Moving with children: Stress or adventure?

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Saying that moving is stressful is an understatement. Even the ones that are for happy reasons. I’ve moved eighteen times, and eight of those were with my son. I cannot imagine what my mom went through moving with four girls and a house full of an assortment of pets.

You would think that moving would get easier as my son got older. There are only two things that make moving easier. The first thing that made moving easier was acknowledging that the things adults think aren’t a big deal still cause stress, loss, sadness, and apprehension for some children. Even if the move is for happy reasons some children are going to experience stress. The second thing that has made moving easier was accepting that no matter how organized I was something always got broken.

So how can moving be less stressful for everyone? The good news is there are things you can do to help!

Some children are more susceptible to experiencing stress during a move. If your child suffers from anxiety or needs routine and structure, you should prepare them ahead of time. If your child is an introvert or going through puberty, you should watch for signs of stress having a negative impact on them.

My personal experiences helped me write the chapters in Kaylee’s Adventures and Timothy’s Adventures that deal with moving. Both characters experience very different moves and have their stress and fears dealt with in different ways. Everyone deals with moving differently. But, there are benefits to moving with children, and that is children help adults get out and involved in your community right away!

Prepare for the move!
1) Get then ready
Break the news about the move a month in advance, unless you are selling a house.
Explain that the important things will be the same. (their belongings, the family time)
If it is possible, take them to see their new home, new playground, and new school.
2) Allow their angst
Moving stresses children. They will need your stability to help them process their emotions. Help them find healthy ways to both express them and voice them.
Some children may not have the vocabulary to express their emotions.
3) Walk the walk and talk the talk
Negativity rubs off, try to be positive.
If you are positive about the move, they will sense that everything is going to be okay.
4) Stick to your schedule
Keep family routines as much as possible. This provides stability for everyone.
New moves might not be the best time to introduce your toddler to a new bed!
5) Give them gumption
Give them things to make a choice on. This helps them feel like they have some control over their life.*This is really important!*
6) Expect regression
7) Get to know the neighbors
Provide an opportunity for them to meet new friends.
Talk about different ways they can make new friends. Share ideas and make it fun.
8) Read books where the characters move and deal with it in a healthy positive way!

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Inspiration for Characters

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The inspiration behind the characters in my books can come from anywhere and everywhere. I love people-watching and reading, but some of my characters have unique and special inspiration from my own family and friends, and those are the ones I’m going to share a bit about.

My first devotional, Kaylee’s Adventures, as I mentioned previously was written to help my son deal with some difficult situations. Given this fact, you would think that the main character would be a little boy, not a little girl. However, the daddy character is inspired by my son because this character is how I envisioned my son to be when he has children and how my son envisions me to be like when I am a nanny to his future children.

“Kaylee” is the little girl I miscarried, and many of her conversations with her daddy and her nanny are actual conversations that my son and I had. Kaylee’s cat “Sir Thomas”, was my son’s cat, Thomas O’Malley. He wasn’t lost in a dark corner in a barn like Sir Thomas, but we did find him all covered in oil under an old, abandoned car.

“Farmer Fred” is a mixture of my late grandpa John and a dear friend from church. The old farm dog was my grandfather’s old farm dog. Kaylee’s two friends who sleep over were my son’s best friend and his little sister who begged me to do a special chapter just for them. The chapter, “The Calm After The Storm” was birthed after a particularly destructive tornado ripped through our little community and surrounding areas.

My second devotional, Timothy’s Adventures was already outlined and had two chapter written when my cousin suggested changing the devotional to deal with bullying and racism: an inspired change that I am pleased with. Timothy, Benjamin, and Reed were inspired by my son and his two cousins. My son and nephews were close in age, and I loved having them around. The boys’ puppies are a combination of all the different dogs I’ve had over the years. However, Teddy and Melissa have a special place in my heart, given that they were my late father’s favorite dogs.

Which brings us to the characters in my work in progress book. The characters in it are all unique and special as I mentioned in my blog post on September 12th, 2018. The inspiration for this novel came from my desire to show people that things aren’t always what they first appear to be. This book continues to be an adventure to write, and if you dare to read it, you’ll be transported to magical lands and experience many adventures.

Bay to CR and home GGfuneral 223

Inspiration

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Sometimes adults do not realize the impact their words have on young minds.   I gave up on my dream and passion to write books due to comments made to me by an English teacher in high school. It took me 14 years to get up the courage to actually publish my first book, Kaylee’s Adventures. I still hesitate to tell people what I do when they ask me.

Originally, I wrote Kaylee’s Adventures to help my son deal with some issues he was struggling with. It was a joy to share each chapter with him when he came home from school. We would talk about Kaylee’s Adventures and the corresponding Bible stories and each night after dinner, we would pray for inspiration for the next chapter.

Sometimes the inspiration for a story comes from a conversation with loved ones making a suggestion. For example, Timothy’s Adventures came from a conversation with one of my cousins. Each of the individual chapters came from many different areas in my life, or the lives of dear friends and family who graciously shared their stories with me. Other times the inspiration comes from someone asking me to write a special story. I have two new outlines mulling around in my mind after my niece begged me to write one for her two beautiful little ones.

The inspiration for Kaylee’s Easter Treasure came from two completely different youth group nights. The first time we did an Easter Treasure event night, I had a youth group with approximately 63 youth in it, so we broke into smaller groups and visited stations that had been set up around the church. Each station had the scripture reading and a basket with the meditation items. The youth were encouraged to pick up the items and experience them: smell, look and feel them while they listened to the readings. This activity had a significant impact on many of the youth. I then found myself working in a different community with a small group in a one-room chapel. I still wanted them to experience the Easter treasure, so we sat in a circle, heard the scriptures and passed the objects around the circle. The youth then made the heart box and put an item from each reading in the box to take home with them. Many of the youth came out to our children’s worship, which included a Godly play element, so they were familiar with this type of concept.

My current work in progress is different for many reasons. This book is for much older children, grade 6 (12-year-olds), and it’s a fantasy novel rather than a devotional book. I love my research and often find myself stopping in the middle of a chapter to research more about an existing character or a new character. It’s full of all the traditional characters, dragons, fairies, ents, changelings, strong female characters, and yes, some good lessons for all to learn along the way. I knew I was on the right path when after reading my first four chapters; a beta-reader messaged me to tell me she already hated one of my characters, was annoyed with another one and was quickly falling in love with another one.

My idea for this novel comes from my desire to show people that things aren’t always what they first appear to be! You will find this out for yourself if you dare to read it…

Wisdom is precious, without it the world is dark.

Come, dear reader, discover the truth for yourself.

Join in the story if you dare to believe.

~ ὦ, the dragon flyer~

The Lesson of a Fruit Salad

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There is beauty in diversity and unity that needs to be celebrated and shared. To celebrate this belief, my church starts off youth group each new year with a fruit salad night. This quickly became many of my youth’s favorite night.

Everyone brought their favorite fruit to add to the fruit salad. We never planned it out or discussed who would bring what other than, “bring your favorite fruit.” As you can imagine over the years, we had some fascinating and interesting fruit in our salad!

We would sit in a circle, share a prayer for our new year and read 1Corinthian 12: 12-27 and discuss what it meant, how it related to our group, and what the connection was to our fruit salad. This was the perfect opportunity to talk about our individual gifts and how they contributed to making our youth group unique. This was a special time for many of the young people; many realized for the first time that there was more to them than what they believed from their school experiences.

Chapter ten of Timothy’s Adventures takes a spin on our youth group nights by having Timothy and his friends share both the fruit salad and the lesson in a park with a new friend, Naila. The character of Naila comes from a conversation with a dear friend of mine. It is our prayer that by sharing this chapter and discussion section with you, young people will learn to talk openly about our differences allowing us to speak up, stand up, and intervene when we see people bullying others for being different.

Being united in our diversity is a beautiful thing and should be celebrated! God loves diversity, just look at His gardens…

Benefits of reading to children

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We have 3000+ books in our family library and out of those, 500+ are on the children’s bookshelf. As you can see I am a strong advocate for literacy and early childhood reading. I believe and encourage all young parents to read often to their children and to start reading to them during infancy. Don’t wait till they understand what a book is! As a matter of fact, I have no problems saying that I read to my son while he was in my womb. This often shocks new parents.

There are many benefits to reading early to your children. The obvious one is that it helps with language acquisition and literacy skills. A quick Google search will provide you with a plethora of research demonstrating that early reading will stimulate parts of the brain that are responsible for understanding the meaning of language, literacy, and social skills.

Early reading demonstrates left to right reading, how to turn pages and phonic awareness which are all great exercises for the brain. Reading also helps to enhance a child’s concentration, develops their imagination and creativity, and has the potential to create a thirst for knowledge.

One of the things I loved about reading with my son is that it provided us with some great conversations. As we identified with different characters, we would often explore the emotions we were feeling around what the character was experiencing, and the various places, animals, or cultures that we were seeing and interacting with in the books.

Ultimately this was great bonding time for us! When he got too old for me to read to him, we still found ourselves curled up on opposite ends of the couch or snuggling side-by-side while reading our books. As a matter of fact, I have included a picture of him reading the finished draft of Timothy’s Adventures with me.

october to December 2017 513P.S.: The last time he was home from University he asked me to read my work in progress to him, proving that you are never too old to be read to!

Chapter 6 Parent/child discussion time questions

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Parent/child discussion time:

Chapter 6—Sewing One Friend at a Time

Being a friend can make all the difference in the world:

God blessed Jacob and his wife, Rachel, with Joseph when they were really old. Joseph was a talented, noble young man, whose character was one of courage, faith, commitment, and compassion.

Sara recognized that the other girls weren’t real friends and did not have godly characters like Timothy, Benjamin, and Reid demonstrated by sitting with Maria.

Jesus wants us to have godly friends who will help us to be better friends with others. When we make a difference in one friend’s life, we are making a difference in the world, one friend at a time.

Who did Teddy remind Nanny of?

Who went running and why?

When Nanny and Timothy came around the bushes, where were Teddy and Angus? Why were they standing there?

Why did the bullies leave?

Why was Maria crying?

What did Benjamin remind Timothy about?

Why was Sara afraid to say anything to the bullies?

What did she ask Maria?

Have you ever been afraid to speak up when someone was being bullied?

Read the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors together in Genesis 37:1–4.

Facing Bullying & Noticing the Signs

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Many of the situations that Timothy and his friends’ deal with in “Timothy’s Adventures” are real situations that came from my own personal experiences and the experiences of my son, my family ministry, and my friends that they shared with me. This means that children will be able to relate to the situations in “Timothy’s Adventures” and read about how Timothy and his group of friends dealt with them. It is my prayer that you will have an open discussion on how Timothy and his friends dealt with their situations and how your children can handle similar situations.

The adults in Timothy’s life were open and willing to talk to the children but most of all, they were active, they listened, helped strategize, encouraged the children, and they brainstormed creative ways to deal with bullies which in turn allowed for opportunities for new friendships to blossom.

Timothy and his friends learn the 5P’s for dealing with bullies from their Sunday school teacher after they talk to him. Being a trusted adult is a gift that should be treasured no matter how busy we are as parents or teachers. The 5P’s are a lesson I have both used at home with my son and within my family ministry. Chapter two of ‘Timothy’s Adventures” contains the devotional where Timothy and his friends learn the 5P’s.

Friendship is one of the best ways to deal with bullies; this means intervening before, during, and after an altercation. Timothy and his friends demonstrate this numerous times in “Timothy’s Adventures”. When someone is bullied, we need to teach our children to reach out to them. This may not only save that person’s life, but they may make a lifelong friend by doing it.

Not only should parents recognize the signs of bullying, but parents should be teaching their children to be aware and recognize the signs of bullying.

Watch for:

  • Someone withdrawing
  • Complaining of headaches, stomach aches, or being sick
  • Not wanting to go to school or do extracurricular activities
  • Missing rides or carpool rides
  • Lack of appetite or overeating
  • Missing personal items or having their stuff damaged
  • Grades changing drastically
  • Lashing out at home
  • Loss of sleep