baby, Kids, Mom Life, parenting, Parenting is hard

3 Surprisingly Simple Steps to Connect with your Child

How-to-Connect-with-your-kidsWe all have a desire to be close to each one of our children. This connection is important for their growth and happiness. Kids that are more connected with their parents are more likely to want to do good and make their parents happy.

We all want to be close to our children, but let’s be honest many times life gets in the way, our schedules are all busy, and it is hard to get that connection time that we both need. And then on top of that, we spend much of the time shaping and correcting them so they turn out to be AMAZING RESPONSIBLE ADULTS, which at times comes across as nagging, yelling or criticizing them for what they are or aren’t doing. Did you know research suggests for every negative interaction (yelling, criticizing, nagging) we need to have 5 Positive interactions to make up for it?

You might be thinking to yourself about now, how on Earth can I do it all so that my child feels loved and I can connect with them every day and make up for all the negative interactions? I will let you in on a little secret I learned….

Ready for it?

The more time you spend connecting with your kids each day, the stronger your bond will become, and in time you will start to see less and less negative interactions!

Don’t believe me?

With these Surprisingly Simple Steps, you will Start Connecting with your child on a whole new level and your connection will GROW!


Kids need tangible, physical contact with a parent every day. In fact, they need at least 8 touches a day. When your kids are small and cuddly it seems like an easier task, but as they get older this can become more difficult. Think outside the box, perhaps a small hug, high fives, pats on the back, secret handshakes, a touch on the arm, or moving hair out of their eyes.


When we classify talk, it’s not just any “small talk”. You need to engage your child in at least one worthwhile conversation every day. This talk needs to have eye to eye interaction! This is essential for all KIDS! So stop what you are doing, slow down, and look them in the eyes as you communicate.


You want to spend 9 Meaningful Minutes A Day!

The first 3 minutes of the day, right after they wake up.

The 3 minutes after they walk in the door after school.

The last 3 minutes of the day, right before bed.

These 9 minutes of the day can have a powerful and significant influence on your child. But they can also be the most challenging minutes of the day. Start by shutting down electronics, getting off of the phone, and actively engaging your child for 3 minutes. Set the tone for your child by being positive, encouraging, and patient.

There it is. Nothing too crazy. Simply intentional and meaningful parenting.

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Kids, parenting, Uncategorized

12 Chores Your Kids Need to Be Doing

Do you feel like you are the only one that ever cleans and picks up around your house?

I know I DO!

I have days where I feel like from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed I am running around the house like a crazy person doing laundry, making beds, scrubbing toilets, sweeping the floors, along with about 100 other tasks.

I have always struggled with finding the balance between my kids helping around the house and my kids having fun.  Between going to school all day, homework, and extracurricular activities I have always felt like their was very little time for kids to be kids so I have done 99.9% of the housework, until one day when I DISCOVERED there are many things kids can do that just take a FEW MINUTES HERE AND A FEW MINUTES THERE to really help out around the house!

Are you like me and do too much for your kids?

Do you want to teach your kids responsibilities on the limited amount of time that you have?

It is so important to teach our kids to be responsible now so they can be responsible as adults! We TEACH THEM RESPONSIBILITY by giving them chores (or in our house, we call them jobs) to do to help the household run effectively!  

Here are 12 Jobs that take less than 15 minutes that your kids need to be doing to help around the house!


12 Jobs Your Kids Need to Be Doing

Pick Up After Themselves: Nothing drives me more bonkers than finding stuff everywhere that it doesn’t belong! Chase is the worst! I think Chase thinks that by the front door is an extension of his bedroom and the playroom is just one giant laundry basket for his dirty socks!

No matter how old your kids are they can pick up after themselves. If they use it, they need to put it away!

Making their Beds: Each member of the house should make their own bed. I remember the first time the boys made their beds… the sheets were not pulled up, the comforter was on sideways, and the blanket they sleep with was a big rolled up ball thrown in the middle of the bed!

I so badly wanted to go and FIX IT, but I didn’t because #1 rule of kids doing chores is don’t go behind them and fix it or they will never learn.

What I did do was I would take them in there and give them some helpful tips… it’s easier if you find a corner of the sheet and pull it up… Lay the blanket on the ground and put the corners together… These tips after a while helped because now they head into their rooms and make their bed and it looks pretty good all on their own!

Toddlers can even make their bed… Teach them young! Talie and I will go to her room and I will tell her step by step what I am doing; she tries to help where she can. Then she puts the pillows on the bed and all her animals.

Laundry: I do all the laundry in the house. The older kids have been taught how to if they need to in an emergency or if they want something washed not on laundry day. Yep! You heard that we have laundry days: Mondays and Thursdays. The Kids are responsible for getting all their laundry down to the laundry room before school; if it doesn’t make it there, it doesn’t get washed! After it is washed I will fold it and then they are responsible for taking it and putting it away. If the kids are home and I need the laundry moved from the washer to the dryer they will do that as well.

Trash: The kids take turns emptying the kitchen trash as needed. Trash day is Friday so on Thursday Chase is responsible for collecting all the trash around the house and taking it outside and then Colby takes the cans to the corner. After the trash has come, he brings the cans back up to the house.  

Set the Table: The kids take turns setting the table by week. They are responsible for placemats, plates, silverware, napkins, and filling glasses with water. Talie will help whoever is setting the table.

Clear the Table: Each member of the family clears their own plate, scrapes the food into the trash, scrubs it with the scrubber and puts it in the dishwasher. You are probably thinking certainly a toddler doesn’t do this, but they can and should! You can assist them in carrying it over to the trash and help them scrape it clean. Then help them scrub it with the scrubber. Trust me! Your toddler will love this part! Then you can show them how it goes in the dishwasher.

Emptying Dishwasher: The kids take turns emptying the dishwasher as well. They are responsible for putting everything away. If they can’t reach where something goes they get a stool or ask for help. Even little kids can help sort silverware or put plastic cups away.

Clean Room: They are responsible for tidying up their room. They need to make sure drawers are pushed in, laundry is in the basket, and their dresser is clean. I also have them vacuum their floor.

Clean Bathroom: All the older kids are in charge of a bathroom in the house. They scrub the sink, the toilet, and the bathtub. They clean the mirror and the floor. I remember the first time they “cleaned the bathroom”! I walked in and you could still see the pee stains on the boys’ toilet… I REALLY WANTED TO CLEAN IT MYSELF at that point, but I resisted. I pointed out everything that needed some more love, and they were so annoyed with me because we went back and forth for over an hour with things that needed to be cleaned again, but now they have gotten it and can clean a bathroom in about 15ish minutes that looks pretty good and smells fresh!

Meal Planning: I know you are probably trying to figure out how meal planning is a chore, but in our house it is! Every Sunday we sit down as a family and figure out what we are going to eat. Everyone has a say and we decide on our meals as a family. If you say, “I don’t care.” That means you aren’t allowed to complain that week with what we have! Meal planning teaches kids to plan and to budget. If they say we want steak then they know we have to eat spaghetti a different night so that we stay within our grocery budget.

Yard Work: Kids need to help take care of the yard, not just play in it! There are weeds that need to be pulled, sidewalks that need sweeping, gardens that need to be watered, lawns that need mowing, etc. The kids need to learn these jobs so when they live on their own one day they know how to do things!

Cleaning up after Pets: If you have pets, the kids should be feeding them, walking them, and cleaning up after them! This teaches them to care for and be responsible for something other than themselves.

There you have it! 12 Jobs that Kids Need to be Doing that all Take 15 minutes or less!

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How To Teach your Tweens about Hygiene Pirate Style

*This post contains affiliate links

Don’t let your kids be Scared straight about Hygiene! Use the Pirates of the Caribbean movies to teach tweens hygiene.


How to use a Pirates of the Caribbean movie to instruct your tween in the ways of cleanliness.

The other night our family decided to sit down and watch a movie together. The kids picked out one of our favorites Pirates of the Caribbean! As we were watching it, I thought to myself, “what would their mother think? They are so disgustingly dirty and smelly!” At that moment I literally started laughing out loud because the thought came to me, “MY TWEEN IS JUST LIKE THIS PIRATE! DIRTY AND SMELLY!”

I guess I should back up a bit… The other day as my tween walked passed me I noticed something… Something I hadn’t smelt before… My nose immediately turned up at the stench of BO (Bad Odor!) And if there was one thing I would have to say I hate in this world it is stench!

I began to think about how I should address this “new smell” with my tween without making them feel weird about it. I came up with the normal ideas:

  1. Take my child aside and have the awkward talk with them that they are growing up and their body is changing and that they are starting to smell…. (you get the point I’m trying to make here)
  2. Take your child on a drive to the drug store and explain on the way that their body is changing it is time to start practicing proper hygiene and then walk them into the store to pick out products that they want to us.
  3. Have a great discussion over ice cream like we do for all the other talks we have had.
  4. Or I would just throw them in the car so they couldn’t escape and I would tell them that they smell and we ABSOLUTELY needed to do something about it!

None of these options seemed like the right one, so I admit I let him stink for a few more days!

At that moment, while watching the movie I knew exactly how I was going to teach my tween about hygiene in a very non-threatening, light-hearted, fun way!

Since we were watching the First Pirates of the Caribbean, I knew I would be able to watch the 2nd movie with him and he would be all for it! So I hopped on Amazon, ordered the movie and a few other things I would need!

This is How I taught My Tween about Hygiene with the Pirates of the Caribbean!

Set the stage: choose one of the Pirate movies to watch together with your son or daughter. (Or both!) Make it a fun date and bring popcorn, drinks, or some other yummy treats.

While you are watching the movie be sure to Point out these 5 Things!


  1. Pirate Teeth:  As the story unfolds a nasty looking pirate will eventually wander onto the screen. At your leisure pause the movie so that the alarming image is frozen on your television screen. Take this opportunity (there will be lots of them) to point out one of the pirate’s hygiene issues. Make a comment on how GROSS their teeth are! Let your kids agree with you! Have a brief discussion on the importance of brushing twice a day and flossing at least once.
  2. Pirate Skin:  Continue watching the movie and look for your next prime opportunity to pause so we can look at the fact that they are always dirty! Point out to your kids how funny it is that even though the pirates jump into the water from time to time they never come out clean. Engage with them, ask them why they never are clean? Hopefully (fingers crossed)  they say, it’s because they don’t ever use soap! Draw their attention to this fact, “You are right! They don’t! That must be why they are always dirty!” Perhaps mention to them that they must smell really bad too because they don’t use soap. Maybe even ask them if they want the Pirate to come share a room with them? This will get them talking and probably thinking, “When was the last time I used soap?
  3. Pirate Hair:  There are many characters in the film with greasy, dirty hair. Don’t be afraid to point this out to your tween. Ask the hard questions: “Does that look attractive?” “How do you think it smells?” Point out the fact that if they used shampoo how amazing their hair would look. Casually say, “using shampoo is key to great looking hair.” Most tweens need to use it every day for best results.
  4. Pirate Armpits:  Sweat stains are not attractive! Does your tween know this? Make sure they do. You could share with them that because they are growing their bodies are working hard to produce more hormones. Just because it is normal doesn’t mean it is good. Deodorant is their friend and they should apply it liberally every day (sometimes more than once) to avoid “pirate” like sweat stains and smells.
  5. Pirate Clothes:  The pirates always seem to be wearing the same grunge outfits. This is a great time to remind your kids that they should wear clean clothes every day. Even more important than clean clothes is clean underwear! Remind them that the place to find these clothes is in closets and drawers, not on the floor or in the dirty clothes basket. Thank heavens for washers and dryers!


As the movie draws to an end present them with all of the fun products they need to overcome teenage funk. Offer to answer any questions they might have! And remember to have fun with it!

Maybe your kids aren’t Pirate fans like mine! That’s okay! Get creative! Think outside of the box when teaching your tweens about hygiene!

Adapt this to your own tween’s needs. Do not give up! Hang in there! Be persistent! They will eventually get it. Good personal hygiene is an important life skill that they need to learn, like driving a car or managing money.

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Written by Whitney. Whitney is an intern that is currently finishing up her degree in marriage and family studies. We are so glad to have her working with us this semester.

Kids, Mom Life, My Life, parenting, Product Review, things that work

How To Limit Screen Time with Tweens and Teens

This post contains affiliate links.

I have a love-hate relationship with technology! I love it because it offers so much information right at our fingertips, but I HATE it because how much it sucks my kids in! I mean let’s be honest with video games, new YouTubers popping up every day, and a variety of other ways to suck our kids in if we aren’t careful they will be “hooked up” to technology from the time they get home from school until bedtime, excluding the 5 minute break that they take coming down for “family dinner” to scarf down some food! And we haven’t even begun to talk about what they could possibly find on the internet!

I have tried so many things with the boys trying to get them to not spend so much time using technology, but each method has failed. Mostly because I hate being the bad guy! I don’t want to listen to their whining when I take electronics away so I end up giving in and giving it back to them. I am also inconsistent because it is so hard to monitor how much time each person has spent on technology! And on top of that, you can’t really chase Tweens and Teens around asking them if they are on their devices without being the “most overprotective mom” in the entire world.


I knew Chase would be getting a phone for Christmas and part of me was scared to death as to how much MORE he would be on the internet, so I started searching for different ways to limit the amount of wifi that each child used as well as have some sort of internet security in place to protect them from a lot of inappropriate stuff out there and that is when I heard about Circle with Disney.

What is Circle With Disney?

Circle with Disney is a device that you hook up with your router that controls each device individually on your wifi network, that is all controlled through an app on your phone, so it’s super convenient.  It allows you to place time limits as well as security limits on devices and individuals that are hooked up to your network. Circle with Disney allows me to set wake up and bedtimes, off times throughout the day, filter content, as well as look at the history of where each person has been on the internet. I can also pause each person’s wifi or give rewards for good behavior with a click of a button on the app on my phone! I don’t even have to be home to do this!


How Does Circle Work For Our Family?

We have had Circle with Disney for almost 2 months and it has worked fantastic for our family! At first, the boys were using their entire wifi allotment within hours of waking up and they, of course, would come begging for more, but now they have learned to use their wifi when they really want to play a game or watch something on YouTube. Very rarely are they using all their wifi on their personal devices in a day. They have discovered the outdoors and other activities that they really enjoy, they are no longer getting up at 6am on Saturday (because they know the wifi is off) and family dinners are now longer than 5 minutes!


I love knowing exactly where my kids have been on the internet and how much time they are spending there. I no longer fear about them running into inappropriate content because I know it is being blocked. I have also discovered how much time I waste in a day on the internet and limited myself as well so that I too can be productive!

Circle with Disney is $99.00 and has been worth every penny because the wifi is no longer a battle I have to fight every day with the kids! If you want to limit wifi and have struggled to do that I can guarantee this will work for you! They also have a monthly plan that protects devices when they are off the wifi network as well if your kids decide to start using data when they run out of wifi for the day (mine haven’t tried this yet because they know they will lose their phones for a very long time if we go over our data plan!)

If you struggle with screen time like we did, Circle with Disney can really help solve your screen time problems! Click here to purchase Circle with Disney at Amazon!

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Kids, parenting

What I Wish I’d Known as a Teenager about Dating


It’s the start of a new year! Most of us have probably made New Year’s resolutions and goals that we’d like to accomplish in 2018. But have we made any goals that involve what we plan on teaching our children?

Oftentimes we as parents get so caught up teaching our children the day to day life lessons that we forget to teach one of the bigger lessons, such as understanding what dating is and why it’s important.

When I was in High School one of the main things on my mind was if I would have any opportunities to date. Going on a date at the time meant that someone found me attractive, wanted to date me all the time and that we would end up being boyfriend and girlfriend.

If I got asked out even once, I almost automatically assumed the boy liked me as more than “just friends”.  Isn’t this a typical mindset of High School students?! I hope so at least!

Jumping forward 10 years and going out on a date has a completely different meaning to me.

It now means spending time with someone in order to get to know them better and to see if this is someone I would enjoy spending more time with. The guy doesn’t necessarily have to like me as more than friends or an acquaintance. What a drastic change! How did this happen?

5 Lessons I Wish I Knew and How we as Parents Can Teach Them

There are 5 main lessons teenagers and young adults need to understand as they start the process of maturing and interacting with people who they would like to eventually be committed to.

“A date is a planned activity that allows a young man and young woman to get to know each other. In cultures where dating is acceptable, it can help them learn and practice social skills, develop friendships, have fun, and eventually help them find a future companion.”

1.     Do I Need Someone to Complete Me/Make Me Happy?

The fundamental answer to this question is an absolute NO!

When I was a teenager I would have thoughts like, “When I get married, I will finally be happy”, or “When I get married, I will become better at organizing, be more outgoing, I’ll know how to cook better,” and the list goes on and on.

These and other similar thoughts are thoughts that many young people have. They look to the future for better things to come and think once they finally happen then they will be happy. They will wait for a partner to start being the best they can be, to learn certain things, and they don’t think that they can possibly be happy now without it.

This thought process is perpetual, and the grass will always be greener on the other side.

What we need to help our children realize is that you don’t need a boyfriend/girlfriend in your life to be happy. You don’t need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be in your life to accomplish your goals and dreams. You can be happy now and you don’t have to hold back to be your best self.

2.     Love vs. Attraction

We hear so often young people (teens/ young adults) say, “But mom I love him! You just don’t understand!” But honestly, do they really understand what love is?

When we hear the word “love” we usually think of the love between a male and female. There’s the kissing, the cuddling, hand holding, and eventually sex, right? However, this kind of love is not applied to everything. I mean when we say “I love you, dad,” we don’t also mean that we ever have the desire to make out with him right?

Mental picture…………………………………………Ewww no!

So what does love actually mean if it’s not applied to both situations?

The difference is that attraction is involved with someone around our age and not towards our parents, siblings, most friends, grandparents, etc.

Love is the deep emotional connection we have with those people who are close to us. It comes from time, hardships, patience, and service.

Attraction is what makes us crave the physical pleasure. It comes from hormones, how pretty or good looking the other person is, fun times you have with this person, kissing, cuddling, hand holding, and eventually sex.

Some teenagers might dispute this difference, saying love and attraction are basically the same things. But again, when we say we love our mom or dad that doesn’t mean we want to make out with them. There IS a difference.

The attraction, or “twitterpation” stage, is what most of us feel at the beginning of relationships, but we should not confuse this feeling with love. Love will come with time and experience.

3.      “Soul Mates”

Many people, including teenagers, have probably thought at least once that they want to find their “soul mate.”

First of all, there is no such thing as ONE person you are supposed to marry. It’s simply a ridiculous idea that there is only one person in the entire world that you are meant to find, and thanks to Hollywood chick-flicks we ALL have this thought process (though they are fun to watch!).

There can be, however, a certain type of person you are meant to marry. But how do we teach our children what type of person they like? We teach them that they need to go on many dates to see what kind of person they are attracted to both physically and personality wise.

It’s not a bad thing to date a lot of people; in fact, it is a very good thing! There is a strange notion that if you “date around” you are a player. We need to help young adults understand that going on lots of dates is a good thing. Of course in a committed relationship, dating around is wrong.

We need to help young adults understand that going on lots of dates is a good thing

It is also important to teach our children what type of person they should become starting at a young age.

Raising boys to become gentlemen is something that isn’t as popular as it used to be, but boys who know how to treat a girl with respect, and know how to be chivalrous, is something everyone is looking for, I promise.

Raising girls to become more feminine. Being feminine does not mean being someone that others can walk over, or someone who is helpless. Being feminine is a strength that not many women have in today’s society.

I know you might be thinking, “I want my daughter to be strong and independent!” but this video explains my point perfectly!

4.     What is a good date?

Dating has become more serious than it used to be.

As I described earlier, as a teenager I assumed going out on a date, even once, meant there was something more serious involved. If dating was meant to be casual and fun, then how did it become something so serious?

Dallin Oaks gives a seminar in which he describes the differences between dating and hanging out, and what a good date should look like.

Helping our children follow these guidelines to good dating can help with the confusion some feel about what to do. A good date should include these three things:

  1.     Planned Ahead: Making sure there is actually a plan, and letting the young woman know what it is well in advance so she can prepare. Avoid showing up to pick up your date and asking “so what do you want to do?”

By making sure a plan is made before the actual date helps teach young men how to be leaders and organizers. This is helping them practice for not only a future marriage but also in life and future careers.

It also shows young women what kinds of men they should look for. Men who will take the initiative to plan something and take charge, and to be responsible.  

  1.     Paid For: As a general rule (at least for me) if a guy asks me out and we end up going somewhere that requires money, I’m expecting him to pay for me. If I ask a guy out it’s a different story. If we begin dating long term, then paying for dates can be discussed and equalized.

When a boy pays for his date, it teaches him how to provide. In essence, this is practice on how to provide for a future family.

When a girl sees a boy pay for her, it helps show her that he is responsible, and it helps teach her how to be treated right. It doesn’t mean that she can’t pay, but it shows her what it’s like to be taken care of (even just for one night). Girls should also be taught to say “Thank You” when a guy pays, instead of expecting it and not saying anything.

  1.     Paired Off:  You + your date. No third wheel friend, not a bunch of random people that you bring with you, just you and your date. You asked them out specifically, which means there is a commitment of short duration expected.

When guys ask a girl out they are then also responsible for her safety and well-being. This helps teach him how to be a protector, because he is now responsible, for a short period of time, for someone other than himself.

Protection from others and sketchy areas are included, but it can also be from each other. Guys shouldn’t force the girl to kiss them or make out, they should respect her space and never try and do anything that would make her uncomfortable.

When a girl goes out with a guy she should feel safe with him and should feel like he will take care of her for the duration of their date. This helps teach her how she should be treated and how she feels about this certain individual.

  1.     Discussing the Dating Rules or Guidelines for your Family

Dating is fun, and adolescents should be allowed to experience it when they are of an age that is appropriate. This is based on every family’s personal guidelines, but they should definitely be discussed and solidified.

For me, 16 is when I could start going out on group dates. Each of us had an individual date, but there were multiple couples involved. Those were some of the most fun activities I’ve ever been on. It was fun, safe, and I got to know a lot of different people.  Notice that this is actually a group DATE, instead of a hangout.

Now as an adult, I don’t have as many group dates because my focus is now on finding someone who I could see spending the rest of my life with. I’m not looking for that at 16, and my maturity level has increased (well, in some areas at least).

Parents need to discuss with each other:

-What age their child should be allowed to start dating

        -Is there an age difference between group dates vs. single dates?

-Curfew and what time is appropriate for weekdays and weekends

-How involved you are knowing where they are, who they are with, what the activity is, etc.

Dating is how children and young adults practice their social skills, and it exposes them to different types of people. It can be looked at as an educational experience, but overall it is FUN and should be FUN!

Dating doesn’t have to be so serious, and teaching our children these points will help them feel like dating is something they can do frequently and with a confident attitude.

-Written by Lisa Jensen. 

Lisa Jensen is a recent graduate of BYU-Idaho with her degree in marriage and family studies. She has spent the last semester interning for Confessions of Parenting. She is striving to help young adults and teenagers become more confident in themselves, and their abilities, in all aspects of their lives. She hopes to help parents become more informed and involved with topics that children and young adults don’t often get taught at home, but rather from their peers and society.

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Kids, Mom Life, My Life, parenting

Why do we have to Decide?

My son is courageous. He has always been a fighter, fighting for what he thinks is right, fighting for others, and fighting to overcome hard things. Every day he fights a little harder to stand up for what is right. When my son was 3 he would head outside in his underwear and shoes and pick up a bat and hit balls off the tee. His determination was amazing. He joined his first baseball team when he was 4 and has never put a bat down since; he is now 12. His determination, teamwork, and leadership skills on and off the field are incredible to watch. His coaches always comment on how hard he works on and off the field.
While we lived in California he played Little League for many years, two years ago we moved to Texas. Where we live Little League does not exist; it is rec ball for beginners or select ball. After much consideration of the Pros and Cons, we felt the only way he could continue to grow in the sport of baseball was to allow him to play select ball. Never did we realize this consisted of many tournaments throughout the season, which took up Saturdays and Sundays.  We have always supported our son’s dreams, but now we were and still are faced with the challenge of what to do, attend our religious services on Sunday or play baseball.

Continue reading “Why do we have to Decide?”