Next month Valentine turns six, completes kindergarten and graduates into the elementary kid’s ministry at church. She’s so excited about all these things, but I can feel myself mentally jerking back whenever I think about it. For whatever reason, all of these things come together in my mind to form some kind of childhood threshold which passes into a whole new territory.
As is my blogging tradition, here are Valentine’s “essentials” in these days:
Logan and I watched this Nickelodeon cult favorite almost a decade ago and have been counting down the days until Valentine was old enough for it. Maybe the strongest offering to children’s TV of all time, all three seasons add up to an epic narrative, complex character arcs and a conscience that’s truly noble. It’s also unrelentingly silly and squeaky clean. We watch an episode or two as a family every Friday or Saturday and have had so much fun getting into it together.
We borrowed this idea from some friends—we give her a few simple chores to complete every day (ie. feed the dog, clean her room). If she completes these chores every day of the week, on Friday she gets three dollar bills. One dollar goes into her GIVE bank, one into her SAVE bank, and one into her SPEND bank. This has been enormously helpful in all kinds of ways, from making generosity and saving more experientially enjoyable to her, to giving her incentive to clean her room (and consequences when she doesn’t), to giving her the means to actually buy the things she’s constantly asking for at the store.
She’s perpetually asking to be read to, but our favorite version of this right now is the Little House series. Initially, I was the one reading the books to her, but one night Logan took over and was completely captivated. He said, “When I’m reading them it feels like it puts my brain back in order.” It’s incredible soothing to all three of us to sit on the couch after dinner, snuggle together and listen to Logan read the vivid descriptions and sweet stories of the Ingalls family.
Forced Outside Time
We make Valentine spend time outdoors every day, rain or shine. She almost always rolls her eyes, but as soon as she’s out there she gets lost in her creative imaginings. Based on her attitude and behavior afterward, this is the thing that—for her—”puts her brain back in order.” It’s a simple thing, but it’s been a really effective parenting resource for us to encourage play, self-sufficiency and just general happiness.
She would wear these 24/7 if she could.
The Bible and other books
Books are still one of the most effective ways we’ve found of showing her the great love of the Lord. The Jesus Storybook Bible is perfect for this age, but we’ve also been so blessed by Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, When God Made You and God’s Very Good Idea.
What about you? Anything your kids are really into these days? Any helpful parenting resources? I’d love to hear!
*Youtube is a pretty unsafe place for kids, so we provide a lot of supervision if she is watching a video from one of these channels.