After you disconnect, it’s time to really connect!

Fun campfire questions you can use anytime.

Summer is here!  While it may seem like you are constantly battling the screens at your house… it doesn’t have to be that way.  Sitting around a campfire, going on a long road trip, or heading out on a challenging hike are just a few of the opportunities you have to connect better with those you love.  So sit back, shut down the screens, and watch the stories, laughs, and jokes roll when you bust out these fun (and thoughtful, and serious) questions Connected Families has compiled just for you!

Welcoming a New Sibling into the Family

It doesn’t have to cause resentment!

Adding a sibling can be a rough transition for the whole family, especially for children. You may imagine how fun it will be to see your kids playing and exploring the world together, but when the new addition actually arrives it can be a tough transition!

This week I’d like to introduce to you two families with two different experiences and how they worked ahead of time to help smooth the addition of a new sibling.

Viewing your child through a different lens

Are sensory challenges making life difficult?

Does it feel like your child is “out of sorts” but you can’t understand why? Do things seem much more difficult for one of your kids than the others? It might simply be that your child struggles with sensory sensitivities: either sensory-seeking, sensory-avoidant, or a combination of the two.

Have you said any of the following?

  • “Loud. It’s my son’s only volume level. It’s really draining.”
  • “Dressing is always an ordeal for my daughter. No tags, and sometimes no socks, because the seams drive her crazy.”
  • “Transitions are so hard. When my son is locked onto his toys, getting him pried away and out to the car is soooo difficult.”  
  • My daughter’s mood swings are extreme and sometimes very sudden. The littlest things can set her off. Talk about intense! Her meltdowns wear me out.”
  • My child is easily overstimulated and anxious. Large groups of kids, crowded places or busy stores are usually a prescription for trouble.”
  • “Mealtimes are insane with the noise, squirming, rocking and even falling off chairs.”

Planning a vacation this year? Read this first.

How to be intentional as you plan a trip.

Your kids are watching you. Constantly. All the subtle messages from the way you live life are being absorbed by their active little minds, even if neither you nor your child are aware of it. During the summer months, there are more chances for together time, as well as opportunities for you to show your kids the kinds of values you hope they will embrace. How you do vacations is no exception. Family vacations can be memorable and deepen relationships with one another. They can also be a wonderful opportunity to teach principles that will help your kids grow in wisdom.  Before you plan your summer trip consider being thoughtful about the messages you are sending your child regarding how you vacation.

What is the purpose of your vacation?

In our hectic society, it is easy to either skip vacations because we can’t carve out the time, or collapse in an over-priced luxurious spot just to have rest and ready-made entertainment. But…

Fighting For Love – Even What It’s Hard

Valentine’s Day and anniversaries are often viewed as a barometer for our romantic relationship. But it’s NOT roses and romance a couple days a year that define a relationship — it’s the deep commitment to fight for connection no matter what.

— ROUND 1 —

Jim’s and my 25th anniversary evening was an adventure to say the least. Jim planned a boat outing on a nearby lake, and packed sumptuous hors’ d’oeuvres. I had composed a song about the joy of our journey and would surprise him when the mood was right. As we hit the lake the wind kicked up and was soon blowing 40 MPH! This hampered our ability to freely cruise the shoreline, so we headed for the protected side of an island and made a wonderful campfire.

Our top 5 posts of 2017

Every day, the staff of Connected Families goes to work, seeking the wisdom of God, and shaping our resources to fit what we think our readers, parents like you, need most. We spend hours writing, editing, and discussing our content, making sure we do our best to communicate God’s grace and truth for families. At the end of the day, we hear from you through comments on our social media feeds, or through email responses, but we don’t know for sure what lands most until the end of the year when we take a look at our stats.

What did parents of 2017 find most relevant for their family? What parenting resources were they frequently seeking out on the internet? The algorithms have been crunched, and below are the top five blog posts clicked most often in 2017 in descending order. Which one resonates most for you? We’d love to hear!

And then, share your favorite article with your friends or parenting groups you are part of! Our marketing dollars are limited, and word of mouth is simply the best!

5. Six Practical Tips to Tame Your Temper

4. Intense Kids: The Essential First Step in Responding to Big Emotions

3. Helping Kids with their Anger: A creative activity to reduce outbursts and prepare kids for healthy relationships

2. Should We Demand Immediate Obedience?

1.  Are You An Emotionally Safe Parent?

Questions to Put the THANKS Back in Thanksgiving

“So, kids, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?” you ask.

“My family, my house, my friends, my dog and Jesus.” (Same answers as last year….)

If you think your kids might be open to some deeper thinking this year, we’ve provided a handful of conversation starters about gratitude. We invite you try any or all of them and put a little bigger dose of gratitude in your Thanksgiving season:  

Trash, Truth, Treasure

Helping kids turn anger into wisdom

When our child gets teased, battered and bullied by another child’s hurtful words, we parents are inclined to step in and fix it by saying things like, “Oh honey, that’s not true.” Or, “You don’t deserve that.” Or maybe we’ll criticize the aggressor (especially if that aggressor is an older sibling). Quick fix responses like this may settle things down in the short-term, but keep parents in the role of managing all the difficult emotions instead of empowering their kids. This article will teach you how to equip your kids to filter through what others say to them and respond wisely instead of cover their hurt feelings with anger.  

We’ve coached many parents how to equip their kids with wisdom to assess the value of what others say to them. You too can help your children learn to place the things others say to them in one of three categories: Trash, Truth and Treasure.

How I Helped My Baby Sleep Without a Sleep Method

Did you find this blog because you Googled, “How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?” Well then, my friend, soak in this moment of knowing…this is NOT your magic bullet to deep nourishing sleep. At Connected Families, we don’t believe in quick fixes. We believe in lasting change. We believe in seeking the Holy Spirit, and the hard work that brings rich connection between parent and child.

If you have been following our work for a while, you are familiar with the Connected Families Framework. Over the last two years, while working behind the scenes I couldn’t help but memorize and internalize these four levels of parent/child connection. I assumed it would come in handy in my parenting journey, but I was not expecting to apply it so early!

To Unlock Your Child’s Heart, Just Ask for the Key!

If you are reading this, you probably want your kids to know how much you love them. And you probably tell them often that you do. But effectively communicating love is not always so simple. How can we be sure that what we mean as love is received as love? It can take insight, determination and creativity to communicate love messages in ways children can’t miss them.