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Coach Mom Newsletter - May 2012

8 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare your Young Child to Leave the Nest

From Osh Kosh Overalls

To a Suit & Tie

It seems not that long ago our house was rocking with energy most of each day. Bouncing boys deluxe. Our family of six lived in a 1,600 square foot tile-floored house in the heart of Phoenix and many summer days I felt the walls might close in (or fall in) on me. So desperate was I that I would endure hours of sitting poolside with baby and toddler on sunny 115-120 degree days just so my older two boys could be on swim team, which was the only thing that used enough energy to make them take good naps and fall asleep quickly at bedtime.

And, if I said it once, I said it a thousand times, “Couches are made for sitting or lying down. They are not made for jumping.” But it wasn’t only the activity level that was off the charts -- it was the volume, too. A friend who lived next door to us in those days recently admitted to me that each time she and her husband would left our house after having dinner with us, they talked about how when they had children they would not have that loud of a house (the rest of the story is they also had four boys and a girl. Need I say more?) Basically, the energy in our house, had it been tapped, could have lit up the city of Phoenix at night. I remember looking at the friends’ polite school-age boys, thinking my boys would never be able to sit that still and be that quiet.

Fast forward about thirteen years, and you find me here in a totally quiet house (well, the kids are at school) writing this newsletter. Lo and behold, my boys did learn to sit still and can be quiet when needed. Not only that, but in four weeks my oldest will graduate from high school and launch from the nest.

A few days after graduation Dillon plans to depart by himself on a 37-hour trip to a mission  training  school in Mozambique, Africa, where he will be until mid-August, just a couple of days before he starts his college education at Baylor University.  Our family as we know it is changing, and I can’t say that my heart hasn’t been hurting over it since last year when we saw many of his good friends graduate.  I sense a growing concern from his younger siblings about what daily life will be like here without him around. But, for today, we are thanking God for every moment we share. Isn’t that how it should be every day that the Lord gives us?

So, my offering this newsletter is to remind us of the things that we can do to make the most of today with the children in our homes. As we do these things, we nurture them emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This nurturing will better equip them to be the healthiest they can be as they go out into the world on their own.

1.    Live and teach the Word – Making the Bible a priority in our lives and living obediently toward God’s truth is the best teaching we can do as parents. Do your children catch you reading the Word or praying? Also, simple things like reading through a children’s Bible, having scripture on display in the home, and talking through God’s view of life scenarios that come up on television or at school are ways to integrate the Word into your home.

2.    One-on-one time – If you have multiple children, it takes intention to make it happen. Even 20 minutes a week of one-on-one time can reap great rewards. I found this to be especially important to the toddler who just lost his “baby” spot to the newborn. Get the time scheduled on the calendar then talk with your child about how you are looking forward to it. The rule for the time is that you do whatever the child wants to do (our rule was it had to be in the home), giving the child undivided attention.

3.    Independent play time – In BabyWise, the Ezzos recommend scheduling independent playtime for each child daily, starting in a bouncy seat in the playpen and graduating to room time. The benefits for both child and parent abound!

4.    Date your spouse  - Making your relationship with your husband priority does more than encourage the marriage relationship. Children gain security and also learn they are not the center of the universe. John Rosemond said, “If you are married, the best things you can do to raise happy and healthy children is to pay more attention to the marriage than you pay to them.”

5.    Family dinner – It feeds both the body and soul. Catherine Snow’s eight-year study of 65 families revealed the family dinner to be the number one factor in a child’s development (ranking higher than even education). And let each child prepare dinner occasionally. Author of Love and Logic, Jim Fay, says the best overall thing you can do for your child is to have them prepare, serve, and clean up from dinner once a week, beginning when they are nine years old.

6.    Exercise – In reading this, I don’t want you to run out and sign up your three-year-old for a soccer team. Be in control of your schedule as long as you can. When a child is young, one-on-one time playing catch or shooting hoops with Dad is often the best option. It’s more bonding and convenient the other scenario: a parent taking the child to a team practice…that they have to drive to…at whatever time they are told to.

7.    Give responsibilities – Work as a team. It helps the home run better, helps your attitude, gives them the confidence of knowing how to do things and the feeling of being a part of something bigger than themselves. (I could recommend a book on this….) J

8.    Hug – Cherish every day and hug as many times as possible. Hugs not only feel good, but they have a host of benefits. Hugs have been shown to reduce heart rates, boost moods, lower blood pressure, increase nerve activity (which improves circulation), and many other beneficial effects. The motto at our house is hugs for health.


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Giving Him Wings

Read Brenna's most recent blog post, as she reflects on her son Dillon leaving the nest.

Congratulations to all 2012 Graduates and to their Mommas! You did it! May God bless you in the journey ahead.

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Congratulations to gardeners Judy O’Hara and Karen Runyan, winners of the ladybug and praying mantid egg packs from ARBICO!

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Sneaky Sensational Smoothie

This recipe is now a Stull mainstay, showing up almost daily at our house! You won’t believe how healthy and good it is.

1 C. packed fresh spinach

1 frozen banana

2 C. frozen mixed fruit (i.e. pineapples, strawberries, mangos, peaches)

1 C. blueberries

½ can of frozen pineapple concentrate

2 C. water

Ice to thicken

Put all ingredients but the ice in a blender and puree. (I peel bananas and freeze them in a baggie, the perfect answer to the overly ripe ones no one wants.) Add enough ice to thicken it, then serve it with a straw.

Keys: The spinach sneaks in some powerful vitamins.

The frozen banana makes it creamy.

The blueberries cover the green color of the spinach.

The pineapple concentrate (or fresh pineapple) sweetens it in a healthy way.

Your family will forget about wanting ice cream and other sugary sweets if you serve this to them regularly!

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