Tag Archive for attention

My Cell Phone is Ripping Me Off!!

Let me just give you the quote right here, at the beginning of the blog. “The mere presence of one’s smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity and impairs cognitive functioning, even though people feel they’re giving their full attention and focus to the task at hand.” This is the finding of a study out of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas, Austin. In this study, participants were assigned to one of three groups while taking a series of tests geared to measure the brain’s ability to hold and process data. One group took the test with their cell phone turned off and left on their desk face down. The second group had their cell phone turned off and in their pocket or a personal bag. The third group had their cell phones turned off and in another room. Those participants who had their phones in another room did significantly better than those who had their cell phone on the desk and slightly better than those who had the cell phone in their pocket or bag. In other words, “the mere presence of one’s smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity and impairs cognitive functioning….” The presence of our cell phone takes up our mental space and “dumbs us down.”

The process of pushing thoughts about who might call, who might text, when might it ring, or “I could look that up” takes up space in our brains and takes our attention and concentration from some other task. When we take our cell phone on a date night, it robs us of the mental space needed to have intimate conversation and enjoyment with our spouse. In other words, our cell phone robs our spouses of the full attention and intimate interaction they deserve.  If we really want to have an intimate date with our spouses, leave the cell phone in the car…or at home.  Give your spouse your full attention. Concentrate on intimate interactions with your spouse. Don’t let your cell phone rob you of a precious date!

Help, My Child is Always Angry!!

All children get angry.  It’s a part of life. In fact, anger can be good. For instance, our children’s anger can help us identify what they find important. After all, a person rarely gets angry about something they don’t care about. Anger also gives us the energy to address that priority. The trick is to not let the anger overwhelm us but to learn how to use the energy of our anger to address the priority in a positive and productive manner. With that in mind, we can address our children’s anger by exploring what priority lies underneath their anger. Here are a few to look for:

  • Feeling unheard. Children get angry when they feel “no one listens to me.” We may inadvertently contribute to this feeling if we have not learned to be observant of our children. For instance, if we do not observe the subtle cues of boredom, tiredness, hunger, or nervousness our children may escalate to anger. We did not “hear” their subtle behaviors telling us they needed a break so they broke out in anger to be heard. Learn to listen well. Listen to their words but also to their body language and actions. Listen with your ears and your eyes.
  • Being emotionally hurt. Hurt often lies underneath our children’s angry outbursts. Remember our children do not think like adults so what you may think of as a minor infraction might be perceived as a major betrayal in their eyes. For instance, I told my daughter we could get ice cream one night; but then I got called in to work for an emergency. She felt as though I had broken a promise, betrayed a trust. She was hurt. We needed to repair our relationship. Broken promises, teasing names, strained friendships, a teacher’s comment, and similar experiences can lead to hurt…which can be expressed in anger. Observe your children’s anger carefully to discover if there is a hurt underneath that anger.
  • Fear. Children often respond to fear with anger. Fear might arise in response to the unknown or the unpredictable. Perhaps you have experienced your children’s anger on the first day of school, as they prepare for the new and “unknown” of a new school and new teachers. Or, you may have noticed the increase in your children’s anger when routines get changed and life becomes unpredictable. Our children thrive in structure. They excel when they have a predictable routine letting them know what comes next. If that routine gets changed, be sure to keep your children informed. Doing so can cut back on angry outbursts. (For more on the benefits of routines, read The Discipline Tool You Can’t Live Without.)
  • Attention. Everyone likes to be noticed. Children especially need to know their parents notice them and delight in them. Sometimes, however, parents give their children all kinds of energetic attention when they misbehave and very little attention when they are behaving. We think, “Don’t upset the apple cart” when they behave and avoid interrupting as a result…which they interpret as receiving no attention. When they misbehave, we jump on the misbehavior to nip it in the bud. Unfortunately, we have given attention to the angry misbehavior and ignored the positive behavior. We have reinforced the angry misbehavior with attention and taught them the best way to get attention is with angry misbehavior. Once again, we must remain observant of our children. Verbally acknowledge their positive behaviors and address negative behavior in a calm, neutral voice. (Read Catch the Little Rascals Red-Handed for more on the impact of attention in discipline.)

I’m sure there are more reasons lying beneath our children’s anger; but these four give us a start. You can learn the specifics of what lies under your children’s anger through careful observation and loving interaction. As you observe your children, tell us what you find…it might help all of us deal better with our children’s anger!

Vitamin “Be” Encourages Your Children to Talk to You

When I was in college, one of our professors preached a sermon on “Vitamin B.” It was a sermon on the “Be”-attitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. It was a fun sermon. Thinking back on this “got me to thinking about” what “vitamin be’s” might benefit our families and children.  Here is the “Vitamin Be” complex needed to maintain an open, intimate relationship with your teen; the “Vitamin Be” complex that will encourage our children to remain open with us, to approach us when they have a need or some issue they need to discuss. Read over the whole “Be-complex” and see what you think.

  • “Be” calm. When our children approach us, we need to stay calm. Our children may approach us to talk about all sorts of topics…and some topics may surprise and even shock us. Work hard to avoid any outburst of shock, anger, embarrassment, or laughter. When you stay calm, your children learn that no topic will overwhelm you. They will know that no topic will overwhelm you with fear. Instead, you are able to remain present and open with them. As a result, they can remain open with you.
  • “Be” open. There are no subjects off limits in a family. I love Mr. Rogers’ quote:

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can                      be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less                      overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that                          important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”

So, be open. Accept whatever topic comes up. Whatever you can talk about                          becomes manageable. We can fix the problems together. In addition, that                            conversation brings us together. It increases our intimacy.  And the intimacy                        increases our influence.

  • “Be” empathetic. Remember your children are younger, less mature. Make every attempt to see your children’s concern from their perspective. See their concern through the eyes of their developmental level, the emotions of their maturity, and the wisdom of their limited experience. If you don’t understand it completely, ask questions.
  • “Be” confidential. We hope our children talk to us about those subjects sensitive to them. They need us to respect their privacy and keep their confidence. Listen to them intently but don’t share what you hear. No need to post the “cute story” on FaceBook or tell your neighbor about your teen’s brave struggle. Keep it between you and your child. When you keep their confidence, they learn to trust you! Trust builds intimacy.
  • “Be” perceptive. Sometimes our children will not tell us they want to talk. They may not know how to approach the conversation. Be observant and perceptive. Notice changes in their mood that might indicate a need to talk. Notice when they “keep showing up” and seem “to be underfoot.” Be aware that their actions may be dropping a subtle hint about their desire to talk. Drop the hint that you’re open to talk.  It may just prove to be one of the best conversations you ever had.
  • “Be” available. Of course, no conversation will occur unless you’re open and available. So make sure you are available. Spend time with your children. Be available at bedtimes, mealtimes, and any other time you can. Participate in their interests. Make a point of attending their activities.
  • “Be” attentive. Being attentive means listening intently. Listen without distraction. Listen completely rather than thinking about any advice you might want to offer. Listen!

There it is—the “Vitamin Be” complex that will help you keep an intimate, open relationship with your teen!

Nurture Your Child’s Attention Span

I love to watch parents interact with their children. Over time, I have observed at least three ways parent tend to interact with their children.

  1. Happy family playingThe parent points out a toy or some object in an effort to direct their child to play with that particular object. If you watch closely, you’ll see their child’s eyes wander and the child ultimately gravitate toward toys he likes in spite of his parents’ desires and effort to “direct” their child’s focus.
  2. The child picks a toy he likes and, before beginning to play with it, brings it to show his parents. His parents briefly acknowledge the toy before quickly turning their attention to another toy, a text, or something else in the area. They give very little attention to their child’s activity. The child continues to play, but moves from toy to toy rather quickly.
  3. The child picks out a toy he likes and, before beginning to play with it, brings it to show his parents. His parents not only acknowledge the toy, they join in the play. This parent attends to the child’s manner of play and even follows the child’s lead in play. The parent and child enjoy their playful interaction.

Research by Yu and Smith (read more in Infant Attention Span Suffers When Parents’ Eyes Wander During Playtime) suggests that each of these patterns of interaction will influence your child’s attention span! Parents who constantly direct their children’s play or parents who let their own attention wander during play time (as in scenario #1 and #2) raise children with shorter attention spans. Children who played with toys while their parents actually attended to them, them play, and their play object (Scenario #3) exhibited four times the attentional skills. In fact, the longer a parent attended to some toy with their child, the longer the child continued to attend to that toy, even after the parent stopped!

Based on the findings of this research, you can influence your children’s attention span by becoming a responsive student of them. Pay attention to what interests your children. When you see some object or activity “catch your children’s eye,” attend to that object or activity with them. Follow their lead. Join them in their interests and their world. Be curious with them. Engage in the play they initiate. When you tune in to your children’s interests and coordinate your attention with theirs, you actually train their ability to focus and pay attention—you encourage the development of their attention span!

Catch the Little Rascals Red-Handed

Children love to get attention from their parents. They will work to gain your attention by any means necessary. I’m sure you’ve noticed this truth on more than one occasion. For instance, the time your child quietly played until you received an important phone call and Father Daughter Chatthey suddenly “needed you.” Or, the time you tried talking to a friend but your child suddenly appeared and began to tap your shoulder and called your name. Your children do this because they crave your attention. They need to know you find them more important than a favorite TV show, book, phone call, game, or store clerk. This fact provides us with an amazing parenting tool…your attention. In fact, the attention you give your children will powerfully reinforce their behavior. Your children will do whatever behavior effectively gains your attention…and do it more often to gain your attention. So, give your child attention when they whine or tantrum and they will whine or tantrum more often. Give them your attention when they put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher and they will do that more often. Let me repeat these principles so we don’t miss them:

  1. Children crave their parents’ attention.
  2. Children will repeat any behavior that elicits attention from their parents. They will even increase that behavior to gain their parents’ attention.

Attention becomes a powerful tool in changing your children’s behavior. Any powerful tool must be used with caution. Attention is no exception…powerful when used with caution. So, use the tool of attention with these 3 hints in mind.

  1. Don’t just give your children attention willy-nilly. Give them attention for positive behavior. Catch the little rascals red-handed being good. Catch ’em red-handed in the midst of positive behaviors and give them attention for that positive behavior.
  2. Avoid giving your children attention for negative behavior. Nagging, scolding, and yelling provide your children with energetic attention that will increase the negative behavior you’re actually trying to stop by yelling! Instead, give negative behavior as little attention as possible. Ignore it if you can. If you must address the negative behavior, do so in as neutral a tone and non-energetic a manner as possible. Save the energetic interactions for positive behaviors.
  3. Be creative in how you give your children attention. For instance, you can:
    1. Give attention through physical affection like hugs, kisses, high-fives, pats on the back, etc.
    2. Give your children attention with simple 1-3 word acknowledgements like “thank you,” “that’s great,” “cool,” “this is fun,” “I appreciate that,” I enjoy our time together,” etc.
    3. Give attention with specific recognition of positive behaviors they have done. Do this with statements like “Thank you for (taking out the garbage);” “I really appreciate it when you (clean your room);” “I see you’re (washing the dishes);” “(You made your bed), thank you;” etc. You get the idea. Be creative and acknowledge what you see your children doing well.

Give this powerful tool a 2-4 week trial. Catch the little rascals red-handed being good. Acknowledge it with a simple statement or gesture. Try it out for 2-4 weeks. You’ll find your children’s positive behaviors increasing, their undesirable behaviors decreasing. No, they won’t be perfect, but you will see improvements. You’ll have more fun, positive interactions with your children. Life in your family will improve.

Parenting-The Most Important Thing

I have enjoyed teaching a Lifespan Development course at a local university for over ten years. For the last assignment I ask students to interview an adult over 65-years-old. I love reading these assignments. The students interview grandparents, neighbors, friends…anyone they know over 65-years-old.  They interview adults who have been homemakers, newscasters, WWII veterans, political refugees from various countries, politicians…people who have experienced amazing lives, participated in history changing events, and completed significant accomplishments. But, when asked about their “greatest accomplishment” or “greatest adventure,” their answer is family—children, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces. Not just one or two seniors give this answer. More like 98% reported raising children and seeing children raise their own families as their single most significant accomplishment and greatest adventure. When it comes to the most important aspects of life, family rises to the top. President Obama said it well: “What I’ll remember on my last breath…it’s not going to be anything to do with my office…it’s going to be holding my daughter’s hand as we walk to the park and seeing the sun go down and pushing her on the swing.” Watch this video to hear the rest of President Obama’s advice for parenting…some very wise advice I might add.

Nothing on this earth is more important than family—your marriage and your children. Nothing is more important to the future than our children. “Act accordingly.”


By the way, here are a few other insightful quotes from President Obama’s parenting advice:

  • “Kids demand your attention.”
  • “Balance comes about easier if you got a partner who’s prepared to share that process with you.”
  • “When you are home, be home. Don’t be home and just vegging out…be engaged.”

Begin Operation M.O.R.E. in Your Family

Grandfather with granddaughter on sunset at seaI have begun a covert operation in my home and with my family. I have named it Operation M.O.R.E. for More Oxytocin Release Events (MORE). I have left the operation covert at the time so I can assess the impact of my actions. After the initial evaluation, I plan on taking this operation public and including the whole family in Operation MORE. The purpose of Operation MORE is to increase the number of events that will release oxytocin in various family members. Why have I chosen to do this? Research suggests that:

  • Oxytocin promotes attachment and bonding. It helps create M.O.R.E. intimacy in relationships.
  • Oxytocin helps to reduce feelings of stress. We live in a stressful world. If oxytocin release can help relieve stress, we might as well have M.O.R.E.
  • Oxytocin seems to intensify men’s fond memories of their mother and decrease negative memories. Perhaps more oxytocin in general will help produce M.O.R.E. fond memories of family in general.
  • Oxytocin can intensify the bond between sexual partners. Even more, it promotes faithfulness between spouses. Men who had received a nasal spray of oxytocin were less responsive to women other than their wife…they became M.O.R.E. singly focused on their wife.
  • Oxytocin inhibits tolerance to addictive drugs and reduces withdrawal symptoms. In other words, a steady release of oxytocin will decrease the likelihood of drug abuse.
  • Oxytocin seems to improve a person’s ability to interact M.O.R.E. with others (study done with children who had autism).
  • Oxytocin triggers “defensive aggression” against outside threats. In other words, it helps promote our instinct to become M.O.R.E. protective of those we love.
  • Oxytocin counters the effect of stress hormones (cortisol) and, as a result, will promote “M.O.R.E. better” sleep.
  • Oxytocin fosters generosity. In one study, those who received a nasal spray of oxytocin were 80% M.O.R.E. generous than those receiving a placebo.


That is enough reason to increase the oxytocin flow in the family and begin Operation MORE. Here is the plan of action, the ways to complete this covert operation and produce MORE oxytocin:

  • kids hugHug family members for at least 10 seconds. Do it at least once a day, maybe even M.O.R.E.
  • When the opportunity arises, hold a family members hand with one hand over the other, make eye contact with them, and give them a compliment.
  • Watch an “emotionally compelling movie” (AKA—a chick flick). I know it is a sacrifice to watch chick flicks with the family, but research suggests a 47% surge in oxytocin (that’s 47% M.O.R.E.) while watching an “emotionally compelling movie.” Sometimes we have to make sacrifices in our covert operation to enhance family intimacy.
  • Sing. That’s right. Singing helps release M.O.R.E. oxytocin. Encourage your family to sing.
  • Dance. One study found oxytocin increased by 11% after dancing (dance M.O.R.E.).
  • Do something exciting or thrilling. Have an adventure–anything from a roller coaster ride to watching a scary movie. Enjoy a thrill together.
  • Laugh together.
  • Go for a walk. To make this even more powerful, hold hands while going for a walk and have an open, transparent conversation while you do.


So far, Operation MORE has proven successful in my home. I have noticed M.O.R.E. laughter, M.O.R.E. intimacy, and M.O.R.E. joy in our interactions. In fact, the success has proven so dramatic that I have chosen to take Operation More public in my home. Perhaps you can join us by starting Operation MORE in your home as well.

The Most Powerful Discipline Weapon Known to Man

If you are looking for the most powerful discipline weapon known to man, you have come to the right place. It will sound simple…too simple. In fact, I’m almost embarrassed to even mention this disciplinary tool. Still, it is powerful. This disciplinary weapon is powerful enough that most adults still recall how their parents used it. No, it is not the paddle or “time out.” It is not “spare the rod spoil the child.” The most powerful discipline weapon known to man is… (drum roll please)…Positive Attention! I told you it would sound simplistic; but, before you quit reading, consider these few important facts about the power of positive attention.
Children crave their parents’ attention. They will do anything to gain their parent’s attention. And, children are careful observers of their parents. They observe what it takes to gain their parent’s attention. If parents only attend to loud behavior, then children will engage in loud behavior. If parents only attend to misbehavior, then children will engage in misbehavior. If children have to pursue a preoccupied parent’s attention, then they will pursue it by any means necessary. I actually knew a child who tried several strategies to gain his mother’s attention before lighting a roll of toilet paper on fire and tossing it into his mother’s lap while she stared at the TV. He did gain her attention…but at what cost!
The point is: children crave their parents’ attention. With this knowledge, parents can prevent a lot of negative behavior simply by attending to their children’s positive behaviors. When children learn that their parents attend to helpful behaviors, they will engage in more helpful behavior. If parents attend to polite requests, polite requests will increase. When parents respond and attend to simple requests for interaction, children learn to make simple and appropriate requests for interaction. So, as the old saying goes, “Catch ’em being good.” Pay attention to “good behavior” and more good behavior will follow. Show appreciation for the behavior you desire. Offer specific praise when your children put effort into the behaviors and tasks you value. The behaviors you acknowledge, and respond to with positive attention, will increase!
To honestly pinpoint how you attend to your children, spend a week recording two aspects about your interactions with your children. For every interaction or attempted interaction, record:
1.      How your children attempted to gain your attention, and
2.      What was the focus of your interactions with your children–discipline or relationship building, correction or acknowledgement, frustration with them or fun with them.
At the end of the week, review the results. What did you do more: praise positive behavior and effort or punish negative behavior? Did you put more effort into acknowledging positive behaviors…or punishing negative behaviors? Were your interactions centered on positive attention and sharing encouragement…or were your interactions centered on correction and discipline? Be honest with yourself. Then, start utilizing the most powerful disciplinary weapon known to man…positive attention!

Preventing Anxiety & Insecurity in Children

Check out this amazing quote: “In our half-century of international research, we’ve not found any other class of experience that has as strong and consistent an effect on personality and personality development as does the experience of rejection, especially by parents in childhood.” Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut made this statement after reviewing multiple studies of families and children. To rephrase—nothing has a stronger and more consistent impact on children than the experience of rejection by a parent. That is a bold statement! He goes on to explain that children who feel rejection by their parents tend to feel more anxious and insecure, behave in a more hostile and aggressive way toward others, and even experience difficulty forming secure, trusting relationships as adults. This researcher also noted that perceived rejection activates the same part of the brain as actual physical pain. Rejection hurts and the person who experiences rejection can relive that pain over and over again for years.
Children can feel rejected for many reasons. Perhaps they truly do have a rejecting parent. More likely, children have parents who do not actively reject them. Instead, they have parents who do not look up from the paper when their children talk to them…or parents that expend so much time and energy at work that they have no energy left for family…or parents who spend more time with their buddies, their hobbies, their yard, or their project than they do with their children. In each of these cases, children may feel rejected. Why? Because children sense that whatever takes up a parent’s time or attention is the parent’s top priority…everything else is simply rejected, even if that something else is them.
Of course, the flip side of rejection is acceptance. When children feel the unconditional acceptance of parents, they feel more secure and confident, they will more easily develop trusting relationships with others, and they learn to resolve difficulties without hostility and aggression. How can you make your child feel accepted? Here are a few hints:
     ·         Spend time talking and playing with them each day. Instead of you directing the play, let them lead. Play what they want to play and follow their lead in play.
·         Notice and describe their actions. Whether you acknowledge that they set the table or colored the dog red, your children learn that you notice them…and, if you notice them, you accept them.
·         Find ways to tell your children “yes.” Of course, you will have to say “no” sometimes, but look for the “yeses” as well. For instance, you may have to say, “No, you can’t go swimming today” but can you add in a “yes” like, “You could go tomorrow (or some other day)”? You will have to say, “No, you can’t play with that.” But, you can add a “yes” by simply saying, “Here, why don’t you play with this instead?” Finding ways to tell your child “yes” informs them that you want them to enjoy life, you accept their curiosity, and you accept their desire to remain active. You simply help them direct that energy in a positive direction.
·         Spend time with your child. Nothing spells love and acceptance like “T-I-M-E.”
·         Laugh with your children. Tell jokes. Be silly. Enjoy a funny show. Make fun of yourself a little bit at times. Teach them to not take life “too seriously,” but to enjoy life along the way.
·         Encourage your children.
·         Surprise your children with little spontaneous gifts or cards. These gifts can range from bringing home a rock for your little rock collector to downloading a new song for the budding musician in your family to cooking a special treat for the young culinary artist.
·         Spend time learning about your children’s interests and asking them about those interests. Pick up a book on that interest. Take them to a related store. Hook them up with another person who has a similar interest. Take up the interest yourself and use that interest as a vehicle to spend time with your child.
·         Did I say spend time with your child?
Engaging in behaviors and interactions that make your children feel accepted will yield amazing dividends. Your children will feel more secure and confident and, as a result, engage in more appropriate behavior. They will more easily develop trusting relationships with others, avoiding dangerous relationships and relationships that can derail them into negative behaviors. They will learn to resolve difficult situations with integrity and honor. They will grow up remembering a loving family and wonderful times.

Christmas Gifts Kids Will Love All Year Long

I’ve been thinking about what to get my children for Christmas. As I thought, my mind wandered to last year. My daughter snuck downstairs after everyone was in bed and gave me a stocking gift. The gift was a handmade coupon book filled with coupons I could “cash in” for help “taking the garbage out,” no questions asked.  I really appreciated that gift. It was thoughtful and loving, gracious…and useful. My mind wandered from there to the wise men giving three gifts to baby Jesus. I guess that’s more of a time warp than a wandering, but…. Anyway, recalling these two stories gave me an idea for this year. I want to give my daughters a gift they will remember, one that “keeps on giving throughout the year.” And, I always wanted to play a wise man. So, just like the wise men I’ve come up with three gifts: the gift of time, the gift of attention, and the gift of encouragement. You might be saying, “Nice gifts, but how will I wrap those up and put them under the Christmas tree?” Good question; and, I do have a few ideas to share with you. First though, let me tell you why those 3 gifts are great gifts: thoughtful and loving, gracious…and useful.
The Gift of Time: We spend time with the people we value. In fact, Josh McDowell notes that children spell love “T-I-M-E.” I value my children and I want them to know I value them. The best way to communicate that value is by spending time with them. So, I give the gift of T-I-M-E.
The Gift of Attention: Genuine attention validates our love for another person. In addition, a person who receives genuine attention is redeemed from isolation and loneliness. They know they are loved. They find connection and belonging in the face of genuine attention. So, I give the gift of attention.
The Gift of Encouragement: Encouragement inspires confidence and courage. It gives a person who is feeling down a boost. It expresses confidence in the other person that inspires them to continue growing and gives them to courage to grow. I don’t know about you, but I want my children to have a level of confidence and courage that will inspire them to pursue growth. So, I give the gift of encouragement.
So, three gifts (3-just like the wise men): Time, Attention, and Encouragement. But, how are we to wrap these gifts and put them in a stocking or under the Christmas tree? Here are a few ideas.
  • Subscribe to a magazine that will interest your child. You can order children’s magazines ranging from Ranger Rick to Kid’s National Geographic to Highlights. Each month they will receive your gift. Each month, you can review the magazine yourself and use the articles as starting points of discussion with your child…time, attention, and encouragement.
  • If you don’t like a magazine, try joining a “you-fill-in-the-blank” of the month club. These range from craft-of-the-month to children’s-book-of-the-month to the Lego club. If you can’t find the club you want, make your own. For instance, imagine that your child enjoys marbles and you can’t find a “marble-of-the-month-club.” Start your own. Purchase a variety of marbles…maybe 60. Wrap up a dozen to give your child on Christmas morning. Enclose a note explaining that they will get an additional 4 marbles every month. Each month, wrap up 4 marbles and give them the package to open. Now, spend time with your child playing marble games or discussing the quality of the marbles. You get to spend time with your child, give them your attention, and encourage an interest. Here are a few other links for possible monthly ideas.
  • Make a homemade coupon book that includes 12 coupons expiring on December 31, 2012. Explain that the coupon is good for a free-chore pass–you will do a chore of their request “no questions asked.” You can encourage your child by modeling a “servant’s heart” as you complete one of their chores once a month at their request.
  • Purchase tickets (at least one for your child and one for you) to an event that will interest your child (a concert, a play, etc.). Along with the tickets, provide a coupon book with 12 more coupons (one per month) that they can cash in for a simple outing with you. The coupons could include an outing for breakfast at a donut shop, lunch at a restaurant, or an outing of their choice. Now you have a monthly opportunity to spend time giving attention and encouragement to your child.
  • Give your child homemade tickets for a “Monthly Home Movie Night” complete with microwave popcorn for the whole family. Spend time discussing what movie they would like to rent and set up one night a month to sit down as a family to enjoy the movies.
  • Schedule a daily reminder on your smartphone that prompts you to give time and attention to your child by doing something encouraging for them. When you get the reminder, do something as simple as sending them a text stating that you are thinking of them, you love them, or you look forward to seeing them after school. Or, if you happen to be in a grocery store, purchase a pack of gum or a candy bar for them. Or, you might pause long enough to offer a prayer for them. Whatever you do, letting them know you think of them throughout the day will encourage them.

6 ideas to wrap up the gift of Time, Attention, and Encouragement for your child…and, at the same time, enjoy your child all year long! Merry Christmas!!

« Older Entries Recent Entries »