by Stacey Schifferdecker

This young lady is in the Christmas spirit

This young lady is in the Christmas spirit

I remember watching a Sesame Street Christmas special a few years ago when Elmo wishes it could be Christmas every day. Of course, he soon realizes that Christmas every day really wouldn't be a good idea: people need to work, sing other songs, celebrate other holidays, and generally have a break from the whirlwind that Christmas often becomes. But how about the Christmas spirit – the love, kindness, and generosity we often find overflowing at Christmas? Can we help keep that Christmas spirit alive for our children all year long? Absolutely! And it may be easier than you think. The key is to model the Christmas spirit to our children every day in our own behavior.

Practice kindness

I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

William Penn

Kindness is easy to practice all year long. If you have a big cart of groceries, let the person with just a few items go ahead of you. Hold a door open for the people behind you. Speak politely to everyone and refrain from gossip.READ More on Christmas Every Day

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overscheduled-boyKids who Do too Much: Overscheduling Kids

Are you a card-carrying member of the Good Parent club? In order to qualify, according to modern society, we must expose our kids to activities that enhance his "portfolio". But, what happens when extracurricular activities pile up on and start to smother the child?

This phase is called burnout.

Experiencing Burnout

Yes, wonderful good parent, burnout can and is happening to our children globally. Things that were once adult business, like stress, anxiety and fatigue are now kid business. Elementary children are falling asleep at their desks. Overscheduled kids can't focus and get fidgety, irritable and lethargic.

Adult sponsored activities were designed to offer life-affirming opportunities. For example, football, karate and swimming are great forms of exercise. If your child is not doing well in school, the opportunity to acquire non-academic skills can enhance his self-esteem. Group activities help the shy child learn social skills.

Overscheduled kids frequently feel guilty because they believe they aren't doing enough. These are the same kids who are pressured to make top grades, make 1st chair in band, make black belt in karate and so on. Unrealistic expectations lead to stress, anxiety and depression.

Outside activities can gobble up so much time; in consequence there is NO time for family, play, downtime, sleep or friends.

This phase is called getting out of balance.

Getting Back in Balance

READ More on Overscheduling Kids – Getting Them Back in Balance

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multi tasking MomWe all want a happy family and to spend more time with them. I don't know about your family, but ours is extremely busy with work, other commitments, etc. Unfortunately our children sometimes feel the consequences of this by not spending time with their greatest role models, their parents. We have so much impact on our children and are their first role models. So what are we to do? We need to work, put food on the table. What is important is that when we are with our children to make sure we are completely focused on spending good quality time with them and developing a closer connection  with them. 

READ More on Maximizing Your Family Time

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by Stacey Schifferdecker

Have you heard the new Christmas song by Matthew West and Amy Grant called Give this Christmas Away? Every time I hear this song or see the video, it brings tears to my eyes.

The video is on the latest Veggie Tale DVD, St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving or you can see it on Youtube.

If you are inspired to give Christmas away, here are some ideas to help you get started. It may be too late to try some of these ideas this year, but you can get a head start on next year.

Fill a Shoebox

The Give this Christmas Away video features children receiving Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes through Samaritan's Purse. Operation Christmas Child is a great way you and your children can share God's love and the true story of Christmas with children from around the globe. All you do is wrap a shoebox (wrap the lid separately) and then fill it with toiletries, toys, and school supplies. You can choose whether you are filling a box for a boy or a girl and for what age. Then you just take your box to a local collection center; the website lists collection sites all over the United States and Canada. Samaritan's Purse asks that you include $7 per box to help with shipping costs. If you pay the $7 online, you can get a code to track where your box ends up.READ More on Giving Christmas Away

teenage girl with low self-esteem and confidenceAlthough there are people who seem to be blessed with an abundance of self-esteem, they don’t have that level of self-esteem right from the start. Unlike other human traits that are already there the moment we are born, there are some that one needs to develop over time. Self-esteem is one of those traits.

Self-esteem is that part of oneself that allows people to function with confidence. It refers to a person’s ability to trust in themselves and to accept who they are flaws and all. Self-esteem is actually fostered from childhood. A big role is played by the parents in making sure that their children develop their self-esteem fully. The way they give attention to their kids and the way they praise them (or criticize them!) will factor greatly in the way they develop their children’s self-esteem. READ More on Parenting A Teenager With Low Self-Esteem

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mommy and adorable little girlOne key to parenting is understanding. A toddler is a wonderful and fun little being. One of my kids just went through that phase and another one is just entering it. What joy they can be. They entertain, frustrate, and exasperate but you cannot help loving them! Their expressive faces, their busy hands, and the sound of their feet running can bring joy to a parent’s heart. The problem appears when it is time to discipline them. There are several reasons why toddlers can be so challenging. It is hard to control a natural curiosity for the world around them. In fact, as long as they are not hurting themselves or others such curiosity should be encouraged. Once they start walking and able to get to the wonderful objects they could only look at, the problems begin. They want to explore and handle the items formerly out of reach. The two top reasons it is hard to discipline and manage a toddler is; they are finally able to move around freely on their own, and they are learning to control their hands and learning motor skills. READ More on Understanding Why Toddlers Can Be Difficult to Manage

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mom hugging daughther for a job well doneThe key to success is self esteem. If a person does not believe they can do something, or achieve something then they won’t. One of the most important things you can do for your child is to teach them how to have self esteem. Children or teens with high self esteem are able to assume responsibility, act independently, have pride in his or her accomplishments, try new things, offer help to others and are able to take both positive and negative emotions.

Children and teens with low self esteem won’t try new things, they feel unloved and unwanted, they blame others for their own shortcomings, they can be indifferent, they cannot tolerate normal levels of frustration, they are easily influenced and they put down their own abilities and talents. If the reasons listed above do not give you motivation enough to help instill self esteem in your kids then what will happen if you don’t should.

Raising children who have high self esteem is not easy, especially if you are one of the many adults who do not feel overly self confident themselves. Let me say this to you, you are a good parent, and you are a good person. The very fact that you are ready this article to help your kids proves that you are a good person and a good parent. So how do you instill self esteem in your children? That is a great question and I am going to share with you with a few tips.

READ More on Daily Parenting Tips: Teaching Children Self Esteem

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