Christmast Wish

As the Christmas season comes to a head we at More4Kids want to wish you and your family the best of the Christmas season. May your Christmas wishes come true and may you and yours experience the true joy of the holiday. Pause for a moment and contemplate the true meaning of Christmas. If you can teach your kids this one simple truth, imagine what a blessing they will be when they grow up and walk in this truth.

Jesus is the reason for the season. The first Christmas gift came from God, Himself. He gave mankind his only Son to offer us a way back to Him. We exchange gifts in honor of Jesus’ birthday every year. We give to each other to express our love and gratitude. Because God loved us so much He sent His son to us to blaze the trail right back to Him. Can you imagine when you get to spend your first Christmas in Heaven?

Our Christmas wish for you is that you help your kids see the best in others in the same way God sees us. Teach them the true meaning of Christmas and help them to walk in Christmas joy not just on December 25 but in all of 2016. It’s not a joy that occurs due to happy circumstances. It’s a joy that lives within our hearts. We hope you experience this with your family no matter what life my bring your way.

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Child Grieving

by Angie Schflett

Grief over the loss of a loved one is considered to be a deep and a difficult challenge – regardless of what time of year that it occurs; however, coping with grief over the holidays tends to magnify the overwhelming sense of loss and immense mourning that is experienced. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Gatherings of family members and seasonal-based traditions and events are often considered to be exceptionally painful reminders that our loved one or loved ones are absent from our lives. If your family has recently experienced a loss, it is important that you pull together to comfort one another. In this guide, you will be introduced to a few steps that will aid you in parenting and coping with grief over the holidays.

1. Embrace the Past by Recreating the Present

If you and your family have endured a loss this holiday season, it is important to know and understand that the adjustments associated with your loss will be exceptionally difficult for everyone involved. Each family gathering, each family tradition will remind all of you of the absence of your loved one; however, instead of focusing on the loss, try to focus on the memories that you have of your loved one and find comfort in one another. You must commit to embrace the past, and recreate the present. You must overcome the expectations of what the holidays should be and recreate what they are now that your loved one has passed on. Simply acknowledge the loss and express appreciation for all of the time that you had with your loved one or loved ones. Then, work to create new traditions and gatherings that involve those that are still living. Honor the deceased while celebrating the living. This is the absolute best way to embrace the past and recreate the present. By taking this step, the future will be brighter for you and your kids.

2. Accept the Inevitable

Despite the fact that the holidays are considered to be a joyous and exciting time, it is inevitable that you and your loved ones will experience anger, sadness, and despair. You must accept the inevitable. Regardless of age, no one should be expected to ignore the feelings that they have simply because the holidays are in full swing. You should not judge, nor should anyone judge you for feeling how you feel. Even if you feel a sense of joy due to the season, do not feel guilty. Remember, your loved one or loved ones would not want you to experience any negative emotion around the holidays; however, if you do, it is acceptable and to be expected. Simply accept the inevitable when suffering through grief. That is, you will experience a vast array of emotions and that is completely acceptable.

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How much is too much Technology?

by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids

If you compare the activities of kids today to the children of your childhood, you may be shocked. I grew up in a time when no home had a computer or a game system. Atari was just beginning to make the scene by the time I hit my teen years. And I never heard of a cell phone. Kids from my day relied on doing things manually. We went outside to play. We used our imaginations. We heard the news when it came on TV at 5 pm or we read it in the newspaper. There was nothing instant about life. Even microwaves were in few homes.

Today, children have a vast technology universe at their fingertips. How many children have you seen with smartphones? My smaller children can show me how to do things on the computer. I marvel at the lives of children and teens when we’re out in public. Whether we’re sitting in restaurants, or at the mall, or whatever, most children have their attention on their phone screen, their thumbs busily typing in another text. Have you counted how many text messages your child sends and receives in a month? Information is instantaneous now. We just need to turn our phones on to see what’s happening all over the world. It’s a lot of distractions for young developing minds.

I believe children have too much leeway way when it comes to what we allow them to do. With all the access to social media, internet browsing, and instant everything comes information overload. I can see where it will cause our children to stop reacting in a normal way. If they are so accustomed to responding with their thumbs and a mouse, they may have issues with real pressing challenges.

All Things in Moderation

Denying a child the opportunity to partake in the technologies of today may be painful to them. It’s not necessary to totally unplug from modern advances. Allow children to play a video game, to spend time texting, to browse the internet (safely) but limit the time. Children will, if left to their own devices, do these things for hours. We must make sure we don’t allow that. Put a limit. Tell them they can play the video games for an hour. Give them a set time they can be on their phone. Once the time is up, remove the temptation. Take the phone and put it away. Turn off the computer or game system. The same goes for the television.

Be An Example

Our children watch what we do. If we tell them they can’t be on their phone texting all the time and we do it, what sort of message are we sending to them? We need to show them the way by living what we preach. We need to shut off our phones and lay the remotes aside and spend as much time away from the phone, computer, TV, or game system as they do. Show your children they are a top priority by focusing on them instead of on a piece of electronic.

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financial stress

How to Cope with Financial Strain through the Holidays as a Parent

by Angie Schflett

In the past several decades, finances have had a direct impact on the overall enjoyment that a family experiences through the holidays; however, this is not what the holidays are about. Christmas has developed into a season of rampant levels of consumerism. Christmas cards, the Christmas tree, the decorations, the lights, and the presents – all of these products carry an immense amount of expenses for families. During a time when employment rates are at an all-time low and all merchandise is dramatically increasing in price, many families will find that they experience complications this holiday season. In this brief guide, you will be provided with information on how to cope with financial strain through the holidays, as a parent.

Remember the True Meaning of Christmas

Many will state that Christmas has different meanings to different people. Is it about the gifts that are under the tree? Is it the decorations? Is it the ham or turkey dinner? Is it the snow lining the streets? Is it the carolers? As a parent, you should know and understand that none of this is truly the real meaning of Christmas. This holiday is one where we celebrate the birth of God’s son, Jesus Christ. This birth resulted in great joy all around the world. Jesus is one of truth, of love, and of hope. He brought each of us salvation. As a result of his birth, we are not all destined to die in sin. Jesus Christ is the real “reason for the season”, not gifts or spending loads of money. As parents, we must teach our child this.

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Advent Wreath

by Stacey Schifferdecker

The month before Christmas has got to be the longest time of year for kids! Not renowned for their patience anyway, kids have to wait and wait for the big day. It doesn't help that Christmas decorations go on sale in September now  and that radio stations begin playing Christmas songs on Halloween. Help you kids make it through the long days of December by celebrating Advent. Even better, Advent also helps you keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus rather than Santa Claus, presents, and other commercial aspects of Christmas.

Advent is a Latin word that actually means "coming." In the Christian church, advent is time of preparation and waiting for the birth of Jesus. Advent officially begins four Sundays before Christmas, which means it often begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

So how can you celebrate Advent? One way is to buy or make an Advent wreath to lay on your table. An Advent wreath typically consists of greenery with four candles, three purple and one pink. Each candle on the Advent Wreath has a specific meaning:READ More on Celebrating Advent with Children

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Beyond Santa Claus – Helping Kids Discover the True Meaning of Christmas

by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids

Little children believing in Santa Claus brings a whole new depth of magic to the Christmas season. I know what it’s like to sneak off to go Christmas shopping with the little ones clueless. When ours grew older and more aware, we told them we went to meet with Santa’s elves. It was a tale told to me by my mother and I completely believed her. I thought when she left me with my grandparents, she honestly spoke with a real elf. To my memory, she actually did talk to an elf. But I also have other memories of that time and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

On the not so magical side of the Santa Claus belief is the kids who ask for toys they never received. I remember asking for a particular doll and being disappointed on Christmas morning that Santa didn’t bring it to me. But he gave it to the little girl down the street. My parents told me all sorts of tales as to why Santa wouldn’t give me what I asked for and would give it to the kids up the road.

The reasons above have a good argument for the total belief in Santa Claus. Where do you draw the line for your children? I know parents who will go out and buy everything on their child’s wish list to the point of being ridiculous. Then there are the kids who barely get anything. My daughter asked me one year why Santa would choose to pour the gifts on some and not on others.

Some parents make the choice to be honest with their kids from the beginning and the belief in Santa is never practiced in their homes. These are the children who will tell other kids Santa isn’t real and then you have the discussions with your children if he’s real or not.

We do allow our children to believe in Santa Claus, but we try to portray Santa as more of a human who has limited resources and how he has to shop for toys throughout the world and sometimes he can’t find individual items, so he has to substitute. I feel it’s often a tangled web when we get into it. I am relieved when they outgrow the whole Santa thing because then we can be real about it. It begs the question, what should we be teaching our children about Christmas and Santa Claus?

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by Stacey Schifferdecker

When my children were young, we started a new holiday reading tradition. We would put aside our traditional night time books for the month, and every night of December, we would read a Christmas book. This was a great to have some calm and peaceful moments together at the end of the day. If you'd like to start a similar tradition, here are some of our favorite Christmas books for you to try (in no particular order) — enough to get you through the first half of December.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

by Dr. Seuss

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Yes, it was a book before Chuck Jones made the fabulous animated version we all grew up with and Ron Howard made the live action version starring Jim Carrey. Why read this book? Well, it's got those great Dr. Seuss rhymes, a funny story line, and amusing illustrations. On top of that, it's a sweet story about the transformational power of love. (It does send the erroneous  message that the purpose of Christmas is family togetherness. I make a point of telling my kids that being together as a family is a Christmas bonus, but that the real purpose of Christmas is to celebrate Jesus' birth.)

Country Angel Christmas

by Tomie dePaola

St. Nicholas invites the Country Angels to coordinate heaven's Christmas celebration this year. The angels get busy baking, decorating, and learning songs. Unfortunately, no one can seem to find a way to let the three littlest Country Angels help until St. Nicholas gives them the job the other angels have all forgotten: fetching the Christmas star.

We like to read this book on the day we hang the angels on our Advent calendar.

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