Tips For Teaching Your Child With Special Needs About God at Home

Tips For Teaching Your Child With Special Needs About God at Home - Parenting Like HannahFull confession here. I have not parented a child with special needs. In my training as an educator and over the years, I have worked with quite a few children with a variety of special needs from mild to profound. The other day, I was talking with a friend of mine who is an expert in special needs education. She has helped children with profound special needs accomplish amazing things for years.

We were talking about an opportunity I have in a few months to work with orphans who have special needs at an orphanage in another country. As we talked about the best way to share the Bible with these young men who have some very serious mental and physical disabilities, I noticed the things we were discussing could also be done by a parent at home.

Please don’t take this as a lecture meant to induce some sort of guilt. I know you are probably overwhelmed with the care, therapies and education of your child. The idea of adding something else may be too much and I believe God knows your situation and your heart.

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Fun Art Activity To Help Kids See God

Fun Art Activity To Help Kids See God - Parenting Like HannahWhen talking with young adults who have rejected God at some point, there are two common themes. The first is usually that they did not see God making a positive difference in the lives of their parents. The other is that they cannot see God working in the world today, attributing everything that happens to luck or fate.

There is a fun family devotional you can do with your kids to help them begin to understand how God works in the world today. Read or tell your children two stories in the life of the prophet Elijah. The first is the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal found in I Kings 18:16-45. The second is the story of God appearing to Elijah found in I Kings 19:9-18.

Talk about the amazing “big” way in which God showed himself in the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Then discuss the “small”, gentle way God appeared to Elijah in the second story. Explain that sometimes people only see God when He does “big”, miraculous things. Tell them how God is sometimes even more amazing in the “small”, quiet things He does for us.

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Fun Activity to Teach Preschoolers About Empathy

Fun Activity to Teach Preschoolers About Empathy - Parenting Like HannahEver watched two toddlers play “together”? If you have, you have probably seen a child come and basically grab another child’s toy without asking. What happens next is rarely pretty! The child who took the toy needs to learn more about sharing, but that same child also lacked empathy.

We don’t realize it, but empathy is a skill that must be taught. Your children will eventually pick up some empathy training from watching you (If you are consistently empathetic.). To raise children who are the Christians that defend and serve others while effectively sharing their faith though, they need to be empathetic more than the average person. That amount of skill requires some intentional teaching.

There is a fun game you can play with young children to help develop these skills. All you need are things you may already have around the house. First print or draw simple faces expressing emotions. For young children, you want to stick to the basics – happy, sad, mad, excited, scared, loved and possibly confused.

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Christian Kids and Rewards

Christian Kids and Rewards - Parenting Like HannahWhen I teach kids, I will sometimes challenge them to accomplish something or allow them to compete in some way. Inevitably, one of them will ask “What do we get?”. Parents, schools, even extra-curricular activities give awards for anything and everything. Some even reward children for doing the bare minimum of what used to be considered common good behavior.

While this is not an article on entitlement, too many rewards can create children who expect to be rewarded for everything they do. It can create laziness, because why bother to do your best if you are rewarded for any minimal effort at all. It can create pride and destroy realistic expectations of what one can achieve with one’s current skills and knowledge. They can even create an attitude that doing what is right or expected will only be done when the reward is present – remove the reward and the behavior disappears.

In short, too many rewards cause more problems than they solve. Yet, rewards persist in our society. There are actually some good things that can come from using limited rewards. In fact, whether you realize it or not, the Bible addresses the subject of rewards – especially in the New Testament. What can the Bible teach Christian parents about using rewards in healthy ways?

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Are Your Expectations for Your Kids Too High?

Are Your Expectations for Your Kids Too High? - Parenting Like HannahA few weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on God’s call for perfection and how that should change us and how we raise our children.. There is another side to the story I also mentioned briefly in that post. Parents can not only have unhealthy expectations for their children, but those expectations can also be unrealistic.

I was interested to read of a new book Love That Boy by Ron Fournier. What would a secular journalist have to say on the subject of parental expectations? Would any of it apply to Christian parents? As it turns out, Fournier does have quite a bit of useful information to share.

Woven throughout the book is the story of Fournier and two of his children. Primarily, he focuses on his relationship with his son who is on the autism spectrum. Although he mentions a third child briefly, Fournier also shares quite a bit about his eldest daughter. In spite of her academic and other successes, she struggled with depression and even became suicidal at one point. Obviously, the author had a lot to process regarding his kids and his expectations of them.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)