What’s A Love Language And Why Is It Important?

relationship building with love languages from motherhood university

 

Ever feel like you’re putting your love out there but your partner isn’t feeling it? Maybe it’s the other way around. I’m guessing by now you’ve heard of love languages. But if you haven’t let me break it down, this is an incredible relationship building tool!

In his book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman explains there are certain ways that we express our love for one another. They are: acts of service,  gift giving, quality time, physical touch and words of affirmation.

So picture this…hubby has been away for work all week, you miss him and can’t wait to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie. When he gets home he washes your car and does laundry. There is no time for a movie but tomorrow you plan to go on a hike and then watch that movie. The next day hubby says he needs to mow the lawn before the hike and then it rains so no hike. You’re feeling frustrated and you lash out at him for not spending time with you – in your mind he’s neglecting you. Of course he can’t understand why you’re upset because in his mind, he is showing you how much he loves you.

Here’s what went wrong: your love language is quality time and you planned activities to spend time with your partner to show him how much you love him. BUT, hubby’s love language is acts of service and because he’s been away all week, he’s now working a little extra to show you how much he loves you. Oops! You’re missing one another’s love language.

So how does this work with your kiddos? Pretty much the same so it’s important to learn your child’s love language. It’s easier than you think. You can go to 5 Love Languages.com and have your child take the quiz. The quiz will rank each of the 5 love languages with a score. Sometimes there is a clear cut “winner.” Some people don’t have a dominate love language but rather two languages that score fairly equal.

Tips

  • if your child is young, you can ask the questions
  • you may need to simplify the verbiage but don’t alter the point
  • kids may change as they grow and understand more so don’t pigeon hole them – have them take the test once a year
  • while a love language may stay the same, it will be expressed and accepted differently at various ages (age 4 and 14 will want to receive physical touch in different ways)
  • share your love language with them so they can learn to understand how we show love differently

Understanding love languages is one more tool to meeting your child where he is and building your relationship.

What’s your love language?

 

~ Regina


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Valentine’s Day Sibling Bonding Activity

Sibling Bonding Activity Motherhood University

 

We love family traditions. The special things that are unique to our family are far more important than mainstream celebrations. For most of America, Valentine’s Day is filled with chocolate, flowers and store bought cards. While those things do convey a message of love, I like to be more personal and specific. And before you V-Day haters chime in…I love you’s are not isolated only to Feb 14. We show our love throughout the year in many many ways.

The “I Love You Box” started with an “I Love You Wall.” This year we’ll use it as a sibling bonding activity. It goes like this…. Each year I choose a spot for an I love you wall. The top is labeled “I love you because,” and it’s divided into sections (with tape), one for each child. I dig out the cricut machine and make a whole bunch of hearts (or grab some pink or red post its). Each day from February 1 to February 14, I write down a reason why I love that child and tape it on the wall.

I love you wall sibling bonding activity motherhood-university.com

You could use…
  • a wall
  • kid’s bedroom door
  • bulletin board
  • kitchen cabinets
  • refrigerator

 

The first time I did it I just throw the hearts away after Valentine’s Day. But the next time I realized how much the reasons changed in a year and I thought they should be saved. First I thought I’d put then into some type of scrapbook. I journal to the kids and maybe someday I’ll stick them in there. But for now, I group them by year and put them in a 3 inch by 5 inch card box (one for each child). They then get stored in each child’s keepsake box. It’s important to express what you love about the unique individual’s character and strengths rather than just “generic” I love you’s. The goal is for your child to feel like you truly understand who she is.

Imagine if  YOU had such meaningful messages from your Mom over a span of your childhood. How would that impact your relationship?

How To Make It A Sibling Bonding Activity

Just as important as family traditions (if not more so), is sibling bonding. Someday I’ll die and my offsprings will have one another. So fostering positive relationships with siblings is vital to the health and goals of our family. This year instead of getting a message from Mom, each child will write down something they love about each sibling.

Tips

  • make the hearts bigger for “early writers” with still developing handwriting
  • write for younger kids
  • accept where they are today, don’t expect anything too deep
  • kids reluctant to participate may just have a hard time expressing themselves, help them – give them 2 ideas to choose between
  • choose a time of day conducive to success (not while tire or hungry or right after school)
  • have fun with this

I hope you add family traditions that help grow your family relationship now and for years to come. Share your favorites with us in the comments below.

 

 

~ Regina


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Call And Response {Parenting Quick Tip #001}

Call and Response

 

Ever think – hmm, I wonder if the kids heard me? Or, ever wish you had a great way to get the kids’ attention without turning into the “crazy-big-eyes-arm-waving-screeching-loud-Mom?” Try a call and response! (The call and response technique came up in conversations had at the No Yell Challenge Facebook event.)

A call and response is a teaching technique used to gain the attention of your students. Most often both the call and the response are verbal but non-verbal actions could also be used. This technique works great for large groups like when you’re coaching soccer or volunteering at church. But it is just as effective with one child. Call and response is an easy crossover from classroom to home/parenting. It’s particularly useful during free play, transitions, or when the kids are getting a little rowdy.  It is appropriate for all ages toddler to teen.

The general idea is that you call out a word or phrase and your child or students respond with a specific word or phrase and then freeze and listen. It can be short and sweet, long and funny, based on a book you’re reading or a moving you love. It can incorporate your organization’s name or whatever works for you.

Examples

(parent/teacher on the left, child/students on the right):

  • Hey……………Ho, Kid SPACE let’s go (clap and freeze) (change Kid SPACE to something that works for you)
  • Chicka Chicka……………Boom Boom (super easy for little ones)
  • Eyes……looking, Ears…..listening, Brains……….ready to learn
  • Who you gonna call………….Ghost busters
  • Hey there kiddos, how are you……………we are listening, through and through
  • Hey hey what time is it……..it is time to quit and sit (use when the kids are wild)

I can go on and on but I’m sure you get the idea. Just make sure it’s appropriate for your use. For instance, years ago I taught summer dance camps and used: Me: Are you ready? Students: We’re hot, we’re sweaty, but baby we are ready! silly and fun when you’re sweating at camp but not so cute for the preschoolers at church!

*Bonus Idea

Another fun way to get their attention is clapping a rhythm. You clap out a measure and they clap it back to you in tempo. You keep going back and forth until you have the attention of everyone. This works well for older elementary aged kids and up. With older ones, challenge them by making the rhythms get harder as you go.

My very Southern Mom had her own version of call and response. Anytime she asked us to do something she would end it by asking “Do you understand?” To which we replied “Yes Ma’am” (I catch myself doing this all the time). Lots of opinions on the ‘ma’am’ thing, but it provided an opportunity for two-way communication and ensured that Mom’s instructions were heard. I hear lots of Moms today ask there child to respond with a ‘yes Mom.’ Not exactly a call and response but this is very helpful in teaching manners, validating Mom and all around good communication.

Additional Tips

  • Have the kids help you create a call and response. This gives them ownership in it and they’ll be more inclined to use it.
  • Don’t overuse it.
  • Change it when you find it has become ineffective (I like  anew one each year).
  • Make it fun and your kids will love it.

What is your favorite call and response?

 

 

 

~ Regina


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No Yell Challenge

Happy New Year! Resolutions? Goals? Nothing at all? Here’s a change you should make even if you’re not a “New Year” person. Let’s just say it – stop yelling at your kids!

No Yell Challenge

So you had a bad day,  flat tire, missed deadline at work. Maybe you’ve been home all day and the kids are “behaving like birth control.” Yes, parenting is hard and kids can test your patience. Still no reason to scream at them. Our job as leaders is to act consistently rather than react. You can not blame your child for your choices, even when little Johnny just poo-poo-Picasso-ed the bathroom wall.

Maybe you still think shouting at the kiddos is just no big deal. These days most folks don’t need a degree in psychology to know the long term damage of verbal abuse. Yes, abuse. And abuse is abuse, there is no reason to compare it: verbal (emotional), physical, sexual, etc. Long term emotional abuse can negatively impact brain development in many children.

Need more? Harvard research suggests:

Verbal abuse has as great an effect as physical or non-domestic sexual mistreatment.

Children are people. They deserve to be treated with the same level of respect as any other person – period. Here’s a test for you. If you wouldn’t speak to a co-worker by screaming and yelling, then you shouldn’t speak to your child that way. Additionally, your co-worker isn’t likely someone you LOVE (like your child). Yelling is NOT how you show someone unconditional love. Think about what type of love you want your teen or adult child to seek.

Also, you should not be blaming, name calling (insulting) or belittling your child. These, along with screaming, are examples of YOUR problems and YOUR lack of ability to maintain self-control. Find new coping skills.

you can't teach self control if you don't have any/

So Where Do You Start?

The No Yell Challenge will ask you to answer some hard questions.

  1. Why am I angry?
  2. Why am I feeling frustrated?
  3. How can I control my feelings?

Put yourself in your child’s shoes. How does it feel to be yelled at or blamed for an accident. Do you feel safe when the person you love most screams at you or threatens you?

Some Tools

  1. Identify your triggers. Adult, like kids, can be set off by hunger and tiredness. Find all your triggers. Consider keeping a log book and write down what is happening when you yell.
  2. Understand expectations. Often we react because we set an unrealistic expectation. Kinda looks like this: we expect a certain outcome, it doesn’t happen, we get pissed. To cope, lower your expectations altogether. When you do set one, communicate it clearly and thoroughly.
  3. Rethink your attitude. So you get pissed off when your kids spills his lunch. Stop and use it as on opportunity to teach him how to carry his plate, how to sit properly at the table, how to clean up the mess, etc. Are you sending the message – you must be perfect and not ever make a mistake because if you do I’ll lose my shit and scream at you OR do you want to send the message we all make mistakes and we can learn from them, this is a safe place for you to make mistakes and I love you unconditionally.

Take The No Yell Challenge

Click on the PDF below, print it, fill it out and do! Ok maybe I over-simplified. Encourage the entire family to participate. Determine how many days you will vow the first time around. Make it achievable. Make sure everyone understands that if you yell you start over until you fulfill your commitment. Once you reach the goal, take the challenge again but longer continually increasing until you’ve formed a solid habit of not yelling – ever.

*screaming pillow clause

If you should find yourself in a situation that would normally have you shouting, you are frustrated and can not find any other ways to recover from your anger, you may explain to those around you that you are implementing the “screaming pillow clause.” You may go into another room and scream into a pillow. This is a short term coping skill and should be replaced with better anger management approaches. Also, there may be laughing and that’s perfecting acceptable…because really.

Please participate in this challenge, share it with your partner and your friends. If the yelling and screaming continues it won’t just tear down your child, it will destroy your relationship.

So how many days will you pledge to for the first round?


No Yell Challenge

Also, join the Facebook event – support and encourage others.

~ Regina


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Counting Down To Thanksgiving With Gratitude

Gratitude Thanksgiving Countdown

 

One of our family principles is: gratitude is the best attitude. We practice being grateful all year, but November is like our high holiday of gratitude. Thanksgiving is our beginning and end. It’s when we reflect on a year’s worth of blessings as well as think ahead to all the ways we can share our gratitude with others. So, like many people do advent calendars to countdown to Christmas, we countdown to Thanksgiving. It’s different each year. This one is an oldie but goodie.

You will need:

  • brown paper – we used paper bags from the grocery store
  • a leaf template – we googled that
  • construction paper in green, yellow, orange and red
  • tape or sticky tack
  • pencils or markers or crayons

Directions:

  1. Decide how long you want your countdown to be – the whole month of November may feel overwhelming.
  2. Make the tree trunk and branches (you don’t have to be Picasso, this is process over product). Consider making it a kid friendly height.
  3. Cut out 2 sets of leaves, one set of green and one set of autumn colors. You will need enough leaves for each child and each day in both sets.
  4. Attach the green leaves to the tree.
  5. Explain it to your family.

Each day on an autumn colored leaf you will write down something for which you are grateful. Then you will take down a green leaf and replace it with the autumn colored leaf. As we get closer to Thanksgiving there will be less green and more autumn colored leaves. When all the leaves have changed it will be Thanksgiving Day.

*If you skip a day or double up on a day just adjust the number accordingly.

When you’re done, you can make a little Thanksgiving scrapbook with the autumn leaves and pictures from Thanksgiving.

Be sure to join our Facebook event The Gratitude Project this month.

 

~ Regina


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20 Powerful Things To Say To Your Kids

Motherhood University things to say to your kids

Words are powerful. We all tell our children “I Love You,” but what else do you say?

Are you supporting positive development like self concept and self-esteem?

Are you making them feel valued.

Are you fostering a two-way relationship that will hold up even when they enter adulthood?

Here are a few ideas:

 

  1. I trust you.
  2. I believe in you.
  3. You can do anything.
  4. I’m listening.
  5. You are a good person.
  6. Thank You.
  7. You make good choices.
  8. I am proud of you.
  9. I’m sorry.
  10. Thank you for being born.
  11. What do you think?
  12. Yes
  13. Trust yourself.
  14. You’re allowed to feel that way.
  15. How would you do it?
  16. How are you?
  17. I forgive you.
  18. No
  19. Make mistakes, learn from them.
  20. You are exactly the way you are suppose to be.
  • Now print this list to keep as a reminder.
  • Share it with your partner.
  • Or, each time you say one of these, put a mark next to it – keep track and see how you’re doing.
  • What would you include on your list?

 

~ Regina


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12 Ways To Find Your Momma Village

Here at Motherhood University we are natural minded. We support living light on the Earth. Therefore many (not all) of these links are in keeping with our natural minded lifestyle. Don’t worry if you’re not “green,” use the info that works for you.

Why bother?

Being in a group of like-minded Mothers is both informative and empowering. It feels good to be surrounded by people that support the choices you make for your family. It’s also great to be around Moms that have been where you are in your journey and can provide you with ideas and info to help guide you. For too many years, decades even, woman were failing other woman by not passing down Motherhood wisdoms from generation to generation. It’s a new day, we are ready to give and receive.

Group Ideas & Resources

1. Le Leche League (LLL) is an international breastfeeding support group.

Things to know:

  • There are chapters all over the world
  • Meeting are free (although I encourage you to join and support the organization)
  • You can attend meeting before you become pregnant, while you’re pregnant, and anytime there after
  • It’s likely that you will learn about far more than just breastfeeding – hang out after the meeting and ask questions about anything: birth, diapering, starting solids, etc.
2. International Cesarian Awareness Network (ICAN) has 3 goals:

1. Support 2. Education 3. Advocacy

Things you should know:

  • There are chapters all over the world
  • Meeting are free (although I encourage you to join and support the organization)
  • It’s NOT necessary for you to have had a c-section to attend meetings  (this may vary)
  • This is an incredible place to become educated on evidence based birth practice and gain the knowledge you need to have a positive birth experience
  • If you have had a traumatic birth experience (or if something just doesn’t feel good), this is a place to listen, be heard, and heal
3. Attachment Parenting International (API) is a non-profit organization that promotes parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents.

Things you should know:

  • There is a TON of great information on this site.
  • Check out the forums and event pages
  • Click “find a support group” to find a group in your area
4. Facebook Groups are a format that I personally love, but can be a little trickier to find.

Things you should know:

  • The “suggested groups” feature seems to come and go – it shows you groups that your friends are in, which helps you find the group that works for you.
  • There are 3 types of groups: open, closed and secret.
  • I prefer “secret” groups because they will not show up in your ticker or search and I don’t wish to discuss things like cracked nipples and when my cycle returned with say my father-in-law!
  • So word of mouth is the best way to find these groups – ask your like-minded fb friends.
  • If you can’t find a group, start your own. Very easy, follow the direction. I recommend some type of written guidelines (create a Doc) to keep things running smooth.
5. Yahoo Groups has thousands of groups to chose from.

Things you should know:

  • Use the search tool to find a group of interest
  • To reduce the amount of emails you receive you can use the “digest” feature or set it up to not get the emails and just log in and check the group directly
  • Try to find a group in your area to take advantage of local meet ups
6. MOPS (Mothers Of Pre Schoolers) Groups

Things you should know:

  • MOPS is an international organization with groups all over
  • During most meetings, childcare is provided (nice break for Mom)
  • MOPS is a Christian Non-profit group
7. Hospitals & Birthing Centers – many have new Mom groups & classes.

Things you should know:

  • Many hospital groups & classes are sponsored by for profit companies. Always ask who sponsors it, their philosophies may not be in keeping with yours.
  • Many classes are free, occasionally there is a fee.

5 More Places To Find Like-Minded Mommas

8. Mothering.com

one of the oldest natural parenting resources, it was started as a magazine in the mid-seventies. Check out their forums with over 100 categories (the due clubs are super cool)!

9. Vegetarian Organizations

This may be a stretch, but if vegetarianism is part of your life style it’s a great place to meet like minded people. Google search to find local groups.

10. Homeschool Groups

You don’t always have to homeschool or intend to take advantage of the meet ups and play groups. Start by finding your state’s main homeschool organization, they will usually have groups listed by area. Example: in Florida, start with FPEA.org and click through to groups in your area.

11. Story Time

Check the schedule at you local library. Also, many book stores have story time. When you attend, start conversations with other Moms about the various activities and groups they are involved in.

12. Your Place Of Worship

Many places of worship have Moms groups, ask yours. If they don’t, inquire about starting one. If you don’t attend a place of worship, ask your friends about theirs.

*BONUS – if all else fails, create your own group!

Keep in Mind

  • It’s always ok to join more than one group.
  • Don’t feel badly if you feel a group isn’t the right fit for you – it’s ok to drop it and move on.
  • Sometime we outgrow groups, that’s ok too.
Now YOU share – where are you finding your Mommas?

 

 

~ Regina


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