Parent’s News

 
Parent information about what Chain of Lakes teaches children 
 
One of the basic beliefs within the Presbyterian church is that
God is full of grace and mercy and therefore,

the role of believers is to live fully in gratitude. 

Accepting the gift of grace provides meaning and value to walk
in the world with the Light of Christ showing the way. 
 Children will learn about God’s gift of grace,
how to accept it, and how to live with grace and gratitude

in their heart and show that grace through actions.

Children will learn to be God’s light in the world by being kind,
compassionate, serving others, and having fun.
  Of course this includes learning how to share, how to be a friend,
how to pray to God and for others, while learning the stories of Jesus

 and God’s people, and much, much, more!

The curriculum used at Chain of Lakes is “Growing in Grace & Gratitude.”
It is designed to encourage and help kids learn how to be a   

disciple who goes out and changes the world. 

Need more information?
 
Have questions? 
Please feel free to contact, Sally Narr, Director of Youth and Family Ministries
at  kidsministry@colpres.org or 763.218.2904
 
 
Family Values Website Sidebar
 
Sunday Circles takes place in the Kids
Space just beyond the church offices.
Circle leaders are adults dedicated to spiritual
formation of children.
 
Babies, waddlers and toddlers are nurtured by
Chain of Lakes professional Childcare Coordinator,
 Sherri Varsho. Sherri will take wonderful
care of your little ones!

Your child is always welcome and safe!

It is sometimes hard for children to come to a new place.
Chain of Lakes offers tours of the Kids Space

before and after worship.

Please let an ushers know that you would like a tour.

 
Does your child have special needs? If so, Chain of Lakes
offers a home visit to set up an individualized plan

 so that your child is nurtured in a way that meets his or her special needs. Every child is welcomed as Jesus would welcome: with open arms!

 

 
 
 
Parenting Tips for the New Year!  
 
Parenting Tip, May 27, 2018:
 

Summer Nutrition: Helping kids to make good food choices during summer is a great goal for families of faith!  God provided a plethora of fruits, vegetables and protein choices so that kids can grow healthy and strong.  Also needed for good nutrition are minerals and vitamins so that food eaten is absorbed into the body for optimum energy. Usually in every household there is a picky eater.  Then what?

Picky eaters have their favorite foods.  Explore expansion of those favorite foods.  If your child will only eat cheese sandwiches, add a different cheese on top of the favorite one.  Mild cheeses like mozzarella or Muenster are good additions. If hamburgers are a favorite, slip in a turkey burger on occasion.  Its leaner and just as filling. Explore hummus and pita bread. Add cheese to celery sticks or buy multi-colored carrots.

My niece Kelsey makes food so appetizing for her son and daughter that I want to go over to her house for lunch!  She creates animals, trees, birds, and suns out of fresh veggies and fruit.  Pancakes are created in teddy bear or rabbit shapes. On the other hand, another niece feeds her daughter with a feeding tube and experiments with textures and tastes to begin teaching her little one how to eat with her mouth.  It’s a laborious process and each moment for baby Mila is met with encouragement, smiles, and clapping from mama. Each family has their own “foodie” ideas and tastes. Explore!

Summer is a wonderful way to grow veggies in pots and have kids experiment with tasting and textures of new and familiar vegetables.  Think cherry tomatoes–easily picked from a plant or strawberries from sweet little plants. Make smoothies a snack option throwing in a carrot or parsley along with the fruits and yogurt. Inviting your child to touch, feel, smell and taste food is what good nutrition is all about.  

 
Parenting Tip, May 20, 2018:
 

Recognizing God Moments with Children: Along life’s path there are times when God just stops you in your tracks. It might be through the beauty of a pine tree growing out of rocks or a bird sipping out of a dripping faucet. It can be holding a baby as they fall asleep and snuggle in a little closer.  God moments are simple and profound all at the same time.

Part of the role of a Christian parent is to help guide a child into recognizing a God moment and then articulating it out loud. Often times as adults, those moments of pure, unadulterated joy strike us as God and life all rolled up in one moment of time and space. Hard to explain–less alone teach it.  

Traveling as a family allows each person in the group to have their chance to share in a God moment even when it comes to another person and not to yourself.  A child might look at a rainbow and exclaim, “The most beautiful thing in the world!” Perhaps that is a moment to say, “God created rainbows for us to understand that beauty comes from above–not by the hands of human beings. Isn’t God great? What a God moment!”  Verbalizing what one is seeing and feeling are important markers in the faith world. It is how to teach children to share what they are experiencing about God, life, and love. Spend time this summer in creating outings and trips that may trigger God moments!

Parenting Tip, May 13, 2018:
 

The Importance of Welcoming Neighborhood Kids: Parenting is really fun during the summer.  There are more opportunities for kids to play outside, meet neighborhood kids, and learn how to create impromptu games that include all.  It brings a sense of “who is my neighbor” and allows parents to temporarily parent other children. But sometimes, the knock at the door or the ringing of the doorbell is not so convenient.  How to strike a balance?

When neighbors come into your yard or home, state the boundaries or the rules of the household.  Plan in advance as to what those rules might be. For example, if kids are invited inside and need to take their shoes off, list it or verbalize it.  Sometimes posting times when kids can play on your door prevents the insistent knocks. If you have a pool or water activities, make sure that parents of kids know that the yard is “open” or gather permission from parents.  Have your kids create their own rules of play!

I enjoyed having kids come over at my house.  My freezer was filled with popsicles or ice cream.  Sometimes a surprise picnic lunch was in order. The cookie jar was filled and treats were shared.  Having the kids in my yard allowed me to show kindness, gentleness, establish rules to follow, and still create time with just my own children–with my own parenting style as the center of play.  As Christian families, it is important to show others that having faith means that you parent differently and with intention.  Teaching kids how to resolve conflicts with a peaceful conclusion is also in the summer mix. Have a great time posting the welcome mat in your yard!

 
 
Parenting Tip, May 6, 2018:
 

How To Say “I am sorry.” When growing up, my dad would always apologize when he felt he was wrong or had hurt my feelings.  Above anything else, that action has made a profound impact on my adult life. And, as a parent, I have told each of my children, my husband,  and some of my grandchildren at some moment of time, “I’m sorry.” Why is this important?

 

Children will learn to know what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior if they witness dialogue that brings them to a specific conclusion.  Experiencing the act of hearing and sharing the words “I am sorry” gives a heads-up to kids that they matter in the emotional, social and spiritual world of their parents, friends, teachers and others.  Saying you are sorry gives kids the gift of seeing grace in action. Kids then learn how to forgive and ask forgiveness when something has unexpectedly gone wrong or when intentional acts have occured.

 

We all live in a world that demands perfection one hundred per cent of the time.  It makes a profound effect on society when people forget or purposely choose to eliminate “I’m sorry” when misunderstandings arise, when statements are made at a whim, when promises are broken, when we are just human.  In the Christian ethos, there are ways to live in grace that bring a new way of living in community. Grace begins when one says, “I’m sorry–please forgive me!” and is a great tool for communication in life.

 
Parenting Tip, April 29, 2018:
 

Slow Down and Decompress: There is not a parent in the world who could use some time to slow down and decompress.  And guess what? Kids need to slow down and decompress as well!

We live in a busy, busy world surrounded with instant, nticing ideas for scheduling the next cool event or “thing” for parents and kids alike. Recently, my daughter asked about me taking two of the grandsons for three days.  When she approached the boys about signing up for three days of activities, the boys pleaded with her, “Can we just go to grandma’s and hang out?” What they were asking for is permission to lay low, slow down, and decompress.

Yes, they would have loved the art camp or the field trips or the amazing world of the Mall of America.  But, no. They wanted a safe refuge in their scheduled world. Safe stuff like homemade french toast. Time to read stories aloud.  Learning to sew a toy from a sock. Playing board games. Stuffing Easter eggs in bags for next year’s Chain of Lakes Egg Hunt.

Creating a balance for Christian families is tricky.  There are many kids events to go to outside of church and inside church.  Here at Chain of Lakes it’s important to assure that kid and youth events generate the idea of making friends, learning how to serve God, and creating family memories–without adding more to family schedules.  And yes, it is okay to have a “bye week” from church stuff in order to slow down, decompress, and be with God.

 
Parenting Tip, April 22, 2018:
 

Building A Faith Memory Book: Every child brings to the family lots of ways to which they have succeeded and reached milestones in their lives.  Cute art projects are moments of delight but when each new day brings a new item into the household, what do you do with all those lovely projects?

The church is no different. Each Sunday, children are sent home with a faith momento from the story. Soft pastel drawings to clothespin donkeys. Now what?! Why not build a treasure of faith by creating a memory book?

Craft stores have many, many choices to purchase fun art paper and other tools to create memories that last a lifetime.  A simpler, cheaper way would be to purchase a three ring notebook and build pages that have very special items in it. Think about the many pictures you take at church activities–choose the best of the bunch and highlight the date and occasion. Find a way to celebrate milestones such as the first prayer said at the dinner table or even the Lord’s Prayer memorized. Keep bulletins with your child’s name included and glue  on a decorative piece of paper and insert into the notebook.

The main reason to highlight a faith memory book is because teens and young adults can look back and know that they were part of a faith community that nurtured their soul. One of the greatest treasures for kids is for them to know that faith life is just as important as other components of life. Let’s celebrate!!

 

Parenting Tip, April 15, 2018:
 

Building A Kid Friendly Yard: One of the most exciting things about having children is when the kids are old enough to go outside to play!  It’s exciting to see one’s child curious about nature. The stretching of an arm to grab hold of a leaf or apple blossom allows babies to experience the wonders of touch, smell, color, and God’s creation.  Why not build your entire yard into a kid friendly space?

After having three children of my own, my goal as a mom was to create the friendliest home on the block. The house that everyone would flock to on a sunny summer day. A giant sandbox was installed in the backyard. Popsicles to share became a freezer staple. A trip to the library brought in books to read and stories to act out. A box of dress up clothes landed on the porch with all kinds of sparkly scarves and funny hats to wear. A sign was made that said, “Yard Open Today!”

Here are some ideas about ways to bring your yard space up a notch or two!

  • On hot days, bring on the sprinkler!  Have a box of old towels for kids to warm up in.
  • Provide plastic rakes, spades and buckets so that kids can dig. Encourage the collection of worms and rocks. Make dandelion chains and jewelry.
  • Make a birdhouse or bird feeder to hang in your tree.  Check out a Minnesota bird book from the library and explore who’s singing in the backyard.
  • Take short videos of squirrels and rabbits or your pet in your backyard. Set the video to music or, for older kids, create a funny story line.
  • Create a cushion corner for books.  Make a fort with cardboard boxes. Play “store” with empty recyclables.

Most importantly, invite the neighborhood kids into your space so that your kids can make friends with others and you provide the structure for all kids to have fun. And, one just might invite the parents of the kids hanging around your house for a BBQ or even to church.

 

Parenting Tip, April 8, 2018: 

Go Fly A Kite! It’s supposed to be closer to spring than winter. However, in Minnesota, one never knows at this time of year which season will show up! Despite the weather, there is always a chance of a windy day which makes one think of flying kites.

A few years ago, the youth of Chain of Lakes Church made a homemade kite and went to the church property to fly the kites. What an experience! For many, it was the first time of understanding how the wind can lift a paper and wooden kite high into the sky. Why did the kite have to have a fabric tail?  Why is the kite attached to a ball of string? Why do I run with the kite high overhead? When will it fly??

Children are fascinated with the joys of aerodynamics. They may not know how it works or why it works, but having the wind lift something in the air is a radical way to surprise kids with the mysteries of science.  Taking kids out to the church property and letting them fly a kite is a great experience for parents and kids. Right now, there are no wires. The land is open and free for kids to run. A perfect setting for kite flying.

The church will hand out kites today so that parents–sometime this spring–can make a kite and fly it with their child. Seeing the delight in a child’s face as they hold on to a kite flying far above them, gives  a parent a quick glimpse of the joy that God delights in each of us. Enjoy! Have fun! Call a neighbor and ask them to join your family for kite flying.

 
Parenting Tip, April 1, 2018: 
 

Let’s Celebrate Spring and New Life: Easter is filled with many new signs of life and is a time to gather as a family to celebrate. Bring out the roast ham or turkey and bring on the mashed potatoes!  Yumm. Relatives gather at your house, or the fam is loaded up and goes to Grandma’s house. Easter baskets multiply like bunnies and chocolate is everywhere–in the car, on your new clothes, smeared all over the kids, and dinner is scheduled for two o’clock. Right during nap time.

Navigating family dynamics during holidays can be stressful. Parents have schedules with their kids because schedules keep the rhythms of family life in tact. While Grandma might love everybody at her home for the holidays, it can disrupt a little one’s entire schedule.  A disrupted schedule can mean tantrums from preschoolers and crying from little ones. Even tweens and teens can become stressed out over ‘the paper that is due at first hour on Monday’ knowing that it’s a late night out. Parents want kids to be on their best behavior. How to prevent the holiday blues?  

Pre-plan in advance so that you and your spouse are on the same page.  Assure that dinner time is not during nap time. Get advice and help from the host family:  “Would it be okay if I bring a mini-lunch and have the kids eat it when we arrive?” Arrive early and get the kids settled in at Grandma’s before the rest of the family joins you.  Prepare for transitions by giving kids a heads up. Children can take a nap while the adults are setting the table. Grandpa can read a book when kids first arrive. Give teens and tweens a “Can you help me with this?  Then you can have some screen time before dinner.” If you come up with a pre plan of what the day needs to be for your little one, everybody has fun!
 
 

Parenting Tip, March 25, 2018: 

How to Celebrate Holy Week: Little ones can understand the holiness of life when “the holy” is woven into their everyday existence. As parents, it is up to us to teach how God is “the holy” and the stories of Jesus bring us closer to God, the Holy One. The church assists parents in providing fun ways to tell and live out the stories about the Holy One.  This week is called Holy Week and tells the story of the last week Jesus’ life. It begins with Palm Sunday and is celebrated on Easter. Gathering the symbols for each day of the week can be the holy work of parents!

Palm Sunday:  Take a bunch of palm branches home and place in a vase. Remind kids of the Palm Parade!

Holy Monday:  Read a story or watch a video of a child doing “the right thing.”

Holy Tuesday:  Talk about Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane for courage to do what God has asked him to do. Take a can of instant breadstick dough and make pretzels. The pretzel is an old, old symbol of prayer!

Holy Wednesday: Roosters are a fun symbol of Lent.  While the roosters reminded Peter that he denied knowing Jesus, it also is a symbol that reminds us that we need God’s grace in our lives. Download a picture of a rooster for your child to color.

Holy Thursday:  If you can’t attend the Maunday Service on March 29th at church, you can serve bread and grape juice for dinner. Invite children to remember that bread is a symbol of the body of Christ and grape juice reminds us of new life.

Holy Friday:  Make a cross out of popsicle sticks or paper.  Remind children that the cross is one of Christianity’s favorite symbols, reminding us of God’s love.

Holy Saturday:  Have fun at the Easter Egg Hunt on the property of Chain of Lakes! Spring is here!
Holy Sunday, EASTER:  Celebrate that Christ has risen and lives forever by attending an Easter service! When family gathers around an Easter meal, it is to symbolize the universal church that gathers all over the world celebrating new life in Jesus Christ.
 
 
Parenting Tip, March 18, 2018:
 

Looking For Signs of Spring! Spring flowers are not yet popping up all over Minnesota–but spring is sure to come!  All you need to do is catch a glimpse of the willows turning red or yellow to know that spring is just about ready to pop. Children love to notice things outside as they take a walk, ride on bikes, or pushed in a strolled.  On a nice sunny day take your child for a walk and point out the signs of spring. Birds will be chirping and looking for nest building materials.  The willows along the roadsides and ponds will start turning colors. Rabbits will be looking for that special some-bunny and squirrels will be scurrying around looking for friends.  

I always cherished the first touch of a leaf in my baby’s hand and the big eyes and round “OH!” of that baby’s mouth.  Yes, God’s creation should be touched because it is amazing. Teaching your child to notice signs of the seasons are important lessons. Use their sensory skills of touch, smell and sounds to learn the signs of spring. Let them know that seasons are like God’s love and more importantly, your love, and that all are eternal.  This affirmation creates security in a child’s world within a chaotic society.

So, plant a flower bulb with your child.  Start some tomato plants. Till some soil together for a flower garden. Take a look at the branches of trees and shrubs pointing out new buds. Remind a child that they are growing and changing too, and that they are still loved. Spring is almost here!“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.”  Matthew 24:32
 
 

Parenting Tip, March 11, 2018: 

Make A Blessing Bag to Serve Others: Children can learn all about serving others by watching their parents or others in their family.  If you are kind to others, your child will be kind to friends and family. If you shovel snow for your neighbor, your child can learn to shovel with you.  Writing thank you notes for gifts and kindnesses is something young children can do to enrich themselves and others. Making homemade cards and sending them to grandparents is always a delight.

Kids can also serve the homeless or working poor by creating “Blessing Bags.”  Take an evening and make “blessing bags” to give to those standing at street corners or highway exits.  Take a gallon plastic zip-lock bag and put items such as a granola bar, a small bottle of water, a pair of warm socks or gloves, cheese and cracker snacks, a beef jerky stick (wrapped), chapstick or even an individual sized cereal bowl in the bag. Change up the contents according to seasons.  Make ten at a time every three months. This shows children that “the poor are always with us.” And, it feels good to give!

 

Parenting Tip, March 4, 2018:

Exercise With Your Child: It is very important for parents and their children to exercise for body health.  Exercising provides needed energy to keep up with your child.  Teaching children that exercising is a form of play will instill good habits for body strength and lifelong heart care.  The human body was created to walk and run.  Every muscle is in tune to create beautiful strides that take a person from place to place.  Kids love to trike and bike.  Instill a love of nature by hiking and remembering that babies can hike on a parent’s back or front.  Turn up the music and dance in the living room.  Put your baby or toddler on your hip and dance away.  Go outside and make a quinzee, snow ramps, or a snow sculpture.  Let your child stomp in a rain puddle creating a mini rain shower.  Exercising isn’t just about yoga in the living room (even though toddlers love doing yoga with their parents!), it’s about enjoying all of God’s good creation which includes our bodies.

 

Parenting Tip, February 25, 2018: 

Family Lent Ideas:  One of the ways families of faith can get to know one another is to intentionally partner with the congregation.  In the book, The Baptism of Your Child: A Book for Presbyterian Families by Carol A. Wehrheim, there is a short passage that provides ways parents can live out their baptismal vows to their child and provides ways for disciples to live out their baptismal vows to families!

  1. Be present for worship and other church activities
  2. Get to know families and adults and kids in the congregation
  3. Invite church disciples over for dessert or a meal
  4. Look for single adults or couples without children who would cherish the chance to be included in your child’s life.  Your child may lead them “into joy and laughter” too
  5. Remember to ask for particular help and support when you/your family needs it

 

Parenting Tip, February 18, 2018: 

Family Lent Ideas:  The season of Lent is a wonderful time to intensify our walk with Christ, but a bit difficult to explain to children.  Begin with the idea that the church has special seasons of the year–sort of like the seasons such as winter and fall.  The Church seasons are Lent, Easter, Eastertide, Pentecost, Grow Season, Advent, Christmas and Christmastide which includes Epiphany.  Explain how each season has a special color–purple for Lent, white for Easter and Eastertide, red for Pentecost and green for growth.  Advent is purple or blue and Christmas is white.  Epiphany, the season of Light is typically a light blue.  Create a game with construction paper using the colors listed above.  Cut into squares, hearts, circles or rectangles.  Mix up the pieces and ask your child about the color, shape, and what season it might be for church.  Creating church seasons as a part of family life integrates the holy into daily living.  Choose the color purple for candles, placemats, towels, etc., so that your child knows it is Lent!

 

Parenting Tip, February 11, 2018:  

Put Love in Your Hearts.  Children and parents need to know that they are loved by every family member.  This week put some emphasis on “loving each other” in special ways. Stick a heart shaped chocolate or cinnamon candy in a backpack or lunch.  Make homemade valentines for neighbors, grandparents, teachers and friends at church.  Need supplies?!  Grab or make a Valentines-to-Go bag (pink and red paper, white doilies and stickers) and have an afternoon full of learning how to make valentines and rhyme words to create poetry!  Then bend over and whisper to your child, “I love you!”

 

Parenting Tip, February 4, 2018 

Let’s Play!  The work of children is to play and it is God’s intention for children to play as much as they can.  Playing produces happiness and life lessons such as sharing, using one’s imagination, how to follow “the rules”, and how to emote feelings.  Building a structured free time into a child’s daily life gives them space to run off energy, connect with nature, and create.  Parents, take time every week to join each of your children in free form playing!  Wrestle around. Make up a game to play. Color together. Go out and build a snowman or snow fort.  You can play too!

 

Parenting Tip, January 28, 2018  

Mealtimes can be rushed, so the challenge for the week is learning how to be intentional at least once or twice a week toward creating a relaxed mealtime as family.  Mealtime is a perfect time to teach kids to slow down, share the day, and pray.  Mealtime prayers can be taught at this special time.  Light a candle.  Say a prayer thanking God for the day and the food.  After the meal, invite one of the children to blow out the candle.  Prayer:  “Thank you God for the food we eat, for the people we meet, for the beautiful day so sweet.  In your name we pray, Amen.”

 

Parenting Tip, January 21, 2018

The new year brings about many ways to instill “new” family habits. Actually, habits are disciplines–ways to focus on important tasks done every day. Create a chart and stickers for both kids and parents (including parents makes this very fun for kids!)Choose simple chores such as:  Make your bed every morning.  Also, choose activities to do together such as: I will read by myself for 20 minutes, then add: We will read together for 30 minutes. Include ways to focus on spirituality:  Say a prayer before bedtime; Read one story out of my Bible.  Ways to be in nature:  I will go outside to count the different animal prints in the snow, Make a snowman.  After 17 days (that’s how long it takes to create a new habit), celebrate as a family!
 

Parenting Tip, January 14, 2018

Children are never too young to know the stories of Bible heroes and of change makers in history.  Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  It is a holiday to remember brave and courageous people who implemented God’s justice in the world but standing up to what is “right.”  Young children can be exposed to the stories of brave people.  Go to your local library this week and check out a book or books about Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Susan B Anthony, Abraham Lincoln and others.  Choose Biblical heroes like Daniel, the three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, or Jochebed and Miriam who saved baby Moses as people who also stood up to do the right thing.

Parenting Tip, January 7, 2018

This is a great time to get organized and invite children to share the toys, books or games they seldom use with others.  Clean out closets, the garage (on a warm day), look under beds, and on shelves.  Take down old school papers and make way for new.  Create a new bulletin board in bedrooms to show off awards, favorite art pieces and Sunday Circle projects.  At the end of each month, get ready for “another new thing!”

 
The Youth and Family Ministry Team is
seeking dedicated volunteers to help with
Sunday Circles and Confirmation.
Substitute leaders are also needed.
If you are interested in sharing your gifts
with kids, please sign up on the
communication card or contact  
 Sally Narr at 763-218-2904, kidsministry@colpres.org.  
Chain of Lakes is open to new colleagues in ministry!