Friday, August 28, 2009

Age Appropriate

“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.” 1 John 3:7

Seemingly out of the blue, my eight-year-old daughter became a thrill seeker. She suddenly developed an interest in scary movies, “big kid” amusement park rides, and cruising around on her bike without using her hands.

This is a perfectly normal development for an eight-year-old. However, it brings a new twist on determining what is age appropriate, particularly when it comes to books and movies. Unfortunately, most media products don’t grow one developmental milestone at a time the way kids do. A child who is ready for more action and adventure in movies may not be prepared for the additional violence, foul language, or romantic themes that often come along for the ride.

We ran into this issue earlier this month when my daughter wanted to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Since she had already read the book, I went to the theater myself to preview the film version. Usually I turn to on-line reviewers, such as, but I had a hard time deciding whether this movie would be appropriate or not, so I checked it out in person. The next day, I returned to the theater with my daughter for a girl’s night out at the movies, but not before having a conversation about all the kissing she was about to see. The movie gave me a nice excuse to have one of many conversations about personal boundaries and appropriate shows of affection.

Books can be a bit easier to manage than movies. After all, the imagination generally doesn’t go into unfamiliar territory. When my daughter wants to read something I am unfamiliar with, I either have a quick chat with the school librarian (who is always happy to advise me on age appropriate books) or my daughter and I read the book together so we can discuss any questionable themes in the context of the story.

Not sure what is age appropriate or what new stages you should expect to see in your child? Check out They have information on child development from birth through age eight.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Being Prepared Feels So Good

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." - 1 Peter 1:13

Hello, Mom! I missed you while I was on my blogging break. I hope you are having a wonderful summer.

One Sunday last month, I got to participate in a street festival in the town where I live. The local library had a booth there and they let different authors take turns working it to promote their books.

Unfortunately, traffic was not as brisk as I hoped. However, I had my trusty notebook and pen with me. I didn’t sell much, so instead I sat happily in my booth writing. I have never had six hours to sit and write. It was wonderful. The creative juices were flowing and I felt a true sense of accomplishment from getting so much down on paper.

Had I not had a pen and paper with me, it would have been a wasted day. Instead, it turned out to be more productive than I ever could have predicted.

Is there something you enjoy doing that you don’t get much time for? See if there is a way to bring it with you for those unexpected moments of downtime. I know one mom who tucks family photos in an envelope that she keeps in her car so she can sort them for scrapbooking projects while waiting in the carpool line at her son’s school. Another friend balances her checkbook and pays bills from the side of the soccer field so she can do more enjoyable things with her family after practice. Maybe you could keep a small notebook in your purse so you can take advantage of unexpected free minutes to plan or organize upcoming projects.

I keep a plastic bin on the front passenger seat of my car. It holds my purse, a box of tissues, a coupon book, and other items I like to have within easy reach while I’m driving. It is also a great spot to store my paper, as well as other little projects I take on the go. These items stay protected in my bin and don’t end up all over the floor of the car if I have to suddenly hit the brakes. Plus, I can easily move the bin to the back of the car when I carry a front seat passenger with me.

What can you take along to make it easier for you to take advantage of unexpected free minutes?

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