10 things to do as a family in the month of December
- Go to a Christmas Parade!
- Have a craft day- Children came make easy/ simple crafts that they can give as gifts to family or friends. Let them help wrap the gift and hand them out.
- Check out Christmas events going on at local churches!
- Make and decorate cookies as a family. Give them to a neighbor or to your mailman as a thank you!
- Create your own holiday card together to send out to family and friends.
- Drive around your neighborhood to look at Christmas lights!
- Bundle up and head into DC to see the National Christmas Tree or go to the zoo to see Zoo Lights!
- Come to the school on December 16 at 8:45 am for Little Flock Christian School’s Christmas Concert at 8:45 am.
- Make a gingerbread house together.
- Have a Birthday Party for Baby Jesus! Eat cake, sing happy birthday and also take about his Birth!
We celebrate Christ every day at Little Flock and especially during Christmas! From our Christmas party to our Christmas concert is all in celebration of Christ's birth. We would like to invite you to join the many Christmas celebrations happening in our town.
Here are a few of the Christmas activities we know about:
Our Little Flock Family Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 5-7 pm here at LFCS!
Chick-fil-A fair Lakes - Photos with Santa and the Santa Cow! The fun will kick off at 6:00pm on December 9th and continue until 8pm.
St. Mark's Church Christmas Fair, Dec. 11 and 18 at 11 am! Take pictures with Santa & partake in some holiday shopping.
FREE! Christmas Village at Mclean Bible Church! December 11 - 16, 2016, 6 - 9 pm. A week of holiday cheer & festive activities the entire family can enjoy. For info click here.
Dec. 16th - LFCS Christmas concert. Watch out little angels sing their hearts out at 8:45 am in the Gym.
The Strong Willed Child- How to Save Sanity and Celebrate God’s Work
Is your child stubborn, defiant, difficult, and argumentative? Do you feel you are constantly battling with your child even over small details? Chances are you have a Strong-Willed Child. This past week during our Parent Coffee, we discussed some of the challenges and tricks in guiding the strong willed spirit.
It is important as parents that we focus on the positive traits of our strong willed child and not the negative behavior that they may display. Our SWC (strong willed child) is not easily daunted or discouraged. They hold firm to their convictions and do not accept defeat. Strong Willed individuals are fiercely loyal, determined to succeed and extra ordinarily devoted to accomplishing their goals. We must believe as parent that strong willed individuals are God’s instruments to making the world a better place. As parents, we often overlook that our children are wired differently than ourselves. How they view the world is naturally going to be different than your own thoughts and opinions. As parents we must acknowledge those differences and use their determination to achieve positive results. By doing this, we are able to honor and value our children.
In order to create better harmony in our home, we must understand how the SWC brain works. It is not authority that SWC have difficulties with, however, it is the way in which that authority is communicated. Our SWC always has a choice to obey or take the consequences. Speaking calm to your children instead of demanding will have better results. We must do our best to avoid finger pointing, yelling, and threats. SWC do not settle for the “I am the boss” mentality and they want to be treated with respect. By simply changing the way we communicate with our children we could have profound results. From changing the command “go downstairs and get in the car NOW” to “the car leaves in two minutes, let’s go” will provide encourage and show respect to our child.
Our strong willed children are not trying to control our actions as adults. At a very early age they understand that they always have a choice. They can obey or face consequence. When we try to force our children to comply with our rules we will certainly run into problems. When communicating the rules it is important to avoid using words such as “You will…” or “This is how it’s going to be”. To your SWC, they feel like they have lost all control. It is important by rewording the rules and provides some flexibility for our children. We may give them choices or provide positive reinforcement to complete the task. Also, it is important as parents to remember that at times we must pick our battles. When possible, allow your child to make their own choices. It is not worth ruining everyone’s morning over things that don’t matter. So if your child insist on wearing a tutu out shopping- allow them to do so- praise them for their individuality and celebrate the way God made them.
It is equally important to maintain a healthy relationship with our children. We must always show them unconditional love especially on the most challenging days. As they grow, we always want to be sure that our home is a safe harbor. We want them to feel valued and respected. By maintaining positivity in our homes and avoid yelling, your child will be more likely to follow your guidelines.
So your big question is how can I turn conflict into cooperation? Picking your battles, remaining calm, avoid yelling, and showing your love are great ways to value your children. These tips will really work well for all children but especially your strong willed child. The biggest advice we can give is determine the purpose of your rules. While we cannot give our children permission to break the rules we can acknowledge that there method may be different in accomplishing it. Your SWC is naturally a problem solver. They will see the task at hand and come up with their own way for determining how the desired outcome. SWC do not call the end results however as parents we can compromise on how they get there. Try to focus on the outcome and do not argue over the methods. This will show children that you respect their thought and give them the tools to be successful as they grow. At times when we have lost control and our children are having a meltdown, it is best to give them their space. Once tempers have calmed take the time to talk together, apologize when needed (not for the rules but the method) and remind them you will always love them. Remember even when you or your child did something wrong, God is on your side!
10 Tips for Bringing Out the Best in an SWC of Any Age:
1. Value my ability to see the world from a unique perspective. Find ways to appreciate and make the most of my strengths, even when I annoy you.
2. Remember, we need compelling problems to solve, not just chores to do. Don’t be the “Big Boss.” I’ll respect your authority more when you tell me the point.
3. Ask for my input; keep me in the information loop. Give me some ownership in the process and the outcome.
4. Protect our relationship—you won’t get much from me without one. Respect and value who I am, and I’ll cooperate with you most of the time.
5. Smile at me more often. Keep your sense of humor and try to smile, even when you don’t like me.
6. Don’t let me push you around, but don’t push me around either Don’t be afraid to stand up to me; just don’t run over me.
7. Speak to me respectfully, but firmly. Use your voice wisely; it’s a powerful resource.
8. Choose your battles—don’t sweat the small stuff. Decide what’s really worth it.
9. Give me some control over my own life and circumstances. Allow me to share control without surrendering your authority.
10. Remind me how much you love me. Find subtle ways to keep reminding me your love will always be there.
For more great tips on the Strong Willed Children, check out the resources we used. The Book You Can’t Make Me… ( but I Can be Persuaded) by Cynthia Tobias – also check her out on Focus on the Family: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/weekend/practical-advice-for-parenting-strong-willed-children#_ga=1.261189453.1383808770.1481138281
‘Tis the season for PUMPKINS- Whether you love pumpkin spice latte or the changing of the seasons- we have 10 great ideas to help you celebrate fall with your child. By incorporating these short and simple activities with your family, you will make memories and potentially create new family traditions!
- Pick out the perfect pumpkin- whether you visit a pumpkin patch or just your local grocery store let your child explore different pumpkins. Talk about their size, shape, and color. Have them compare pumpkins for similarities and differences. Ask them questions such as “what pumpkin is your favorite?” or “what do you think is inside?” This creates opportunities for you to see your child’s thoughts process and understand their likes/dislikes. Let your child pick out their favorite pumpkin to take home. Your child will feel valued that you care about their opinion!
2.Set up a washing station- If the weather is warm bring out soapy water buckets, wash clothes and sponges. Too cold? Use the kitchen sink! Spend time washing the pumpkin, playing in the water, and maybe even splash a little! Your child will crack up with your funny side! This activity teaches responsibility!
- Carve the Pumpkin- Help your child draw a silly face with a marker. Talk about the facial features and the emotions of the pumpkin. Ask them questions about their feelings. Scoop out (and save the seeds) Carve the silly face! Let your child enjoy the candle light of a jack o’lantern. Looking for a Christian message when carving? Check out the pumpkin prayer!
- With all the goo and seeds, you have the perfect sensory activity for your child! Place the goo in a Tupperware bowl and let your child play with it. Children learn about the world through their senses so getting messy is actually learning. Ask them how it feels, what does it look or smile like. Talk about the seeds inside and what they can be used for. Really don’t want to deal with the mess or your child has sensory sensitivity? Place the goo and seeds in a zip lock bag. Let them squash the bag and enjoy without the mess!
- No time to carve? Let your child paint, add stickers, markers, or other decorations. Encourage them to imagine and create their own design. Praise your child after they are finished (even if it looks like a mess) - they have worked hard on their masterpieces and they are proud of their work!
- Roast Pumpkin seeds- After taking the goo out, have your child help you separate the seeds. This is a great fine motor skill builder as it teams them to use their pincer grasp. Lightly wash the seeds and toss with butter and salt. Roast the pumpkin seeds in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. When they are cooled encourage them to try their new and healthy treat! (Provide appropriate supervision while eating so they do not choke)
- Create a Pumpkin Volcano-After scoping out the insides have your child add warm water and food coloring, 4-5 drops of dish soap, and a small amount of baking soda. When they are reading for the “eruption” add ¼ of vinegar until it foams and bubbles! Watch your child’s amazement as you made magic!
- Make pumpkin pie play dough- This would be a great actvitiy to keep little hands busy while you are preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Set out cook cuters, dull knives, and even foil pie pans. Have them pretend they are making a pumpkin pie to serve the family for dinner. Recipe for pumpkin pie play dough is:
- 3 cups white flour
- 1 1/2 cups salt
- 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons oil
- food coloring: I used about 20 drops of red and 45 drops of yellow
- Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir constantly for about 3 to 5 minutes. It will look runny and begin to form into a ball as you cook and stir it. (Even if it looks too watery, just keep stirring and cooking it.)
- After it forms into a ball in the center of the pot and you can no longer stir it (it will get very thick), remove the pan from the heat.
- Remove the dough from the pan and knead it well. You may need to add some flour to get it just the right consistency (but don’t add too much or it won’t be as soft and pliable). I find if I cook it long enough it doesn’t need any additional flour.
- Cool and store in an airtight container. Divide the dough into smaller parts especially if there is a number of children who are going to want to participate. Store each child’s dough in a resealable plastic bag. Then I store all of their bags in a larger plastic container with a lid. This keeps for a long time (months) if you keep it in an airtight container (in some locations, it may last longer if kept in the refrigerator).
- Color Pumpkin Seeds- After seeds have been washed and dried, they can be colored to create pictures or tracing letters. Coloring pumpkin seeds is very similar to dyeing Easter eggs. Mix ½ cup of water with 1.5 tablespoon of vinegar and a few drops of food coloring until you get the desired color. Stir the seeds until they are all well coated and have them soak in the mixture for a short time. Leave them in a bit longer if you would like them darker. When they have achieved desired cover let them dry overnight on a cookie sheet. Once dried, let your child create!
- Save the pumpkin seeds and grow in the spring/ mid-summer for next year- Pumpkins do need plenty of water and lots of space so consider these factors when growing!