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family christmas activities

30 Favorite Christmas Activities That Your Family Will Love

(Inside: Fun family Christmas activities that will bring your loved ones closer together over the holidays. Enjoy the season with these great ideas.)

1. Decorate the house, inside and/or outside.

2. Donate your time, food, money, and/or gifts.

3. Take a winter wonderland hike.

4. Drive around and look at holiday lights.

5. Grab fancy, warm drinks from the coffee shop.

6. Make gingerbread houses.

7. Christmas shop together at the mall or local stores.

8. Get dressed up and go out to eat.

9. Open an advent calendar.

10. Bake holiday cookies and treats

11. Exchange names and give Secret Santa gifts.

12. Spend a day skiing or sledding.

13. Attend a holiday concert.

14. Enjoy a Christmas service at church.

15. Read the Christmas story around the tree.

16. Get a group together to Christmas carol. (In person or over screens.)

17. Snap holiday pictures.

18. Watch Christmas movies.

19. Look through family photo albums together.

20. Go ice skating.

21. As a family, do something extra nice for someone you know.

22. Write handwritten cards.

23. Go out for pastries or dessert.

24. Make Christmas crafts as a family..

25. Light candles and use your “good dishes” for dinner.

26. Play holiday music and enjoy a family game night.

27. Build a snowman, create a snow fort, or make snow angels.

28. Put together a Christmas puzzle.

29. Share your favorite holiday memories with each other.

30. Each family member picks out an ornament that represents their year.

Entertaining Tweens/Teens and Connecting with Your Family Series

The other day, I saw of picture of when my kids were little (like when I wrote this post), and I thought I so deeply want to go back to this season of life. I miss it.

But just as quickly as that thought came, another thought followed Someday, I will see pictures of my current parenting phase (raising tweens and teens) and wish to come back to today. 

So, I want to do my best to enjoy this season of life. These ideas on how to connect with and entertain tweens and teens can help…

ENTERTAINING TWEENS & TEENS SERIES

INSPIRATION
How a Messy House is Good for Your Kids

IDEAS
85+ Kids Activities That Promote Creativity

READING
146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will Also Build Character
Compelling Books That High Schoolers Will Want to Read

EXERCISE
Home Exercises for Your Teens & the Whole Family (Feel Healthy & Happy)

HOLIDAYS
*30+ Ways to Connect With Your Family Over the Holiday Season

family christmas activities

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life-phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life-chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
best family devotionals

7+ Fantastic Devotionals that Help Create Forever Family Connections

(Inside: Best family devotionals that will help your loved ones grow in faith and connect as a family. Ideas that your family will love.)

You know you’ve dreamed this too…ever since the day we decided we wanted to have children, we all looked forward to it…

Our. Awesome. Parenting. Skills.

However, once that sweet baby was placed in our arms we melted apart like putty, then molded back into a completely different shape, forever changed. Starting our parenting journey unlocks a scary realization:  our best parenting days are behind us – before we had kids. That’s when we had all the parenting advice for everyone else because easy-peezy-common-sense-sherlock. 

But we forge ahead because we love these humans so there is no other direction. 

 

best family devotionals
Join our community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

A top parenting desire: family devotionals

One of the things, I’ve always aspired to do is hold epic family devotionals. Oh, I had visions: loved ones gathered ’round. All ears open. Hearts ready. Sunshine spotlighting down from the heavens. And the Holy Spirit. 

But, I’ve found this hard to do. Truthfully. I know that you make time for what’s important to you and blah, blah, blah… And…I even have a degree in education. Eh-hem. A master’s degree. Just busyness mixed with life has left me grasping for consistency and depth in this area.

Until a couple of years ago.

Something clicked. I don’t even know what, for sure. We’re still crazy busy, but we manage to come together about three nights a week to check in. And I mean really check in. Like ask questions about school, our mental state, and then read something that helps deepen our faith.

This is working better now, partly because my kids are older. But also, we’ve found some intriguing books and Bible studies that promote conversation and growth. I’m excited to share with you devotions that are a great fit for families of tweens and teens. 

Forget perfection

Before I go on, I must say this because it’s beating so loudly in my heart I won’t be able to hit publish without getting it out: you are still a good mom if you don’t ever do one family devotional. The end. 

There isn’t a perfect formula and one path only to teach your kids faith. 

As moms, we teach our kids the things that pulse in our inner being, and for me, that’s a deep longing to connect over traditional family devotionals. I am moved through Bible study, so wanted to share this method of deepening faith with my sons. But also, I hope this designated family time gives my kids a safe place to share what’s bothering them, me a chance to better get to know my kids, and helps us all create a strong intertwining family bond. 

Some days our family time is great and sometimes everyone’s cranky. Whatever. As a mom, I’m better learning to throw grace-on-ourselves-and-loved-ones around like confetti, not over-analyze and simply move forward. 

Best Family Devotionals

*All of the below links are my amazon affiliate links, meaning, I get a small commition at no extra cost to you.* 

100 Days to Brave (Annie F. Downs)

Best. Devotional. Ever.

We read one page a day. Annie gives a verse, a short story, and a takeaway. This has opened up deep conversations in our family around courage, school, friends and life. I highly recommend it. It is perfect for when life is crazy busy. It’s short, inspirational and each day ends with a dicussion question for families to connect over.

Top 20 Teens: Discovering the Best-Kept Thinking, Learning & Communicating Secrets of Successful Teenagers (Bernabei, Cody, Cole, Cole, Sweeney)

I did the Top 20 training as continuing education through the high school where I teach. As I listened, I felt intrinsically motivated to aim high, work hard, embrace kindness and be a better person. I love how this book communicates to young people. It’s fantastic. No, it’s not the Bible, but much of the principles are what they teach in Sunday school, so we loved it. We read one short chapter at a time and discussed questions listed at the end.

Gideon – Your Weakness, God’s Strength (Priscilla Shirer)

Priscilla’s studies are always rich in learning about scripture, history, and application. I loved this study. It’s about turning weakness into strength and watching God move through the hard parts of your lives. I did this by myself after a particularly difficult season – it’s in the que to do again with my family. 

Book of Matthew – The Words and Stories of Jesus

We read through the stories and words of Jesus in Matthew. It’s so simple, yet promotes good conversation. I wrote out a schedule and it’s in the Empowered Moms and Kids Freebie library. Click on the link below to get instant access. 

Yes, I want the Bible Reading Plan!

Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story (Angie Smith)

A friend recommended this to me. It gives an overview of the Bible with life applications. It’s more intense and time-consuming than some of the devotions listed above, but I liked doing this study with my kids. Plus, we did this during the summer when we had more time. It gave a solid overview of the Bible and our salvation story through Christ. 

There is also a teen edition, though my friend has done them both and doesn’t think there is a huge difference. That’s why we did the adult version as a family.

Known By His Names: A 365-Day Journey From The Beginning to The Amen (Elizabeth Spencer)

If you want a short daily devotion that helps your family really see and feel how much God loves them, I highly recommend Known By His Names by Elizabeth Spencer. It is rich in beautiful scripture and deep insight. I read it through like a book instead of one page a day. 

It’s one that you could linger and discuss over at length or is also great for a quick devotional before everyone hurriedly scatters in different directions. Regardless, it’s worth your time. What a beautiful, beautiful book that you can feel the Holy Spirit move through.

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Sarah Young)

This is another gorgeous devotional that helps us all hear God talk daily to our hearts. It opens our eyes to see God work all around us, moving, shaping with purpose, nourishing, comforting, and giving us peace. 

Our family is currently working through this devotional. I like that there are 2-3 scripture references for my kids to look up. I love to see my kids’ hands in the Bible. It’s great for the busy season, and if we miss a day, we just skip it and find the current date in the book. Each day is amazing – you can’t go wrong with Jesus Calling. 

Bonus: Supplement Your Devotional with a Prayer Journal

I created a Prayer Journal for families raising tweens and teens. Included in the digital download:

  • 7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family Inspirational Essay
  • How to use the prayer journal page.
  • 30 days of journal pages: Day 1 (and all the odd days following) starts with a verse that focuses on God’s love for your family. Day 2 (and all the even days following) features a verse that focuses on your family’s love of God. These beautiful pages hold places to write your family’s reflections on what they’re grateful for and their prayer requests. 

    Your family will grow to love this intentional practice of walking with Jesus and learning to communicate and love each other better. Plus, this is a lovely keepsake your momma’s heart will cherish. 

Your turn

What Bible studies are your family loving? Or how do you grow faith and/or create family connect that isn’t in a study or book? I’d love to know. Email me or share in the comments. 

Be encouraged by the full “raise kids of faith” series.

Over the years, as my kids have grown and their seasons have changed, I find myself going back to this one prayer, “Dear Jesus, please let my kids desire to have a relationship with you and follow you.” If as they journey through life, they consistently go back to their Creator for comfort and guidance – it’s all going to be okay.

So, as a mom, I strive to (in my imperfect way) teach my boys faith.

HOLIDAYS
10 Easy Way to Teach Your Kids The True Meaning of Christmas
A Busy Mom’s Christmas Prayer

TEACHING FAITH
Free eBook: Devotions for Kids and Families
5 Fantastic Devotionals that Help Create Forever Family Connections

TEACHING GRATITUDE
A Free Gratitude Journal Your Teen Will Love (Raise Grateful Kids)
The Science Behind Why a Gratitude Journal Works (Raise Happy, Faith-Filled Tweens and Teens)

 

 

best family devotionals
Join our community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

Join this community of moms of older kids

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.-You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kids, feel empowered in your personal growth, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get inspiration, resources, and stories in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below.

best podcasts for teenage boys

15+ Best Podcasts to Inspire and Motivate Our Teen Boys

(Inside: Best podcasts for teenage boys. Inspire and motivate our teen boys with these awesome podcasts.)

I stepped out of my car and visually took in his house.

Wow. This is more than I could ever afford.

I knew this man (a friend of a friend) had barely graduated from high school. He certainly didn’t have a 4-year degree. Or a 2-year degree. Or maybe not even a certificate of anything. I was there to tutor his high school son in math. As I entered his home, I was equally impressed with the beauty and show of wealth.

Week after week, I came into this family’s home and helped the son get his grade up. Finally, I couldn’t even stand it anymore. I ask the dad, “Tell me your journey to success.”

And the door was open…

He explained that he was working, not making the money he needed, depressed, and overwhelmed with his lack of knowing what he wanted to do with his life. So, he started listening to motivational podcasts. (Back when they were cassette tapes.) He listened over and over to inspirational words until he believed he could achieve his dreams, which was to start his own business…

And that’s what kicked off his drive to build his empire: encouraging words.

Inspirational and Motivational Men for Our Boys to Look Up To

I understand his story. Podcasts to me are life-changing. I listen to them while I walk/jog. I listen to them on my way to work. I soak them in as I create images for this blog. The positive messages they convey are inspiring. 

Except, there seems to be an amazing amount of women cheering each other on, but I’ve had more trouble finding male influences that speak to the soul of a young man the same way my women podcasters uniquely speak to my heart. (Of course I think women’s voices are vital in raising our sons, but it was bubbling from inside of me to find strong, motivational men of integrity for my tween/teenage sons to learn from.) So, I asked my students, friends, The Google and listened to a bazillion podcasts…

I wasn’t disappointed – I found some great podcasts and I’m sharing them with you…  (As always, I don’t agree with everything everyone says. And not every podcast is right for every listener. But this is a great place to start when you’re trying to find that motivational person who will inspire your family.)

 

Related article: Frustrated Mom – Your Teen Will Find Success

Photo by Reynier Carl on Unsplash

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Inspiration to Grow into Awesome Human Beings

Eric Thomas, The Secret to Success Podcast

A student recommended this Eric Thomas’ motivational podcast. I’ve seen such growth and maturity in my student over the years, I had to take a listen and it’s good!

Listen to the podcast here: The Secret to Success Podcast

Tim Williams, Inspirational Speaker

Tim started a Thrivehood podcast specifically to mentor and inspire young men through the teen years.  With wisdome and humor, he talks about a varietly of topics that help teens thrive through the growth and maturity process. 

Check out the podcast here: Thrivehood Podcast

Miles Adcox, Inspirational Speaker

Because this post is about finding strong men of integrity for our boys to learn from, I’m only going to focus on Miles. (Ruthie, you’re awesome though!) Miles Adcox is the “owner and CEO of Onsite, an internationally acclaimed emotional health retreat center that delivers life-changing personal growth workshops, inspiring content, leadership retreats, and emotional health intensives.” Miles hosts a podcast called Unspoken with Ruthie Lindsey. They have meaningful conversations with their diverse guests. They have a unique way of getting people to open up and share with moves them. 

I listened to this interview with John Batiste and thought it was great. This is the type of man I want my sons to learn from. Jon Batiste work has included being the Musical Director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and Musical Director for The Atlantic. His first solo album, Hollywood Africans, was nominated for a GRAMMY.  

Find Miles at his podcast here: Unspoken

Dave Hollis, Motivational Speaker

I loved his honest conversation about self-growth and stepping up to the plate with Jen Hatmaker. Listen to this podcast here. (I had my son listen to this!)

Here’s Dave’s regular podcast: Rise Together

Michael Hyatt, Expert on Leadership

Michale Hyatt specializes in motivating people to lead. No matter where our sons are in their lives, we want them to be leaders. Meaning, they lead themselves in striving for excellence, they lead in our homes by being motivated to help clean and contribute to the family, they lead in their peer circles by encouraging others to be “includers” and make good choices, and I could forever go on. Michael speaks to men with soul, passion, and faith. He’s one to listen to. 

Here’s Michael’s regular podcast: Lead to Win

Do you want to connect with your teens over great conversations? Read more here.

Alex and Brett Harris, Motivational Speakers

These twin brothers took the internet by storm as “they challenged their peers to rebel against low expectations and do hard things.” So, here’s the bummer – as engaging and inspirational as these young men are – they don’t have a podcast. (And all the moms of teens cry oceans of tears.) But they’re worth a mention because they speak specifically to motivate and inspire teens out of laziness and apathy. (It should be noted here that in all my years of teaching high school, I’ve found that all teenagers want to find their purpose and learn how to use their gifts. Every. Single. Teen.) So, I tracked down this interview to inspire teens.

Here’s the brothers’ website: The Rebelution

best podcasts for teenage boys

Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff and Friends, Personal Growth

When I started searching for podcasts for my tween/teenage sons to be inspired by, Bob Goff’s was exactly what I was looking for. His website describes his podcast best: 

“This podcast is all about guiding you to discover, declare, and take action on the big ambitions you have for your life. Each month we’ll focus on one of the foundational principles of the Dream Big Framework.

Every episode you’ll be hearing from one of Bob’s friends, who’s been learning how to chase their big ambitions, despite the bumps and turns life can throw at all of us.”

Listen to the podcast here: Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff and Friends

Dr. Phil, Psychologist/Therapist

Parents of tweens/teens fell in love with Dr. Phil’s matter-of-fact, common-sense advice through first seeing him on Oprah. But, our kids don’t know Dr. Phil. So, let me tell you, I was thrilled to see that he hosts a podcast. He’s still at it. Listening to people’s problems and with kindness but firmness, sheds practical and inspiring light onto everyone’s situations.  

Listen to the podcast here: Dr. Phil in the Blanks

Richard Nicholls – Motivate Yourself Podcast 

Richard Nicholls is a psychotherapist who does these popular 15-minute podcasts to help you get inspired and motivated. (He’s massively popular in the UK.) I liked this podcast on “How to Feel Alive.” After listening – I felt walked with a little more spring in my step.

Listen to the podcast here: Richard Nicolls – Motivate Yourself Podcast

Trent Shelton – Straight Up with Trent Shelton Podcast 

My son and I listen to this as we drive to and/or from soccer practice. He just speaks a lot of common sense with passion and conviction. I liked Episode 63: Stop Wasting Time on the 99%. Focus on the 1% who Care. He encourages people to think about the people in their lives who really matter, telling a touching and eye-opening story about the people who showed up when his mom was sick.

Listen to the podcast here: Straight Up with Trent Shelton

Photo by Joel De Vera on Unsplash

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Learning About Money

Dave Ramsey

You might be wondering why I am recommending a financial guru, but I have a high school student who loves him. There are tweens/teens out there who are super interested in money. (I have a middle-schooler at home who is planning out already how to make his fortune. I have another elementary-age son who worked really hard in his school fundraiser because he thought he got to keep the money himself. I laughed so hard when he told me this – but I also beamed at his work ethic. *Now if only he’d apply that work ethic to keeping his room clean.*) Not only does Dave know his stuff, but I’m super impressed with his character. He is a strong man for teens to learn from. 

Listen to Dave’s podcast here: The Dave Ramsey Show

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Growing Faith

Tim Mackie & Jon Collins

Tim and Jon dive deep into biblical theology in a way that is profound and thought-provoking. They capture the young minds of our worlds and help them to see Jesus all around them. Their podcasts are something else – in the very best way.

Listen to their podcast here: The Bible Project

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce spoke at our church about faith and culture and life – I just can’t really describe what an impact he had on our family. He makes you think in the best of ways, and we talked about his message for days. So, I was thrilled to see that he had a podcast. If you’re looking for a faith-based podcast geared specifically toward teens and young adults, he’s a great one to check out.

Listen to Ben and his team’s podcast here: Provoke & Inspire Pocast

Joshua Dubois

Joshua Debois gained notability as The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in President Obama’s first term. He sent President Obama daily devotions, which he later turned into a book. Joshua then started his own successful consulting company. He is an amazing voice in our world. He speaks wisely and inspirationally regarding faith, issues specifically impacting African Americans, and living life well. He doesn’t have his own podcast, but he is featured in the below podcast. Joshua is a strong, hard-working, faith-filled, ambitious man for our young men to follow. 

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Creating Life-Long Learners

Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad. Radio Lab Podcasts (Science)

This podcast captured my attention because it’s an engaging and interesting way to get our teens thinking about science and the world around them.  The podcast moves through exploring the “big questions” in science, philosophy, and mankind with curious questions, interesting dialogue, and a hold-your-attention speed.

For example, this episode questions where animals go in the winter.  The hosts  (with an 11-year-old) visit a Bavarian farm where they “follow warblers and wildebeests around the world, and get a totally new kind of view of the pulsing flow of animals across the globe.”

Side note: Naturally in science evolution is discussed. Being a Christian who teaches math at a large public high school, I’m okay with all of the discussions. I firmly believe in creation, but bring on the other theories. Let’s talk about it all!

Listen to the podcast here: Radiolab

Chris Anderson – Ted Interview

One of my most valuable teaching strategies in trying to educate my high school students is storytelling. There’s something about the lesson you learn through a story and how it reaches deep into our hearts and finds a place to connect and stays.

The Ted Talk podcast is storytelling. Their website says, “Head of TED Chris Anderson speaks with some of the world’s most interesting people to dig into the provocative and powerful ideas of our time.”

Listen to the podcast here: TED Interview Podcasts

 

Dear Hank & John Podcast

Okay, here’s why I like these two. They talk about the things you notice in life like:

  • Why does my brain release endorphins for things that are bad for me?
  • How do you interject in conversations smoothly?
  • How do we know no two snowflakes are alike?


They discuss these thoughts in an engaging, smart, and fun manner. When I think about one of my parenting goals of creating lifelong learners and listening to men who ask smart questions –  I like the idea of my sons listening to a podcast like this. 

Listen to the Podcast here: Dear Hank & John

How to! With Charles Duhigg Podcast

I first hear Charles Duhigg talk about his podcast here and I was fascinated. He takes smart topics, odd issues, random problems – it all – and helps us all peel back the layers and wonder what is really happening. It encourages us to think analytically and wisely as we solve each other’s problems. There’s a topic that for sure will engage your teen’s brain.

Listen to the podcast here: How to! With Charles Duhigg Podcast

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will also Build Character

 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
chores teens

Get Your Teenager to Do Chores with Humor and a Checklist

(Inside: Get your teenager to do chores with this lighthearted explanation of “chores” and “maintenance.” Get a cleaning checklist that works too…)

My dear tween and teenage kids,

You know I love you beyond measure, but we must discuss something and I need you to hear me or your mom just might lose her sanity.

There’s a difference between “chores” and “maintenance.”

Why are we discussing this you ask? Well because the other day one of you sighed big and said “I didn’t know we had to do chores today” when I asked you to hang up your wet towel that was crumbled on the bathroom floor. So, I feel that we need to straighten something out.

Get your teenager to do chores by grabbing the cleaning checklist here.

Chores are when you snap on rubber gloves and dive deep into scrubbing the bathrooms. Chores are when you pull out the vacuum and make even lines across the room. Chores are when you ring out a mop and rub it all over the floor. Chores are what we do as a family once a week.

Maintenance is when you – ready for this? – hang up the towel you just used after your shower. Or put the clothes you just wore in the hamper. Or your cereal bowl into the dishwasher. (And then wipe up the dribbles of milk from the counter.) Maintenance is putting the milk back in the fridge, your shoes in the mudroom bin, and your coat on the hook. I don’t need to go on, you get it…

Know, my dear children –  I don’t expect you to be perfect. You all know I’m not! But I am asking you to shift your mindset, even if it’s only a little.

Chores = big actual cleaning

Maintenance = the small daily acts of putting the stuff you just used away

You might someday make enough money be able to hire a cleaning company to do your “chores” (dream big!), but you will FOR SURE have to do “daily maintenance” until the end of time. So, it’s important that you learn that skill set now.

Thanks for listening to my words. I love you to the moon-and-back, forever-and-ever. You are my everything and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you – except hang up your bathroom towel.

Love, Your Mom

Get your teenager to do chores by grabbing the cleaning checklist here.

Get your teenager to do chores: here was the game-changer for me!

Can you relate to my letter to my kids? Do you long for your house to remain straightened? Are you tired of the house-cleaning-drill?

And, really – it’s not so much the cleaning, it’s the unhelpfulness of the tween who apparated-Ron-Weasley-style into some unknown corner of your home in the middle of the chores (Room of Requirement, maybe?) and the turtle-pace cleaning speed of your teen. Mix that with working all week and then spending half of Saturday trying to motivate your people to scrub with purpose, and you are over it.

I hear you.

My coworker gave me life-changing advice about a tangible way to keep my house clean.

I was telling my friend from work about our cleaning as a family on the weekends. (“No one is focused. It takes forever. Saturday mornings aren’t enjoyable.”)

“First…” my coworker said to me, “You have to know how good it is for your boys to help you clean.” (She has sons, as well, and is a few clicks ahead of me in parenting.)  It teaches your sons’ life skills, to treat their mom well, to be a better future roommate and/or husband, to take ownership and pride in your family home, and to do life as part of a team. 

(Oh, dear friend – you had me at “It’s good for your boys to help you clean.”)

“But here’s the key,” she continued. “You need to clean on a Thursday.”

Then she went on to tell the pros of Thursday cleaning:

  • Everyone still has energy on a Thursday, by Friday, you’re toast.
  • You go into the weekend with a clean house and that’s so nice.


Here’s how it works:

  • You get pizza on the way home from work, and everyone eats early.
  • Everyone works together with the goal of getting the whole house clean between 1-2 hours. A family member finishes a job, then goes back to mom (or dad) to find out the next job. This continues until you are done. (Set a timer, blast some music and go.)
  • Yes, there are sometimes activities/conflicts, but you figure it out and make it happen anyway – remember, Thursday you’re strong, Friday you wilt. 

So, I tried the Thursday cleaning and experience something clicked in a new way for us – it worked far better than our weekend routine. We’ve kept this new schedule up for years with one small addition.

We’ve added that during the week we also do our best to imperfectly pick up after ourselves. After dinner, half the family cleans the kitchen and the other half does a quick house pickup. (Aim for 10-15 minutes max and no this doesn’t happen every day.)

Is it flawless? Of course not, but no parent is hidden somewhere in this world doing it all right. Motherhood is an imperfect journey by definition. The cleaning routine bounces between great to okay to meh because that’s life.

But still – the Thursday ritual is truly the best cleaning routine I’ve ever tried…and I’ve tried them all in the 15 years I’ve been a parent. 

My sons asked for a checklist so they didn’t have to constantly ask me for their next task. I dream in lists, so was happy (thrilled!) to oblige. 

Momma, I know you’re busy – so I want to save you some of your precious time, and made the family cleaning checklist available to you.

It’s in word document form so you can quickly tweak it to fit your family.  It also outlines both weekly cleaning and a few “deep cleaning” things you should do every Thursday to keep your home sparkling. Grab the checklist and as a bonus, you’ll get monthly encouraging raising tweens and teens emails. They’re free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Read more about the cleaning checklist here.

Read the full Raising Tweens and Teens Series

My oldest son started high school last week and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but not parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

Raising Tweens and Teens

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
To the Mom of a High School Freshman

 

Get your teenager to do chores by grabbing the cleaning checklist here.

Get your teenager to do chores and more! Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens.

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community below. 

gifts for moms