. There was a clear winner out of those seven, but we also received some other fantastic suggestions. Using your input, we’ve refined and narrowed it down to four excellent options. We are seeking your help once more in selecting the final tagline.

We asked you to imagine yourself googling “how to be a good parent” or “how to discipline my kid” or “Christian parenting strategies” and seeing a tagline jump out at you. Which one is it?

  • Practical, Purposeful and Peaceful Parenting
  • Purposeful, Peaceful Parenting
  • Restoring Peace and Connection at Home
  • Your Guide to Confident, Peaceful Parenting

Click here to vote!

We’ll keep the survey open until Thursday morning and then announce the new tagline that day on Facebook.

Thanks for your input and continued encouragement!

Blessings as you grow a connected family,
Jim Jackson
President and Co-Founder

A Simple but Powerful Way to Unite Your Family

bible family bible verse purposeWhat’s your family all about? What’s your family’s purpose? What kind of family do you want to be? How do you want to treat each other?

At Connected Families, we often talk and write about these kinds of questions because having a vision of what kind of family you want to be can change everything.

One great way to work together to have a shared vision for your family is to choose a family Bible verse!

The Big Do Over

Joel & Amy and fam

Amy, Joel, and their two sons

Recently we received this story from Joel and Amy Nelson, parents of two sons, who have previously shared their story here. Enjoy!


Parenting may not come with a manual, but I sure have read a lot of the parenting books out there! One common message that I encountered in my reading was, in all that you do, “be consistent”.

This logic was all well and good, except when I was not in a good place to address the situation calmly because of what was going on inside of me – exasperation, frustration, or just plain being tired and worn out from a day. If one of my sons challenged me during these times, it was “game on”.

It typically would start with me giving a consequence just because I was mad. “If you do that one more time, you will lose (insert favorite item here) for one day.” Then, if there was any whining, it was, “OK, that’s two days!” Then after the pouty huffing, “OK, one week, do you want more?” Then after the slammed door, “OK, A MONTH!!!” And then, there I was — stuck in the consequences I had given, having to “be consistent” and follow through.