As a busy mom of two awesome kiddos, I am constantly praying for what I call “creative parenting” ideas. I want to impart the power of God’s truths to my “babies” in practical, easy to grasp ways which they can immediately apply to their everyday lives.
One of the ways the Lord has answered (and continues to answer) this prayer for me is by giving me catchy, simple phrases which I then teach to the kids. Then, through much repetition, these sayings become so ingrained in our lives that the kids will often remind me of them before they even cross my mind.
I have a lot of these phrases, which we employ on a pretty much daily basis. Some are random. Many are “mommy paraphrases” taken straight from Scripture. They are powerful and have the ability to snap us out of a tough situation, a tense moment, or a bad attitude by the intentional act of renewing our minds. (Ephesians 4:23)
These are in no specific order. They are just the first 5 that came to my mind.
1) “Instead of getting sad, we get thankful.”
This one has saved us many fights, struggles and tears, especially at the end of a play-date or when it is time to leave a playground. Instead of just telling your kids to stop being upset, give them a positive, alternate mental activity. I always say, “Instead of getting sad we have to leave, we get thankful we got to come.” If they still struggle, pick them up, “yummy” them in your arms and as you walk away ask them to list 5 things they are thankful for. Thankfulness is an incredible tool to change attitudes and comfort broken hearts.
2) “God made this day. I will be happy, excited, and thankful!”
I took this one from Psalm 118:24. Here David declares, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” There are so many ways to go with this great passage. For starters, David, called a “man after God’s own heart,” talked to himself…I’m just saying. But what I love most is that David clearly made a choice to have a good attitude. When one of us is having a tough time getting out the door in the morning with a positive mindset another will begin to chant this phrase, and as we all finish it together you can feel the mood starting to change. (And yes, I said chant. We say this one with a lot of gusto! Makes it more fun and even harder to resist the change in outlook.)
3) “You can’t make bad decisions and expect good things to happen.”
Ok, so this one is pretty self-explanatory, but it is a great one. I think it is really important to teach our kids that they have a choice in their behavior and that their choices lead to consequences (positive or negative). I want my kids to understand that any negative consequence they may receive is a direct result of their poor choice, not simply a result of mommy getting upset.
4) “Your most important job is to obey.”
This one comes from Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.” For obvious reasons this is one of the first scriptures we taught our kids. JIt is important that they know they have a job, given to them by God. This is not something we parents just made up to make them do what we want. J Furthermore, we teach them that God says, “If you love me you will obey me.” (John 14:15) So they know that obeying mommy and daddy is obeying what God has told them to do, and obeying God is how we show Him our love. We also teach the kids that while their most important job is to obey, we have been given the very important job to teach them to obey. (Thus the consequences mentioned above.) So when a bad choice is made or a direct order is disobeyed and correction is needed we always preface it by asking, “What is your most important job?” To which they always respond (usually with a terribly pitiful pout), “To obey.”
5) “No means No.”
And the first shall be last…this is undoubtedly the first catch phrase I taught my babies. Before they could speak, they could understand. If Mommy said, “No,” and they continued on with the activity I would gently yet firmly take their little hand in mine, get down on their level, look them in the eyes and say, “No means no.” If the behavior persisted, the process would repeat and the mantra would be followed by a swat on the hand.
This phrase transitioned well into the toddler years when what we refer to as “challenging” became an issue. If Holden were to ask for something in a store, and I said, “No,” and he challenged me with, “Pleeeeaaassssseee….” I would turn and look at him and firmly ask, “What does no mean?” To which he would respond (with the most adorable pout you’ve ever seen), “No means no.” And more times than not that was the end of it. (As a side note: Consistency is key to that being the end of it. If sometimes the challenging can wear you down enough to cause you to cave then they will take that chance every time! But that’s a post for another day. J )
We’ll stop at 5 for now, but rest assured there are plenty more.
I hope you’ll give these phrases a try in your home and see what a difference they can make for you and your family!
Bonus: Mommy Magic
Wanted to leave you with one of my personal favorites, which most likely came from my own underlying desire to drive my kids just a little bit crazy! J Anytime one of my kids asks in awe and wonder, “How did you do that?” or, “How did you know that?”, all I have to do is get that glint in my eye, and Mikaela, having heard my predictable response enough by now, will roll her eyes and mockingly say, as only an 8 going on 18 year old can, “I know. I know. Mommy Magic.”
So how about you? If you have a favorite, helpful phrase you use in your home please share it in the comments below. I love to hear from readers. (Always good to know there’s actually someone out there! 🙂 )
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(See some more of my parenting posts HERE.)