February half term is here and how exciting!
It’s perfect opportunity for rest, renewal and restoration. It is a time to relax, after the long winter months. For some parents, it’ can be a time of overwhelm, being anxious and worried particularly if we are not prepared for it. It doesn’t have to be. We can do a few things and make it memorable!
Tips for surviving half term
As human beings we tend to thrive in an structured environments. When we are at work, we know how our day is going to be. This allows us to plan and apply ourselves. The same is with children in nursery, school or uni. The structure doesn’t have to be rigid at home.
Plan the week with your children. Get them involved in what activities they would like to do. What does each typical day look like?. Give them something to look forward to as an incentive for good behaviour as well. It could be a sticker, play date, favourite meal, dessert date, lunch date or visit to the zoo. Rewards charts with stickers are great with toddlers. Older children still love to be rewarded. Whatever it is, let it be what your child/ren enjoys/ loves. For teens it could be a date with their friends or that lip gloss/ t shirt they have always wanted.
Explain what’s realistic and teach on meeting expectations, affordability, priorities etc.
Children blossom when they know what’s expected of them. If you want them to help more with chores have conversations about it and put it down on a family calendar or A4 piece of paper that you can stick on the fridge. Praise them for completing tasks. If they are struggling in certain areas, talk about and see how best you can help them.
Because it’s half term, we do not throw away the boundaries. Continue to limit screen time and enhance social, face to face activities. Encourage good behaviour amongst siblings again by setting a standard/ expectation. Teach them about being kind and helpful. Find books in the library that talk about such things. Team work is good for any family.
If you work shifts, if possible arrange with another trusted mom/ friend/ family member so you are well rested and enjoy time with children. Request time off to be with your children. You will not regret it, even if it’s only one day.
Take turns to babysit the children, that way you do not burn out. As migrant families we may not have a family nearby, however we can establish safe relationships with other families in our churches, at school, work etc. Make sure you know and trust them.
If not possible to find baby sitter, let expectations be clear with children , partner or older child. If mom is tired from working last night and would like to sleep until such a time, explain to the children. Make sure they are safe before nodding off 😇
Depending with the age of your child ideally you don’t want to deviate too much from what you do during the school week. For instance if your five-year-old was going to bed at seven or 8 o’clock you can encourage them to go to bed an hour later and try to avoid them going to bed at midnight. That way you do not disrupt their routine too much.
Lie ins can be a blessing if well tolerated. Hopefully when they go back to school the mornings will be much brighter and not a struggle to get up.
Have lots and lots of fun. Watch your favourite age appropriate movie/ show. Go to the park, bake, cook, play board games.
Tell them stories of you growing up. Bring out the family albums and talk about family tree etc. When ours were younger, we loved the family sleepovers on nights when both parents weren’t working the next day. Grab your mattress , cushions and sleeping bags if you need them and lay in lounge, enjoy your family show. Tickle them. Play hide and seek.
Try to be outside for a minimum of 30minutes. Recycled oxygen in the house will leave everyone feeling rugged with cabin fever. Fresh air will do everyone a world of good.
Below are some ideas of things that we can do with our children for different age groups
-Local library (reading and activities in the library)
-Local churches (parent-child activities)
-Children centre activities
– Walk in the woods
– Lunch/ dessert/ dinner dates
-Crafting (Poundland, Wilkinson’s, B&M)
-Local Park.. put their coats on and play for 10-20mins, it will be worth it in the end when they have burned that energy.
Search in google for FREE half term activities in your local area and pick 3 or 4 things to do.
Remember it is YOUR half term as well, to rest from those early morning school run.
Would love to hear how you are getting on this half term.
What is it?
Fasting is voluntarily going without food — or any other regularly enjoyed, good gift from God — for the sake of some spiritual purpose
Fasting is hard. It sounds much easier in concept than it proves to be in practice. It can be surprising how cranky we feel when we miss a meal.
So why fast if it’s hard?
It is a discipline issue. Fasting is taking time to realise that while we crave and love food for what it provides for us (nourishment), we are also seeking spiritual nourishment. Like most things, fasting works when you BELIEVE in its concept.
When we are fasting, we are longing to hear from God concerning the things we are praying about. Fasting in this busy era helps us to actively, slow down on other things and focus on our spiritual well being.
While fasting at the beginning of the year or month may seem habitual, if accompanied by sincere prayers, it’s powerful. Many families hold a day of fast in the week during the week, just to bring family goals before God and pray through them. This is a time of simply devoting more attention to God.
Fasting breaks our desire and longing for food. It allows us to DEPEND on God. To those who have tried fasting, our senses get heightened and the longer we are able to fast, our brain adjusts and so does our bodies.
How do I fast?
It’s important to pray about it first and get a sense of how long and what type of fast you want to undertake. Seek medical advice as well, as fasting can affect your health, particularly if you are on medication. The general consensus is that you shouldn’t stop your medication due to fasting. For some people a day is enough, others are well able to do 10, 20, 40 days of fasting.
The most common fast is skipping breakfast and lunch meals whilst drinking plenty of fluids during the day until 4/5/6pm. There are many types of fast that you can research on. What matters is the sincerity of our hearts more than the acts. Why am i doing this? What do I want to accomplish at the end of the fast?. Sometimes you may start off with one day that turns into 5 or 7, simply because you feel led to do that.
It’s important that fasting is coupled with time in the Word and praying. Devotionals both online and paperbacks are great for offering a structure. The bible app offers different reading plans that can help us depending on what we are praying and fasting for.
Most people end the fast with a time of prayer. It’s a time of thanksgiving for the hours that you would have been able to go without food.
What to look out for?
You may feel tired, dizzy, cranky or have headaches and bad breath. These are all side effects of hunger. Keep hydrated, have mints for bad breath. Your senses will also get so heightened, you will smell a loaf of bread miles away, and so does our spirit.As you continue it gets better.
Apart from reading the Word, listening to worship music, podcast, Christian teachings on you tube video helps throughout the day. Let christian music fill your home/ car as it helps to charge the atmosphere. Be deliberate about it. If you are at work, you may want to schedule maybe a few minutes throughout the day to step out and pray.
Here is to growing in grace, faith and love. 💕
On the webinar we started by acknowledging the need to have ambitious goals when it comes to our #parenting role.
Why set a goal?
• Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation.
•By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your effort.
•By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in your achievements.
It is important for us as parents to think about ‘what kind of a parent do I want to be?’. The key to answering that question is in visualising what you are trying to achieve. How do I want my role/ position as mother to look like 5, 10, 20 years and beyond?
An example was drawn of having a goal of being a ‘praying mom’, ‘kind mom’, ‘playful mom’. How does one achieve that goal? It became clear that one will need to read books on prayer, praying mothers, prayer for your children etc. One may want to think about other moms who exude those traits. Who do I know personally or virtually as a kind mom, praying mom? etc. What is it about their life that I can learn from and apply now or later in my own parenting journey?
You will also need to make a further investment in an accountability partner/ buddy/ mentor/. This is a person who then hold you accountable to your goals, aspirations and all the things that you are trying to achieve. It is important to find the right person who is able to support you with your goal (s) and the bigger vision of the parent or the mother that you are trying to be. It needs to be someone you can be open and transparent.
While a friend or family member may be the first person who comes to mind, how good are they at holding you accountable? How ready are they to listen and support you with your ambitious goal without feeling a tinge of jealousy or doubts about your capabilities?
Other areas to consider when setting goals are:
•Career – What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve? How is my career going to support my parenting role?
•Financial – How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your parenting goals!
•Education – Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve that parenting goal?
•Family – How are you going to be a good parent? What things do you need to do in order to achieve those goals?
•Spiritual- What is my spiritual life like and what how can I get it to better?
I emphasised the importance of including our spouses/ partners in this goal setting. Some things may be pertinent to motherhood, overall we hope the goals will encompass the role of fathers.
Today’s session was an opportunity to start to think about those goals and who is going to support you achieve them. I encourage you to take time, do some soul searching, revisit those little girls aspirations about the kind of mother we wanted to be. Use pen and paper to write those aspirations down. Pray over them. Discuss them with your spouse or partner. Those with able children, you can choose to include and consult them in your goal setting too. You may be surprised on how your children view your mothering style, vision /values.
It is our prayer that you find the time, energy and resources to do this. We hope you will find the exercise useful and worthwhile. When we meet next time in January 2020, we are offering an opportunity to write those goals down clearly and beautifully during our #visionboard workshop. We will be extending an invitation to our Intentional Parenting Members Club where we share our goals/ visions in a safe space and hold one another accountable.
Look out for updates on instagram stories (intentional_parenting) , facebook and whatsapp
I’m on Instagram as intentional_parenting. Install the app to follow my photos and videos. https://www.instagram.com/invites/contact/?i=jdbmpt64mjl&utm_content=3bmfqzz
What children think their parents want for them can play a significant role in shaping the children’s chances of future success and well-being. Parental pressure to excel in school and extracurricular activities can increase kids’ risk of stress, as well as have a negative impact on kids’ well-being and success later in life. This is especially true if parents value grades and achievement over things like empathy, compassion, kindness, and social skills. “VeryWellFamily “
We took a poll on intentional_parenting and the results were as below. The evidence weighs heavily against PAYING in favor of rewarding EFFORT.
If a parent were to say, ‘I will give you this if you achieve all As’, the child is likely to do it for that reward. It also means that subsequently, he will think, well, the only reason to learn is to get the reward. If I am not getting the reward that I want, I am not interested in learning.”
The downside to giving kids rewards is that they put the responsibility for learning on the parent – who needs to come up with more rewards for sustained results and also has to continue to monitor success.
Suggest a celebration, like going to a special restaurant for a meal. This is not a reward but just an acknowledgment and celebration of a goal achieved.
Reward your child verbally. Once your child has achieved a goal, say how the effort and studying paid off and how you’re proud he improved his grades.
Morally it can be tricky giving cash to children for good grades. You never know what someone might agree to do in exchange for the promise of another cash payment.
Daniel Coyle, author of the best-selling book, The Talent Code, points out that praising effort not accomplishment is much more likely to lead to successful outcomes. Not just any effort, but persistent, intensive effort that comes with focusing on overcoming errors by pushing oneself to the edge of one’s knowledge and skills.
There is no guarantee that the money would go to useful things. This may potentilla create more work for the parents who need to monitor how the money is spent
The pros and cons of paying students for good grades depends on the effectiveness of the solution. There will be some kids motivated by this approach to learning, but there will also be others who are turned off by the idea of this “bribe.” That is why many schools use positive reinforcement and non-cash-based rewards like books, pencils, or clothing as a way to enhance motivation.
If you need further details on how best you can encourage and support your child to get better grades, this article by Verywellfamily has some great suggestions.
Any thoughts or additions? Would love to hear from you.
Thanks for stopping by.
September was our month of praying for families. After the 30 days, we came together, in celebration and wanting to strategise the way forward.
Testimonies of being energised in prayer and being intentional were shared on our Whatsapp group. So where do we go from here, was the question.
How does a working mother, wife, sister, friend and community builder live a vibrant prayer life in this busy 21st century?
We were encouraged to pursue God and fall in love with Him. Like lovers, our desire for Him will encourage us to want to spend time with Him.
“It’s a heart thing.❤️”
“Like an apple tree among the wild trees, so is my lover among the young men. In his shade I take pleasure in sitting, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.” Song of Songs 2:3 CEB
“Who am I?” 👩🏽
We were reminded about our identity in God. A child should never be reminded to talk to her parents, it is hoped. And so it is with us as children and daughters of God.
Those who know their God shall be mighty in the land and do exploits (Daniel 11:32)
Our identity in God centers us. The father -son/ daughter relationship will help us talk to Him at ease. Daniel lived in a treacherous and tricky time, His relationship and confident trust in God saw him through it all. We can do the same as intentional parents.
Have confidence in God, His abilities and faithfulness.
“It is love, then, that you should strive for. Set your hearts on spiritual gifts, especially the gift of proclaiming God’s message.”
1 Corinthians 14:1 GNB
⁃ The love of God propels us to be people who enjoy spending time in His presence. Prayer isn’t a religion but relationship. We encouraged one another to build a lifestyle of prayer, talk to God anywhere and everywhere, all the time. Do not be legalistic. We live busy lifestyles, talk to God whilst at work, driving etc. Spend time in the word. It’s not about the length but a yielded heart.
“Fulfill Gods purpose” 👨👩👧👦
We were encouraged that being a parent is Gods greatest calling upon our lives. That’s our purpose. We were persuaded to build a legacy of prayer for the generation that is coming after us. You and I can leave such a legacy that nothing can touch it. We are here to see our grand/ children thrive because we prayed.
We were challenged to lead a victorious life of prayer through the analogy of a heavy weight champion. It was indicated that a heavy weight champion has to feed on the right diet (Word of God), have a coach/ trainer to guide and lead (Holy Spirit). Heavy weight champions have to take care of their bodies in order to function well. They need to sleep enough hours for rest and repair, exercise, train and train some more to build the necessary muscle. Above all, they have to stay committed to the goal to see the results and reward.
Here is to training, building those muscles and lifting heavy weights of PRAYER🏋🏽♂️🏋🏾♀️
Would love to stand together in prayer with you. Let us know how we can pray for you below.
God richly bless you.
The blessing that makes one rich and adds no sorrow ❤
— Read on intentionalparenting.blog/2017/06/20/the-blessing-that-makes-one-rich-and-adds-no-sorrow-❤/
Effective speaker note
So I have been public speaking for some time, formally in respectable circles for 5years. My career in public health formalised the role as I taught in postnatal groups. Prior to that, I had been teaching in Sunday school. These roles, helped me to horn my skills in communication. The NHS leadership program then helped me a lot in understanding the impact of being an impactful leader, public speaking being an important skill.
Below, I share my own PERSONAL strategies and techniques that I use in public speaking. I have to admit, the majority stem from what I saw other people do, which I felt I wanted to do it differently. There is nothing worse like being at an event you regret because there is no VALUE to it.
The tips I share below are the basics of being a guest speaker on the day. There is a lot more to be shared about posture, tone of voice, colours to wear etc. According to Business Insider, Tony Robins is the public speaking guru. Check him out for more inspirational ideas on how to nail this.❤️
Understand WHY you have been invited to speak and DELIVER. This means, do your research and offer the attendees the value and respect they require. Yes, it may be a ‘free’ event in the sense that people aren’t paying cash at the door or via eventbrite, respect their priceless commodity TIME.
-Preparation is key, check venue details, content requirement and communicate with the rightful people ahead of time.
Plan your travel; clothes, traffic, venue. It is unprofessional to arrive late as a guest speaker unless there are situations outside of your control e.g traffic diversions. General traffic hiccup isn’t an excuse.
⁃ Arrive in PLENTY of time. Check out the layout of the building, locate the respite facilities i.e cloakroom, lavatory etc. At registration, say hello to a couple of people if you can. Create moments to network.
⁃ If possible sit in other guest/trainers sessions. Get a sense of your audience ( Know who asks difficult questions, quiet one, sleeping etc)
⁃ Check that your materials (powerpoint) and other bits are in order ahead of your session.
⁃ Figure out in time, at registration where the IT assistant is located so that you can solicit help if you need it.
⁃ Be charming and deliver with a smile. Remember to have water at hand to keep hydrated.
⁃ Deep breathing helps to calm the nerves thus relaxing the vocal cords.
⁃ Depending with the room layout, try to be centrally aligned and visible to your audience.
⁃ Make an effort to make an eye contact with audience right across the room.
⁃ If you are not sure of anything, admit, offer to go and find out. You can email answers when you find them.
⁃ Keep to time
⁃ Engage with other speakers and the host.
⁃ Get feedback where possible.
⁃ Continue networking, try not to leave as soon as your session finishes. Listen to other guest speakers, be encouraging. That’s how we grow and the same energy and encouragement will come back to you.
– Offer constructive feedback to your host.
⁃ Get two/three numbers to keep in touch.
⁃ Be sociable, and share on social media platforms about the event. Tweet.
Have fun, enjoy it. If the topic is something you love and are passionate about, it will show.
Remember, this may be a one off invite, you never know who is in the audience. Impress. You may get called again and if you have a message to share, you may want more people to hear it. 💕.
We agreed that conflict is part of a healthy relationship. As a community of mothers we acknowledged that it is important to have the right tools and strategies to manage conflict(s) in the family home.
-It was asserted that first and foremost it is key that parents have a family vision. This vision will have some values and principles to follow. The vision will allow the family to know and remember what and where they are going. For instance one family vision may be
‘To raise God fearing and parent honouring children”
Alongside that would the goals on how to achieve that. For the family above it may that both parents will role model God fearing and parent honouring behaviours in their homes.
Another family’s vision may be to :
“Live in a calm, happy home”
Once again, they will have goals on how to achieve the calmness and happiness they desire in their home.
-Understanding of one’s sphere of influence was also deemed important in knowing when to assert your power. We were encouraged to focus on empowering self so others can follow.
-Not leaving issues to stifle, but to discuss them in a calm and respectful manner as soon as possible.
-Going for a walk or drive was also suggested as a strategy for taking time out to discuss difficult issues away from the children.
-It was appreciated that sometime the male ego may make it difficulty to resolve an issue. An example was given where a spouse or partner may be dismissive of the issue at hand or even be defensive. It was suggested that it may be a good idea to wait for one of the good days to discuss the issue at hand.
-Lastly and more importantly, we reminded each other that we are powerful beings. We affirmed that we are women of faith and prayer. We encouraged one another to tap into the power of faith through prayer. The bible reminds us to pray continually, without ceasing and to have faith.
Personally, I would like to leave you with this encouragement;
“Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 GNB
With love and blessings
Who doesn’t need a break in the sun? Few people will say no to that. On this blog, we share our tips for booking that family vacation. We hope this will help someone and that we also will get some ideas and tips from you too.
So for us, we are a family of four, consisting of three adults and 1 teen. We love experiences and making memories. We have had to learn how to travel on a budget and so far we are grateful. We prefer to visit uncommon destinations💕.
Each year we set a realistic budget of how much in total we would like to spend on a Summer break. Once that’s determined, we start looking for offers, deals, sales etc. It’s such a commitment that my husband and daughter are married to. They invest so much time in researching places to visit etc. We learn a lot about ourselves, and potential destinations as a family through the planning sessions. This year our daughter and youngest planned this Sicily- Malta break meticulously it’s humbling 💗
We have found that once we have decided on destination, making a hotel reservation early is useful. We use Booking.com as well as Hotels.com and many other apps such as Trivago etc. We tend to book our summer holiday by Christmas time.
By booking early, most hotel reservations are free so you can swap or change to a certain period. This offers peace of mind as you many not want to commit to a holiday 8months in advance. Arbnb is a game changer for accommodation too, especially for city breaks. It has introduced us to amazing communities and apartments. We stayed in a quirk apartment in Copenhagen and as I write we are in a historic Italian apartment in Catania, Sicily in Italy. The apartment has won me some brownie points with teen daughter who is keen on history and all things beautiful.
Flights are tricky and a deal breaker when looking for family summer break. Being the single most expensive entity, we have allowed flights to determine our destination. For the past 4 years we have visited mainly Europe and North Africa (Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Moroccco) for that reason.
As for timing, in terms of when to go, it all depends with the two above as well as working schedules and family calendars really. We tend to go away mid August so that we break even the long six weeks. The past two years we have strived for two get aways. The first tends to be a mini city break in one of European capitals. In that break, it’s mostly about culture and history so we book walking tours, visit museums and places of interest. We absorb as much as we can about the city. Visiting street food markets is a MUST in our house thanks to hubby. Once that intellectual holiday is done, we then go on a chilled relaxed break by the pool/ beach. The beach holiday tends to be 5-7days long and we are ready to face the winter.
Hope this has been useful. Let us know how we can help. Share some ideas, tips and strategies for making an epic family holiday.
Does your family have traditions that you do for summer? Would love to hear from you.
We will soon be sharing more about our holiday experiences with each destination we have been, look out for details.