Welcome to the Toddler's Toolbox!

The Heart We Want:
Desiring God’s direction and involvement; a heart of love and delight and encouragement
(Judges 13:8; I Thessalonians 2:7-8, 11-12).

The Goal We Reach For:
To continuously train our children to fear and love God (Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Ephesians 6:1-4).

The Reason We Seek God in our Parenting:
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,” says God. (Isaiah 55:9)

The Two "D's" of Spanking

Several parents have asked the question "When should I spank my toddler?" Some wise parents once taught us the about the four "D's" for spanking - Disobedience, Deliberate Destruction, Defiance, and Disrespect...For my toddlers, I have simplified these down to two.

Obedience means that they obey the first time - without delay, without challenge, and without excuse. Any other response gets a spanking. They are allowed to appeal - after they have obeyed - as long as they are respectful and okay with "no." We typically honor appeals when we can (if approached correctly), and in doing so, we open up channels for communication.

Respect for mom and dad, respect for each other, and respect for the things (i.e. not deliberately destructing) that God has given us are all important. Disrespectful attitudes, haughty eyes, defiance (!), and intentional rebellion are all forms of disrespect. Respect must be modeled by mom and dad; we have learned (the hard way) that kids quickly pick up on (and imitate) disrespect between their parents.

Teaching Toddlers to Please God

2 Corinthians 5:9: So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

It can feel overwhelming with young children in the home. Some of us go through periods where we wonder if God is pleased with us. Some of us wonder if we are doing the right things to teach our children to please God. A quick study on "pleasing God" reveals a refreshing list of "simple" ways that we can teach our toddlers the art of pleasing our maker.
  • Songs and thanksgiving (Psalm 69:30): Learn fun Bible songs together as a family. At the dinner table, have a "thank you" round where everyone shares one thing that they are thankful for.
  • Prayers and meditation (Psalm 104:34): Pray together, thanking God for the many things he has blessed us with. Go out and see the stars together. Go for a walk in nature, talking about the many beautiful things God has made.
  • Doing good, Sharing what we have (Hebrews 13:16): When your children do good things, when they share with their siblings or friends, remind them that this is pleasing to God. Go to a nursing home and "collect smiles" or make cards for the residents.
  • Give gifts to those in need (Philippians 4:18): Before you get a new toy, teach your child to give an older toy to someone who would like it. As they grow out of clothes, have them help you clean them, fold them, and give them to a younger child.
  • Increase knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10): Memorize one scripture a week with your toddler (you'll be surprised!). Keep it short. Memorize it with a familiar tune. For example, "Do not be afraid for the Lord is with you" (Isaiah 43:5) can be memorized to the tune of the first line of "Joy to the World."

Five Lessons from Proverbs

Raising our kids and helping them to know God is the most important job we have as parents. The Proverbs provide a wealth of wisdom on many topics...one of which is seeking advice and learning from the input of others. Five key lessons:

1) Seek help (God knows we need it!)
  • Proverbs 14:12: There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
  • Proverbs 18:15: The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.
2) Advisors bring victory (Isn't this what we want for our children?)
  • Proverbs 11:14: For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.
  • Proverbs 25:12: Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear.
3) Without instruction, bad things happen (to us and our kids!)
  • Proverbs 19: 27: Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
  • Proverbs 21:16: A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead.
4) Without instruction, you hurt others (including your children!)
  • Proverbs 10:17: He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
5) Without instruction, we are stupid (ouch!)
  • Proverbs 12:1: Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.

Boundaries with Kids

Boundaries with Kids is the help you need for raising your kids to take responsibility for their actions, attitudes, emotions. Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend take you through the ins and outs of establishing family boundaries and of instilling the kind of character in your children that will help them lead balanced, productive, and fulfilling adult lives. Learn how to - set limits and still be a loving parents - bring control to an out-of-control family life - apply then ten laws of boundaries to parenting - define legitimate boundaries for your family. . .and much more. To purchase this book, click here.

Discovering your Toddler's Love Language

Have you ever wondered whether your child feels loved? Do you wonder why one child responds differently to your displays of love than another? In his book The Five Love Languages of Children, Gary Chapman provides us with insight into the different love languages of children, and gives us the following practicals for discovering our toddler's love language:

1) Observe how your child expresses love to you
2) Observe how your child expresses love to others
3) Listen to what your child requests most often
4) Listen to your child's most frequent complaints
5) Give your child a choice between two options

To find out more about the love languages of children, and practicals on how to make your toddler feel loved, click here to order the book.

Five Signs of a Loving Family

Family dynamics play a significant role in the development of our toddlers. In his article, Five Signs your Family is Healthy, Gary Chapman highlights the following five basic characteristics of a loving family:

1) An Attitude of Service
2) Intimacy between Husband and Wife
3) Parents who Teach and Train
4) Children who Obey and Honor Parents
5) Husbands who are Loving Leaders


Prayerful Parenting

In her article, Prayerful Parenting, Linda Brumley reminds us that "Parenting is far too big a job for us to do without God’s help. It’s inspiring to look into the Bible for examples of successful godly parents and examine the elements that contributed to their effectiveness. In II Timothy 1:5, Paul credits influences from Timothy’s mother, Lois, and his grandmother, Eunice, with imparting their faith in God to him. Later in chapter 3:14, 15, Paul declares that that faith began in Timothy’s infancy." (More...)