My Child Has An Imaginary Friend…Should I Be Worried?

“Will your husband be here for dinner tonight? I’d like to meet him.”
“No, he’s working in Nashville. But you met him at our wedding!”
“Oh, I don’t remember that.”
“Yeah, you were there, but my mom was sick and couldn’t come. We had yummy green cake and a dance party, too.”

That is the conversation I had with one of my nieces last Thanksgiving. She had an imaginary husband for a few months and I enjoyed hearing her tales about him. I learned that he fixes motorcycles, works a lot, misses out on every family dinner, and is quite funny. It’s cute and honest while she’s three and designs crafty stories about him. But beyond the adorableness, should I be worried that she is creating imaginary friends?

Parenting Tool FOUR –

Have you ever gone to bed at the end of the day and thought, “Where did that day go?”

The older I get, the faster time seems to fly by. Our busy lifestyles and energetic children makes it seem that life is rushing past us at 500 miles per hour. It takes conscious effort to slow down and live in the moment.

Slowing down has a fancy new name – mindfulness. When you slow down enough to examine each fleeting thought that passes through you, what are they? Pick one thought and examine it.

Intentional Date Nights With Your Kids!

Have you ever considered dating your kids? Just like you go on a date with your spouse to spend one-on-one time together, you can (and I propose, you should) do the same with your children! A study from the Journal of Marriage and Family showed that kids who spend more time with their parents are less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs; are less likely to engage in risky, delinquent, or illegal behaviors; and achieve better math scores.

I am so inspired at how my sister-in-law, Shannon, makes this a priority. As a Mama to three young girls, she has come up with a crafty and creative way to intentionally “date” each of her daughters every month.

Parenting Tool THREE

I’m always looking for new ways to improve my parenting skills. My goal is to be more thoughtful, kinder, and forgiving. I want to be more in tune with my children and myself as I raise them. I have found that the more reflective I can be, the better I end up parenting. And that brings us to tool number three.

Write down your observations. Or, to make it sound fancier, Journal Your Way Through Parenting. I love writing and journaling because putting pen to paper helps me work things out in a way that nothing else can.

Holidays in Reverse

As parents, we all desire for our children to be kind, honest, motivated, generous, and joyful. But it seems like culture imposes selfishness, discontent, materialism, and a “need” for the latest trends. How can you combat those tendencies in your children? Can you step aside from the status quo? Would you evidence your beliefs through your actions and words? I challenge you to begin this movement by implementing holidays in reverse.

Parenting Tool TWO

One of my most cherished memories of my second born is when the Teacher’s Assistant (TA) at nursery school told me about a conversation she had had with my son who was four years old at the time. The school was about to perform their holiday concert piece and as the kids were lining up to get ready to go on stage, my son was pulled out of line and placed between two boys who weren’t his friends.

My son was not happy. He told the T.A. that he wanted to be with his friends. The T.A. nodded and took him off to the side, out of earshot of the other children. She explained to him that the boys he was now stuck between needed his positive influence in order to keep their troublesome behaviours in check. My four year old son thought about this for a few seconds and then said, “I get that. Thank you for telling me why you did this.”

How to Prep for a Babysitter

When I was a teenager, it seemed like every Friday night I was babysitting, and I often squeezed in one night during the week as well. Honestly though, I loved it! There is something special about bonding with kids who looked up to me; I was their role model and special treat. I let them stay up 5 minutes late or read one extra book. I brought along a special “toy box” of trinkets to reward their good behavior. I would play imaginative games and elaborate scavenger hunts. Oh, the sweet memories I have!

But, aside from the fun and games (literally), I had great relationships with the parents as well. From my experience with multiple families, there are a few things you can do as a parent to help prep for you babysitter.

Parenting Tool ONE

“You’re on your computer again,” I said to my teenager. He sighed and said, “Yes Mom, I’m getting off now.” Wow, that was easy, I thought to myself. I had expected him to put up an argument. What secret Jedi parenting mind trick did I just I stumbled upon?

The parenting tools you will discover with me can be described in one word – Practical. In fact, as you read them you’ll realize that many may seem basic or common sense.
Don’t be fooled, common sense is far too often uncommon.

Some of these tools you may already use – maybe only partially, and some perhaps inconsistently. Read through each tool and think about how you may have used it in the past. If they haven’t worked, find out what you were missing so you can make it better and more effective next time.

Your parenting style must change as your child grows. You have the ability to adjust each tool according to your child’s stage in life. Observe what works and what doesn’t. Keep trying different approaches from the tools in your toolbox until you find the ones that work well and more importantly works consistently for you and your child.

Dear Mum and Dad, A Letter From Your 6 Month Old

Dear Mum and Dad,

Guess what? I just discovered who that cute baby is in the mirror…it’s me! I like to look at myself and admire how some of my features look like Mum and other elements resemble Dad. I sure am cute! Keep letting me look in the mirror after my bath, and don’t take away that mirror by my car seat, or the one hanging on my toy gym. It’s so fun to smile at my beautiful reflection!

Parenting Toolbox Introduction

Parenting is right up there with brain surgery when it comes to hard jobs. So why is it that brain surgeon’s need years of intense study before they even get to touch a brain and the rest of us folks require only the skill of procreation to reach the status of parent and be thrust into the grind of parenting without a proper internship? That doesn’t seem right nor fair does it?

In my years as a parent, I’ve read many parenting books, blogs, and magazines. I’ve listened to podcasts on parenting and watched parenting experts on TV talk shows. Even though I have 56 cumulative years of parenting as a mother of five, I dare not claim to be a parenting expert. Just when I think I’ve got this parenting thing figured out, one of my kids – and sometimes more than one – will spin everything out of control. I’m left standing there like a deer in the headlights (think Bambi) wondering what to do next.