9 chaos-free steps for taking your child to any sporting event

9 chaos-free steps to taking your child to any sporting eventGenerally, when I’m at football games and enthralled by the on-field action, I ignore comments by the inebriated fans.

But one remark caught my attention recently.

“I’ve been to 100 games here, and I just want you to know that what you’re doing is great,” the man told me. He was in his 20s and wasn’t slurring his speech, but he obviously had had a few “extra ones” outside the stadium.

I suppose my two young sons and I stood out, even in the midst of an 80,000 seat college football stadium. My 2-year-old was sitting in my lap and my 6-year-old son was sitting beside me, and both were behaving remarkably well — great news because I was doing this solo. I had thought a “boys’ day” would be fun and challenging, and I wanted my wife to enjoy time alone with our daughter.

So what would possess a grown man to take two young boys to such a crowded, busy, loud event? Simply the fact that I enjoy college football and thought my sons would, too. And they did.

We got in the car that morning at 5:50 for an 11 o’clock game, and everything – from the weather to the game to the post-game events – went splendid. There were no meltdowns or tantrums.

Maybe God just blessed me with a marvelous time that day, and perhaps next time it will be disastrous, but there are at least nine things I did right that I’ll try again. If you’re a sports fan wanting to take your child to a major sporting event, here are a few tips: Continue reading

4 tricks to making every child in a large family feel special

4 ways to make every kid in a large family feel specialThere’s a humorous but wise adage that many parents who are having their third child eventually hear: “Man-to-man defense no longer applies. You’ll have to switch to a zone.”

The meaning in a nutshell? The kids now outnumber the parents.

I had heard friends talk about the blessings and challenges of a larger family but didn’t fully understand it until my wife and I added twins to our “bunch,” which automatically bumped our small family of three to a “large” family of five – thereby putting us at that out-of-the-way corner booth in all the restaurants. No longer would we fit at 95 percent of the restaurant tables or 99 percent of the hotel rooms.

That also meant it was not possible for each child to be held, for each kid to receive individual attention, for each child to sit in a lap. I’ve always been one who wants to see needs met, so it was a major adjustment. After all, I physically couldn’t read a story to my twins and ride bike with my oldest son at the same time – even though I wanted to do both. (It did, though, put me in awe of God more, because He
can comfort the little boy in China and the little girl in America simultaneously.)

So can a mother and father of multiple kids still make each one feel special? Yes. Here are four suggestions:
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8 stress-reducing steps to a happier family

8 stress-reducing steps to a happier family When you’re at the hospital preparing to take home that 7-pound bundle of joy, the nurses don’t provide any advice on dealing with stress. They don’t even hand you a book.

I was thinking about stress recently when my wife called me at work and said, in a tone of voice that matched the circumstance: “There’s water in our basement!”

We already had a garbage disposal that wasn’t working, a dishwasher that was leaking and a clothes drier that wasn’t drying. With three small children, clean clothes and dishes are a necessity. Things weren’t looking good, but God soon provided. The basement leak slowed, and we pinpointed the problem. We fixed the drier (lint blockage) and then discovered that the dishwasher leak was linked to the broken garbage disposal.

Through it all, we told one another: Don’t stress out, this is small potatoes. In other words: Keep things in perspective.
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Turn it off: 6 reasons not to let children watch television

Turn it off: 6 reasons not to let children watch televisionThe other day, my wife and I – needing a break — picked two random people off the street and asked if they could babysit our three children for 30 minutes. We thought they’d charge a lot on such a short notice, but, believe it or not, they did it for free. Well, sort of. They wanted to show our kids a few products they were selling, and they also wanted to tell them a bunch of things we disagreed with. It sounded crazy, but, hey, they’d done this before, and, besides, they said, all the parents were doing it.

Of course, I made all of that up.

But don’t we do this very thing every time we let our children watch a television program we know little about? It’s essentially random people with (too often) an unbiblical worldview trying to sell our children something they don’t need. No part of that is good.

My family does have a television in our house, and we do let our oldest (who is 5) watch it, but the TV is not on all the time. In fact, when he’s awake, it’s mostly off. He gets to watch some educational shows, a tad-bit of simply fun shows, and from time to time a show his Mommy and Daddy enjoy. But he’s under the national average for TV viewing – children ages 2-5 spend an average of 32 hours a week in front of the tube, according to Nielsen. His twin sister and brother (who are 1) don’t get to watch TV at all.

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