Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

5 Tips to keep your family working together as a team

How operating as a family team can improve your home life

Early on in our marriage, my husband and I developed an attitude of teamwork. It was us against the world, so to speak. Once we had children, we wanted to create an atmosphere of family teamwork. Having our family working together remains one of our top priorities. We haven’t always been perfect at it, but building the mentality of a family team improves our home life and help us build strong relationships. We use some simple strategies to make that happen.

Why family teamwork matters

One of the biggest aspects of family teamwork is thinking about other people. In this case, it’s thinking about your family members and what they need. As the old saying goes, “There’s no ‘I’ in teamwork.” And I can’t think of a better way to build good relationships within your family than thinking about what each other needs. I’ve seen my children care for and look out for each other (and their dad and me) at different times that I know is a result of our family routine of teamwork.

Another benefit of family teamwork is that you can more easily celebrate victories together. It helps eliminate competition among siblings. We have often told our children that what’s good news for one of us is good for all of us. We’re not competing to see who is the best or who can get the most. We are celebrating the victories along the way and understanding that those victories look different for each of us. Our family has a common goal to succeed and support one another.
Basically, family teamwork encompasses the attitudes I want most for my family. I want us to be a safe spot for each other. I want our family to look out for and support one another while maintaining a good relationship. And I want to make sure each of us know we are part of something bigger. We are all an integral part to our family and the team doesn’t run as well if a member is down.

What family teamwork looks like

Family working together Pinterest image 2

Throughout the years, we’ve seen the family teamwork mentality at work in our family in a variety of ways.

  • When our children get a sweet treat without the other one around, they ask for a treat to share with the other so nobody is left out.
  • Our kids have worked together to organize their bedrooms and shared spaces. (I mean, two weeks ago, I found them voluntarily working together to sort through and organize their bookcases together!)
  • The entire family worked together this summer to redo both of the kids’ bedrooms. We all painted part of my daughter’s bed together, and we all spent an entire weekend sorting through and organizing toys in my son’s room.
  • When my daughter is up before me, she makes breakfast for her little brother (and sometimes for me!). 
  • Our children have teamed up together to plan fun activities like a family yes day.
  • We have family laundry folding “parties” and work together to get laundry folded and put away.

Ideas for building family teamwork

You don’t just wake up one day and declare that everyone is a team and that’s the end of it. We’ve been working on it for about a decade now, and we are still finding ways to make improvements. Nobody is perfect by any means. But, there are some things you can do to help encourage teamwork within your family.

1. Work on projects together.

Not much builds teamwork better than working on a project together. Getting the entire family involved in projects around the house helps everyone learn how to work together and builds the family teamwork mentality. Our kids haven’t always been excited about projects we have had them work on with us. We have definitely had discussions about attitude adjustments. We remind the kiddos that we are working together for something to help or benefit our entire family. And we do our best to make sure we also have good attitudes while being clear that bad attitudes won’t be tolerated. 

What has ended up happening is that even when the kids grouse about working on a project they don’t want to, they get on board with it. In the end, when we finish the project together, they feel just as good about it as we do. 

Another bonus of working on projects together is teaching the kiddos life skills. The kids have helped my husband change the brakes on the car, helped me prepare food, helped clean rooms, helped organize closets and more. Some skills are bigger than others. I wouldn’t trust my 8- and 11-year-old children to change the brakes on the car by themselves, but I love that they have an understanding of how car brakes work and the benefits of being able to do that work ourselves. 

Other things, like helping me prepare food, have already paid off as my oldest has really taken a shine to cooking and made dinner for our family as well as multiple other dishes completely on her own. She’s learned the satisfaction of making food for people she loves.

2. Talk about being a team.

While actions speak louder than words in general, words are still important to reinforce the family teamwork mentality. One of our family rules is that we don’t make fun or talk negatively about each other. The best way we’ve found to communicate about teamwork is in small ways in the moment rather than sitting down for a long lecture. Because, let’s face it, long lectures aren’t a great way to get through to kids (or adults!).

Instead, we compliment the kids when we see them working together to help each other or one of us. We will literally say things like, “I love how you guys worked together on that.” When one of our kiddos struggles with feeling jealous of something the other one is doing (one child struggles with this more than the other), we instead help them focus on being happy for their sibling. Because, as we remind them, what’s good for one of us is good for all of us. We can celebrate something good happening to someone in our family knowing there will be times the family will be celebrating with us.

It might sound a bit cheesy, but we also will sometimes give high fives and say, “Go, Team Shannon!” None of us are super into sports, but we are super into being together and working well together. Even cheesy statements help us remember that we really are all a team working together.

3. Keep competition fun.

Competition in families should happen only in games and nothing else. Any other competition is not going to build a family teamwork mentality and will most likely cause it to crumble to the ground. In a good team, everyone is working together for the common good. Nobody is working to look better than their own teammates. Comparing the abilities of our children to each other is not going to help build a team mentality. Instead, it will end up dividing our children rather than bring them together.

And beware of ways your children might perceive that you’re comparing them, even if you aren’t. For example, I grew up as the youngest of two kids. Sometimes I felt like I had to live up to something my older brother did and that my parents were comparing us. Looking back now, they weren’t comparing us. I just felt that way. So I try to be intentional about reminding my kids that they are both doing a great job and they both have different strengths and skills. All we want them to do is their best. Will that look different for them? Absolutely, because they are different people!

4. Play cooperative games.

I’m not necessarily thinking of team-building exercises like trust falls, but I’m thinking more of games in general that you can play together as a family without competition. We even play some competitive games, like charades, without keeping score. Listen, I’m a competitive person. I want to win when I play games. But I have found I most love playing cooperative games with my family that we work together to win.

One of my recent good memories with my family was playing a game of Monopoly together on the Xbox. My husband ran the controller and our family played collectively as one game piece. We each had input on strategies and what we should do as we competed against computer players. When we pulled out a victory after thinking we were going to get beaten, all four of us celebrated together. 

Another great team building game we’ve played recently is story telling together using the alphabet. One person starts a story by saying a couple of sentences with a word that starts with letter “A.” The next person starts with a “B” and adds a couple of more sentences. The story builds itself through to the end of the alphabet. Nothing is competitive about the game and it just results in lots of laughs as you work together to tell a story. Ours have taken all sorts of twists and turns I didn’t see coming!

5. Be an all-inclusive team coach.

If we go with a sports analogy for family teamwork, the parents are the coaches and the children are the players. That’s how it ought to be. But that doesn’t mean the team members never get a say in what the team is doing. Though my husband and I get the final say on family decisions, we get our children’s opinions in some matters as we are making plans.

For example, this year we were trying to decide what to do for vacation. My husband and I came up with four destinations and presented all four to our children. As a family we discussed what we liked about each option. Then we talked, voted and came up with our final selection together. When the kids were younger, we didn’t do this, because they were too young to have a say or really care. But as they are getting older, they love being able to have a say in decisions. 

Any time you can involve your kids in decision making for your family, go for it. While it does help them build important skills about decision making, it also helps them feel more connected and part of the team. My husband and I definitely make many decisions without their input, because we are the adults and have the experience and wisdom to make good choices. But in other areas, we love to let them be involved. In the vacation example, the kids also learned how much work goes into planning a vacation and finding things for us to do that are fun. Since they got to be involved in the planning, they were even more excited for the trip and we were able to better choose the things they wanted to do.

Download the free Family Teamwork Tip sheet PDF with all 5 tips broken down into one printable!

Check out these other great articles about family life:

10 Ways to have a family life filled with grace, love and faith

Grace-filled sibling relationships

How to have a family yes day (and why you should!)

60 Motherhood truths to inspire you and make you laugh

You’ll relate to these short motherhood quotes that are both inspirational and funny!

Once I became a mom, I suddenly understood all the unsolicited motherhood advice other moms dole out. You just have all this information inside of you that you want to share with a woman about to have her first baby. You want to chat about it with other moms to make sure you aren’t the only one with these feelings or struggles.

I’ve compiled a long list of short motherhood quotes. The first 35 I wrote when my kids were 3-1/2 years and 5 months old. You’ll find relatable motherhood quotes that are sentimental, humorous or both! Keeping a sense of humor in motherhood is vital for survival.

(And thanks to a couple of readers who gave me some motherhood quotes to share as well!)

Short motherhood quotes from the early years

Motherhood quote #1 

You’ll have many moments when your husband, your children and your dog all need something from you at the exact same time. This is usually when you’re doing a frivolous activity like making dinner or washing laundry or going to the bathroom.

Motherhood quote #2 

Speaking of going to the bathroom, you’ll wonder if you will ever have privacy again.

Motherhood quote #3

Knowing that one day you will miss having an entourage follow you throughout the house and adoring fans crying for you from another room doesn’t make it any easier to deal with right now.

Motherhood quote #4 

You will have moments when you’ll wonder why on earth you ever taught your preschooler to talk since she never stops talking. Ever. Ever, ever. 

Motherhood quote #5 

You will be amazed at how many tasks you can accomplish and have no memory of when you’re sleep deprived.

Motherhood quote #6

You will sometimes tear up because you have so much love for your little people that your heart overflows and can’t contain it. This even happens at 2 a.m. when you’ve been up since 7 a.m. the previous day.

Motherhood quote #7

You will always feel guilty about something. You will beat yourself up over every single thing you do and every single thing you don’t do. Mommy guilt is ever-present and sometimes all-consuming. Watch out for it!

Motherhood quote #8

You will find yourself saying things you never dreamed you would like: “Your Crocs are in my bedroom with corn in them.” Or, “If you fall and hurt yourself, I’m not going to help you.”

Motherhood quote #9

You will have more fun playing with your kids than you did playing when you were a child.

Motherhood quote #10

You will be glad to have given birth and yet somehow miss being pregnant at the same time — even when you had a miserable pregnancy.

Motherhood quote #11

Just like mommy guilt, mommy worries are also always present, especially with the first baby. You’ll worry if she’s sleeping too much. You’ll worry she’s not sleeping enough. It won’t make any sense, but it will happen.

Motherhood quote #12

You will channel your mom. Enough said.

Motherhood quote #13 

You will lose yourself for a while after the baby is born, but you’ll come back. Slowly, over time, you become more you again, yet different in a way you’re OK with.

You will lose yourself for a while after your baby is born, but you'll come back. Slowly, over time, you become more you again, yet in a different way you're OK with.

Motherhood quote #14

You’ll have the super power of being able to touch hot plates without grimacing. I don’t know how this ties into motherhood, but it’s true. My hands can stand much more heat now than ever before. Maybe I’m just too tired to care about getting burnt.

Motherhood quote #15

You won’t remember a darn thing. Mommy brain is real. I keep multiple lists and set multiple calendar items and reminders on my phone to pretend like I’m organized. You won’t remember a darn thing. (Did I already say that? I don’t remember!)

Motherhood quote #16

You will need an extra half hour to get out of the house — at least. Because there is always a diaper that needs to be changed as soon as everyone is ready or a sippy cup that needs to be filled or a doll that needs to be found.

Motherhood quote #17

You will sing children’s songs in your head all the time whether it’s in the middle of the night when you’re up for the bathroom or to feed the baby or whether you’re on a date with your husband (and if your husband is like mine, he’ll sing right along with you!).

Motherhood quote #18

Speaking of husbands, you’ll be overwhelmed at how much more you can love him when you see him holding your baby. And you’ll also be overwhelmed at how irritated you can get at him, but remember hormones and sleep deprivation make even the best husband seem annoying. 

This applies to all relatives and even random strangers, too.

Motherhood quote #19

You have an inner mama bear that will come out when riled. I have stood up to folks I never speak up to when my child’s happiness was at stake. I would take on anyone who tried to mess with either of my babies and I mean anyone!

Motherhood quote #20

You won’t be grossed out very easily. In fact, you’ll do gross things and not even give them a second thought. Leaving the house with spit-up on your shirt is the least of them. 

When my son was a newborn, I literally caught a bowel movement in my hand as he started to go while I was changing him. My reasoning was that it was much easier to clean my hands off than have to clean it off the changing table pad. 

Only later did I even think, “Hey, that was probably gross.”

Motherhood quote #21

You’re on a long journey. You’ll have good days and bad. And sometimes they happen all in the same day. Don’t get bogged down by the bad moments. Know that it really is worth it and whatever phase you’re in really does end.

Motherhood is a long journey. You'll have good days and bad. And sometimes they happen all in the same day. Don't get bogged down by the bad moments. Know that it really is worth it and whatever phase you're in really does end -- Instagram short motherhood quote

Motherhood quote #22

Life really won’t ever be the same again. Having a child changes you forever. Life is no longer about you but all about the little people you gave birth to. It’s OK to mourn the loss of life as you knew it. 

Just don’t get stuck there and miss enjoying the life you have now — or at least the really good parts of it!

Motherhood quote #23

You must have a sense of humor. Keep a sense of humor about the trials and challenges of motherhood, pregnancy and childbirth. Own it. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes you will cry. But, sometimes you can laugh instead.

Motherhood quote #24

Keeping a sense of humor is also important because there is never enough energy or time for a good cry.

Motherhood quote #25

You will develop a keen radar and be able to find your child’s favorite toy in a pile of a million toys strewn all around your house. At all times I know where my daughter’s favorite doll is and my son’s favorite ball is. Seriously.

Motherhood quote #26

You will hone ninja-like abilities to move silently out of your baby’s room after a 30-minute battle to get him to sleep.

Motherhood quote #27

You will apologize to your parents for fighting sleep, talking back or simply just being alive after dealing with your children. Just this week I texted my mother to apologize for fighting sleep. She’s told me my son reminds her of me as a baby. I’m so sorry for that for her. I’m even more sorry for that for me sometimes!

Motherhood quote #28

You will wonder how you ever thought you were busy before. I remember before having kids I felt like I was so busy all the time. I laugh at that idea now. Heck, I thought I was so busy with one baby. Now when I have only the baby to deal with, it feels like free time. And he’s a much needier baby than my daughter was.

Motherhood quote #29

If you breastfeed, you’ll be surprised at all the places milk can end up. You’ll be equally surprised at all the places spit-up can end up as well. This is probably true for bottle feeding as well!

Motherhood quote #30

You will be surprised at how much you praise bodily functions. Sometimes that will carry over to others. I have literally said to my husband before, “That was a good burp-y.” Yeah. It happens.

Motherhood quote #31

You will share “looks” with other moms at Target when their child is whining. While before you might have looked on with judgment, now you look on with empathy and, internally, are just plain relieved your child isn’t the offender at the moment.

Motherhood quote #32

You will want to smack anyone who does anything to wake up your baby. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’ve had to refrain from putting the smackdown on the pizza delivery guy who returned unannounced for us to sign a receipt right after we got the baby to sleep and were about to indulge in pizza and a movie on a date night. 

Or the family friend who insisted on stroking the baby’s arm when she saw us at a restaurant and our food had just arrived and he was happily asleep for once. 

Or the dog who stands outside the baby’s door and barks for no apparent reason. I could go on.

Motherhood quote #33

You will refer to yourself in the third person. Worst of all for someone like me, you will intermix third and first person. For example, “Mommy needs to take a shower. When I get out, we’ll make sure you didn’t burn down the house.” OK, I haven’t actually said that, but you get my point.

Motherhood makes you refer to yourself in the third person. -- Instagram short motherhood quote

Motherhood quote #34

You will feel as if you should get awards for various things that no one would ever think of giving awards for. Like an award for showering, bathing the children, making dinner, doing laundry, paying bills or refraining from telling your child to shut up. Small tasks become so very monumental.

Motherhood quote #35

You will survive. Well, I’m pretty sure you will.  So far I have survived and it’s been just over 3 and 1/2 years. I also know plenty of moms who have grown children, so I like to think that survival of motherhood is possible. 

Truths from the school-aged years of motherhood

Motherhood quote #36

(From Kayla, a mom of four) Your kids will always ask you for what they need, even if your husband is closer to them. They’ll even call and ask you a question if you’re at work and their dad is home with them.

Motherhood quote #37

(From Kayla, a mom of four) You are the only one who can see dishes in the sink, laundry that needs to be folded and a house that needs cleaned.

Motherhood quote #38

(From Melissa, a mom of three) Parenting is harder than anyone can ever explain. (It never gets easier.) Just like no one can ever explain how much you will love your child.

Motherhood quote #39

(From Kayla, a mom of four) Motherhood is the hardest and most rewarding job ever!

Motherhood quote #40

(From Kayla, a mom of four) You’ve got to have downtime and evening snuggles while watching Disney is the way to go!

Motherhood quote #41

You will have parent homework, meaning projects and such that rely on you to organize and manage them. While you may think you have passed kindergarten or second grade before, you will find yourself helping with the work yet again.

Don’t fight it and gripe about it — or you’ll just make yourself miserable. (I speak from experience here…)

Motherhood quote #42

You don’t have to be friends with the parents of your children’s friends. Being friendly with them and knowing them is a good plan, especially if you are going to let your kids go to their houses. But just because your kiddos are BFFs doesn’t mean that you will be, too!

You don't have to be friends with the parents of your children's friends. Just because your kiddos are BFFs doesn't mean that you will be, too! -- Instagram short quote about motherhood

Motherhood quote #43

Some truths about your children remain the same from the time they are little until they get older. My son — the challenging sleeper as a baby — still has trouble sleeping. My daughter — the chatty preschooler — is now a chatty 4th grader.

Motherhood quote #44

Even if you’re the first one up each morning, chances are really good you’ll be the last one to get ready since you help everyone else along the way.

Motherhood quote #45

Watching your children perform anything anywhere will make your heart burst with pride, even if they aren’t exceptionally great at what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter. They are up there and you’ll realize afterward that your jaws can get sore from smiling too much.

Motherhood quote #46

Even when your kiddos seem so big compared to the babies and toddlers they were, they still revert to those same sweet faces and want you when they aren’t feeling well. The only difference is now you soak it up all that much more because those moments are more fleeting than they once were.

Motherhood quote #47

Your son may have just turned 7, but you still have a bit of PTSD from his early days as a reflux baby who did very little sleeping at night. You will do your best not to hold this against him.

Motherhood quote #48

Traveling with your kids gets easier as they get older. You no longer have to lug half your household along and they are much more flexible.

Motherhood quote #49

If you kids are going to get a stomach bug, at least 90% of the time it doesn’t start until after bedtime and often after midnight.

Motherhood quote #50

You’ll plan what outfits your kids will wear for big events (or family photos) and then scramble around at the last minute deciding what you’re going to wear.

Motherhood quote #51

Watching your children play together is an awesome feeling. Seeing them treat each other with love and kindness is the best feeling!

Motherhood quote #52

Growth spurts will strike at unexpected times — like right after you just finished buying them clothes for the season or one month before the season ends. (I just had to start buying more winter clothes for my son because he got taller, even though warm weather is on its way!)

Motherhood quote #53

Once you stock up on a food your kids have been in love with for weeks, they’ll decide they don’t like it so much. OK, not every time, but many times!

Once you stock up on a food your kids have been in love with for weeks, they'll decide they don't like it so much. -- Short quote about motherhood Instagram image

Motherhood quote #54

You’ll get a better understanding of God’s love and greatness. I marvel at how much I love my children and can’t fathom how it’s possible He loves them even more.

Motherhood quote #55

Even being their mom first, you’ll have times you get to be their friend and it’s just plain fun. I love getting a chance to just hang out with my kids, especially one-on-one, and taking off my mom hat to just be with them doing something fun together.

Motherhood quote #56

You’ll wonder how shoes and socks can disappear so easily, even with set spots for them to go. You’ll begin to wonder if elves appear overnight and move things around!

Motherhood quote #57

You’ll have to work past grudges against other kids who didn’t treat your own very well even when they work through the issue and become good friends.

Motherhood quote #58

Great memories are often made in the small moments. Earlier this week, we spent a few days at an indoor water park on the kids’ spring break. They had so much fun, but I think the memory I’ll most hang onto is lying in bed with them, eating mini muffins and watching “The Golden Girls” (their pick!) on our last morning in the hotel.

Motherhood quote #59

You’ll learn so many lessons from your children. I have been astounded at the spiritual insights my kids have. I have been humbled and blessed in hearing them pray for me, our family and big issues in the world.

Motherhood quote #60

Being a mom is the most exhausting and draining job on the planet. But it’s also the best job you can ever imagine. The rewards far surpass the challenges.

Being a mom is the most exhausting and draining job on the planet. But it's also the best job you can ever imagine. The rewards far surpass the challenges. -- Short motherhood quote for Instagram

Find more posts about motherhood:

Motherhood and messes

The push and pull of motherhood

Motherhood requires a sense of humor

The tediousness of motherhood

Finding myself again after having a baby

Savor the taste of togetherness

6 Easy recipes for kid chefs and their families

Filled with easy recipes for kid chefs, this post comes from Maria Lawrence, a content writer for Cuisipro. These kid friendly recipes not only taste good but will help your family enjoy time together in the kitchen!

The warmth of a kitchen is amplified when it brings family members together in the joyous act of creating meals. With this in mind, we present six delightful, family-friendly recipes that promise not just nourishment but also shared moments of togetherness.

Kid friendly pepperoni pizza muffins

Pepperoni pizza muffins; photo provided by Cuisipro
Photo provided by Cuisipro

A delightful mix of pizza and muffins, these handheld bites are perfect for kids and will make snack time or dinner an exciting affair.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups pepperoni, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pizza sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease a muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and Italian seasoning.
  3. Stir in the cheese and pepperoni.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then add the milk and olive oil.
  5. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow the muffins to cool slightly, then serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

Mini chicken pot pies

Mini chicken pot pies made in a muffin tin

These comforting, individual pot pies are filled with a hearty mixture of chicken and veggies, all encased in a buttery, flaky crust.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pack ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until a paste forms.
  3. Gradually add in chicken broth and cream, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.
  4. Stir in shredded chicken and frozen vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut the puff pastry into squares big enough to fit into the muffin tin sections.
  6. Press each square into the muffin tin, then fill with the chicken mixture.
  7. Fold over the corners of the pastry to the center.
  8. Brush the tops of the pies with beaten egg.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Rainbow vegetable skewers

Grilled vegetable skewers

These colorful skewers are a fun and nutritious way to serve a variety of vegetables.

Ingredients

  • A selection of colorful vegetables (like bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, red onion, mushrooms)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Skewers

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill or grill pan over medium heat.
  2. Chop the vegetables into chunks.
  3. Thread the vegetables onto the skewers, alternating colors for a rainbow effect.
  4. Brush the skewers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Grill the skewers for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and lightly charred.

DIY taco bar

Prepared tacos from a DIY taco bar

Creating a DIY taco bar is an entertaining and customizable dinner idea, suitable for everyone’s taste.

Ingredients

  • Taco shells or tortillas
  • Cooked ground meat (like beef, chicken, or turkey)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded cheese
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole

Instructions

  1. Prepare and cook your chosen meat, seasoning as desired.
  2. Arrange all the ingredients in separate bowls on the table.
  3. Let each family member build their own taco, adding their favorite fillings.

Baked ziti pasta

Baked ziti pasta

Baked Ziti is a classic Italian-American comfort food, full of cheesy, tomato-based goodness. The combination of melted cheese, pasta and a robust tomato sauce is certain to satisfy everyone’s palate. Plus, it’s a one-dish meal, meaning less cleanup and more time spent with your family.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Cook the ziti according to the package instructions until just al dente. Drain.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, mix the marinara sauce, ricotta, half of the mozzarella, the Parmesan, oregano and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and cheese mixture, stirring well to coat all the pasta.
  5. Transfer the pasta mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.
  7. Allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Chocolate dipped fruit

A strawberry being dipped into melted chocolate

This simple, semi-healthy dessert is a delicious way to end a family meal.

Ingredients

  • Selection of fresh fruit (like strawberries, bananas, grapes)
  • Melting chocolate
  • Skewers (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut any large fruit into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or using a double boiler.
  3. Dip each piece of fruit into the chocolate, then place on a tray lined with parchment paper.
  4. Allow the chocolate to set in the refrigerator.
  5. Serve the fruit as is or thread onto skewers for easy eating.

Cooking together isn’t just about the food; it’s about the conversations that flow while the stew simmers, the teamwork it takes to assemble a dish and the shared laughter when something goes awry. When served at the dinner table, the food brings with it a slice of these cherished moments, making every bite a celebration of togetherness.

Check out these additional great recipes for kid chefs and your entire family:

A sloppy joe recipe your family will love

Microwave baked potato recipe

BLT pizza

Easy oat and honey granola

Easy microwave fudge recipe made five ways

An easy way to make a boxed brownie mix fudgy good

Peanut butter honey nut cereal clusters

Edible chocolate chip cookie dough

Raising a Christian child in public school

Nurturing your child’s faith amidst everyday challenges

When my husband and I discussed plans for our children long before they existed, our conversation included school. We knew the options available and decided public school was the best choice for us. Both of us were raised as Christian children in public schools, and we knew it was possible to do just that.

Each family has to make their own education choices based on beliefs and practicality. But, for us and many other Christian families like ours, public school is the right and best choice. We had about a year and a half of virtual schooling during the height of COVID, because that was right for our family. At the end of that period, I knew public school continued to be the correct choice for our family.

However, raising a Christian child in public school does take some thought and intentions. I want my children to get a great education — and they are. I also want them to be grounded in their beliefs — which they also are. Together, my husband and I work to make sure their education at school and at home are the best they can be.

Cultivating a strong foundation of faith at home

As Christian moms and dads, teaching our children about God is our most important task. This is even more important for children going to public school. I know my children’s school isn’t going to teach them about faith. In fact, I’m glad for that! My husband and I along with our church have that responsibility.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (ESV)

From the beginning of the Bible, God instructs us to teach our children about Him as we are doing everything. Raising a Christian child in public school starts with nurturing their faith at home.

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Working these things into your daily routines helps you instill them in your children even more. Family devotionals are a great way to spark conversation about God. Listening to Christian music shifts everyone’s thoughts to God. I especially love to hear my kids going around singing about Jesus because those are the songs in their heads!

We also make God a normal part of conversation. We encourage our children to ask questions, and we share with them how we experience God at work in our own lives.

Equipping your child for the challenges

My husband and I know our kids will face challenges as Christians in a public school. In fact, their school is not only a public school but is tied into a university and has more liberal leanings as a result. So, we use these things for open conversations and have ever since they were in kindergarten.

Educational material

While some parts of their education is completely fact based, like math and grammar, other parts are more up for debate. One great example of this is creationism versus evolution. Our family has had multiple discussions about this. We’ve spent time truly delving into what the Bible says and how science really does back it up.

As my children head into 5th and 8th grades this coming school year, they may continue to have educational topics arise that don’t align with what we believe. We will continue to talk about those things with them. I always want my children to feel comfortable questioning things. They challenge my husband and me to find answers sometimes!

One thing I’ve learned in all my decades as a Christian is that God stands up to questions. No matter what school is teaching my children, if we are exploring it from a faith-based perspective at home and examining the topic deeply, I know all answers lead back to God. If they didn’t, then He wouldn’t be worthy of my worship and devotion!

This all results in our children learning to ask questions and stand in their faith from an early age. We’ve found that they understand more then we expected so many times. As Christian moms and dads we need to do our best to listen to our children and really answer their questions. It will nurture our children’s faith and our own!

Classmates

Another issue that definitely comes up when raising a Christian child in public school is their classmates. Not everyone is going to come from a Christian home. In fact, I’d say my children are in a minority at their school. The majority of families don’t have strong religious beliefs. They’ve encountered issues as a result.

For example, this past school year, my son came home upset because he heard a classmate declare he hates Christians. So we talked about it. We talked about how his classmate was certainly entitled to his opinions, but saying those things out loud are hurtful. We used it as an example for how important the words we use are. In dealing with classmates and friends, we want to show love and be an example of kindness — not hurt feelings.

Having classmates from different backgrounds have brought up secular topics as well that we have discussed as a family. We share our beliefs and why we believe how we do. But, we always come back to the message of love. I want my children to love others. No strings attached. No judgment or condemnation. Love like Jesus is our message. I tell my kiddos that they have never looked into the face of someone Jesus doesn’t love.

These encounters also give us an opportunity to nurture our kids’ resilience. They are going to be met with adversity throughout life whether for their faith or something else. Learning to let go of that barb and move forward is a life skill they need.

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Friends

And then there are classmates that our kids grow close to. Friends can be both a blessing and a challenge. Not all of our children’s friends are Christians. We are OK with that. We continue with our conversations about different beliefs. Then we also talk about the usual parent things of making the right choices when they are at a friend’s house. For example, if the friend wants to watch something our kids know wouldn’t be allowed at home, then they say no and suggest something else.

All of my children’s friends know they are Christians. My kids have talked about God and their relationship with Him to their friends, in fact. While not all of them believe the same way, they have all respected my children’s beliefs.

Just like with anything else, talking about peer pressure and the challenges of friendship with others come into play. But, I think that would happen whether you are raising a Christian child in public school or raising a Christian child at a private school.

Partnering with the school

I may not be teaching my children myself, but I can still be involved in their education. We talk about curriculum. And we maintain an attitude of partnering with the school. Both my husband and I have volunteered for a variety of activities. In fact, I almost always go along as a field trip chaperone and volunteered at class parties when they were younger.

My children’s teachers know us. We maintain communication. Since my youngest is dyslexic, we have even more communication. We respect our children’s teachers, and they respect us in return. Having an attitude of partnership rather than adversaries only benefits our children.

And our school has been open to faith-based things. For example, my daughter has always been passionate about food banks. When she was in 4th grade, she held a food drive to benefit the food pantry at a local church. We were clear with the school where the food was going, and everyone was on board with it.

Embracing the mission field of the school community

When you’re raising a Christian child in public school, you really can think of it as a mission field. Honestly, anywhere we are is a mission field, right? But, this doesn’t mean going around preaching all the time or encouraging our children to do that. Nobody wants to be preached at!

Instead, we live our lives with integrity and an attitude of Christ that others may see — or they may not. One of my favorite things has been to send lunchbox notes to my children. I have themes for each day of the week, because otherwise I’d run out of things to say! Every Tuesday is what I call “Truth Tuesday,” and I put a Bible verse in their lunchbox note. I do this for my own kiddos to help them remember God’s Word.

However, it also has had an impact outside of my children. From at least 1st grade on, my daughter’s entire lunch table has read her notes. I didn’t learn about that until 2nd or 3rd grade. I knew they read the note sometimes, but I didn’t know it was daily. They continue to do that even now going into 8th grade. So at least every Tuesday, these kids are encountering a Bible verse as a result. Does that make a big difference in their lives? Maybe. I know God is powerful and can move in ways we don’t even know about.

Celebrating faith victories

Just like we talk with our kids about mistakes they’ve made, we also need to acknowledge the positive things they’ve done and celebrate with them. Take the time to point out when you see them acting in a Christian manner toward a classmate. Give them a big hug when they share about how they included a classmate everyone else was being mean to.

Of course you also want to celebrate any of their friends or classmates coming to know Jesus as personal Savior or having an interest in faith. We’ve experienced this with both of our children. And in maintaining open conversation with our kids about faith, we’ve been able to answer their questions as they are navigating talking about their faith.

Sharing our faith and living a life for Christ can be challenging even for adults. Celebrating the good things with our kids encourages and nurtures their faith. It reinforces lessons they will hopefully carry with them into adulthood.

Final thoughts

Raising a Christian child in a public school can be challenging, but with the right mindset and intentional actions, we can nurture their faith amidst the everyday challenges. By cultivating a strong foundation at home, equipping our children for the challenges they may face, partnering with the school, embracing the school community as a mission field and celebrating faith victories, we can make a lasting impact in their lives and the lives of those around them.

So, let’s continue to pour God’s love into our children, equip them to shine their light and trust that He will guide them each step of the way. Together, we can navigate the public school journey with confidence, knowing that our faith and love will make a difference in the lives of our children and the world they inhabit.

Find more Christian parenting articles:

5 Characteristics of good mothering for Christian moms

Being a grace-filled parent

How Christian mothers can teach their children about God

Prayers for your children

10 Ways to have a family live filled with grace, love and faith

Grace-filled sibling relationships

Connect with other Christian moms just like you

Moms with Grace: Dr. Real N. Kunene

Christian encouragement for single moms

The “Moms with Grace” series takes a look at modern Christian moms and how they handle daily life with raising children. You’ll find monthly posts from married and single moms with older kids, younger kids and all those in between. Let real-life moms encourage and uplift you!

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support my blog. Thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

A couple of months ago, I first connected with Dr. Real N. Kunene in a social media group for Christian mompreneurs. I was honored to participate as a speaker in her recent summit on successful parenting. As we connected, I knew Dr. Kunene would be a perfect fit for the Moms with Grace series.

Dr. Kunene’s background

Dr. Kunene is a single mom (since 2016) of two kiddos who are 8 and 10. She’s also an international human rights policy analyst and a diplomacy and protocol specialist who consults on policies and procedures related to protocol, diplomacy and human rights compliance.

Moms with Grace with Dr. Real N. Kunene: Christian encouragement for single moms

This passionate leader holds a Ph.D. with a discipline in leadership and business. She is also a highly sought after, energetic, certified Les Brown international speaker. Dr. Kunene empowers motivated professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to rise to greater heights as they start, grow and scale their business. Her vision is to motivate and empower audiences with a fresh perspective while inspiring them to pursue success and drive sustainable outcomes, in a seriously funny way.

Dr. Kunene is an award-winning, international bestselling author with 10 number one books on Amazon. Her bestselling book “Rise to Greater Heights” has inspired and empowered many to pursue their personal and professional passion to become go-getters.

As a trainer, diplomacy protocol officer and strategist, Dr. Kunene believes we are in full control of our choices. Her mission is to meet the needs and transform lives of her clients and her audience. This change-maker, trailblazer and revolutionary is pushing boundaries and creating a real change worldwide. Like a phoenix that never accepted defeat and rose from its own ashes, she wants to challenge you to unleash your greatness and rise to greater heights.

Dr. Kunene is inspired by Hebrews 11, Psalms 27 and Psalms 40 to stay motivated and continue pursuing her dreams. She took time out of her busy schedule to share profound words of wisdom for single moms, especially. But no matter your marital status or phase of parenthood, I know you’ll be blessed and encouraged to rise to greater heights!

How have you changed from the beginning of your mom journey until now?

Motherhood has been such an adventurous journey. I so wish I could still sleep in on weekends and wake up at 11a.m.! From the beginning of my mom journey until now I’ve learnt how to let go of things by establishing limits and boundaries between family and work.

We must create boundaries of protection between our work and family, which will give us space for other thoughts and ideas to emerge. Trying to be everything to everyone only ensures failure; but, cutting ties with the outside world occasionally allows us to recover from weekly stress. Boundaries hold the line to protect your work from the distraction of family. Taking time to unwind is critical to success and will help you feel more energized when you’re on the clock.

Cut out the things in your life that are stressing you out. Then also protect your family involvement from the obligations at work. With clear boundaries, we often find the weight lifted was heavier than we realized. We are also able to have clearer discernment in both our work and personal lives.

How do you find balance day to day?

Daily I remain open to redirect and assess my needs in order to find balance. Sometimes I have to let things go because taking on more work when I’m already stressed out has a negative effect. If we do not make the conscious decision to achieve balance, we will most likely fail along the way because we are not clear on what we expect ourselves to accomplish. We must make an effort to provide ourselves the opportunity for balance, so when we leave the office, we avoid thinking about upcoming projects.

With my struggle to attain the perfect balance between work and family, I’ve learnt that those who do maintain a successful balance often have flexible work schedules. The dilemma of balancing family and work has no easy solution. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Employers must make it a priority to grant employees access to a wider variety of benefits, because balance is a very personal thing, and only you can decide the lifestyle that suits you best.

Work-life balance will mean different things to different people because, after all, every person and family must find specific solutions to their issues depending on their own preferences and needs. There is nothing wrong with working hard to gain some of the finer things in life, because we all have different life commitments that fit our individual needs and improve our health and well-being.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a mother? How have you worked to overcome them?

After my divorce in 2016, I found myself inundated by financial demands and my added responsibility posed an even steeper challenge. The main struggle I had was juggling a lot and working long hours trying to find the time and the energy to do all that I needed to do. For me, I used to worry about money constantly, asking myself how anyone can start a business when broke.

The concept of hustling is not a new one. So all the single mothers who are holding down the fort and raising a family by themselves, can start and sustain multi-million dollar organizations given the opportunity.

Raising kids alone is exhausting, as I juggle work while trying to spend as much time with my kids as possible. Lack of support was a reality for me and seeking a balance between finding a babysitter or doing something myself has become an intrinsic part of my life.

The quest for the perfect work-life balance is what hindered me from starting my business. I was terrified. The first few weeks I became a single mom, I felt like I was pulled in a trillion different directions. Trying to do everything on my own left my spirit totally depleted and my nerves on edge. My children and I were having daily meltdowns, and I realized that being a single parent can make the most patient person lose their entire jar of marbles!

Becoming a single mom wasn’t an easy journey, but I had to learn to guide and shepherd my children’s hearts. I know we all make mistakes. I couldn’t survive without the supernatural peace and strength of Jesus. It’s important for me to every day entrust my children’s care to the Lord. And I know I can trust in God to keep His promises and encourage me when I am feeling low.

What business lessons have you learned as a single mom?

When people heard I was a single mom, they thought I could not be successful. These toxic influences are people who tell you that business is hard and you can’t build anything worthwhile. Toxic influences are those people who always remind you that you are a single mom. They assume because you’re a single parent, you must be struggling. I couldn’t change the fact that I was a single mom. However, I could get of all toxic influences out of my life — those people who thought the only thing I should do was take care of my kids without telling me how.

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For this reason, I am on a quest to break the stereotype of a single parent and all the negative connotations associated with it, instead of spending time with toxic people who invade my confidence and bring me down.

I showcase to the world that I can be a single mom and still have it all by setting goals for my business and for my life. I was convinced that there are numerous single moms with great experiences, so I decided to wear the hustler hat and created work that is profitable but not visible. The truth is, yes, you can be a single parent and make millions whilst raising your little ones. One essential tool for success in business is confidence and people can smell a lack of it on you.

It wasn’t always easy, but I started strong and self funded by being a certified hustler, and I operated on a budget.

In what ways you have and do you share your faith with your children?

While raising children alone can be a struggle at times, I hold on to God’s Word, which gives me the strength I need to keep going. Being a single mom is not a handicap. Instead of fighting my circumstances, I had to learn to accept it. The Lord is a helper to give wisdom and insight on ministering to our children. He’s available all the time to hear our prayers and act on our behalf.

My children know that prayer is our weapon of warfare. We put God first in everything. They’ve learnt to give and expect nothing in return as we feed the homeless on a quarterly basis. The Lord had always met all of our needs. I learned to find joy through Christ in the midst of a difficult situation.

The Lord embraces the single mother with His incredible love. Through the Holy Spirit, I hear words of truth from the Bible to help me keep pushing ahead. My heavenly Father is lovingly keeping an eye on my children to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God. Thus, my strength in the present is the investment in my children that will reap a beautiful return in the future.  

What are some of your favorite parts of motherhood?

As a single mom entrepreneur, I encouraged myself not to be marginalized by society and looked down on. Very rarely do we see positive images of single parents who are self-sufficient, successful contributors to society. In fact, being a single mom comes with an inbuilt capacity for business success. Because being a single mother is not an easy task, you discover inner strengths and capabilities you never knew you had.

Life is all about learning. Being a single parent is twice the work, which makes you stronger than ever before. Don’t get me wrong, I know raising a child on your own can be difficult. However, don’t let the perception of this lifestyle count you out before you even count yourself in.

Overall, being a single parent comes with a wealth of skills that do well in entrepreneurship, and success means being the best parent your kids can have and living your dreams while at it. Through my determination and preservation, I took all my pains and the difficult times to learn and grow stronger. In my kids’ eyes, I turned into a superhero. Being a single parent is not a setback. You have to own your single parent status, find what you love and do it.

What advice do you have for a single mom who wants to start her own business?

Normally, being an entrepreneur is a daunting task, but many men and women are incredibly successful while still looking after their own children by themselves. They’ve learned that when you have an unusual goal, you need an unusual way of thinking. That way of thinking takes you outside your comfort zone, especially when you are broke.

Use the wisdom of other people to help you. Make note of all the things that frustrate you in your daily life, then research creative ways to address those inefficiencies.

Also, look for inspiration everywhere: business coaches, people in networking groups or whoever has knowledge you might need. All it takes is an idea to create a product that changes the world.  

How does grace play a role in your daily life? Do you have any tips or advice for how moms can show more grace to their families?

Life is not about always being spic and span and perfect. I appreciate myself and give myself credit for the way I am bringing up your children. I am happy and content in life. The imperfections of life give life character and show your children your love. They can see what efforts you are putting in for them. Take time to realize how amazing your children have turned out to be and give yourself a pat on the back.

Of course you will have your highs and lows. Just take a look at the way you have brought up your children and remember your children have you and you are more than enough.

Our words have so much power over how our children see themselves, so I lean into the Word and apply it to my everyday life to guide me. Without a doubt raising kids on your own requires an unbelievable amount of strength and courage. But, that single parents can function just as fine or even better than whole families is an accomplishment of itself.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:12-13

What are you most proud of as a mom?

I’m raising God fearing children.

How have you grown from your failures?

At the end of the day, failure should not be our undertaker. Instead failure is an opportunity to begin again, as long as you learn from it. Single mom, you must know what you want from life because you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. Remember that your dreams are valid and all you need to do is fight for them. Beware that the way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. Focus instead the actions needed to be taken and fail fast so you learn what not to do.

And the sooner you realize that failure is a temporary detour, you’ll keep on trying and build the right attitude. Blaming others of not reaching your goals in life can paralyze you and make your dreams become impossible. Please handle failure with dignity because you will not succeed in life without first failing.

Connect with other Christian moms for support and encouragement in the private Facebook group, Moms with Grace!

Read more in the series:

Rachael Belle

Linda Mendible

Mandy Farmer

50 Conversation starters for your family

Improve your bond with these family conversation starters!

Finding time and ways to connect with our family and improve our bond is important. Whether you’re sitting at the dinner table, in the car or lounging on the couch, sometimes you need conversation starters for your family to get everyone talking.

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We do a monthly check-in night with each of our children about what is going on in their lives. My kids tease me that I always have questions for them, and they end up talking when they didn’t think they had anything to say! That’s the power of good questions. As a journalist, I know the importance of asking good questions. I’ve carried that over into my family life.

For our family, we’ve found that once the conversation gets going, we usually have follow-up questions and keep chatting away. Having some conversation starters for your family to kick off with can get the flow started.

Fun family conversation starters

One of the easiest ways to kick off family conversation is with fun topics and questions. These questions are fun to answer. I am often surprised at my family’s responses to questions like these. And they usually spark some friendly debate as well!

  1. What superhero power would you choose and why? (Bonus: what is your superhero name?)
  2. Share one of your most embarrassing moments.
  3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
  4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with? What would you talk about with them?
  5. What three items would you take with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?
  6. If you created your own ice cream flavor, what would it be and what ingredients would you use? (Bonus: name the flavor!)
  7. Which animal would you choose to be for a day? Why?
  8. Share your favorite family vacation memory.
  9. What kind of robot would you create to help you? Why?
  10. Tell a silly joke you’ve heard recently that made you laugh.

Daily dinner table conversation starters

Though any of these conversation starters for your family can be used at the dinner table, these questions in particular are great for connecting with each other daily. Work them into your regular dinner table conversation to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in each other’s lives.

  1. What was your favorite part of the day today?
  2. What was the most challenging part of your day? How did you handle it?
  3. Share something that made you laugh or smile today.
  4. Did you learn anything new today or recently that surprised you? What was it?
  5. How are you feeling emotionally today? Do you have anything you’d like to talk about?
  6. What upcoming activity or event are you looking forward to? Why?
  7. Who made your life easier today? How?
  8. Name three things you’re grateful for today.
  9. What did you accomplish today that makes you feel proud?
  10. Is there something you’re struggling with today? How can we help you?

Family conversation starters with young children

Family conversations don’t have to wait until your kids are tweens and teens. These conversation starters for your family work for even the youngest family members who can talk!

  1. What is your favorite toy right now?
  2. If you could have any animal as a pet, which one would you pick? Why?
  3. Sing a song you know. (Bonus: add in dance moves!)
  4. What’s your favorite food? What’s your least favorite food?
  5. If you could make up a new holiday, what would it be? How would you celebrate it?
  6. What do you like to do when you have free time?
  7. Come up with an idea for a new toy and how it would work.
  8. Which book character would you want to hang out with in real life?
  9. Share about someone who was nice to you recently and how they were nice.
  10. What is something that always makes you feel happy?

Deep questions about family

Of course, there are some times that you want to go deeper with your conversations. These deeper questions work well during one-on-one time with your children or serious talks. You can make them part of a family meeting once a month or whatever works best for you.

While I always want to have fun with my children, I also want us to be able to talk about deeper emotions and challenges together. In order to make that happen, we have to be intentional.

  1. How do you feel our family cares for each other during challenging times? What can we do to improve that even more?
  2. What is your favorite family ritual or tradition we have? Why do you enjoy it?
  3. In what ways do you think our family communicates well? How can we improve our communication?
  4. Are there any unresolved conflicts or issues within our family that you think we need to address?
  5. How do you feel about the roles and responsibilities within our family? Are there any adjustments or changes you would suggest?
  6. What can our family do together to make an impact on the world?
  7. If you were the parents in our family, what would you do the same? What would you do differently?
  8. Share your hopes for our family for the next year.
  9. Tell each family member one character trait you most admire or appreciate about them.
  10. Are there any routines or activities that aren’t working so well right now and we need to address? If not, what is working well that you enjoy?

Faith conversation starters

Finally, as a Christian family, you want to connect about your faith. I have been surprised at the depth of faith conversations our family has had with our children. They have great insights and questions. Use these faith conversation starters any time or work them into your regular family devotional time.

  1. Who is one of your favorite people in the Bible? Why?
  2. How do you spend time with God regularly?
  3. What are some ways our family can share our faith with those around us?
  4. What Bible story do you enjoy most?
  5. Do you have a favorite Bible verse? If so, share it and why it’s your favorite. If not, share a Bible verse you remember and what it says to you.
  6. How does your relationship with God impact your daily life?
  7. What three questions would you ask God right now if you could?
  8. How can we worship God together as a family?
  9. What’s one of your favorite hymns or worship songs? What do you like about it?
  10. In what ways can we show God’s love and compassion to those who believe differently than we do?

Download a free PDF with a list of all these questions!

Download a free PDF of the 50 conversation starters for families

Summer fun ideas for families

70 Summer family activities to do at home

Ah, summertime. The warmer temperatures. Children happily playing outside while adults sip lemonade in the shade. Wait. What?! That’s not how it goes. If your family is anything like mine, it’s a precarious balance between planned activities, downtime and pesky things like work and chores. And that’s not even including the mom guilt that kicks in during summer break.

70 Summer Family Fun Activities to Do At Home Pinterest Image

But you don’t have to make every moment of summer break Instagram fabulous to make good family memories. Lots of summer fun ideas for families are easy to pull off and create fabulous memories for your entire family.

Whether you’re looking for rainy day activities for families, outdoor family fun activities or a mix of both, we’ve got you covered!

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support my blog. Thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

Outdoor summer fun ideas for families

One of the great things about summer is beautiful weather. For those of us here in the Midwest, we enjoy the warmer days that aren’t too humid and hot to be outside. Check your local weather forecast and figure out when these outdoor summer fun ideas will work best for your family. Don’t forget that mornings and evenings can be great for being outside, even on blazing summer days.

Launch rockets

From rockets you stomp on for smaller kiddos to building rockets for older kiddos, this can be a great summer family activity that works in some science to boot!

Stomp rocket for younger children
Set of two rockets, Estes Tandem-X Launch set
Dinosaur rocket launcher
National Geographic Light-Up Sky Rockets

Water toys

Nothing says summer family fun more than cooling down outside with water. You can have a blast as a family with water toys. Be sure to leave some towels by your door for when you go back inside all wet! We usually follow up water play outside with showers, PJs and a movie.

Twister Splash game
350 rapid-fill water balloons from Zuru Bunch O Balloon
Nerf Super Soaker Toss 'N Splash Cornhole set
Extra large splash pad at 90.5 inches or 7.5 feet
Octopus sprinkler
3-pack water guns

Family yard games

Playing games as a family is always fun. We love tabletop games year-round, but summertime is the perfect time to get outside for some fun. Whether your looking for traditional field day activities or a classic croquet set, these yard games are terrific summer fun ideas for families!

Giant Sorry! game to play outside
Find and seek scavenger hunt card game to play outside (or inside)
Glow in the dark outdoor lawn darts with soft tips
Outdoor ring toss game
Beanbag toss game
237 Minute Challenges

Sporty summer family fun activities

If there’s one way to encourage kiddos (and adults!) to be more active, it’s by playing a game. These sporty games and activities are a great way for your family to have fun this summer as well as get in some cardio!

Obstacle course in a box
Light-up capture the flag game
Laser tag is a great summer fun idea for families
Pop, pass, catch ball game for families

Indoor summer fun ideas for families

These family fun indoor activities will keep your family entertained and having fun inside when it’s too hot to be outside. They’re also perfect rainy day activities for families and really can work any time of year. Who said you have to be outside all the time to have fun?

Educational and fun STEAM toys

Learning doesn’t sound super fun over summer break, but these STEAM toys are actually fun for the family. And they help your kiddos hone things like problem-solving skills, physics concepts and more.

60-piece set of magnet building tiles are great indoor family fun
Snap Circuits' Junior electronics exploration kit
National Geographic Earth Science kit
National Geographic mega magic set with more than 75 magic tricks
National Geographic Stunning Science chemistry set
Lego City Express Passenger Train Set, remote-controlled toy
K'Nex 3-in-1 classic amusement park building set
ThinkFun Freefall marble maze game
Bio Chem Creatures STEAM Lab Kit from Klutz
Circuit Blox Glowing LED FM Radio building kit
Melissa and Doug cardboard building blocks
Magna-Tiles Builder Magnetic Construction Set

Imaginative play toys

Most family have a decent amount of toys around for imaginative play, but adding some new ones to the mix can turn into a great family fun indoor activity. Imaginative play is not only good for our kiddos’ brains, but it also gives your family a chance to interact together in new and different ways. Take time to play!

Melissa and Doug Super Smile Dentist Kit Play Set
StikBots posable action figures set of 6
Coastal Living building blocks miniature house kit
Supermarket cash register toy with scanner, play money, pretend credit card and play food
Dinosaur play mat with dinosaurs and trees
A set of dinosaurs, farm animals and ocean animals
Teacher role play set from Ben Franklin Toys
Vet clinic and doctor kit with pet carrier and pets

Care for living things

Without springing for a new puppy, you can still have a great time this summer taking care of living things with your kiddos. From plants to easy pets, these ideas are perfect family fun indoor activities!

National Geographic light-up terrarium dinosaur habitat
Insect Lore Ladybug growing kit
Giant Butterfly garden
National Geographic flower growing kit

Crafts for your family

I am pretty inept at crafts and art, but with the right craft kit, I can hold my own. These craft kits and ideas are perfect rainy day activities to keep your family entertained. Work on them together and see what kind of masterpieces you can make!

National Geographic paint marbling craft kit
Pixicade Pets virtual pet creator
Magnetic mini tiles art kit is a great rainy day family activity
Monster hand puppet craft kit
Make your own clay handprint bowls kit
Mix and mold your own stepping stones kit with paint and more to decorate
4-pack DIY birdhouse assembly and painting kit
DIY Magi Bouncy Balls kit
Make your own felt succulents 61-piece set is a great summer fun idea for families!
Create your own window art kit
Make your own gem keychains kit
Sew your own felt animals craft kit: woodland animals for kids 7 to 12
National Geographic pottery wheel for kids with 2 pounds of air dry clay
Make a wind chime kit

Puzzles and games

Puzzles and games are perhaps the most quintessential rainy day family activities. And there’s a good reason: they’re fun! Make some snacks and prepare for a good time with these puzzles and games!

Melissa and Doug Pattern blocks and boards
United States map 500-piece puzzle
Glow in the dark space 500-piece puzzle
Spider-man 400-piece puzzle
Kids vs. parents game: How well do you know your family?
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza game
What do you meme? Family edition
Charades for kids card game (no reading required)
Trivial Pursuit: Family Edition
Left Center Right Dice Game
Family Faceoff
Hasbro Trouble Game

Summer fun ideas for families

With so many outdoor and indoor options, you family can have lots of fun this summer. Make memories whether it’s a rainy day, hot day or gorgeous day with any of these 70 ideas!

Find more great family fun ideas in these posts:

Moms with Grace: Rachael Belle

Tips for Christian moms with a good dose of encouragement

The “Moms with Grace” series takes a look at modern Christian moms and how they handle daily life with raising children. You’ll find monthly posts from moms with older kids, younger kids and all those in between. Let real-life moms encourage and uplift you!

Sometimes when you get introduced to someone, you realize you are on the same page right away. That’s how it was for me with Rachael Belle. Rachael publishes a quarterly magazine called “Healing Home” that focuses on Biblical homemaking. She also maintains a related blog and a second site, Healing Home Recipes, where she posts healthy recipes for families.

Along with her online ministry, Rachael is a wife of nine years to Danny and a mom to three boys: Wyatt (5), West (3) and Wylder (8 months). Needless to say, she’s one busy mama! She and her family live on 40 acres in Minnesota where they homestead with gardens, bees, pigs, chickens and turkeys.

Recently she took time out of her jam-packed schedule to answer a few questions for the Moms with Grace series.

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support my blog. Thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

Can you share a little bit about your marriage?

It’s hard to talk about our marriage without mentioning a turning point that happened for Dan in 2005. At the time Dan was living a very different life. In God’s true sovereignty, He issued Dan a wake-up call in the form of a tree. The only problem with this tree is that it met Dan’s head as he was going 60 MPH on a brand-new Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Dan was found dead on scene. He died again in the ambulance and again on the operating table.

But God is gracious, and he saved my future husband’s life.

Dan’s life changed that night. He woke up with virtually no memory and had to relearn how to walk, talk, write, eat and everything else. Although I was not there during this tumultuous time, I have heard many of the stories. And to this day I marvel at God’s goodness in saving Dan’s life.

I met Dan in 2013 at our church, and we were married the next year.

How have you changed from the beginning of your mom journey until now?

The change in me could be summarized in one word: sanctification.

By no means, do I claim that I have arrived at any ending point of development, but again God is gracious. Motherhood and marriage reveal the sin nature in us in ways that nothing else has for me.

After I had my second child, I found myself seething in anger over the smallest of things. I never would have considered myself an angry person, but those little sinful boys triggered my own sin battle with bitterness, angry and resentment.

The beauty of the gift of motherhood is that God does not leave us helpless as we stand there wondering where all this sin is stemming from. He gave us His Word, other sisters in Christ, community and the church.

The biggest change in me from the beginning of my mom journey until now is God’s grace in my life revealing sin in me and His work in me as I learn to lean into His will for my life.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a mother? How have you worked to overcome them?

The biggest challenge I have faced in motherhood is learning how to be a wife and a mother.

When Dan suffered his brain injury in 2005 it left his brain with certain damages. The section of our brain that allows us to feel empathy was greatly impacted. Our children need our empathy. When they are crying on the floor in frustration, our empathy is in part what allows us to offer them grace when it is needed.

When I married Dan, I thought I fully understood his brain injury, but I didn’t. I didn’t understand how his brain injury would impact our parenting. In our marriage vows I said, “I love you for you were, who you are and who you will become.” To this day that is the only section of our marriage vows that I remember, and it’s because God has brought them to my mind time and time again. He knew I would need that vow consistently in my head as I learned the balance of being Danny’s wife and my boy’s mother.

Your marriage is a covenant between you, your spouse and God. Your motherhood is a gift.

Out of the deepest of respect for my husband, I will be vague concerning this, but I have shed many tears of frustration and cried out to God in desperation as I have tried to learn the balance of parenting my children with grace when my husband’s brain significantly struggles to connect with empathy.

Yet at the end of the day, God is sovereign. He knew we would face this struggle before the beginning of time. I truly believe that if Danny is pursuing Jesus, I am pursuing Jesus and we are united in our love for our boys, we can conquer anything. If you are struggling in your marriage and parenting, do a deep dive into God’s sovereignty. I believe you will be blessed by the study.

In what ways have you and do you share your faith with your children? (I’d love examples!)

This past year we have started something that has been our number one discipleship tool! We make breakfast together and sit down as a family to enjoy a hearty breakfast and have family devotional time.

My husband can be home on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays, so on those days we sit down as a family of five. Most days we cook farm fresh eggs, bacon and some sort of sourdough bread or roll.

We eat and do a Bible reading or devotional. Our three favorites right now are: The Laugh & Grow Bible for Kids by Phil Vischer, How Great is our God by Louie Giglio and The Really Radical Book for Kids by Champ Thornton.

Sharing our faith comes in seasons, but in all the seasons we should be intentional. I have also used our drive time to listen to kids’ Christian podcasts and have discussions afterward. Our bookshelves are filled to the brim with books by Godly authors like R.C Sproul. His book The Priest with Dirty Clothes recently sparked some truly delightful conversations about our faith! Our faith is woven throughout our day and conversations. We are intentional about showing our kids that our affections should be for Jesus.

What are some of your favorite parts of motherhood?

I have endless favorite parts of motherhood, but truthfully my absolutely favorite part is simply watching them have fun.

Last night we were able to sit on our deck finally after such a long winter. My oldest son was in our field with a toy sword, and he was chopping down the tall grass and pretending to fight a dragon. My youngest was playing by a water table on our deck, and he looked over at me with such a big smile it melted my heart. Finally, I looked over at our middle while who was oblivious to the world. His hind end was sticking up in the air as he was trying to look inside a gopher hole.

It was absolutely perfect. Those are my favorite moments. It’s the moments I just get to enjoy watching them.

How does grace play a role in your daily life? Do you have any tips or advice for how moms can show more grace to their families?

I’m not perfect. Far from it. However, one of my prayers with my mothering is that in the moments where my weakness shows through that God’s strength would be evident.

Grace is a necessity in parenting. I need God’s grace to sustain me throughout the day, and my children need to see grace in my parenting. Grace is not the absence of discipline, but the evidence of it.

I often tell my children when I’m extending grace. It might sound something like this:

Wyatt, mommy messed up today and God extended me grace and forgave me. Right now, you directly disobeyed me, but I want to give you grace like Jesus did for me. Can we both repent and move on with our day?

What are you most proud of as a mom?

Right now, I’m just proud that my children seem receptive to what we have taught them about the Bible and Jesus.

Do you have any resources that help you be a mom with grace? (Music, books, websites, etc.)

I love podcasts and right now one of my favorites is The Art of Home: A Podcast for Homemakers by Allison L Weeks. She has great wisdom as a seasoned homemaker and mother.

Speaking of homemaking, I would love for you to join me in the most important step of my day, Bible reading! Inside my Homemaker Binder Planner (updated monthly) there is a Bible reading section. It has been a JOY to read my Bible with other mothers and homemakers. (P.S. You can still call yourself a homemaker even if you work another job!)

It would be a delight if you decided to join the monthly homemaker planner and joined me in the Bible reading challenge. During the month of May we have worked on reading a Proverb a day.

Do you have anything else to add that we haven’t talked about?

Your home can be a healing place! Allow Jesus to be the builder of your home and abide in him.

Connect with other Christian moms for support and encouragement in the private Facebook group, Moms with Grace!

Read more in the series:

Linda Mendible

Mandy Farmer

10 Family bonding ideas

How Christian families can grow closer family relationships

Since before we had children, my husband and I had a team mentality. It was us against the world. Once we had our children, we incorporated them into our team and have developed an attitude of family teamwork. Along with that, though, we also try to be intentional about family bonding and finding ways to make that happen — even when life is busy.

When it comes to family bonding, quality trumps quantity. Even during the pandemic and a year and a half of virtual school, my family had to be intentional about spending quality time together. We were together all the time, but we weren’t always growing closer as a result.

Of the various ways we spend quality time together, these are 10 of our favorite ways for family bonding.

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support my blog. Thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

1. Play games.

Gaming is one of my family’s favorite past-times. My husband and I enjoyed games before had children and then were happy to play games with them once they were old enough. (Be sure to check out five of our favorite family games for small children.) Playing games together can be a great way to bond with the right attitude.

Another bonus to playing games together is it gives you a chance to teach lessons about how you can’t always win, and how to be happy for someone else we love when things go well for them. We’ve worked our way through some of these challenges and still do with one of our kiddos from time to time.

To keep competitiveness at bay, we also really enjoy playing cooperative games where the whole family works together toward one common goal. Role-playing games are often this way. One of our favorites with our kids now that they’re a bit older is HeroQuest.

A neat board game option to keep your family working together and strengthen family bonds is a mystery jigsaw puzzle.

2. Try new things.

Experiencing something new together can be great for family bonding. Whether you’re eating something new, doing a new activity or going somewhere new, doing something brand-new draws you closer as a family.

Recently, for instance, my daughter and I were alone for dinner while my husband and son went to a movie. We decided to try an Indian restaurant in our city that we had never been to. Neither of us had eaten Indian food before, so along with it being a new restaurant, it was also new cuisine. We learned together, which is a really neat thing to be able to do as a parent and child.

Our whole family tried geocaching together for the first time a couple of years ago. It was a fun way to connect as we searched for the hidden items in sometimes very common areas.

3. Travel.

Any adventure you can go on together is going to draw you closer. You can do this by traveling far from home or just going a city over. It doesn’t have to be complicated or pricey. This year, we spent spring break spelunking in various caves in Kentucky. We also got to feed kangaroos and eat good food. Our trip resulted in good memories and a chance to draw closer.

Traveling together as a family helps you stay focused on each other because there are not nearly as many distractions as daily life. And it also helps your family learn to be more flexible. We’ve navigated feeding a picky eater, finding our way around a new city and surviving tent camping failures as a family.

4. Eat meals.

While some family bonding activities are more out of the ordinary, others are more commonplace. Eating dinner (or whatever mealtime works best for your family) together is great for bonding. Family mealtime allows us to talk about what’s going on in our lives. We talk with the kids about what happened at school. Sometimes we make plans for the week. Other times we have random conversations that spring up like what our most embarrassing moments are. We’ve even had deeper discussions about religion and politics at the dinner table.

If you can’t have dinner together every night, set a goal of however many nights are feasible for your family and do what it takes to make it happen. If dinnertime doesn’t work, then have breakfast or lunch together a couple of times a week. And don’t think it has to be fancy or elaborate. Serve up cold cereal for any of those meals and enjoy the time together!

Be sure to grab the “Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace” cookbook to help you come up with some tasty dinner ideas!

5. Go to church.

There’s something special about being at church together as a family. These days, my 10-year-old prefers to stay in service with us instead of going with the kids. Sitting together with my husband and children listening to them praising God together is awesome. It makes my heart swell with gratitude for my blessings.

If your children go to children’s church, then be sure to talk together about what they did and what they learned. We usually talk about the sermon together after church now that we are all hearing the same one. In fact, Sunday after church is our one regular time to eat out. So we both have a meal together and talk about church. It works well!

6. Have devotion time.

Growing in our relationships with God together as a family brings us closer. Whether you’re doing family devotions at Christmas or throughout the year, make time in your schedule to do some sort of devotional as a family. It doesn’t have to be every day. If once a week is what works for your family, then do that!

Right now, we are reading through “The Action Bible” a couple of nights of the week. After we finish reading a section (or two or three!), we just a bit about what happened and how to apply that to our own lives. For instance, my children were scoffing at how quickly the Israelites turned to worship idols and forgot what God did by getting them out of Egypt. Then we talked about how easy it is for us to get distracted from God even now. We may not being making golden calves to worship, but we do have to make sure we are prioritizing our relationship with God.

Get started today with the FREE family devotion book, “Finding Grace at Home: 7 Days of 5-Minute Devotions for Families.”

"Finding Grace at Home" is a FREE family devotion book to help your family draw closer to God and each other in just five minutes a day.

7. Read for fun.

Reading out loud together is a great way to encourage family bonding. We started reading to our 13-year-old when she was about 3 months old, and we haven’t stopped since. We’ve read through a variety of picture books and chapter books together. Our family has particularly enjoyed the Harry Potter books and The Mapmaker Chronicles books. My son and I are reading the Wings of Fire series together and really enjoy it as special one-on-one bonding time.

The fun with reading fiction together is your family has a chance to enjoy the story, root for characters, loathe villains and more together. My son and I even come up with our own role play of sorts for many of the books we read.

(For ideas on what to read, don’t miss more than 100 children’s books worth reading and family read aloud chapter books for kindergarten through 5th graders.)

8. Pray.

Along with reading, we also started praying together with our children before bedtime when they were babies. That has continued to this day, and our kids are 10 and 13. Even though our daughter gets to stay up later than her younger brother, we have family prayer time every night. It isn’t elaborate and doesn’t have to be. Most of the time, our kids each say prayers out loud. Sometimes we do also.

Praying together helps our family draw closer. When we pray for each other, it helps strengthen our relationships as well. If one of us is sick or struggling and the others pray for that person, it’s encouraging. We also join together in prayer for friends and family.

9. Reminisce.

Doing things together creates memories. Talking about those memories together can draw your family closer to each other and strengthen your relationships. There is something special about a shared memory or inside joke.

And, here’s the thing, you don’t even have to reminisce solely about the big things like vacations. Talk and laugh about the small everyday moments that nobody will forget. My family, for instance, laughs together about the time I came across mice in our garage and started yelling and ran back into the house faster than they thought I could even move. It was certainly a memorable moment!

Just be careful that in your reminiscing you aren’t putting down each other or hurting each others’ feelings.

10. Cheer for each other.

When you have a team mentality about your family, it’s even easier to cheer for each other. Cheering for each other can look like listening when a family member is talking about something he or she is passionate about. It can look like your whole family showing up for concerts, performances or games and cheering loudly.

Feeling happy for and/or proud of each other only increasing your bond as a family. We want to celebrate life’s wins together so that whenever something good happens to one of us, we all are excited. This encourages our kiddos (as well as my husband and me) to share our good news with our family. And that’s a good thing!

5 Characteristics of good mothering for Christian moms

Encouragement for your motherhood journey

As moms, we can be hard on ourselves. This is true for us Christian moms as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered if I even have a clue what I’m doing. I question whether God should have blessed me with two such awesome kiddos. Am I honoring Him? Am I being a good mother to them?

I do know I’m doing my best, and I’m showing up every single day. Having been raised by a good, Christian mom, I have some insight as to what it looks like. And through the 13 years I’ve been a mom myself, I’ve learned a bit of what good mothering looks like.

None of us get it right all the time. We fall short. But those times give us a chance to model grace to our children, including what giving ourselves grace looks like. (Ouch! That’s a challenge for us when we are so good at giving ourselves a hard time!) And we keep at it. Motherhood never stops.

Check out these five characteristics of good mothering as a Christian mom. Give yourself some credit where it’s due and challenge yourself to improve where you need to. Through it all, love your kids and love God. You’ve got this, mama!

Be present.

We can spend a lot of time with our children and still not be present with them. Our kiddos need our love and attention. Good mothering means finding ways to focus on your children and nothing else. We need to be intentional about disconnecting from other things (hello, electronics!) and focusing on our children. They don’t always need our focus, but they do need to know we are truly listening to them.

One strategy that’s worked well for our family is giving each of our two kiddos two nights a week dedicated to them. After our family prayer and reading time, one child gets to hang with my husband and me solo for about 30 minutes. We focus completely on that child. It’s been a great way to intentionally be present and connect with our children.

Set boundaries.

Most Christian moms have heard the verse from Proverbs 22:6 that says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (NIV) We want to start our children off well both in their faith and in life in general. Raising our children to love God, respect themselves and respect others is important.

In order to do that, our kiddos need boundaries. Boundaries actually help our children feel safe and allow them to grow in a healthy way. Set rules and boundaries — and enforce them. My husband and I made a pact when we first had children to not use empty threats. If we are going to tell our kids they’ll have a consequence for a misbehavior, it’s one we must be willing to follow through on.

And, honestly, sometimes good mothering means we have to say “no,” even when we don’t really want to because it’s the best decision for our child. I have this trouble sometimes even in small ways like when my son begs to read another chapter in the “Wings of Fire” series we’re reading together. I want to find out what happens, too, but I also know he needs enough sleep to have a good following day. So, I say “no.”

Be patient.

Ah, patience. Good mothering means being patient, which can be easier said than done! Whether our children are being challenging or we are just out of sorts, patience can be hard to come by. But, we want to be patient and grace-filled parents. So, we need strategies in place to help us during the difficult times.

One of the things I often do is take a deep breath and repeat the first part of 1 Corinthians 13:4 to myself: “Love is patient. Love is kind.” (NIV) Seriously. It helps me refocus and get outside of myself. There are other times when I get old school rapper with it based on a meme I once saw that said, “Love is patient. Love is kind. Ya’ll gonna make me lose my mind. Up in here! Up in here!”

5 Characteristics of Good Mothering for Christian Moms Pinterest quote image 2

Listening to Christian worship music throughout the day also helps me. It’s easier to be patient when I have Jesus music playing. Find a strategy that works for you. Our children need us to be patient with them because they are learning and growing. They’re going to mess up — just like we do! Our patience and understanding will go a long way in helping them feel loved and valued.

Be flexible.

I’m a planner through and through. However, I’ve learned a lot about flexibility in motherhood. A lot. I’m a decade out from newborn days, but I still remember how out of control life feels with a baby. Just when you think you can predict the baby’s schedule, it changes. Or right as everyone is ready to leave the house, you end up having to change a dirty diaper.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is let go of our plans and expectations. Living with chronic illnesses taught me this lesson, but motherhood has driven it home. Being flexible when plans change also allows our kids to see what it looks like to keep moving forward.

Over spring break this year, for instance, we had plans to go to a national park. A big storm went through the area two days prior, and the park was closed for the day our first tour was scheduled. The second choice we made also ended up being closed. But, our third choice option ended up being one of our favorite parts of the trip that we wouldn’t have even done without being flexible. (We got to feed kangaroos!)

(Check out more family travel woes in this post about our tent camping failures!)

Model good behavior.

Our kids are watching and learning from everything we do and say. They learn how to act and react based on how our actions and reactions. Good mothering involves modeling good behavior and values. If we don’t want our children to call each other names, then we shouldn’t call anyone names either. If we want our children to encourage each other, then we should encourage those around us. We want our children to have the tools they need to live productive, faith-filled lives as adults. One of the best ways we can help teach them is by modeling that to them.

Choosing our words wisely is also incredibly important. Proverbs 31:26 says this about how a virtuous woman should talk, “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (NIV) I try to choose my words wisely. As an introvert who tends to think before she speaks, I am pretty decent at this. But, I’m not perfect. And those times are ideal for me to model what apologizing looks like.

Good mothering requires grace.

None of us are perfect moms. We all fall short. However, knowing what good mothering looks like and striving to achieve it is exactly what we should be doing. One bad moment doesn’t make you a bad mom. It doesn’t define you. Pray about and learn from your mistakes, then move forward. Give yourself grace, because God gives it freely to you.

Just keep going, mama. You are the perfect mom for your kiddos!