Simple Scripture Memory Plan for Kids

Simple Scripture Memory Plan for Kids

Simple Scripture Memory Plan For Kids This Summer

Need a simple summer Scripture memory plan for you and the kids?

Are you looking for a way to help your kids memorize Scripture?

Do you feel overwhelmed at the task because you’ve never done it before?

You know deep down inside that you want your children to have God’s word hidden in their heart…

Except, quite frankly, you’ve never really done it yourself.  

No worries, Friend!  

You can use this simple summer Scripture memory system to deepen your connection with your kids and memorize Scripture.  

Allow me to walk alongside you with my simple Scripture memory system for kids (and adults).  The best part is that it works for us imperfect moms too.

Win! Win!

Simple Summer Scripture Memory Plan for Kids

by Lindsay Leiviska | A Heart For All Students

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

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Why Use A Scripture Memory Plan for Kids?

For Christian moms, we know how important it is to hide Scripture in our hearts.  Throughout the Bible, God repeatedly encourages His people to hide His Word in their hearts.

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

Blessed is the man (whose…) delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  -Psalm 1: 1-6

Jesus himself uses Scripture as an offensive weapon against the adversary when he was tempted in the wilderness.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’. John 4:4

The Sword of the Spirit (Scripture) is our only offensive weapon in the armor of God. (Ephesians 6:17)

Clearly we can see the importance of knowing God’s Word.  We know the value of hiding it in our hearts and even more importantly, in our minds.

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Scripture Memory Plan For Kids:  Make it Easy

By having God’s Word hidden in our minds, we are able to lean in to the truth of his grace and mercy in times of trouble.  

In this season of quarantine and social distancing, knowing where our hope lies is an incredible blessing.

In Chapter 6 of Deuteronomy, God emphasizes to the Israelite parents the importance of what messages we give to our children.  God encourages the Israelite parents to repeat the same stories of God’s provision again to their children.

These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts. And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

By doing so, God points to a child’s natural ability to memorize.  He knows how He has designed us and wanted His people to pass down what He had done for them in the past.   So He offered them the most efficient strategy. 

The reality is that messages we share with our children are the ones they will take with them into adulthood.   

Capitalize On Our Children’s Developmental Ability To Memorize

It’s so important that we allow our children opportunities to memorize God’s Word.

Engaging in Scripture Memory work while our kids are young is effective because children are especially capable of memorization in the younger years.  God designed the human brain to memorize effectively and efficiently while it grows in childhood.

We have all heard the saying, “Kids soak up everything,” right?  

It’s true in so many ways.  Let’s jump on this opportunity. 

Let me pause and address the elephant in the room.  If you are starting scripture memory work with an older child, this does not mean that your child is unable to memorize.  They absolutely can and will!  

It’s never too late.  Where there is a will, there is a way. 

Aren’t Kids Too Young To Understand?

Friend, you may have heard arguments against rote memorization of information.  

Whether it be the multiplication facts or Scripture verses, rote memorization has received a lot of flack.  

Some argue that children often lack the capability to understand some of the greater concepts within Scripture or any subject area.  They continue to say that it is useless to have kids memorize what they cannot understand yet.  

The argument follows that memorization of anything which cannot be fully understood is moot.

I cannot more highly and passionately disagree.  

Scripture Memory & Rote Memorization: Here’s The Deal.

If we do not provide our children with an opportunity to easily embed Scripture into their minds while they’re young, we miss a great opportunity.  A child’s inherent cognitive ability to memorize is a gift to be captured. 

The reality is that as they grow, memorized Scripture is not going to leave their minds. In fact, God will only reveal Himself more and more over the years through his Word. 

We all know that Scripture read once, is just that. It’s never mastered.  

Remember, Scripture is living and active.  It will take on a whole new meaning as time goes on and with each reading.

Friend, just do it and have fun as you memorize Scripture with your kids this summer!

scripture memory plan for kids

Step By Step Scripture Memory Plan For Kids

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. 

If you are ready to walk alongside your children in Scripture memorization, get excited!  

I have created a simple and fun way for you to deepen your connection with your kids while memorizing Scripture.

This is the exact strategy that I have used with my kids for years.

1. Choose A Chunk Of Scripture

There are tons of ways and plans for Scripture Memory Work out there. 

However, I have found that most of them are based on one Scripture verse in isolation at a time. This has never been an effective strategy for my kids and me.  

There’s something about memorizing Scripture in chunks that has served us so much more than trying to pick and choose one verse at a time. 

Chunks of scripture that we have memorized are:

  • Psalm 100,
  • Matthew 5:3-12,  The Beatitudes
  • John Chapter 1
  • Proverbs 2
  • Isaiah 11
  • Philippians 2
  • Colossians 3

2. Print Scripture

Once you have chosen the chunk of Scripture that you are committed to memorizing, print it out.

It is important to consider visual input whenever you are teaching your child anything.  Make the Scripture visually appealing and not too overwhelming.

I tend to favor printing the Scripture passage on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. 

Make sure the text is in large font and, at a minimum, double spaced.  We want it to be read from a distance of 3 to 4 feet.

I always insert the Scripture in a sheet protector.  Then we display it either on the refrigerator or we keep it safely in our homeschooling binder.  

Choose what works for your family.  In the end, just make sure to have a home for all of your memory work printables.

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3. Choose A Short Burst Of Time To Spend On The Verses Each Day

It’s summer time!  

There are no rules about what time is best to memorize Scripture.  

If you have littles and everyone is up at the same time each morning, practice the verses while eating breakfast.

Teens sleeping late?  

Catch them at lunchtime. 

It doesn’t matter.  Just choose a time to gather 4-5 days a week for a whopping 5 minutes.

4. Rhythm and Rhyme

Get ready to bust out the rhythm and melody in order to memorize the verses one by one.

We all know what it is like to hear a song that we haven’t listened to in years.  Every word comes back to us as if we had just heard it yesterday.

There is power in music and our brains were designed to create memory through music.  

Focus on one verse at a time and chant to a nursery rhyme tune or song.  

There are lots of options.  You choose what works from verse to verse.  You do not have to use the same tune for the entire passage.

5. Incorporate Movement

By using movement while learning Scripture, you are utilizing multiple parts of the brain.

Employing the various sensory systems allows information to more efficiently and effectively stick.  

Capitalize on multisensory learning whenever memorization is needed.

6. One Step At A Time

I know that I mentioned how helpful it has been for my family to memorize larger chunks of Scripture.

One of the reasons this is effective is that we do so over a longer period of time.  Each time we begin a new verse, we review the prior one.  Doing so over a longer period of time allows the Scripture to move from short term to long-term memory.

Choose one or two verses to focus on each week.

Highlight each verse as you progress.  Spend your short periods of time reviewing the prior verses and then work on the new verse.

By the end of the summer, you and your kids will have fully memorized an entire passage of Scripture that will stick for years to come.

So… what does this look like on a practical level?

Download The Simple Scripture Memory Plan For Kids 

Check out this video of my girls and I reciting Psalm 100.   Use this as a guide.

By the way, this is not a perfect video. This is reality.  My kids are older now and not as excited about performing for the camera.

The point is that they know His Word.

Modify the chants, movements and songs to fit your family’s desires.

Make this a fun time and thank God for the gift of music, fun and family this summer!

This video was made last year.  We hadn’t practiced this Psalm for close to a year at this point.

We used each step outlined above slowly… over time… and memorized this chunk of Scripture.  

The kitchen island was our rehearsal studio and the memories of coming up with hand motions and rhythms will last a lifetime.

Get excited about taking on this simple and fun Scripture Memory Plan with your kids.  

What about you, Friend?  Do you have a fun system for Scripture Memory?  Share below!  

And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (@aheartforallstudents) or Facebook (@equippingmoms) and share your progress!  

Parenting Growth Mindset For Moms

Parenting Growth Mindset For Moms

Moms Need A Parenting Growth Mindset

Friend, I am convinced that all moms need a parenting growth mindset.  For the sake of our kids, we need to shift our mindset.

Think about it.  

How many of us have grown because of our children?  

Many of us enter parenthood believing we are going to be the perfect parent.  

“I will never let my child co-sleep.  That is not a healthy sleeping habit.”

“I will definitely co-sleep.  Attachment parenting is the only way to go.”

“When I have kids, my child will never talk back to me.”

“What is wrong with these parents?  I will never allow that behavior with my kid.”

Are you laughing at the arrogance or the fact that you once believed something like this?

Here is the deal though.  Whether you believed one of the above statements or something else, every mom grows through parenting.  

We change as we learn.  Parenting is a process.  Many of us get to the point where we finally realize that there is a heck of a lot we do not know. 

Parenting Growth Mindset For Moms

by Lindsay Lieviska | A Heart For All Students

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

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Moms Need a Parenting Growth Mindset 

What is a growth mindset?  

Growth mindset as a term was coined by Carol Dweck, PhD.  Basically Dweck explains a growth mindset as one that sees:

  • challenges as opportunities, 
  • obstacles to be overcome,
  • criticism as learning lessons,
  • and ultimately the general sense that we are not “stuck” in any one position forever…

She focuses her efforts on equipping children with an understanding that they can succeed and that they are only limited by their beliefs.

While Dr. Dweck’s work has been primarily geared towards the educational system, all people are impacted greatly based upon their mindset. 

She points to the great difference in life outcomes for those who have a fixed (I can change nothing mindset) or a growth mindset.

Clearly, we can see how our beliefs about ourselves and those around us, can radically impact the quality of our lives.

Raising ADHD or Autism?  Parenting Growth Mindset

Friend, it’s essential to the well-being of our neurodiverse children that moms embrace a parenting growth mindset.  

Are you parenting a child with ADHD?   Does your child have Autism? 

SPD?  APD?  GAD?   Any acronym?

Or does your child simply struggle to fit in the box of the world’s expectations?

Do you wake in the middle of the night worried about your child’s future?

“What is going to happen to him?”

“Will she always struggle?”

Friend, I’ve been there.  And I have come to the conclusion that if we want our kids to avoid a bleak future,  we mommas may want to rally together to make a change.  

Parenting Growth Mindset vs Parenting Fixed Mindset

Fortunately, we moms tend to get to the point where we settle in to the fact that we are not God.   As we embrace the reality that we are not in control of everything nor everyone, we have some choices to make. 

A fixed parenting mindset tells us to dig our heels in the sand when our kids don’t fall in line.  When those little people living under our roof dare to be different, we do everything we can to force those kids to get in line.  

“Nope.  He will learn to obey right away because that is what my parents expected of me.”

From experience I know where that leads.  This often leads us to broken relationship and a whole lot of stress.

The growth parenting mindset allows us to sway with the winds of unmet expectations.  It frees us to see our struggles with our kids as not personal failures, but as opportunities to grow.

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My own journey to a parenting growth mindset

My hubby and I adopted a baby boy 6 years ago.  His transition into our family was relatively smooth.  

That is, until he hit 18 months.  It was then that his uncontrollable behaviors began to destroy our home and our family.   

This was the lowest and most desperate season of my life and in parenting.  

The isolation and shame.

I felt overwhelming guilt for my two biological daughters who had lost their mom.  They found themselves living in a war zone within their home.

Humiliation and depression suffocated me for several years.  My husband and my girls suffered greatly every day.  

The internal dialogue in my own momma head did not help one bit.  I truly believed that life was over.  

Except it wasn’t.

Mercy Triumphs

Friend, God used this season of absolute HELL to radically change the way I see everything and everyone.  

As we sought help for my boy, I learned from incredible pediatric specialists.  Ultimately, we found some answers for my son. 

And I found answers I didn’t know I was searching for.  

You see, I was forced to acknowledge my need for outside help.  

I entered Christian counseling and faced my own internal junk.  

God used the agony to chip away at some boulders that had been holding me hostage for years.  

Let me cut to the chase.  

I had been stuck in black and white thinking that labeled a child’s outward obedience as the ultimate sign of a good Christian momma.   

For decades I had been believing that something was true without ever having examined it.

By God’s mercy, He used another baby boy to offer more freedom to me and my family.

In this journey, I have learned so much about His design of the brain and His heart for the broken.  

He looks at the heart and sees in each of us who He designed us to be… even when we mess up. In His grace, God allowed me the opportunity to develop a parenting growth mindset.  And I am so grateful.

Parenting growth mindset saved my kids

Developing a parenting growth mindset has been key to the progress we have made with our precious boy.  Even more, it transformed my relationship with my biological daughters.  

Honestly, I believe it has saved their lives.

When we adopted our boy, we had no idea that our daughters needed their mom to develop a parenting growth mindset.  For one of my girls in particular this soon became apparent.

For years, I tried to make her into a social butterfly like her older sister.

I didn’t understand why she was so “shy.”  

I worried about her heightened-sensitivity level.  

Why did she hang on the outskirts when we would get together with friends for play dates?

I tried to “fix” her so that she could be “happy and healthy.”

Fixed parenting mindset is the thief of mental health

When she did not do what I wanted when I wanted it, I would become frustrated with her.

And she felt it… she soaked up my disappointment.

She felt the judgment of others because she wasn’t an outgoing conversationalist.  

It kills me to think about what she felt about herself while I was trying to get her to “act” a certain way.

“Kids should be outgoing and social.”

“Children need to come out of their shells sooner rather than later.”

It is not the being different that could have posed the greatest risk to her well-being.  Nope, it was the messages she received from the world around her.  

Sadly, she got the idea loud and clear even from her mother (me).   

My girl was learning that she needed to be someone else in order to make others happy.  That in order to be “good,” she would have to pretend to be a girl who God never intended for her to be.  

It is this message that could have destroyed her life.

I fight the tears right now as I think about what she would have felt and believed about herself if I had continued parenting her with a fixed mindset.

Embracing a parenting growth mindset has allowed me to see the beauty that God has intentionally woven into my precious girl.  She is His girl.

He looks at the heart.

Mental Health Crisis Hamster Wheel

By being willing to examine our beliefs about how we approach our outside-the-box kids, we open the door to hope. 

Adopting a parenting growth mindset that seeks to find the strengths in each of our children offers an alternative to:

‘What’s wrong with me?’

‘I always screw up.’

‘The teacher is mad at me again.’

‘My mom is always disappointed in me.  Why can’t I get it together?’

‘The noise was just too much and I couldn’t handle it. I’m so stupid.’

‘I cannot focus in a room full of other kids.’

‘What is wrong with me?’

How many more kids have to scream for help through drug-abuse, cutting, suicide, eating disorders, before we take a good look at this one-size-fits all system that is FAILING so many children?

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Moms willing to examine unhealthy expectations

Friend, moms need to feel safe within community in order to best serve our kids.  So many of us have kids who don’t fit in the box of the world’s expectations.  What is crazy is that so many of these expectations are never even questioned.

And yet we can easily spend our fleeting time of influence trying to force our kids to conform to unexamined and unhealthy expectations.  

The end result?  Broken relationship between parent and child and, ultimately, hurting adult children.

Parenting growth mindset frees us and our kids

When we develop a parenting growth mindset, we become moms living in freedom.  The parenting peanut-gallery commentators lose their power.  We feel confident to care less for what the “experts” say if it is going to destroy our children.

These years matter. What our kids believe about themselves matters so let’s examine the beliefs that are influencing how we raise them.  

Let’s do this differently in community, Friend.  If you have a child who dares to be different, join us in A Heart For All Students private community

We would love to support you as you raise the child God has given you to thrive with confidence and purpose. 

Life will get tough

A parenting growth mindset is not some Pollyanna dream world. 

That is why we need mom support from other ladies who share a parenting growth mindset.  We were made by God for relationship.  We will  need others to support us with the growth mindset vision that we can’t see in those hard and weary moments.

And when we are willing to receive support from others as we parent our outside-the-box kids, we are then able to equip our children to thrive.

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Parenting An Anxious Child

Parenting An Anxious Child

Parenting An Anxious Child

by Lindsay Leiviska | A Heart For All Students

Parenting An Anxious Child

Raise your hand if you are parenting an anxious child.  Friend, you are not alone.  Just recently, I posted the following question to a private Facebook group primarily made up of moms.

If you could solve one major problem that you are currently navigating with your child, what would it be?

The answers to that question revealed a lot of common issues that parents are facing.  However, the number one underlying issue these moms were facing?  I’ll tell you:  parenting an anxious child.

I don’t think this comes as a shock with all that is going on in our world these days.  

Whether your child has a formal diagnosis or not, so many of us are parenting at least one anxious child.  

So what can we do when we are parenting an anxious child?

Disclosure:  This post may contains affliliate links.  If you purchase anythink through the affiliate inks, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.  I won’t ever recommend a product that I do not stand behind.  Thank you for your support so I can continue to offer as much free content as possible.

Parenting An Anxious Child

Hope in Numbers?

Knowing that so many of us are parenting an anxious child can actually offer parents hope.

Why should we moms be hopeful when so many children are struggling with childhood anxiety? 

Perhaps the one silver lining of parenting an anxious child is that we know that our children are not alone in this. 

The more we moms speak up about the need to support our anxious kids, the more awareness.  

When we are open with moms and professionals about parenting an anxious child, the more we can work together to best support our kids. 

The Demands Of This World Create Greater Anxiety

The reality is that our children (whether or not they have a diagnosis) are bombarded by so much stimulation. 

Whether through the demands of school work, social pressures and a world-wide virus, kids are stressed out.

Teen Anxiety & Bible Study

On a Saturday morning, I sat with a group of 9th grade girls from my church.  We had just begun a Bible Study about their Identity in Christ. 

Many of these sweet girls shared about their stresses at school.  As I looked around this table of 7 typical teenage girls, it hit me.  

Every single one of them struggled regularly with anxiety.  

Friend, we are not the only ones parenting a child with anxiety. 

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Parenting an anxious child in my own home

I understand how debilitating anxiety can be and how much it can negatively impact life. 

Coping with anxiety is hard enough on adults. Pushing through life with anxiety is beyond exhausting. 

As our children begin to show signs of debilitating anxiety in greater numbers, we need to take note.

Signs That You Are Parenting An Anxious Child

You may be thinking,

“I am not parenting an anxious child.  My child is just disobedient and angry.”

Here is the reality. Anxiety in children does not necessarily present the way we often think.

When children are anxious it can show itself in many ways.  If we are not careful, we can exacerbate anxiety.  We need to stop to recognize it. 

How often do we see…

  • A child who is throwing a “temper tantrum”
  • The destructive child who cannot keep his hands to himself
  • A student who appears to be checked out in class
  • Tween girl who is struggling to turn in homework
  • Student who bombs a spelling test that they were confident about the night before
  • The child who complains of headaches and stomach aches
  • A kid who cannot sleep at night

Often in our culture, adults see these types of behaviors as willful.  We demand that a difficult behavior stop without finding the root behind it.

“Stop biting your nails. It is a disgusting habit.”

“Keep your hands to yourself or you will lose recess.”

“You are so irresponsible. You forgot to turn in your homework again!”

“Snap out of it! I told you to pay attention!”

These “difficult” behaviors are most often symptoms of fear, shame, embarrassment and anxiety.

Anxiety Needs To Be Released

Because most children do not have the vocabulary to identify what they are feeling, they often act out negatively. 

These outward symptoms are simply a reflection of those emotions.  

When parenting an anxious child and when we notice these behaviors, we need to pause.  Like us, our children experience thoughts and big feelings daily. 

We must be intentional to see these painful times as opportunities.  We can use these anxiety-driven moments to equip our kids with the tools they need to work through their stress.

Tools To Help Parents With An Anxious Child

Tools to help when parenting an anxious child

Here are some of my favorite tools that you can use at home to help your child navigate anxiety well. 

These resources support children in their understanding of their own thoughts and feelings.

When we give our children a vocabulary to describe and understand their physical sensations, thoughts and feelings, we give them an incredible advantage.  

Additional Tools For Parenting An Anxious Child

Turnaround: Turning Fear into Freedom by David A. Russ, Ph.D. & Christopher T. McCarthy, M. Ed.

This resource  is phenomenal. 

Several years ago, my oldest daughter suddenly developed severe separation anxiety.   Overnight she became paralyzed with fear and could not leave my side for more than two months.  

Because her fear was so intense, we immediately began Christian counseling.  It was then that her counselor recommended this program.

This is a 10-day program.  Each day includes an audio and workbook component.  The story follows a group of children as they attend camp. Each of the characters struggle with some area of anxiety.

Following the audio session, there are workbook exercises for your child to complete.  There are written and drawing exercises that help kids label and illustrate their fears in various ways.

The fact that the storyline follows a group of kids who understand anxiety is so beneficial.  Children can more easily relate and invest in the strategies provided.  

The strategies introduced to the child equip them to combat the thoughts and feelings that lead to anxiety. This gives these kiddos a greater sense of control.

Personal Success

My daughter was 12 years old when she used this set of materials.  While she was very apprehensive when she started, she felt relief after the first day. By the end of the ten-day program, she was much better able to combat her anxiety.

Turnaround: Turning Fear into Freedom is recommended for children ages 6-13.  I highly recommended it to moms parenting an anxious child.

Praise God that my daughter was quickly diagnosed with PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome).  She was treated  and is back to her old self.  

If you notice sudden-onset severe anxiety, aggression or OCD-type behaviors, please talk to your child’s doctor.  For more about our story with PANS and PANDAS, check out this post.

Zones Of Regulation For Anxious Children

Zones of Regulation by Leah Kuypers, MA Ed., OTR/L

When parenting an anxious child, using the Zones of Regulation chart can be incredibly helpful.  

The Zones were introduced to me through my son’s developmental pediatrician, Dr. Yasmin Senturias of Atrium Health.  

Dr. Senturias has been a godsend to our family as  we desperately searched for answers for our son.

The Zones of Regulation materials were developed by Leah Kuypers.  She is an Occupational Therapist and has an education background.  

She created this resource as a way to help children learn to develop emotional and self-regulation skills.

The materials are often used in schools as well as in mental health settings.  The Zones are a visual representation of what a child may be experiencing internally at any moment-in-time.

The Zones of Regulation program contains a simple chart.  This chart is made of color bands that represent specific feelings and thoughts.  It is especially helpful for young children who learn well with visual cues.

By giving kids a visual representation and vocabulary for emotional states, they are able to move through tough feelings and bring themselves back to a “regulated state.” Using the Zones, you provide your child the ability to release and communicate that which they are feeling.

This is a wonderful childhood anxiety resource. 

Check out this post where I discuss practical and actionable ways to use this tool at home today.  

Anger Iceberg

The Anger Iceberg is a visual tool.  It helps children understand the multitude of ways that anger displays itself. 

All adults will benefit from understanding that anger and difficult behavior is just a symptom.  Anxiety and fear is often the root of anger and rage.

By simply discussing the anger terms, parenting an anxious child will be less intimidating.  

Quite frankly, it is important to learn to look behind the your child’s angry behavior.   By doing so, you allow your child to release and process the underlying emotions.   

If we don’t allow our kids the opportunity to understand and verbalize the stressors inside of them, they will come out eventually.   Most often, anxiety and fear will come out in even more destructive ways.  

Choose to discuss a few “anger” terms at a time.  If your child does not know what a term means, explain it.  Share a story from your life that applies to the specific anger word.

Simply engaging in these conversations will deepen connection with your child.  This, My Friend, is the best medicine for anxiety.  There is power in knowledge and relationship.

Worth Mentioning

What to Do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner

This workbook series is an excellent resource to help children navigate many issues including anxiety, complaining, fear, etc.

It is an entire series based on varying issues that children will face throughout life.  It is definitely worth checking out.

Parenting An Anxious Child And Our Kids Identity in Christ

One last thing to note if you are parenting an anxious child.

If you are a Christ-follower, may I encourage you to equip your child with practical knowledge of their identity in Christ?  

We often talk to our kids about their identity in Christ and yet we fail (me included) to clearly explain what that means.  Confusion just adds to fear, right?

Equip your child to know deeply what it truly means to have an Identity based on what God says and not based on what the world tells them.

Download FREE Identity in Christ Printables.  Use them with your kids.  Read them aloud daily, discuss them, and pray them over your child.

For more about helping our kids know what it means to have their Identity in Christ, read this post. 

Friend, let me encourage you.  God has chosen each one of us on purpose to raise our kids during this delicate time.  You are exactly the right mom for your child even when you don’t do it perfectly. 

God doesn’t expect us to do it all perfectly.  So give yourself grace to do the best you can to love your child well during these hard seasons.  

He is in this with you and He loves your child fiercely.  

Would love to hear from you.   We are in this together.

Parenting Neurodiverse Kids to Thrive

Parenting Neurodiverse Kids to Thrive

Parenting Neurodiverse Kids Well

To my momma friends who are fiercely in love with and are parenting neurodiverse kids, let’s be brave. 

You know the ones I am talking about.

  • The children who are constantly hearing that they are not enough.
  • The ones who will never live up the expectations of the adults around them.
  • Like the kid back in school who was considered a troublemaker (yep, he ended up exactly as expected by the adults around him)
  • The “loser” with a life that went nowhere.

So many of these neurodiverse kids simply grew up shrouded in a culture that believes that outward behavior is always willful.  

Sadly when it comes to parenting neurodiverse kids and children in general, this mindset is often quite dangerous.  When we have black and white thinking to what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior, outside-the-box children end up suffering.

The Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Parenting Neurodiverse Kids to Thrive

by Lindsay Leiviska | A Heart For All Students

What is neurodiversity?

 The concept of neurodiversity is basically a viewpoint that says that all people are wired differently.  

For kids with ADHD, Autism, or any other cognitive difference, this shift can be life changing.   This means that instead of viewing them as disordered people who need to be “fixed”, we embrace their differences as part of their wiring.  

When we remove the “willful disobedience” mindset, we begin to see the whole child through the eyes of grace and of strength.

Our responses to perceived infractions on expected behaviors lose their rough and often aggressive edge.  We are able to then see the strengths that need to be harnessed for good. 

Our kids lose the shame and instead are able to see us as in their corner.  We can then parent our neurodiverse children with what they need to thrive.

Diversity in who we are and how we are all designed.  Doesn’t that sound like something to be celebrated?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

Mom Paranting Neurodiverse Kits

Parenting Neurodiverse Kids Well: Difference vs disordered  

As moms begin parenting neurodiverse kids from this mindset, anxiety and fear is lessened.  By recognizing our child’s ADHD or Autism as an inherent part of what makes them unique, we experience freedom. 

Parenting our neurodiverse kids in this way allows us to focus on their strengths instead of trying to constantly fix these traits out of them.  

For more about neurodiversity, check out this article from Understood.org.  

Neurodiversity brings freedom 

Culturally, when adults cannot “control” the “challenging” behavior of a child with ADHD, the perception is that there is something wrong with the child.

The idea that perhaps we are using the wrong approach with these kids rarely comes to mind.  Adults blame the child and continue with the same ineffective, life-sucking discipline strategies… and the behaviors increase as the child’s sense of self-worth decreases.

Albert Einstein is often credited as saying, 

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  

So… as we parent our own neurodiverse kids, what is our goal? 

To force these fish to climb a tree, never allowing them to swim in the pond for which they were designed?  Do we want them to believe there is something inherently wrong with them when they can NEVER meet our expectations?

neurodiverse children, special needs mom, adhd, asd, sensory processing

Kids set up for failure

So many of our kids are placed in no-win situations.  They continuously fail to live up to the accepted expectations of the world around them.

These expectations are often based upon an environment that they were never meant to thrive in. 

Sadly, our outside-the-box kids are consistently living from a marginalized position.  They are repeatedly corrected, punished, and shamed.  

These kids spend their formative years hearing about their faults.  Oftentimes these “faults” are simply differences in the way they receive and process the world around them.  

What about the real world?

Some may argue that modifying how we educate and parent neurodiverse kids is not realistic because “they have to learn sometime”.

Hello?!!!

There are millions and millions of people in this country who are suffering and have suffered their entire lives because of this belief that its the kid who is broken.  

We live in the United States of America.  It’s 2020.  We say we celebrate diversity.  So let’s do it.

It is time we offer an alternative system.  

Parenting Neurodiversity Kids Well

Momma Friend, I hear it every day.

  • The school called. My kid flipped out and hit a little boy in class. Now he is suspended.
  • My daughter clings to me at church because it is so loud and crazy in there. She started melting down in the middle of the foyer last Sunday.
  • The teacher said that my child is off in lala land and that’s why she can’t learn to read.
  • My son comes home from school every day and screams and has meltdowns. No one believes me because he is quiet at school.
  • My child begs me not to send him to (church, sports, school, etc).
  • Getting my child to do her homework always ends up in tears and stress. She just screams that it’s too much to do.
  • My child hates going to birthday parties, he just cries and avoids the other kids.

These children struggle to please adults and even other kids around them by trying to suppress their responses to an environment they were never intended to live in.

They receive the message loud and clear that they are inherently defective.  

Our neurodiverse kids are suffering.  Their anxiety is through the roof.  Wouldn’t yours be as well?  

Christian Moms & Neurodiverse Kids

Mental Illness Hamster Wheel

These misunderstood children frequently end up trapped in a cycle of mental health issues that plague them for life. 

Rates of childhood anxiety, depression, cutting, and suicide are growing.

Moms parenting neurodiverse kids… we need to join together to advocate for our children.  We need to be brave enough to parent the children God has given us and not the one Aunt Edna wants.

We are raising children to one day be adults. These formative years are crucial.

Moms parenting neurodiverse kids differently

It’s time to be BRAVE for our uniquely-designed children.  

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Sensory Processing Differences
  • Learning Differences
  • Anxiety

These are not personality defects.  These are inherent differences in wiring just as are introversion and extroversion.

  • That struggle to take direction is not her being willfully stubborn but is her independence
  • His hyperfocus on his latest “obsession” is not a disorder.  It is a gift that has allowed some of the greatest inventors of our time to change the world.
  • The boy who cannot sit still was made to move… he receives and processes information through movement.  
  • Is your daughter the day dreamer? The one who can’t focus? That is her incredible imagination taking her places that others will only experience when she becomes a published author.

We must begin to shift our perspective so that we can set these kids up for success.

Let’s stop shaming those who don’t fit the mold.  We need to stop clinging to this belief that our kids are WILLFULLY making a choice to disobey.

It is time for us to be our child’s cheerleader and coach.  

Let us coach them well while we equip them to thrive as who they have been designed to be.

special needs kids, adhd, autism, aspergers, aspie, asd, sensory, moms, parenting, homeschool, christian parenting, aspie girls, aspergers, autism, adhd, aspie girl

God Intentionally Chose You

Moms, you know in your gut there must be another way for your neurodiverse kids.

Deep down, you know that God has created your child uniquely and that He must have a plan for your child. 

Yet, fear takes over.  

  • The world tells you that a child who is screaming in public deserves a good spanking.
  • Aunt Edna tells you that you had better nip that bad behavior in the bud now.
  • Your mother-in-law glares at your child when he begins jumping on the couch.
  • That perfect mom stares in shock when your child begins shrieking uncontrollably at the fireworks display.
  • The teacher at your child’s school told you that your child needs to learn to sit still now.

You don’t know what to do, but you know your child will never thrive knowing that he is a constant disappointment.

Parent the child we have been given

We must be willing to parent our children who have been created differently. As a Christ follower, I believe with every bit of my being that God creates every child with gifts, passions and purpose. 

We must be willing to think outside-the-box with our outside-the-box kids.

Let’s partner with our children so that through safe relationships, we can influence them.  We want to equip our kids with tools and strategies so that they can live a life of confidence and purpose.

Or we can continue to listen to the world and it’s rewards and punishment mentality.  

How is that working for your child?

Every child needs an adult who believes in them… let’s be that for our kids.

Wisdom of Moms Raising Neurodiverse Kids

Mom Friends, it’s time to be BRAVE for our children.

It’s time to be willing to allow other adults to disapprove of us in order to save the future lives of our children.  Let’s allow our kids to dare to be exactly who they are.

If you are looking for the support of other moms who are parenting uniquely-wired kids to thrive, join the private AHFAS community.  

We are in this together!

homeschool mom, special needs mom, adhd, autism

Strategies For Struggling Readers

Strategies For Struggling Readers

Strategies For Struggling Readers

Are you looking for effective teaching strategies for you struggling readers?  

For many children, traditional reading instruction strategies are effective.  Unfortunately, however, those same strategies are also just as ineffective for others.

Same lessons and methods 

When we continue to use the same lessons and methods, these kids begin to believe that they are bad readers.  They mentally give up due to frustration.    

Who wants to repetitively engage in an activity that causes tears, anxiety and frustration?

The last thing we want is for any of our children to struggle with and hate reading.  We know the value and importance of reading, but often hit a wall when we run out of strategies for our struggling reader.

The Value of Reading

Fortunately, as a society we espouse the importance of literacy for all children.  That statement is definitely true on the surface. However, when we dig deeper into how we equip children to read, many begin to think differently.

It is not uncommon in our educational culture to determine that a child is “behind” in reading at ages as early as 6 or 7. This message is communicated to Mom or Dad with an urgency that reading needs to improve quickly in order to be “ready for the next grade level.”

Arguably, we are standing on a dangerous precipice when we make these judgement calls based upon one modality of reading instruction and age alone. We must begin to view effective reading instruction with the child’s “wiring” in mind.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

reading help, dyslexia, adhd, homeschool

Adults who needed a different approach

How many children do you know who think they “hate reading”?  

Now think about the many adults that to this day won’t even think of picking up a book as a form of entertainment because they think they too hate reading. Many adults explain that they were never good at reading when they were in school.  I argue that they were likely not equipped in a way that they could process and understand.  

If we want to prevent the next generation from falling into the reading is the enemy trap, then we must be willing to explore alternative teaching strategies for struggling readers. 

Unrealistic expectations of our children

One of the side-effects of unrealistic and inappropriate benchmarks is anxiety-ridden parents scrambling to make their child to read just like everyone else.

These children struggle even more when pushed to read using a strategy that inherently conflicts with the way they learn.

Additionally, parents often make themselves crazy running their kiddos to various academic interventions in a desperate attempt to keep up with the student Joneses.  

Unfortunately, if this occurs early on in a child’s education or becomes the pattern year after year, our kids learn something.  They learn that they hate learning and that they are “dumb.”  Consequently, the idea of picking up a book causes tears, anxiety and frustration for the child (and mom or dad).

Likewise, very few adults have the capacity to fight an uphill battle every day.  As such, why do we force immature children to learn a skill that they may not be developmentally able to accomplish yet?

homeschool reading, adhd, anxious child, dyslexia

When they are 18?

Will the chronological age a child learns to read fluently matter to anyone when he is 18? 

Life is a gift given to us by God Himself.  Life is a journey.  No two people are exactly the same.

Ultimately, a child who grows up feeling “behind” can easily believe himself incapable of learning.   

Forcing children to push through advanced reading material based on grade level benchmarks without equipping them with foundational reading skills is dangerous in more ways than one.    

Sadly, Learned helplessness is a real force that creates its own set of mental health issues.  This ultimately costs far more than whether a child reads on grade-level at age 7, 8 or even 10.

Neurodiversity: Strategies for struggling readers 

Our brains, like our bodies, develop differently and at varying times.

  • Would we ever shame a young 14 year-old girl because her body isn’t as developed as other girls her age?  
  • Would we tell a young man that he is not achieving his potential if his voice was still an octave higher than his peers?

Of course not.

Why then do this to our children when it comes to brain development and its impact on their reading skills?  

Reading in their own time

I am aware of many children who had no interest in reading at age 7 or even 8, but at 10 years old became passionate and completely literate readers.  Read Better Late Than Early for additional insight.  

Imagine where those kids would be if they believed they were “behind” and needed to hurry up.

What about the psychological impacts of constant perceived failures affect the long-term academic success of a child? 

There are many variables at play in the effectiveness of teaching strategies which is why it is critical that adults seek out alternative strategies for struggling readers.

Orton Gillingham 

One effective teaching strategy for struggling readers involves the Orton-Gillingham (OG) method.   

The OG method is a multi-sensory teaching approach that targets multiple senses within the child’s brain.  

For example, the Orton-Gillingham strategy may have a child learn basic phonics sounds in the following way:

  • the child sees a letter, 
  • builds the letter with clay, 
  • and says the corresponding letter sounds aloud

In this example, the child would receive the reading content through his visual, kinesthetic and auditory systems.

Alternative reading strategy for struggling readers

One reading curriculum that uses the OG strategy for struggling readers is All About Reading.  This entire line of learning materials is highly effective, engaging and laid out beautifully for both parent teacher and student alike.  

All About Learning company is an excellent resource for curriculum as well as educational materials for parents and educators.  

All About Learning has two programs lines, each complementing one another:

  1. All About Spelling and 
  2. All About Reading

These two programs are both incredibly effective tools for reading instruction for struggling readers.

I cannot more highly recommend All About Learning press for any child struggling with traditional reading approaches.   The curriculum materials include:

  • The hands-on letter tiles, 
  • the systematic flash card system (unlike any I have ever used) that equips the learner with intentional and incremental instruction, 
  • and step-by-step teaching guides provided for parent teachers.
All About Reading

Be Willing to Think Outside-the-Box

There are many options to approach reading for struggling readers. 

Ultimately, the goal of education should be to equip our kids with what they need based on their own unique wiring so that thrive as a whole person throughout adulthood.

It is crucial for parents to be armed with information about alternative reading strategies in order to serve all children.  When expectation for all children to fit inside the educational box is removed, stress is reduced and our struggling readers begin to make traction.

All About Spelling

Reading aloud TO your child as a reading strategy

In addition to seeking out alternative reading curriculum, I highly recommend reading aloud to your struggling reader.  Reading aloud to your child will yield incredible fruit including:

  • Language development 
  • Reading comprehension skills
  • Exposure to rich vocabulary
  • Deepened family connection and so much more…

For more on reading together as a family.

We must ease up on our kids

We often push and push our children to read aloud regardless of their capability.  We do this because we are “afraid” that they SHOULD be reading at this point.   Mom often thinks, 

Everyone is telling me she should be able to read.   

I am a bad mom if I don’t force her to do it.  All the other kids can.  

Remember your goal.  If you want your child to confidently read, you may need to ease up in order to move forward.

Give your child the gift of enjoying the blessing of books. 

No pressure.  No stress.  Just joy. 

Read aloud to your child and get lost in story together so that your child can fall in love with books. 

An inherent love for reading will take your child millions of miles ahead than forced reading under duress.

Check out my family’s favorite read aloud book list here.  

Celebrate diversity: Effective strategies for struggling readers

People are unique in so many ways.  This diversity includes our neurodiversity.  We all learn in different ways and excel when allowed to learn based on our own wiring.  

Therefore, teachers and parents need to be equipped with appropriate strategies for struggling readers.  If our goal is to equip our children to become literate learners, we must be willing to think outside-the-box.  

Thank God there are so many reading options out there.  

Dyslexia Resource Library

Teaching A Child With ADHD

Teaching A Child With ADHD

Teaching A Child With ADHD?

Do you have or are you teaching a child with ADHD?

Whether you are a homeschool mom or a teacher in a classroom, you have likely experienced the challenges that come from teaching a child with ADHD symptoms.

You know the signs:

  • Trouble paying attention to non-preferred activities (think math, reading, chores… whatever is not interesting)
  • Hyperactivity (the wiggle worms)
  • Difficulty taking turns
  • Difficulty transitioning from one activity to another
  • Academic struggles
  • Emotional meltdowns when time to do seat work
  • A bedroom that is always messy no matter how many times it has been organized…
  • You get the idea…

Check out Attitudemag.com for more information.

ADHD Symptoms Can Lead to Tension

As homeschool moms know, when our children show symptoms of ADHD while we are teaching them, it can be challenging for mom and child alike.  The child struggles to maintain attention and becomes bored and distracted.  Mom becomes frustrated with her inability to teach her child effectively.  Academic growth stalls out while frustrations and tensions between child and mom grow.

So what does the homeschool mom do to more effectively teach her child with ADHD?  After all, her child’s engagement is critical to retention and understanding.

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. Appreciate your support.

Teaching A Child With ADHD

My favorite OT

To gather some useful tips for teaching a child with ADHD, I sought out the advice of an amazing friend and occupational therapist.

Alicia Matthews, MS, OTR/L, has walked alongside my family for years.  She has been a wealth of support for my family.

It is no wonder that I would seek out her advice and tips for teaching a child with ADHD.

Occupational Therapy for Learning?

Occupational Therapy is not a new area of intervention.  However, more and more parents are just now learning of its effectiveness in addressing ADHD symptoms in children.

Sensory: 5 Senses + Two More Senses

Get up and move!

As an OT, Alicia starts with sensory strategies to improve all learning challenges.

When teaching a child with an ADHD brain, any learning that requires a child to sit and pay attention can be extremely tough.  These kids have been wired to need physical movement to thrive.

Therefore, Alicia always recommends sensory input right before the child sits.  When you can incorporate movement into a lesson, go for it!

Movement is a Must for Sensory Needs

While you’ve probably heard that getting up and moving can “wake up” the body, you’ve probably never been told why.  When we move our bodies, our brain releases feel good chemicals that stimulate the brain and relax the body.

adhd teaching tips, homeschool

Tips for Teaching a Child With ADHD

1 – Vestibular Input

The vestibular sensory system involves changes in head position. This movement releases histamine, which increases attention.

Outside “vestibular” activities include going down a slide, swinging high in the air, or riding a scooter.

Indoor vestibular activities may include log rolls, spinning in an office chair, or performing inverted yoga poses. 

2 – Proprioceptive Input

This refers to movement that incorporate changes in joint position.  This movement releases serotonin, which decreases arousal level and “calms” the body down.  (Think deep-tissue massage.)

Outside, activities include climbing a rock wall, maneuvering through monkey bars, or jumping on a trampoline.

At home, activities may include pushing/pulling a heavy bin of toys, deep pressure with a sofa cushion, or climbing up stairs on hands and knees.

3 – When Teaching A Child with ADHD Consider Time

When working on a difficult activity, start with small increments of time (5 minutes can seem like a day for some kiddos).

Set the shorter time expectation ahead of time so your child has confidence that they can do it.   Whatever you do, stick to your word.

Increase time when accuracy and skill confidence develops.

Remember, Friend:  “Small chunks of intentional teaching over time will yield fruit.” 

4 – Obstacle Course

When movement can be incorporated within a lesson, try utilizing an obstacle course.

Place lesson materials throughout the course or incorporate a “writing/reading/math” obstacle within the course. Have your child help create the course for increased motivation.

5 – Seating

Varying your child’s seating option can be helpful.

A sensory cushion, therapy ball, or chair band can help a child in several ways.   

For our more fidgety kids, these tools allow them to make small movements without being distracting.

These seating options can also be very helpful for kiddos that need to increase attention.  For the child that seems to day dream (this is a gift as well), offering them these small ways to stay alert, can help.

Remember, these children have been wired to move.  Don’t fight it.  Use it to your advantage.

In the end, we all know that every child is different! If something doesn’t work, try another option.

special needs kids, adhd, autism, aspergers, aspie, asd, sensory, moms, parenting, homeschool, christian parenting, aspie girls, aspergers, autism, adhd, aspie girl

Warm up your eyes!

Why is it important to warm up the eyes?

When reading and writing, your eyes perform a variety of movements. When these skills are not present or automatic, your brain has to work harder to compensate.

Understandably, this negatively affects a child’s ability to focus and sit still for a number of reasons.

Because the brain has had to expend extra cognitive energy just to control small eye movements, the child with ADHD has less mental capacity to control behavior and attention.

Here are some easy eye warm-ups you can do at home to best equip your child.

 

ADHD kids, teaching tips ADHD, homeschool mom

6 – Toss a Ball or Balloon

Hit a balloon or toss a large ball back and forth 10 times.

For older kids, you may vary the height and speed of the object.

7 – Tick Tocks

Complete “tick tocks” by looking up and down 10 times in a slow pattern.  Follow with looking right and left.

You can add music and and increase efficiency by following the rhythm.

8 – Play “Eye Movement” Simon Says

Mirror eye movements made in the 4 corners of your visual field. Start with 1 movement and increase until someone loses the pattern!

9 – Teaching A Child With ADHD Includes The Environment – Natural Lighting Is Best

Fluorescent lights can quickly cause fatigue, especially with intensive reading activities. Use natural light when possible, and try to limit visual distractions.

While it might be great to sit beside a window, it may be difficult to “tune out” distractions from outside.

When natural light is not possible, you can remove the amount of light bulbs in an overhead light or position your child with their back facing the light source.

ADHD Teaching Tips, Homeschool

10 – Slanted Desk

When teaching your child with ADHD, try offering a slanted desk area.  The left and right eye must work together to focus on text both near and far.

Many children struggle with this (termed eye convergence). This often explains a child’s complaints of headaches and lack of desire to read.

You can decrease eye stress by using a slanted board or large binder under your child’s paper or book.

11 – Reduce Amount of Clutter on Page

Full pages of text can be overwhelming for children, particularly with non-preferred activities.

We mommas become overwhelmed when we walk into a messy and cluttered house.

For kiddos with ADHD or any anxiety, too much at once increases stress.  When overwhelming stress hits, forget effective learning.

When there is too much on a page, the likelihood of skipping words or full lines of text increases.  This can often explain reading comprehension issues.

Let me emphasize that skipping words or lines of text is not always a willful choice or sign of laziness.  This is an indication that something else is going on behind the behavior.

 Check out this post for more on visual clutter and its often devastating impact on learning. 

Quick tips to reduce visual clutter:

  • Use a piece of paper to cover half of a page,
  • or it can be used as a line marker when reading or referencing
  • Purchase a page “window.”
  • Use a white board and write one math problem on it at a time.

When Teaching A Child With ADHD – In Doubt Get An OT Evaluation

All in all, if you think your child may have ADHD and is struggling with learning and schoolwork, I cannot more highly recommend an OT evaluation.  An occupational therapist can provide you with so much insight and clues to how to best teach your child with ADHD.

Even if you are concerned about the financial and time commitment involved in occupational therapy, I highly recommend at least getting the OT evaluation.

You will be shocked at how much you can learn about how your child is wired, where there may be weaknesses and how to best teach your child with ADHD.

Thank you to my sweet friend, Alicia Matthews, MS, OTR/L for her collaboration on this post.  She has been a blessing to me and my family and I cannot more highly recommend her!

Grab a copy of 6 Tips for Teaching a Child with ADHD infographic here.

Alicia is a pediatric occupational therapist with 8 years of experience in North Carolina. She has a Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She developed OT Avenue, LLC in 2017. Alicia currently works in home health and private practice