Why pray?

Do you know what or how to pray for your children? Do you know why you should pray for your children?  Does it make a difference? us 6

When we pray for our children we are aligning our hearts with God’s heart. God loves all people but he has a special love for children.  Jesus demonstrated this when he scolded his own disciples for trying to prevent the children from approaching and “bothering” him.  He also taught that there would be serious punishment done to any who would cause harm to children.

God always hears us when we pray. He intervenes and acts on our behalf and for our greatest good, even if that is not how we interpret any given situation. When we pray for our children God does an amazing thing in our own hearts.  He softens us and adjusts our attitudes towards the one for which we are praying.  He will help us know how to meet the individual needs of each of our children. DDT

When my # 3 son was about three or four years old and his little sister was one or two he was struggling with not being the baby.  He would have serious meltdowns multiple times a day.  I could not change the situation and was at a loss as to how to deal with him.  I prayed and asked God why He gave me such a sensitive child when I was not a sensitive person?  My very next thought, which I believe was God, speaking to me was, “that is why you need a sensitive child.”  I replied, “How do I manage him?” The answer was, “hold him.”   Every day thereafter I made certain that I took an hour to hold him in my lap. We would talk and read books.  It worked.   He enjoyed sitting in my lap. It made a huge emotional difference for him.

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52. I think this verse about Jesus as a child gives us some great ideas and guidance for how to pray for our children.

As a child Jesus grew. Children are growing so pray for their growth.  Pray that they will be healthy and strong.  Pray they will not suffer sickness and affliction.  Pray for physical protection from accidents and from people who would do them harm.   Pray they would be emotionally well.  Pray for them intellectually, that they would learn and do well in their schooling. Pray they would be able to understand and apply new concepts, that they would become logical and reasonable.

Their spiritual needs (in favor with God) should be prayed for.  We want them to understand how much God loves them and learn to love Him.  Help them love God’s Word and apply it to their lives.  Pray they would learn to discern between evil and good and between good and best and that they will desire to choose the good and the best in life.  Pray they will be truthful and their faith would increase.

tsRelational needs are huge.  Pray they will get along with parents, siblings, and peers and learn to be respectful.  Pray they will choose their friends wisely and wisely choose their activities with their friends.

Pray for yourself to be a wise parent, to see beyond the obvious to truth.  You won’t be a perfect parent. No one is a perfect parent.   As your children grow and mature, your prayers for their needs will change, but you and they will always benefit from those prayers.

Dry pants?

Many parents approach potty training their toddler with fear and dread. It is a daunting task. Yet every parent tackles it with eventual success. Children do master this skill even though there are often some challenging hurdles along the way.

I potty trained our first four children.  When it was time to train our two year old bonus child, our other children  were 19, 16, 14 and 12 years old.  I was definitely out of practice.  I decided that I had more than done my fair share of this training.  Daddy was now working from home.  I thought it should be his turn to do this training and clearly stated my expectations. Months passed. Nothing happened.  I reread my faithful instruction book, Potty Training in Less Than a Day by Nathan Azrin, copyright 1974.  I had used this method with the others.  I could do it again.  Couldn’t I?

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This book is still available on Amazon. Did it ever work 100%?  No.  But it was a great method for the basics such as:

  1. Recognizing bodily urges
  2. Responding quickly to bodily urges
  3. Teaching the child to pull up and down their own pants
  4. Helping the child to desire dry pants
  5. Knowing others were proud of their new skill

We set aside a day to focus only on training without the distraction of anyone else being at home.  We used loose fitting extra thick underpants and wore no other clothing that day.  Extra drinking was encouraged with salty snacks so that there would be many opportunities for training.  At naptime the same thick underpants plus plastic pants were worn.  Today, a Pull-Up would be used.  I am not sure plastic pants worn over cloth diapers are still available.  The child typically never wore another diaper.

I prepared and picked a day when only child #5 and I would be home for multiple hours.  When Daddy did come home later that day, he expectantly inquired how the training was progressing.  I flatly stated, “I quit.”  He tried to tell me I couldn’t quit.  But, I had.  A few months later we successfully tried again.

Many children are not ready for potty training until closer to age three. Some struggle with night wetting for years thereafter.  Managing bowel movements is usually a second level of training.  Training requires much encouragement, patience and practice. Often extra incentives are helpful.  With every child we used a paper on the bathroom wall on which the toddler could place stickers for every successful potty visit.  Other rewards could be considered.  Clapping and cheering was frequent especially for bowel movements in the potty.   It is amazing what will excite a mom.

signIf you make your hand into a fist and slip your thumb between the pointer and middle fingers, you are forming the letter t in sign language.  Bend your elbow holding the letter t near your shoulder and gently shake it.  You have just signed toilet.  This little sign is easy to learn and very handy at silently communicating a need to children or children to you.  Even my husband and I use this sign with each other in public places.

We have 11 grandchildren and 8 of them have been potty trained. My wonderful daughters-in-law have and are tackling potty training and succeeding.   Wasn’t it just yesterday that I had my own babies in training pants?IMG_1952

Who needs sleep?

For over 50 years I have resented sleep. It is so demanding.  It interrupts my plans. It is such a waste of my time when there are so many things I would rather be doing.   Many children feel the same way. Many do not want to go to bed, ever.  I understand.

As a toddler my parents had difficulty getting me to sleep every night.  Long after my older sister was asleep and my parents wished that I was asleep I was still awake.  Of course, they were wiser than I was and knew that I needed my sleep and they required theirs.  Every night they eventually won the battle.

Certainly, children need their sleep at night.  Babies and toddlers also need naps.  Parents need their children to take naps.  It is beneficial for all parties.  Whining, rubbing eyes, and unexplainable emotional meltdowns are signs of a child necessitating a nap.   I am thankful all my children napped everyday through age three and a few beyond that.  It seems once they reached age four naps became the exception and not the routine.   Occasionally I would find a four or five year old in a heap asleep in some random location.IMG_1804

Young children who don’t require naps still profit from a quiet time.  For many years I had a scheduled quiet hour after lunch for myself and my children who were no longer napping.  It was during the nap time of younger siblings.  Each child could play quietly alone on their bed.  No talking and if I were doing this today I would add no electronics.  I also did something quiet in my room such as reading or handwork.  I did not allow myself to do housework.  This routine helped us all get along better.   Quiet time rarely existed in the summer because the children played outside whenever possible.

Because I don’t like to go to bed I also don’t like to wake up.  Most babies, toddlers and young children love to wake up Early.   In the spring as the days were lengthening in both directions and the clocks had not yet “sprung ahead” was always the roughest time for me.  Undoubtedly whenever I managed to wake up early thinking I would have a few minutes of quiet to myself the children in their sleep seemed to sense I was up and also awoke early.  Around age six I taught them to read a clock and gave them a clock with the instructions that they were not to get up until after 7 a.m.  Knowing how to tell time is a useful skill.   Check out the following creative clock use idea:      www.mamawise.org/sleeping/kids-waking-up-too-early

IMG_1812Being a night owl was very helpful when we had teenagers living at home.  It was also advantageous the twenty five years I was doing youth ministry.

A few years ago my friend, Don, gently scolded me when I explained to him that I felt sleep was a waste of my time.  He reminded me that sleep was God’s design for us.  Sleep rejuvenates us and keeps us healthy.   God gave us an example when he rested (you know he wasn’t tired) on the seventh day of creation week.  Later he gave us a command to also rest one day a week from our work.   I suspect this logical reasoning will not help any parent get their child to bed at night, but it has helped me gain a new perspective on sleep.  I really try to get to bed each night by midnight.   But not tonight.