Our Picks of the Week….

I am a resource junkie. I love finding good quality books, guides, apps, etc for our family.

I thought I would share a few things we are enjoying around here this week…

Camden’s pick of the week:

Books on audio. This week we are studying Europe so we are listening to this great account of Corrie Ten Boom. It is nice to press play and let the narrator do the talking.

Mia’s pick:

She wanted a magazine subscription for Christmas. She asked for a “girls only” “preteen” type magazine. I could not find one that I really liked. I wanted some quality content and fun articles too.  So we gave her “Between” by Vicki Courtney, It is has satisfied her desire for a magazine and my desire for good content. There are a few others in this series that we will happily buy her. (Just FYI – there are some “coming of age” topics covered so use discretion with your daughter and what you have talked about with her)

Mallie’s pick:

The book called “Ten Girls Who Changed The World”. I am so happy she loves this book!! As I tucked her in bed tonight she said “Mom, I want to be the eleventh girl to change the world”…you GO my little spunky monkey….I KNOW you can do it!!!!

Dax’s pick:

My parent’s bought the kids a Wii U for Christmas. Dax is in HEAVEN!! And I must say I am too b/c they also bought them the game Sribblenauts. Some of you may already know about this game, but this is my first time to hear about it. I think there is an app too??

So why am I so excited??? B/c the player has to SPELL words to make things appear….like they can type in c.a.r. and a little car appears in their Scirbblenauts world. After spending hours and days spelling every kind of vehicle under the sun for him and getting a wee bit frustrated and quite tired of spelling words out loud (I know it should be my dream….teaching my child to spell….but honestly it was wearing me out) then…magic happened…drum roll please…..he said yesterday he “would really like to work hard in school so he can learn to spell” !!!!!!! Blow me over…..PRAISE the Lord….a desire to work hard and learn!!!!! If “Scribblenauts” can inspire my Daxie to read and spell then it has my vote times a million!

My pick of the week:

I blew the piles of dust of an old Bible resource that we have had for 14yrs and never used. I found it when doing my annual January house purge.  It is Walk Thru the Bible’s Keyword Learning System. Basically, it is a funny riddle like coloring page for each book of the Bible that helps you remember the book’s name and theme. The kids L.O.V.E. it!!! The pictures are silly enough to make them laugh but clear enough they can figure out what they stand for. We started in the New Testament Monday and every day they ask if we can do more pages. In 3 days they can tell me the themes of Matthew through Romans. Sound like a winner to me. Thankful I broke ALL purging rules and kept it that long.

I would ask Mo his pick of the week, but he is the smart one in our marriage. He is asleep.

Hope one or more of these blesses or inspires you and/or your family!

Tona

Highs/Lows & HOPE

We have a game called “High/Low” that we play around the dinner table. Each person takes a turn telling a high point and a low point of their day. So I am going to “play” that game here tonight. But beware as usual I will have more than one high and low. After all I am a menopausal woman who’s feelings and moods change as much as my tween daughter’s do!

After my last post I was determined to snap out of my “fog”~ I was going to look for the HOPE and see the redemption in situations….AND …….I was going to do it WITHOUT the help of a Sonic Route 44 Diet Dr Pepper with vanilla, extra vanilla and very easy ice. I was going to snap out of it all on my very own =).

High #1 – Last night my hubby went to the airport to see 14 precious children coming to Memphis from Honduras to be hosted over Christmas break. They are children who live in a home run by a ministry called Point of Impact. Each one of them is being hosted by families who have gone to Honduras on mission trips and have fallen in love with these precious kiddos. The children are all technically “orphans” but are not adoptable. They are being cared for through the ministry and locals. The host families have opened their hearts and homes to love with reckless abandon!! There will be lots of tears shed when the kids leave to return home. They are going to be loved WELL over the next 3 weeks!

Here is a video of them getting off the airplane to meet their host families last night! PRECIOUS…. HOPE!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjQXxg1Bwx8&feature=youtu.be

High #2 – Our dear friends The Jacksons who I blogged about several posts back are in China getting their girls this week. They are such an inspiration to me. They have three grown bio kids….. and grand-babies…..and they have a 3yr old hunk of a chunk Zeke that was adopted domestically…… and they are in China bringing home their two precious “special” princesses!! They posted a video today that shows the girls “jabbering away” at each other in the hotel bed…. and I a have not been able to STOP smiling!!! The girls have been in cribs beside each other in the orphanage. They are heart sisters and God in HIS grace and goodness saw fit to call ONE family to BOTH of them and they are forever sisters. HOPE!! (I can’t upload the video on here b/c it is posted on their FB page and not their blog…so if we are FB friends you have to go watch it! I shared it on my page!)

High #3 – This year I am teaching the kids about different countries and cultures and as we cover an area we read a story of a missionary that have served there. Today we finished the story of Nate Saint. I have heard his story a million times, I have watched the movie on his life, I have even met his son and heard him share…but today as I finished the book I could not stop weeping. He LITERALLY laid down his life for others. He and several other men died…leaving widows and children behind. And God used their death to open up a door for  truth, forgiveness, and HOPE to enter into the lives of a tribe that had never heard. WOW. TOTALLY inspired.

High #4 – After going with their daddy to the airport last night to see The Point of Impact kids and finishing Nate Saint today, my girls CAN NOT stop talking about going on a mission trip…begging to go. They are “GETTING IT”…they are “OWNING IT”…they are “TASTING IT”…HOPE!

Low #1- #3 – I called CCAI to check on the “Terrific Trio” today and THERE ARE NO families taking the steps to adopt them. NONE. Many have emailed and asked about them. Many have researched their needs….but NONE have taken the first step. So I am sad. I am grieving. I am believing. I am HOPING against ALL HOPE (Romans 4:18) that they will be claimed as sons and daughters! Each one of them was born with Biliary Atresia and each one has had the Kasai procedure done and they are stable at the moment. There is a possibility they might need liver transplants in the future. (Just FYI – this is NOT the disease Dax was born with that caused him to need a liver transplant…he had other liver issues…but he actually had the Kasai procedure done to his transplanted liver over 4 years ago)

I want to introduce them to you…

First YOSSELL-

Image

http://www.hopefosterhome.com/news/2012/news_12_08.htm

Isn’t she just a TOTAL DOLL BABY??????? I want to kiss those sweet chunky cheeks and see those big brown eyes smile!!!!!

Then Quentin-

Image

This is a picture taken after his kasai and he looks SOOO good!!!!!!!!!!!

http://blog.showhope.org/2012/11/07/care-centers-spotlight-quentin/

He is also mentioned on the same page as Yosell’s link with a picture pre kasai.

Last but not least is Yanka-

Image

http://www.hopefosterhome.com/news/2012/news_12_11.htm

EAT EM UP sweet baby girl!!!!!!! She is currently fighting of a liver infection….please pray for God’s healing hand on her liver.

All three worth HOPING for. So I will continue to wait on the Lord and see what HE alone is doing.

Clinging to HOPE in HIM,

Tona

Been a little while….what is on my mind……

It has been a few weeks since my last post. Life is full and I have been T.I.R.E.D…. both physically and emotionally…I have a lot on my mind and sometimes the words escape me…..But I decided instead of going radio silent during the crazy times I would go head and lay it out there for the blog world to see a glimpse…

1. I have been thinking a lot about our culture…American, Christian, Southern, Church, Southern American Church….

~~~~~maybe it is left over shrapnel from the election and the division among my friends, maybe it is the fact the we just celebrated the 9th anniversary of our church which is a gospel centered racial diverse church that celebrates and embraces cultural differences right in the middle of one of the most racial strained cities in the USA…Memphis… the city known for murdering MLK….

~~~~~~maybe it is the fact that many “Christians” this time of year seem more worried about their parties and Christmas cards than making sure their neighbors and the fatherless children of their city have food on the table and the love of Christ in their hearts. I try not to get bitter and judgmental. I try to see all the church IS doing. All the ways we are fighting for the injustice and serving the oppressed. But I still see so far we have to go. Is there a place for a strong women with leadership gifts in the church? Is there are place for the marginalized HUMAN BEING that identifies as GLBT in the church? Is there a place for the young girl eat up with regret over past choices or the young man or women struggling with addiction. I just don’t know. Some churches…. yes…but I fear most churches….no. Are we really being the hands and feet of Jesus?  “Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3.18

I think the WORLD needs us to have a lot less church services, meetings, classes, and buildings….and a lot more dinners, open homes, life on life, and relationships……LESS DOING and MORE BEING.

2. I have my heart T.I.E.D. to 3 precious waiting babies in China that are all very sick with liver disease. They are on their way to being paper ready for someone to say “YES” to them. They are almost ready to be chosen….but who will? My hubby and I have prayed over them faithfully since we learned about them (I call them the terrific trio)…and we are pretty certain God is not calling it to be us…but WHO LORD? Who will you send? Who will you call? I know you do not need us. You own the cattle on every hill….you can RAISE UP YOUR PEOPLE who HEAR YOUR VOICE to say YES!!!!!! So I wait and pray and get NO sleep….and I think what if we had been too scared or comfortable to say YES to the four blessings I just tucked into bed??? Please don’t get me wrong….EVERY time God began to knit our hearts to another one of our children….we are TERRIFIED…..mostly of the unknown….but HE IS FAITHFUL …..he has sustained us through EVERY day of the last 12 years of parenting our blessings…and I am confident HE will continue to do so.

So I lay awake and pray and wonder who will be the ones that get to steward the blessings of the “Terrific Trio”?? Or will HE call one or more of them home to Him before they know the Love of a FOREVER family? He might…and maybe that is a tender mercy. They are sick….they will probably need liver transplants which they can not get in China….I know that road… it is hard and long. So I find myself asking myself and God tough questions……like… maybe it would be best if God just took them now???  Should these sick babies be adopted into the USA and then go through the physical pain of a transplant? Maybe God will choose to take them to glory instead? Maybe that would be better….I know hard thoughts right?…..BUT then my sweet DAX will walk into the room….so FULL OF LIFE…LIVING….HOPING….DREAMING….and I remember….yes, GLORY is what we ALL long for….when there will be NO more suffering, no more pain, no more illness….but LIVING is what He created us to do before eternity. God made us to LIVE~~~~ EVERY LIFE is worth it. EVERY ONE!!!

The Terrific Trio deserve someone to do all the paper work, raise all the money, travel around the world, bring them home, take them to doctors visits, stay up all night and rub their itchy backs from jaundice and yellowing skin, they deserve insurance companies to spend millions of $$ on their medical bills, they deserve a family who has found themselves experiencing a great loss to choose to donate their loved ones organs so they can have a chance to live….JUST LIKE MY DAXIDO……b/c they were made IN THE IMAGE OF A MIGHTY GOD ……and b/c every life matters….every single one!!!!!!!!

3. I have been grieving over the last 6 months. It comes in waves for me as a mom, but it never goes totally away.

What am I grieving?……..that most likely, based on the medical special needs of several of my kids, they will not “live the American dream”…..you know the dream most of us started playing into subconsciously the day we were born an American =). I have some unique and special kids. Kids made in the image of a creative God, living in a fallen and broken world, subjected to the pressure of Southern American Culture. And I FIGHT IT ALL the time.  Things many parents take for granted…I don’t. Like your son playing soccer or t ball. The dreams you play out of your children’s futures, them graduating high school and going off to college, or them getting married and starting their own families.  These are not dreams I can assume will come true for all my kids.

We are having to walk to the beat of a different drum over here at my house. Most days I embrace it with much joy and hope, but some days I grieve it. I am feeling it more intently as the two oldest kids are approaching their teen years which are marked by body changes, image issues, and for my oldest a new round of health problems.

I am constantly having to make sure my eyes are fixed on eternity. This is not our final home. As a Christian I do not have to “play by the rules” of the cultural expectations of this world. I do not have to value what the world values. I hold fast to what HE values and the promises He lays out in His word. Those are the things I want to run after. Those are the things I want to point my children’s heart towards and put my hope in.

I am certain there will be more grief ahead for my momma’s heart…but I am thankful I have a Jesus that weeps with my deep sadness. As Charles Spurgeon put it-  “A Jesus who never wept could never wipe away my tears.”

I have a million other thoughts but for now my bed is calling my name…. (and please excuse typos….it is 1 AM and I will not be proofing this before I hit “publish”)

Until next time,

Tona

Audiobook Ideas for Your Family

Audio stories are a huge part of the fabric of our family. Honestly, I am not sure what our days would be like without them. We listen to stories in the car, at bedtime, during chores, during quiet play time, and during school.

How and why do we use them??

-At night they help the kids calm and fall asleep

-In the car – they keep them from fussing about what music to pick =)

-For school – they allow me to expose the kids to GREAT fiction and content w/out me being tied to reading all the books aloud. We can listen while I do house work or prep school work.

-For Struggling learners/readers – their reading level does not determine the quality of material they can be exposed to

-It teaches great listening and imagination skills

-You can listen to stories at night as a family while playing games, building legos, or doing crafts.

Here are some of our favorites:

-Adventures in Odyssey stories can be purchased on CD or you can listen online at www.whitsend.org

-Story of the World – here is a link to the combo pack, but you can buy them individually   http://www.welltrainedmind.com/store/story-of-the-world-audio-book-combo-pack.html 

– Mystery of History – http://www.themysteryofhistory.info/audiobooks.shtml

These are both history curriculums but I purchase the audio components and let the kids listen at their leisure.  I do not always attempt to make it fit into the history time period we are studying at the time. In other words I don’t schedule out when they listen. I have several non home school friends who got these for their history loving kids to listen to at bed and in the car. GREAT investment.

http://www.ywampublishing.com/c-101-audiobooks.aspx  These are great missionary stories. A big hit at my house.

http://www.jonathanpark.com/ Creation based science adventures about a boy and his dad who is a creation scientist. My boys love them.

-The Lamplighter books are lovely stories and a few are on audio. – http://www.amazon.com/Charlies-Choice-Lamplighter-Theatre-Dramatic/dp/B0030EVZQQ/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349812324&sr=1-4&keywords=lamplighter+theatre+audio+cd

-Audiobook Bibles:

Jesus Storybook Bible-  http://www.amazon.com/The-Jesus-Storybook-Bible-Whispers/dp/B002R85KEE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1349812129&sr=8-2&keywords=the+storybook+bible+audio

The Action Bible-  http://www.amazon.com/Action-Bible-Sergio-Cariello/dp/1598597922/ref=sr_1_2_title_1_aud?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349812212&sr=1-2&keywords=adventure+bible+audio

-Most local libraries have audiobooks for kids. We check them out all the time. The kids enjoy all sorts…from silly nonsense to classics –  American Girl Doll stories, Magic Tree House, Boxcar Children, Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Judy Moody, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, etc

http://www.audible.com/ Is an online audiobook membership based site for downloading books

http://librivox.org/Provides free online audiobooks that are public domain

Happy listening!!

Tona

Tuesday’s Tip – Ideas for Wiggly Kids Part 3

To view parts 1 & 2 of this series you can go here:

https://tonaottinger.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/tuesdays-tip-ideas-for-wiggly-kids-part-1/

https://tonaottinger.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/tuesdays-tip-ideas-for-wiggly-kids-part-2/

For part 3 I will highlight a few free or low-cost ideas you can do to provide a sensory rich creative environment at home.

Searching the web is a great way to get new inspiration.  All my ideas are “borrowed” from others.

A great on hand resource is “The Out of Sync Child Has Fun” by Carol Kranowitz. I consider it a must have if your child has Sensory Integration Disorder, but it is also a great resource to have on hand for typical kids.

http://www.amazon.com/Out—Sync-Child-Revised-Edition/dp/0399532714/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349150221&sr=8-1&keywords=the+out+of+sync+child+has+fun

I have a Pinterest board full of ideas. If you are a Pinner you can check the ideas out here –

http://pinterest.com/tonaottinger/sensory-fun/

Shaving Cream Fun

All it takes is a nice day, swim suits, and some shaving cream. This is also a great activity to do in the bathtub or shower. Dollar stores carry shaving cream, so for a few $$ you have a fun sensory rich activity.

Box Creations

One of our kids FAVORITE things to do. We go box hunting behind furniture or electronic stores and load up on big boxes.

These boxes ended up being “space ships”, “cars” for a drive in movie in the living room, “tanks” for setting up an army fort, “beds” for playing pretend, and on and on and on.  The hardest part about this activity is convincing the kids it is time to get rid of the huge boxes!

Crash Pad

This idea came from “The Out of Sync Child Has Fun”. The “crash pad” is a great way to get some deep pressure input while doing a fun playful activity. At our house it usually ends up on as a “Daddy dog pile”, as shown above.  Gather up pillows, egg crates, bean bags, cushions and get to jumping.

Sidewalk Paint

This is a Pinterest idea. Corn starch, water, and food coloring. I ended up putting the kids in their swim suits and let them do finger painting. I was a bit worried the food coloring would stain their clothes.

Sensory Bin

Another great Pinterest idea. Rice colored with food coloring and then used in a sensory tub. I filled it with items from the Dollar Store. It lasted a few weeks and before I knew it the kids caught frogs and started using it as a frog house…needless to say it was emptied quickly there after.

Water Beads for Sensory Bin

You can buy these from Amazon. They are tiny when they arrive. After you soak them in water they expand making a great filler for a sensory tub. The boys played with dump trucks and bulldozer in them. The girls filled mason jars with them and “decorated” their room.

There are MILLIONs of  sensory tub ideas online. You can one around just about any theme, holiday, or interest. You can use beans, corn meal, rocks, pebbles, or rice as a base and add themed ideas to play in.

This website lists sensory ideas by the type of sensory need you want to meet. IE – tactile, sight, sound, proprioceptive, etc

http://www.therapystreetforkids.com/Sensory2.html

Happy Wiggling,

Tona

Saying “Yes” Means Saying “No”

Saying “Yes” Means Saying “No”

This is not a new or novel idea. Right? It is common sense. We can’t do it all. We can’t be everywhere at once. We can’t be all things to all people. We can’t keep up with a million friends. We just can’t.

This truth is very painful for my over achiever, high expectation, I want to be perfect, people pleasing personality. I LOVE to say “yes” and “yes” and “yes.” Honestly, because when I can say “yes”, then I look good, seem helpful, and can be highly esteemed…gross right??? Yep. Sick really. Trying to say yes to everything is toxic to my soul. I suffer. My family suffers. My closest friends suffer. My walk with the Lord suffers. It is not a good place for me.

So I am learning (and will continue to do so, until I am standing on the other side of eternity) when I say “YES” I need to remember it means I am going to have to say “NO” too. Every “yes” in my life will be followed by a string of “nos” either implicit or explicit, but “nos” nonetheless. So I eat my “humble, I am not perfect, I am not super woman, I may disappoint others, I may be misunderstood” pie and say “no.”

This reality has hit the closest to home in my life when it comes to my kids and family.

Let’s face it…we have a larger than average size family (this seems funny considering how many mega families there are in the adoption world)…our kids have medical needs and special learning and emotional needs…we use different parenting strategies to connect with them than many other families…we are loud and a little crazy =)…we look different…we don’t fit mainstream American pace of living (no sports, no public schooling, etc)… In order to say YES to my kids…I have to say NO to A LOT.

I am not hopping on a “I am better or more spiritual than you” pedestal…so please don’t think that… I DON’T WANT/DESERVE to be there…so please don’t hear that in my tone.  The honest reality is I have to hold off jealousy and envy. I have to beg God to make me content where I am. I ask for His joy to fill me in the midst of the mundane of being at home all day. I have friends who know my honest heart feelings and pray for and encourage me without condemnation or a string of “I told you so” or “You choose this life” stuff that shuts me down and keeps me from being real.

I am simply saying that I have to say no because I chose to say yes. No to Friday night football games, no to time with my girl friends while their kids are at school, no to some friendships that do not “get it” and judge more than love, no to Bible studies outside the home, no to a perfectly clean house, no to the fit body I would love to have if I could exercise and sleep more, no to some material things in order to pay for therapy and medical bills.  You get the idea?

I chose to say YES, so I beg Him to help me be content and joyful in saying NO. God called me to THIS life. He will sustain me. He will provide for me. He will give me hope, joy, peace, and SATISFY my soul…all the while saying “no” to the things He has called me to lay down so that I can say “YES” to the blessings HE has.  His ways are NOT our ways. His economy is NOT our economy. He will truly give us life abundantly when we open our hearts and hands to HIM. There are quiet, beautiful, unexpected, unimaginable blessings in “yeses.”

He blesses our socks off when we listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading and say a big ole YES!!!!  But if your like me, the hard part is not throwing a pity party and pouting when I hear a “no”!

Tuesday’s Tip – Ideas for Wiggly Kids Part 2

Last week I posted some of our favorite sensory things for our wiggly kids.

Thought I would continue with that and post some more.

Next week I will focus on a few creative and cheaper =) ideas!

Weighted Blanket- one of the all around BEST items you can have to help a kiddo regulate and sleep better!!!

My mom (who is amazing!!!) made these for the kids one year for Christmas. You can google “weighted blanket” and find all kinds of places that sell them. They are pricy but a great investment!!!! You have to buy a certain weight based on the weight of your child so shop carefully.

Scooter Board

Yes that is kept inside my house.   Yes it drives me crazy.   Yes it is effective in getting out the “stir crazy wiggles”.

In fact as I am typing this, Dax just appeared in the kitchen on the board wearing his underwear and slippers…love that kid!!!

Mini trampoline

A great way to give sensory input without the danger of an out-door tampoline…which we can not have b/c of health issues.

Body Pillow

The kids LOVE these. They are great to snuggle with and they provide all kinds of comfort and fuzzy sensory input. A favorite for reading time or watching TV. They are carried all over the house. You can also use them to play the “oreo or hotdog game”- put a kiddo in the middle of two and apply some gentle deep pressure while pretending they are a cookie, hotdog, or sandwich and you are applying toppings…IE chocolate syrup, mustard etc.  Provides lots of giggles and helps calm and regulate.

These monsters are however banned from pillow fights….for obvious reasons =).

More ideas next Tuesday, until then….

Blessings and Happy Wiggling!

Tuesday’s Tip – Ideas for Wiggly Kids Part 1

Do you have wiggly kids?? I do =). Here are a few of my favorite things to help get the wiggles out, use up excess energy, and provide sensory input.

The Dizzy Disc:

It is like a glorified sit and spin…but way better =). The kids LOVE it…even the big ones.

The Balance Disc:

GREAT for helping them stay focused during book work or long periods of sitting. It allows them to wiggle in their seat while providing sensory input. They can also stand on it to practice coordination and balance.

Hopping Ball:

Good for balance, deep pressure sensory input, and it is just plain fun!!!

BodySox:

The kids love playing in these. They don’t even realize the bag is providing all kinds of good sensory input and helping them regulate!

I give them kids “sensory breaks” a few times a day during our homeschool schedule. It is such a vital part of our day! It gives them more focus and helps them stay on task. It took this task oriented mama a LONG time to realize that play and fun actually help get those items on my task list completed!!!

I will post more sensory ideas and wiggle tips next week.

Until then…

Tona

Workbox System Modified to Fit Our Schoolroom

I have been homeschooling my kiddos since…well forever =). Camden is 12 and he has been home with me since the day he came home from South Korea at 10 months old.  Every year I make changes to our schedule and attempt to get more organized…it is just part of the rhythm of life and growing kids.

Several years ago I found an organizational system called “Workboxes” which was created by Sue Patrick – http://www.workboxsystem.com/index.html

I used the system for about a year- exactly the way she lays it out in her book. At that time it was great for us.  My  kids were younger…maybe 2nd, 1st, PreK and a toddler. We had plenty of room in our old schoolroom for the suggested shoe box racks and the visual concept of “finished” and “unfinished” work was GREAT for them!!!

The last few years we did a number of co-ops and ended up doing lots of “car school” and “school on the go” so I gave up on Workboxes.  Well this year we are AT HOME …….F.I.V.E. glorious days a week!!!!!

We all needed more structure and consistency so with that I have re-implemented the system with some modifications. I began to research and google workboxes and found TONS of great ideas and suggestion on the different ways others had made the idea work in their specific spaces and for their kids. I would encourage you to look on youtube and blogs for other great ideas and modifications.

Here is a video of how I modified it for my kiddos as well as a few of the benefits I have seen in using this system.

I found the workbox tags and numbers at:

http://www.mamajennblogs.com/2010/08/workbox-tags.html

http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/workbox-printables

Let me know if you have questions!

Tona

“Time In” and our “Time In Bin”

One of our family “Connecting while Correcting” strategies is using a time in/think it over/calm down chair.  After sharing a few pictures of a bin of goodies we keep by our chair on Facebook a few months back, I had several mommas ask me to tell them more about this strategy, how we use it, and what is in our bin.

A bit of background is necessary. Mark and I are total believers in Empowered to Connect (ETC) (www.empoweredtoconnect.org). ETC is based on the Trust Based Intervention Model (TBRI) laid out by Dr. Karyn Purvis (http://www.child.tcu.edu/training.asp).

We have seen and experienced great healing and hope in our family and witnessed it in countless other families that use the principles of ETC. We have been parent trainers with ETC for over a year and most of what I share here is taught in the Empowered to Connect Parent Training Course and the ETC conferences (http://empoweredtoconnect.org/conferences/)

…IE these are not my great ideas =).

Rather than typing out the strategies, I am going to include video clips to explain the concepts. If you don’t watch the clips you will not be able to follow my train of thought……

The heart of ETC is that connection is the goal with our kids. Therefore all correction is an opportunity for connection and building trust: http://empoweredtoconnect.org/keeping-connection-as-the-goal/

There is an “IDEAL” responses for the behavior exhibited by our kids. Watch this clip to understand more: http://empoweredtoconnect.org/the-ideal-response-for-parents/

After we understand the idea of an IDEAL response then we move into deciding what the “level of response” should be when we are “connecting while correcting”

The first strategy in responding to behavior is to be playful.  We can playfully redirect a child for mild misbehaviors without ever “breaking stride” as Dr. Purvis states in this clip: http://empoweredtoconnect.org/give-your-child-playfulness/

If a playful “try that again buddy” as Dr. Purvis says, does not get things rolling again then you can move into giving your child a choice. It would go something like this “Hey buddy you have a choice, you can put your shoes on or I can help you put them on.” or “I understand you do not want to, but it is time to do your homework you. You have a choice you can do it at the table or in your room.” or “I know you want to stay in your PJs but we need to get dressed for the day. You have a choice, you are welcome to wear this dress or these pants”…you get the idea…you are basically giving your child a “voice” and opening up the chance for them to cooperate with you and what needs to be done but give them little freedom of choice as they do what is being asked. It is very important to NOT use a consequence for one of the choices you give your kiddo….as tempting as that is =)….that is not the heart of this strategy. So you should not say, “You have a choice you can put your shoes on or you __________(fill in with a consequence or loss of privilege)”. Many of us cringe at the idea of shared power but it is vital to our kids!!! http://empoweredtoconnect.org/sharing-power-with-your-child/

If you and your kiddo are still not moving forward together then you can now go to a “time in”.

PLEASE do not use this as a TYPICAL TIME OUT!! That is not how this strategy is used!!! http://empoweredtoconnect.org/using-time-in-instead-of-time-out/ . The “time in/think it over/calm down” chair is not used as a place to punish our kids. It is used as a safe place to regulate, calm down, gather their thoughts, consider what they did, and prepare to repair the relationship. There are no timers used for how long they have to sit, because it is not a punishment.  When they are ready then the time is over. When we are able, we sit with our children while they calm down. If we can not sit with them we stay very close by and come to them calmly and compassionately when they are ready to repair. Next to the chair we have a “calming bin” full of a number of items

We included note cards for them to write or draw what they are feeling if they are not able to say it. There are sensory toys, calming toys and a book of verses and encouragement. We were careful not to put anything breakable inside in case it went flying across the room….just keeping it real =). It is safe, playful, refocusing, and calming for the kids and even allows us to fidget and play while we are waiting for them, which very often takes the heightened stress level immediately down. Frankly, there are many times the kids go to “time in” because daddy or I need a minute to take a deep breath before we are calm and ready to be available emotionally to help or kids. This “safe” calm down place has been a huge blessing to our family!!!!

I also want to add…. that after the repair has been made and you and your child are connected again then we do a “re-do”. This takes the child back to the place where the initial misbehavior happened and lets them “try it again” and do it successfully. This gives them not only the opportunity to relearn the correct and expected behavior but it gives us a chance to praise them for making a good choice, using their words to communicate needs, or responding respectfully. It is a beautiful and sweet time….even if is does take a lot of work and time to get to this point. It is WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!

Have more questions??? Feel free to ask =) or spend more time watching clips and reading great resources at www.empoweredtoconnect.org.

Blessings

Tona