• Val Harrison

Podcast & Blog: GROWING Our Kids, Even in a Pandemic. Plus, "Mom, What's Your Harriet Road?"

Updated: Mar 31



Click here to listen to this week's podcast: ScreenTime, Chores, Habits of Blessing - Help our kids GROW, even in a Pandemic. Plus, Mom, What's Your Harriet Road? Episode 29






Two of my daughters join me on the podcast this week! Emma helps me with a SIMPLE PLAN for kids to keep themselves off of screen time until they’ve GROWN in some main areas of life EACH DAY! Let a CHECKLIST be their guide to being eligible for SCREEN TIME for the day instead of you feeling like you have to nag and harp and grouch at them to get them to do something productive with their days during this crisis-schooling or whatever it is we're doing right now!   The beauty of a CHECKLIST – the kids follow it instead of mom needing to repeatedly ask them to do things or for mom to try to think of what she wishes the kids would do to be productive before they get on their screens.

Make a checklist for kids to complete each day BEFORE they get screentime!  That's what you'll learn about on this week's podcast episode.



Do you ever feel like there's an invisible magnetic pull from all the screens and devices in your home straight to your child? When crisis seems to have hit home, resisting our child's constant clamor for more screen time is especially difficult when normal life has been interrupted and parents are scrambling to figure out how to proceed. This is one of the dilemmas we tackle on this week's podcast. I am joined by my two youngest daughters to bring you a checklist for cutting that magnetic pull called GROWTIME before ScreenTime. If you find yourself with your children at home in a season of crisis, they may not be at a place to handle full-time schooling, but you can at least different-school. And this is where the checklist can be so beneficial.




Mom, do you find journaling to be therapeutic? Most adults who journal feel that it reduces stress, and increases their self-awareness for decision-making, and if you journal your prayers, this is a fantastic way to keep a record of the many answers to pray that God will bring over time. All of these benefits await our children as well, when they develop the habit of journaling. This practice also increases their creative writing skills and gives them some penmanship practice, if they need to improve their writing speed. It's a great activity to include on their daily GROWTIME before ScreenTime Checklist.

Included in my daughter's GROWTIME before ScreenTime Checklist, is filling out her Blessings Calendar. Each day she is supposed to do something unexpectedly kind for one person who lives with us and one person who does not live with us each day and record what she did on her Blessings Calendar. We actually started this right before the current pandemic that has brought each family into isolation. There are still lots of ways to bless someone we don't live with - by texting, calling, sending a card, praying for them, meeting a need... A Blessings Calendar can help your child develop a HABIT of looking for ways to to be a blessing in others' lives.


Reading alone, no matter our child's age, is a valuable part of each day. Kids need some focused mental growth that comes through the imagination that is required to read a book. If your child is too young to read words, give them books to look at the pictures - to study the details, see the progression of events, recognize the similarities and contrasts from one page to the next. Reading alone is a wonderful time to quiet the soul.

Of course, you don't want to overlook the incredible value of reading aloud to your child as well. It is bonding as you take adventures together while cuddled on the couch or lying in the grass or swinging on the porchswing. No matter the setting, take time for your child to read alone and reading together. It's one of the items on our GROWTIME before ScreenTime Checklist.



It is no surprise to you, I'm sure, that focusing on what we're THANKFUL for improves our mood by getting our mind set on good things and off of "poor me and my circumstances." Help your entire family to focus on God's provision to us during difficulty! This is a small poster that we are using for each person to list something they're thankful for every day. I will say, we are going to recreate this on a WHITEBOARD so that it is easy to reuse the same board over and over again. A Grateful Board is another item from the GROWTIME before ScreenTime Checklist! To learn more about it, listen to the podcast here.





Whether your child is ready for Calculus or counting to ten, keeping our kids' sharp in their mathematical knowledge and development is a top academic necessity. If you don't have a math curriculum available to use in crisis, there are several resources that are completely free to utilize. Khan Academy is one of them. They offer math and other skill development as well and it is all completely free. On the podcast this week, I share a little more about that. If you are a homeschooling family and you're looking for a math curriculum recommendation, I like Horizons or Abeka for the younger years. Then I continue to like Abeka throughout high school, especially Abeka Academy with the teacher/classroom videos. I also have utilized Teaching Textbooks quite a bit. If you use Teaching Textbooks, I do recommend that you also provide some extra resources for memorizing their math facts. One fantastic website for memorizing math facts and LOTS more, is my all-time favorite learning aid called www.CrossSeven.org. This website is to a paid subscription service that offers memoring songs in all the main academic categories. It is a fantastic subscription that is well worth for elementary- middle school years.



What's a Discovery Notebook? Well, you'll have to listen to the podcast to learn more about this one. It is also one of the activities from the GROWTIME before ScreenTime Checklist. This activity adds some life to your evening mealtime as well.


This podcast episode also contains the conclusion to Living a Lifestyle of Feasting with the Father.  When I ask listeners, "Mom, What’s Your Harriet Road?" I'm wondering what are the life circumstances on your marathon-mom-path? Whatever those circumstances may be, God is right there on your path. He has set up a banquet table for you with ALL THAT YOU NEED for that day. He longs for you to come and fellowship with Him and allow Him to lavishly provide what matters most. In this conclusion to the our series of Living a Lifestyle of Feasting with the Father, we learn about the life of Harriet Tubman and are inspired by her resilient faith.


Resources

*www.CrossSeven.orgis my favorite educational resource to recommend.  It's a subscription website of academic memory song videos in all the key area of learning, plus quizzes and lots of other helps besides the memory songs.  I was not paid in any way by Cross Seven.  I just love how much my children have learned in the many years that we've used this resource. *Even with a checklist, you should still have BOUNDARIES for your child’s screen time: I've got an example for you on my website.  It's a Family Internet Agreement that is ready to go with some blanks for you to fill in and then you and your child signs it.  Then you can keep some accountability with your child each week or so.  Our agreement includes -WHERE in the house they can have devices  -WHEN the internet is on  -WHAT is allowed on the screen and what to do if something comes on the screen that isn't good  -WHY they want to learn to filter content...Find all of these on my Family Internet Agreement


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