Category - Hangin Together

Screen Time!


By Denise Mersmann

Over the next week, our daylight time grows shorter by about 15 minutes.  Less daylight often brings with it less time outside and requests from our kids for more “screen time” to provide entertainment.

The thought of more screen time can create concerns for parents including kids not getting enough exercise and fresh air, kids focusing on screens and not engaging with people and the possibility that kids will come across content that is not appropriate.

So how do we ensure that our kid’s tech time is a blessing for them and our families?  With a little advance planning and research you can create a technology environment that it is beneficial to everyone.

Before you hand over those tablets, laptops and smart phones and settle in front of the fireplace, think about what most concerns you about your family’s use of technology.  Once you have determined what your concerns are, you can establish guidelines that will ensure positive results.  Making your screen rules specific and easy to understand will increase the likelihood that they will be remembered and followed.  When you are comfortable with your screen rules, go over each of them with your family.  This is also a good time to outline consequences if the rules are not followed.

With rules in place, you can now shift your focus to how you can actually utilize technology as a solution to some winter woes.  With over 1.5 million apps to choose from, taking a few minutes to research what is available and add some new options to your family’s app library can be time well spent.

There are a lot of great apps that encourage physical activity and exercise.  Those can help keep kids and adults moving and even introduce fun new ways to stay in shape.  As a family, setting aside some time every day to practice yoga or try zumba dance helps everyone burn some calories and enjoy some fun time together.  And, if you dance like I do, your kids will reap the benefits of a really good laugh!

Incorporating educational game apps can help your kids learn without them realizing they are actually not just playing!  Look for apps that allow multiple players at one time to encourage some interaction and prevent kids from isolating with the screen and shutting out other people.

Another fun option is to use technology to encourage our creativity.  There are many music and art apps that allow us to paint, draw or compose our own masterpiece.  Creative apps can be great for combined projects teaching kids how to share, comprise and work as a team.

Technology is a huge part of each of our lives and we can’t escape it.  We can, with a little planning and effort, utilize it as a tool to benefit our entire family!


Summer Bucket List



With a month left of summer it’s not too late to create some awesome memories before the kids head back to school. If you are not sure where to begin, sit down with your family and create a list of fun things you could do before the school year is in full swing. For the past 3 or 4 years my wife has been putting together a bucket with the kids and it is super fun! Below is a blog post about our bucket list from a few years back. Enjoy the final month of summer!!


Summer Bucket List Fun!



Making Family Worship A Success

By Susan Brown

Family Worship is coming this weekend! Family Worship happens 4 or 5 times throughout the year when KiDSCOR is limited for children ages 4 and under. This is a great time to introduce your children to “the big church.” If your kiddos are like mine, they are probably psyched at the idea of worshiping with mom and dad.   And if you are a parent like me, you may be anxious about bringing your kiddos into the sanctuary.   Over the past few weeks, I have solicited tips and tricks to make worshipping as a family successful, and I’m here to spread the knowledge.

First, set realistic expectations. Your 5 year old will not be still or silent for the entire service, and the people sitting around you do not expect him to! Children are welcome in church, and I speak from experience when I say our congregation is very loving and gracious about children in worship.

Second, talk about it in advance. Explain to your child that her usual Sunday school teachers are worshipping with their families this weekend. And your family will do the same. Talk through the typical order of service – songs, scripture, sermon and benediction. Make a list and check off the activities as they happen.

Third, make a game plan. Each family that I polled had a different strategy for making Family Worship successful. Here are the most popular:

  • Try out Vibe in the Student Center.
    • When your child gets fidgety, grab a quiet toy from the back of the room. The toys are different every week and range from building blocks to magna-doodles to etch-a-sketches.
    • Bing a snack!
  • Sit up front where your child can see what is happening.
  • Sit on the aisle where you easily slip out, if needed.
  • Put a parent between each child to minimize the chatter between multiple children.
  • Allow your child to write and color on the GPS. Bring crayons or colored pencils, or grab crayons and coloring sheets from the KiDS COR welcome center, located across from the bookstore.
    • Draw pictures of what they see in the Sanctuary, and then chat about it at lunch after worship.
    • Draw pictures or make a list of things God made.
    • Draw 8-10 boxes in various colors and ask your child to draw something in each box to match the color. For example, find something blue in the sanctuary and draw it in the blue box. After worship, talk about how each thing is used in worship.
  • For readers, make a homemade word search by writing a list of words and have the child circle the words in the bulletin.
  • Hold hands with your child, and every time you hear a “secret word,” race to see who can squeeze their hand first. Secret words could be God, Jesus, Bible, etc.
  • Bring a Bible for the child. Whether that is a children’s Bible or a standard Bible, kiddos can thumb through the pages, and maybe they will even read it!
  • Bring a bag of pipe cleaners and create things with them. Unwrap and start over.
  • Keep your phone put away. While there are some children who play games on a cell phone or tablet, now is a great time to teach your child to respect sacred time by leaving electronics turned off.

Lastly, just try it. Your child may surprise you. And if you need to leave before the sermon is over, your family hopefully got something out of your time in worship.

Please join me in prayer. Heavenly Father, as a parent, you have blessed me with amazing children who challenge me at times, but bless me many times as well. Help me to be the parents you want me to be. Help me to raise my children to know You, love You and serve You. Amen.

Kindness Challenge

This past weekend in KiDS COR we were challenged to show kindness to our families! We talked about the story of Joseph and his brothers and how Joseph was kind to his brothers even after they sold him to slavery.

Here’s your challenge: Show some kindness to your family this week. When you do come back to the blog and leave a comment telling us what you did. We will randomly select one of the comments and they’ll win a prize.

We want to hear from you!

Hangin Together

The KiDS COR theme for the 2009-2010 school year is Hangin’ Together. Our goal is for families no matter what shape or size to “Hang Together” growing in their faith. This school year KiDS COR will have opportunities for families to do just that. Take a look at Hanging Together theme video: