The Best Mind Trick Ever: How to Fight Anxiety with Gratitude

how to fight anxiety

How to fight anxiety with gratitude, and why it works.  A blast of cold air came in with my son as he stomped in the door. He dumped his backpack and jacket on the floor. When I reminded him where they belonged, he glared at me and snarled a reply. At my rebuke, he began to sob.  It’s not easy to tuck an angry, sobbing child into your arms, but I did so anyway, making him cry all the harder.  I guided him to the couch. We sat together. He cried, and I summoned up all the patience I could muster while also putting mentally putting together my supper meal plan. “What’s going on?” I asked, when the sobs had simmered down a bit.  Still sniffling, he choked out his response.  There had been a fight on the playground, and a friendship had been declared to be over. Just like … Read More

6 Books to Help Children Find Hope

When a child is sad, it can be really tricky to know what to say. We could say, “it’ll be ok” or “it’s not so bad” or “it’ll get better”, but platitudes lose their powerful quickly. Instead, we can tell a story. We can help our children find hope through stories of our own (child-appropriate) hopeless times and how we discovered hope there. We can share stories of other people’s hard times and how they saw hope in the midst of great pain. One option we don’t often consider, but which has a ton of value, is that we can also use fictional stories. Take, for example, “Little Mole Finds Hope.” In the beginning of the story, Little Mole is feeling sad. His world is still in the clutches of winter, and frankly, he’s a bit bummed. Thankfully, Little Mole has a lovely mom who helps him see signs of … Read More

Speak Your Child’s Love Language

mom speaking love to her child

Every child has a love language. Learn to speak your child’s love language with these tips and gift ideas. We all learn languages as children:  We learn to speak words, like English or Dutch or Cantonese. We learn body language and how to understand what adults and friends are saying without words. We also learn a primary love language. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of “The 5 Love Languages“, our primary love language develops as a function of the home we grew up in. If your parents were extremely affectionate, your primary love language is likely to be physical touch. But if no one in your house was a hugger, you are less likely to interpret physical touch as love. Instead, your language might be gifts, acts of service, quality time, or words of affirmation.  Of course, personality also comes into play, which is why we can have 3 … Read More

The Secret Ingredient In Habit Change

the secret ingredient in habit change

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits. In the previous lessons I shared the brain science behind creating a brand new habit, which we applied to family breakfast time. We also talked about how to change an old habit like a child’s bedtime. But sometimes it’s just too hard to start a new habit, or too daunting to think about changing an entire bedtime routine, which is why we look for keystone habits that initiate great change in our families.  Full series: The Power of Simple Spiritual Habits Starting a Brand New Habit … Read More

How To Sweeten Your Family Life With This Keystone Habit

learn to pray blessings over your child

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits. In the previous lessons, I shared the brain science behind creating a brand new habit, which we applied to family breakfast time. We also talked about how to change an old habit like a child’s bedtime. WE NEED THIS SPECIAL KIND OF HABIT But sometimes it’s just too hard to start a new habit, or too daunting to think about changing an entire bedtime routine.  That’s when we turn to keystone habits. Keystone habits are very simple habits that have the power to unlock huge changes … Read More

How To Start a New Habit (Like Reading the Bible With Your Kids)

how to start reading the Bible with your kids

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson, I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits.  So let’s talk about how to start a new habit. I’m going to give the example of reading the Bible at breakfast time because it’s a habit I struggled to start. I wanted to, but I didn’t know how. You can apply these same principles to ANY habit you wish to start from scratch. So here’s where I started: I would wake up after my children then I would rush around grabbing food and changing diapers and helping kids get dressed and emptying the dishwasher then … Read More

The Power of Simple Spiritual Habits For Family Faith

the secret ingredient in habit change

Spiritual habits can be an incredibly powerful influence on our lives. Read on to find out why.  Last week, I walked into a McDonalds with my husband. I ordered a salad, and he ordered a big juicy burger and poutine. The next day he was bemoaning his horrible food choice because he felt so crummy afterward.  But I don’t think what he ordered was truly a choice.  THE POWER OF HABIT Way back in 1892, William James, an American psychologist said “all our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits”. More recently, scientific studies have shown that 40% of all our behavior is actually automatic habits, not actual decisions.  A habit is something that started as a conscious decision, but eventually, our brains just turned it into what’s a “habit loop” – we stop making a choice and we just do it. My … 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

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

6 Crucial College Transition Issues You Didn’t Think Of…Yet

college transition issues

It’s a pleasure to welcome Crystal Chiang to the blog today, sharing about something I will eventually need: helping your child transition to college! Crystal is the executive director of student curriculums at Orange. She is the co-author of The Art of Group Talk: How to Lead Better Conversations with Teenage Girls (Orange Books, April 2018), a resource for small group leaders. Check out her brand new devotional book for college students: Starting Now: A 30-Day Guide To Becoming Who You Want to Be In College. (check it out on Amazon in any country here or on Amazon.com below) It would make a great gift! Helping your child transition from one phase to the next is never easy. You probably remember the first day of kindergarten, of middle school or of driving. Chances are, at each phase, you found yourself asking the same, very important, question: Are they ready? In elementary school, the answer … Read More