20 Things to Say to Encourage A Sibling

things to say to beat sibling rivalry

Ahhh, there’s nothing like the sweet life of summer. Quiet afternoons, sipping lemonade with my feet propped up…

Not exactly. But one can dream a bit, right?

Seriously though, I am enjoying summer and it’s flying by. I love summer so much that I’m digging my feet into the ground in effort to make it slow down a bit. However, there is one thing that has wearied me this summer. Maybe you’ve heard of it?


Sorry, was that a shout?!

I had to yell so you could hear me over the “Mo-om, he’s doing it again.” “She started it.” Ahem.

Perhaps I exaggerate. Just a tad. But wow, do we ever need to work on words that are flying from one sibling to another! For our family’s house rules, the first one is “Be kind.” So I frequently say to my children, “If you will follow the first rule, then you won’t have to even think of most of the others.”

Today I’m sharing the list of phrases that would be great for brothers and sisters to share with one another. If you’re like us and need a sibling rivalry break, then feel free to use this list of 20 things to say to encourage your sibling.

“But this will only give them something more to argue over.”

Perhaps we’ll make it a competition. Maybe the reward is surprise treats from Mom when she overhears SINCERE praise from one sibling to another. Just an idea. Would love to hear yours!

1. Thanks for helping me.

2. You can do it.

3. Good job!

4. Way to go!

5. That was cool.

6. I’m glad I got to see you accomplish that.

7.  Let’s try again.

8. I’m sorry.

9. No problem.

10. It’s okay.

11. Yes, you did it! I knew you could.

12. May I help you?

13. Wow- that was creative!

14. I’d love to.

15. You did awesome!

16. Sure, let’s go.

17. I appreciate what you did.

18.Want to play _________ together?

19. Let’s do it!

20. I’m thankful for you.

Having encouraging words to use IN PLACE of the words so often used between siblings can be transforming if we take the time to work on it. So I’m off to do that. And a few dozen other things.

HUGE thanks to our reader, Faith, for the awesome suggestion of this list!!

Have a fabulous Friday!


Helping Adopted Children Understand They Are Loved (and book giveaway!)

helping adopted children
Some of you may remember that my sister-in-law and brother-in-law adopted a little guy from China back in the winter. As extended family, my husband, myself and our family began loving on Toby as soon as we met him. Through our smiles and hugs, he could feel the love of his parents and siblings, as well as his extended family, which includes our immediate family.  Toby has an extra physical need because he is deaf. Long before he needed a family, God prepared my sister-in-law, MaryBeth, to be his mama. MaryBeth grew up with a deaf brother and learned sign language fluently; both of these life circumstances were part of God’s future plan for Toby. Teaching Toby how to communicate was at the top of the priority list when he was adopted, but helping him begin to understand that he is loved has been even more important than that.

I’ve not adopted a child, but through being a small part of Toby’s life over the last six months, I’ve seen the strong need for helping adopted children understand they are loved. MaryBeth and David, Toby’s parents, made the decision to love Toby. Oh, they fell in love with Toby, no doubt, but Toby didn’t come into their family by natural methods. They decided to love Toby.

A big part of showing Toby that he is loved is helping him understand that there are differences in each of us. Toby chose signs for the names of each person in our family. The signs sometimes symbolize a strong physical characteristic of that particular person. For example, my daughter, Tarah, has very long hair. Toby’s sign for her includes a long sweep of his hand to mimic her long hair. Toby understanding the differences between each of us was a part of assigning sign names for us.

Toby is still very young; he’s just 4 years old. He has three older siblings, my nieces and nephews, who are crazy about him. But as he grows older, he may question the love of his parents for their natural children versus their love for him. I don’t know- maybe he will grow so confidently and securely in their love that he will never question that.

Either way, I do believe that it is important for all children to know that each of us are unique and that no matter the color of eyes or hair or skin, God loves each of us. As parents, we love our children, no matter their differences.

i love you all the same book giveaway

Donna Keith is a writer who wants all her grandchildren to know just how much how they are loved and cared for. Her sweet book for children, I Love You All the Same, is a tremendous resource to help children understand that no matter their differences, they are loved. No matter the means of becoming their parents, whether natural labor or the labor of adoption, children need to know that they are loved.

I’m so privileged to be giving away a copy of this fabulous book today! This book would be great for the church preschool classes or to give as a gift to families newly adopting. Check out this fabulous book here: I Love You All the Same

Follow the Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway and I’ll see you tomorrow with the next part of the series, Lessons in Hope.

Have a terrific Tuesday!


PS: Check out this awesome video of Toby signing the National Anthem this past weekend!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Product provided by publisher for review; all opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links. Site may be compensated if purchase is made. See full disclosure policy here.

5 Creative Ways to Teach Children the Power of Words (and book giveaway!)

the power of words

Recently I was completely embarrassed by some of the words I heard one of my children say to another child at the ball park. In front of both parents, the words sounded mean, though I didn’t feel in my heart they were hateful. Sometimes children don’t recognize the power of words. In fact, many adults don’t always recognize the power of words, right? This situation needed to be addressed right on the spot, but I also wanted to be more preventive in the future.

So I began to brainstorm ways I could work on this issue and I came up with 5 creative ways to teach children the power of words. Keep reading for my ideas and I sure would love to read yours in the comments!

1. Emphasize the results of positive words.

For example, if I say to my youngest, “Great job for taking your plate to the sink” and she smiles, then I smile at my older child and say “See how much she likes to be praised? It’s a good thing to praise others.” Now please believe me that I haven’t perfected this method. But I’ve been working on it this week and I truly believe in the impression made on both children.

2. Brainstorm positive words about a family member and make a word cloud.

Just open up a Word or Google doc and type out positive words that are said about the named person. Then copy and paste the word list over to a word cloud site such as Wordle or Tagxedo. I asked two of my children to quickly  do this for Daddy and here was the result:

daddy wordle

Now it kind of looks like he is a “fast singer” but you get the idea. ;)

3. Model the power of positive words.

Falling in the trap of constantly correcting my children is so easy for me. Don’t get me wrong- they do need to be corrected, but if all I ever do is correct and never deliberately praise them, we have an imbalance and injustice. This is the reason I have created the following lists- 20 things to say to encourage your husband and 20 things to say to encourage your children. I have the lists printed off and right now they are in my checklist binder that I keep in the kitchen. Because I open this binder several times throughout the day, I see the lists and am reminded of my goal to be positive. If I’m having a particularly trying day, ummm, maybe like today when my 3 year old spit her gum in my purse and made a sticky mess, then I’ll post the lists to the fridge.

4. Use positive words to build an acronym of your child’s name.

My son did this at his school this year. I noticed that he kept it on his dresser from December even until just now when I asked him if I could post it here- that’s how much this exercise meant to him. These words gave him a goal of how to use his own words to reflect the person he wants to be- his character.

michael wordle


5. Use Bible verses to build an acronym of your child’s name.

Here’s what my name would look like:

R- Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Ex. 20:8
A- A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. Prov. 15:1
C- Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee. Ps 55:22
H- Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. Prov. 3:13
E- Even a child is known by his doings, Prov. 20:11
L- Let the words of my mouth, and the medications of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer. Ps. 19:14

My friend, Betty, mailed her verse list to me and I’m providing you with a copy of what she sent to me. Her list is King James Version AND I have no way to credit the original creator of the list, but I really thought you would enjoy it. Click here to download.

You could find your own verses that have personal meaning and use those verses for this exercise also.

In our current culture, bullying seems to be more evident than ever. What is bullying? Well, to me, it simply is the misuse of the power of words. Perhaps you have different definition, but I believe the need for Biblical resources to address this issue is high. I’m excited to let you know about the first book of a new series by Nancy Rue, So Not Okay: Mean Girl Makeover. The series is designed for girls, ages 8-12, and tells the story of bullying from three different perspectives. The bully, the victim and the bystander all have a book in the series and this particular book is the story of the bystander, a role in which many preteens find themselves.

I thought you would want a sneak preview of this book:

So Not Okay by ThomasNelson

so not okay book giveaway
Today I’m privileged to be giving away one copy of So Not Okay, just follow the Rafflecopter to enter. If you’d like to order the book, you can find it here.

Have a thriving Thursday!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Product provided by publisher for review; all opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links. Site may be compensated if purchase is made. See full disclosure policy here.