Pray: Praying allows us to be the hands and feet of Christ to our children. It is the most beneficial action we can do in any situation. Praying also gives us a chance to respond in a manner that gives our children something to model.
I often pray prayers like these:
"Father God, help me to be Jesus to my kids right now. Show me how to give them grace because I want to raise children full of integrity; before I open my mouth, help me be ready to show them your heart."
"Father, what is it that I can teach my children in this moment? Is it kindness to others and patience? Lord, show me how I can give them these examples."
Granted, these steps might seem long and drawn out, but all can be completed within minutes to help you form a game plan while navigating the waters of behavior, holidays, and endless errands. The next time world war three breaks out in the minivan, remember to S.T.O.P.
Some friends and I were discussing the terrible threes when my friend Karla advised us of what she has been doing with her kids. I loved the idea so much, I've been doing it with my own. I'm less stressed and much calmer, and so are my kids.
The next time your child is driving you bonkers, stop and try to identify what her issue is. Instead of exasperating your kiddo (see Ephesians 6:4) and making her feel as if her needs are not important, ask yourself: Is she Hungry, Agitated, Lonely, or Tired?
These are the basic needs our little ones have. When we identify and address the issues plaguing them, they will turn back into our sweet little angels that we know and love. Plus, they'll add life to our holiday season. Addressing their needs allows us to become better parents and accomplish what we need to get done. It's sometimes difficult to gauge what is plaguing our children, so don't be afraid to ask them questions like these:
"Tori, I'll bet you're feeling a little lonely because I haven't spent any time with you today. What would you like to do with Mommy after we get done shopping?"
"Elijah, you seem cranky. Do you need something to snack on? It's close to dinnertime and we aren't finished with our list; what would you like?"
As Thanksgiving and Christmas come at us full-speed, we need to be mindful of our limits and our kids' limits. So when you're attempting just one more trip to the mall to find that perfect gift or you're attempting to visit loved ones, remember to S.T.O.P. and H.A.L.T.
Heather is a recovering mom to three highly active kids, and she's been blessed to have two who are strong-willed. When she isn't playing referee, she can be found encouraging moms all over the state of Nebraska at women's retreats with her book, Mama Needs a Time Out. You can get to know Heather at HeatherRiggleman.com.