A Tool To Help Kids Process Their Emotions

help kids process their emotions with this journal

I’d like to welcome Kristin Vanderlip today to talk about how to help kids process their emotions. For years, I defined my life by its struggles—and I let them define me. I watched as the color drained right out of my life. My life with Jesus didn’t feel full or abundant. Instead, I felt empty and weary. This was not how it was supposed to be. So I leaned in and dug in and began to open myself up to deep soul work with Jesus, therapists, and mentors. Out of this work came my first journal,  Life Worth Living: A Daily Growth Journal, the pages of which both absorbed and acted as catalyst for growth and transformation. As I learned and grew and wrote in my Life Worth Living journal, my kids (then ages 4 and 7) drew near and grew curious.  What’s that mommy? What are you doing mommy? What are you writing … Read More

Why I’m not going trick-or-treating this Halloween

halloween pumpkins

The black and yellow wings tugged at my shoulders and the tights scratched my legs. Little bits of sugar clung to my chin as I peered behind my grandma passing out candy to the neighbor kids. We were passing out candy and in my preschool mind, Costumes + Candy = Best.Day.Ever. But except for the one time I helped my grandparents pass out candy, my family didn’t really *do* Halloween. Most years we avoided the issue altogether by hiding in the basement, and other years we had a fun family night at the indoor amusement park. One year we attended a “harvest festival” put on by a local church and I discovered that Pentecostals are a lot of fun. True story. As a teenager my friends weren’t terribly interested in trick-or-treating (although we were known to go Christmas carolling in mid-summer…) and as a young adult I helped out with my … Read More

A simple way to help kids pray (+ free printables!)

Teach your child to pray with a prayer pattern

Teach your kids to pray using this time-tested routine, and free prayer printables for kids! Teaching our children to communicate with God is foundational to helping them develop an actual relationship with him. But prayer is a mystery, isn’t it? As adults, it takes years to learn how to talk to God, and it’s even harder as parents to know how to help kids pray. Have you ever found yourself doing one of these less-than-helpful types of prayer with your kids? You repeat the same prayer ad nauseum. You know the kind – “…if I die before I wake, I pray dear Lord my soul to take.” Nothing to put our children into a sound sleep like talk of death, right? 🙂 You pray a sermon. I’m guilty of this one a lot!! “Dear Lord we know that you want us to obey you in everything and I ask that you would … Read More

How To Help Your Child With Weather Anxiety Feel Secure

boy with weather anxiety in a storm

Help your child with weather anxiety move past his fears using this technique. My son and I were picking up party decorations when the lights flickered and thunder cracked overhead. As the checkout clerk swiped our packs of balloons and streamers, she said, “I heard there’s a tornado warning.” His little hand clutched my arm. I glanced down to see a quivering lip and huge grey eyes. Being in a tornado is one of his worst fears, and this woman had just flipped the “on” switch on his panic. I paid for our order while he peppered me with questions. “What if we don’t make it home?” “What if we get stuck here?” “What if our house flies away?” I wasn’t sure how to answer his questions, so we stood in front of the doors, watching the wind carry garbage across the parking lot and rain pound into our vehicle. WHY … Read More

4 Uplifting Phrases for Kids Dealing With Loss

Child dealing with loss

My newest release is called Quinn Says Goodbye, a children’s story about the presence of God when life is hard or confusing. It seems like a deep topic for a children’s book, doesn’t it? But children have to deal with loss and hard things all the time. Did any of the following affect you as a child? Hospitalization Changing schools A friend moving away The loss of a favorite toy Left a favorite teacher behind when moving to the next grade The death of a grandparent, relative, or family friend Adoption / Fostering Moving Loss of a pet See what I mean? Loss affects nearly all children in some form or another. The way we help them work through it as a child has a HUGE impact on how they deal with loss as an adult. Nothing hurts more than seeing your child in pain. But as much as we … Read More

How to Help Children Embrace the Mystery in Christianity

enthusiast child embracing the mystery in Christianity

Of the 9 worship styles for kids, a child that leans toward the Enthusiast style is one who loves the mystery in Christianity. Learn how to help your enthusiast child connect with God through mystery and movement without losing their head-faith in the process. What is an enthusiast? Some people connect with God best when their emotions are high. This may occur during a worship service, an intense time of prayer, or when waking up from a vivid dream. Many discount this time as simply an emotional high, but from personal experience, I know that many of these encounters with God are real. It takes discernment to take those experiences and use them as building blocks of deep faith, but emotional experiences can contribute towards rootedness.  A few years ago I had a friend whose daughter had visions and dreams from God, is highly creative, and worships enthusiastically. The enthusiast … Read More

The 8 Best Books About Heaven for Kids

books about heaven for kids

I was a children’s ministry director for nearly 12 years and was asked several times to recommend books about heaven for kids who had experienced loss. What follows are the ones I recommended back then, plus a few newer books. Also, if your child is directly dealing with the death of someone, this free resource has been very helpful to a lot of Christian parents! 1. Someday Heaven Larry Libby This is a book I remember vividly from my own childhood. The paintings showed me that being in heaven would be a joy, and that it was nothing to be afraid of. This is always my top recommendation as it’s also very well-researched and Biblical. I don’t remember reading all the text as a child, because it was quite long, but it provides some great talking points for parents. Check it out on Amazon. 2. Someone I Love Died Christine … Read More

How to Explain Death to a Child Biblically

how to explain death to a child, biblically

Learn how to explain death to a child Biblically through Scripture and simple phrases children can understand. This article will equip you to know what to say when your child has to deal with the hardest thing in life: death. His face crumpled behind his boy-man hands.  “I miss Great-Grandpa,” my 10 year old said, as tears streamed down his face.  “Being with him were some of my favourite times.” My son was only 5 years old when my Grandpa died, but the heartache was coming to the forefront suddenly, which is what grief does. It rears its head when we least expect it and are unprepared for the crush of emotions. I’ve experienced this myself on many occasions. Most recently, I was utterly shocked when I discovered a CD that I thought was a mix created by my sister. It turned out to be a compilation of songs that … Read More

How to help a child deal with pet death

how to help a child deal with pet death

5 tips that will help you learn how to help a child deal with pet death, plus one helpful children’s book on pet loss. My heart sank when I walked into the room and saw the fish floating at the top of the tank.  After rushing the tank out of the room, I gently shook my boys awake.  “I have some sad news for you, sweeties. Fishy died last night.” My normally-stoic 7 year old flipped onto his belly and began to bawl. I climbed up into the top bunk and lay beside him, letting his hot tears fall into my hands.  He had bought the little beta fish with his own money. His favorite pastime was to watch the colourful little guy swoop and swirl in the water. And now his little friend was floating belly up, eyes glazed over. The death of a pet fish can seem very … Read More

Helping kids learn how to love Jesus more than anything

contemplative child

Of the 9 worship styles for kids, a child that leans toward the contemplative style is likely a very loving child, and maybe has even sensed God’s love for them. They might spend a lot of time thinking, and can easily imagine God as a friend. But how can you help your contemplative child learn how to love Jesus more than anything? Watch the video to find out, or read the transcript below! “Look mommy! I made a journal.”  My 6 year old son thrust several sticky notes in my face. On each page he had drawn hearts around a word. One page had the word “God” in the middle, another had the word “nature”, and still another, “family”. This boy has a deep sense of the love of God for others. A philosopher named James K.A. Smith says that “humans are not fundamentally thinking beings. We’re not even primarily … Read More