The 3 Key Parts of a Successful Family Hike

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Plan. Communicate. Enjoy.  These simple words can have a wonderful impact on family, in all environments. However, they must be shared in an open and playful manner. When parents share the importance of each of these activities prior to a hike, great lessons are brought to light.  More importantly, if done correctly, a family can enjoy a beautiful hike while exploring and sharing their own family values.

Planning a Family Hike:

What goes into a plan? Before you take the first step, you must determine the direction you are going, as well as, how you want to get there. You must also create activities that assist in maintaining your desired path as negative distractions arise. To overcome negative distractions, it’s important to first create activities that connect with family values and keep the purpose of the journey in mind. This is where a plan comes in handy.

A plan provides a road-map. By sharing this road-map, those participating on the hike create the opportunity for the family to visualize their understanding of the activities they are about to embark on. Understanding these basic parts of a plan allows you and your family to navigate the first stage of a family outing, such as a hike.

Communicate for a Successful Hike:

Yes, we all do this every day – when we help our family get ready for their day. With routines such as, preparing breakfast for our family or sharing in morning prayers, we start a conversation that leads to sharing of your collective family’s experiences.

Take our morning breakfast example for instance – we remind our family that breakfast is an important part of their day, but we also ask what they want to eat for breakfast.

Why do we do this? What is the benefit of this exchange? As parents, we have the opportunity to provide a path for our children’s well-being. We are also responsible for helping them overcome distractions that may lead to impulsive decisions. How we choose to accomplish this is extremely important.

Developing Strong Communication:

Encouraging feedback from your children on what they may want for breakfast is a simple way for parents to connect with their children in a playful and safe environment, while also developing core values through routine decision-making. Let’s consider how this lesson applies to a family outing such as a hike. During the planning stages, you and your family should have figured out the basic parts of your hike, such as; where you are going, how long will the hike take, and what supplies are needed for the hike.

After the initial details are ironed out, it’s important to focus on the safety details of your family hike and to properly communicate with your child about safety when planning the hike. Here are some effective ways to communicate:

4 Steps in Effective Communication:

  1. First step –  Ask your children.  Why do they want to wear sandals on a hike? Giving a new question to your children offers the opportunity for them to personally explore their reason(s) on why sandals might be unsafe for the activities planned.
  2. Second Step – Provide additional information to your children.  Providing more information to your children allows them the chance to connect the dots on the fact that there might not be any rocks to climb or water to swim in during your hike.
  3. Third Step –  Continue the Conversation. Like your children did for you, take a moment to provide additional options for them to consider for the trip. This gesture is a wonderful way to further engage your child’s mind, with regards to making decisions. It also allows a parent a chance to gauge what types of things are important to their children.
  4. Last Step – Listen. As the parent, you are responsible for leading the hike and ensuring the highest level of safety and fun. To accomplish this, you not only have to keep to your plan, you also need to include things that your children want to do. Recognizing this and evaluating the decisions made by your children, via their feedback, lends a parent the greatest tool to a family – open communication!

Enjoying Your Family Hike:

Never forget the overall purpose of a family hike is to have FUN! By following the basic steps shared above, you will ensure that you are giving your family the ability to enjoy the decisions made together. Through this simple process, parents and children can apply their understanding of the importance of honesty in making good decisions.

Simply put, the use of these simple words – Plan, Communicate, Enjoy – gives parents and children alike the opportunity to share not only the values learned, but also to help each other continue to learn what makes a hike (or on a broader scale – life) fun through the equal input from each member of the family.

The only thing left to do is to take that first step together!

Effective Strategies for Helping With Homework

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Homework presents many benefits for both students and teachers. It gives schoolchildren the opportunity to study and review the lessons of the day. Teachers also get a chance to gauge their students’ progress through homework results. For parent’s, however, this time of day is typically marked by frustration. Let’s discuss a few tips for helping with homework:

Build a Designated Homework Spot at Home

Help your child zone out distractions by setting up a quiet homework station mimicking an office. This advice is especially useful if your schooler has younger siblings at home. Be sure to stock the area with various tools to get the job done, such as pencils, sharpeners, and erasers. This way, you eliminate the hassle of having to search for supplies each day. If there is no room at home for a dedicated homework center, don’t rule out the dining room table. Set a time of day when your meals aren’t scheduled, turn off all media distractions, and work with a portable supply bin.

Set a Routine

Now that you’ve covered where homework gets done, it’s time to decide the most appropriate time-slot for completing assignments. You can teach your child the importance of honesty by listening to their concerns and preferences. Some students like to relax after a long day at school while others need to do homework right away. Allow your child to take some control and observe how much easier homework becomes.

Discover Your Child’s Learning Style

Every child learns differently. Some prefer working independently, while others favor an adult close by. To ease frustrations for both you and your child, call a family meeting to discuss the best ways to approach homework. If your child is an independent learner, give them the freedom to work alone and review the results afterward. If your child thrives with direction, then lead the way and answer any questions as that may arise.

Take a Positive Approach

Your attitude toward homework plays a large role in how your child perceives the task. If you demonstrate a healthy approach to homework, your child is likely to do the same. The opposite is also true.

Work in Quick Breaks

If you notice your child becoming frustrated by an assignment, give them a breather and then get back when emotional outbursts calm down.

When to Get a Tutor

Whether your child is attending public school or private school, the older he or she gets, the more complicated assignments become. If your middle or high schooler is struggling with research or more challenging assignments, the best advice is to seek out an experienced after-school tutor. There are numerous options available today, including in-home, local, or virtual tutors.

The Take-Home Message

Parents and children who dread homework have an opportunity to change the situation with the tips outlined in this article. When students learn to master homework, the benefits don’t stop there. Studies indicate that students who successfully manage homework are, in essence, nurturing independent living skills. At the end of the day, parents can use the aforementioned tips to take a proactive approach to ensure smooth sailing during homework time.

Five Dinnertime Prayers We Love

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With how busy our lives can get, oftentimes the only time the whole family comes together to enjoy each other’s company is around the dinner table. This time together is a blessing, an opportunity to share each other’s triumphs and help each other through the struggle of our days. We know how important prayer is to a family, and beginning the bonding around the dinner table with a good prayer can set the tone for a great evening. Dinnertime prayer is especially important for kids enrolled in a religious private school, as taking a moment of their day to appreciate the Lord with their family will provide a much-needed moment of meditation and togetherness. We have listed below five wonderful prayers for every occasion to start your dinner off on the right foot.

When you only have a few minutes:

Bless us, dear Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord. Amen.

When you’re feeling especially grateful:

Give us grateful hearts,
O Father, for all thy mercies,
And make us mindful
Of the needs of others;
Through the grace of our Lord.
Amen.

When you need a chuckle:

Good food, Good meat, Good God, Let’s eat!

When you need a simple prayer for your child to lead:

A B C D E F G
Thank you, God,
For feeding me.
Amen.

When you feel the Lord with you:

Thank you, Lord. These are simple words but they come from simple hearts that overflow with the realization of your goodness.

We ask you to bless us as we eat, bless this food and bless the hands that prepared it. May the words of our lips spring forth from hearts of gratitude and may we bless others as we fellowship today.

Amen.

Unlocking the Key to Kindness

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Both as adults and children, the lesson of kindness can be a difficult one to master, albeit an important one. Treating others with kindness is right up there, with regards to importance, with practicing/remembering the importance of honesty and appreciating yourself. Although the nurturing environment provided by private schools is a step in the right direction (one that you may be able to take advantage of for free), as parents it is our responsibility to guide our children through the inevitable bumps of childhood–not only by teaching them to react with kindness, but by acting kindly towards ourselves and others.

Whether it’s teaching tolerance toward a bully or showing generosity toward those less fortunate, as faithful parents, we must teach our children that each act of kindness serves as a living reflection of God’s love to others. (Paul 2:4)

Fortunately, there are simple play activities that you can act out with your child to teach them to respond to difficult situations with love and forgiveness, especially when they have been hurt or offended.

For Your Pre-K Child

Remember, that as a part of the fruit of holy spirit, kindness must also be accompanied by goodness. (Galatians 5:22-23) This exercise is a wonderful way to help your child “clothe” him or herself in kindness by choosing to be kind to others.
(Colossians 3:12)

First, tell your children that the family is throwing a party, and that they get to choose their outfits for the festivities. Give them different dress-up options for fun but be sure to lay out enough hats for each child attending the party. As the children ‘get ready,’ encourage them to choose a special hat in order to get a special job at the party.

After everyone is ready, set the table with snacks and have your child ask everyone to join you both. Once they are all seated, ask each child wearing a hat to do something kind– like serve a snack to another child before serving themselves or pass out napkins to everyone.

Afterward, explain to your children that we must “put on” kindness every morning. Show them that kindness is something we choose by reminding them that they chose to put on a special hat for the party and each child wearing a hat acted kindly toward everyone–even the children not wearing hats. Use this moment as an opportunity to talk about the ways each person showed kindness at the party and how we can choose kindness in our daily lives.

For Your Elementary School Child

Supplies: For this activity, you’ll need a coin, white paper and several crayons in bright colors, as well as one black crayon.

Using the paper and the black crayon, draw an outline of a person on the paper. Together with your child, color the outline in using the bright colors. As you work together, use this moment to explain how God designed us to show His love and kindness to those around us. Remind your child that our actions reflect His goodness to others.

Next, give your child the black crayon and have him or her add black splotches over the bright colors. As he or she does this, explain to your child that when we don’t treat others with kindness, our lives stop reflecting the love and goodness of God. As your child finishes, discuss different situations in which people may act unkind toward others.

Use the coin to lightly scratch away the black patches. As you do this, explain to your child that when we show kindness to others, the kindness of God begins to shine through again. Teach them that kindness not only blesses others through our actions, but also helps people see the ultimate Creator of that kindness.

Although instilling kindness and goodness is not a one time lesson or exercise, these activities can help you start an early dialogue with your children about practicing kindness and compassion.

By teaching them to treat others with kindness, you are also helping them reflect the image of God in their actions. Many of our programs highlight compassion, empathy, and kindness through familial and community engagement. For more on how to apply and receive financial aid for private school, we encourage you to contact Corner Stone Christian Academy & Tykes at (702) 939-5050.

3 Ways Your Kids Can Embrace Sacrificing for Others

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We all enter this world crying at the top of our lungs for our mother’s milk. Born with demands, we’re hardwired to get our needs met so that we can survive. However, as we grow and develop our consciousness, God calls upon each of us to become less selfish and become more selfless.

In Hebrews 13:16, the word tells us, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (NIV)

While children may not have the same resources or freedom as adults, there is plenty that they can do to show the love of Christ by sharing or doing good toward their peers. While we have previously touched on other target areas of self-improvement, such as the importance of honesty and unlocking the key to kindness; here are three simple ways that young students can practice sacrificing for others.

Share a Bite

Breaking bread with someone has a longstanding tradition in bringing people together through fellowship. You can encourage your son or daughter to share their turkey sandwich or place an extra cookie in their lunchbox intended for sharing. They can share with a friend, or you can challenge them to share with someone they might not know as well. Perhaps they can share it with someone who looks sad or in need of some comfort. Whether your child wants to grow up to be an astronaut or a personal injury attorney, having your kids interact with other children in a positive, well-organized manner can greatly help them “discover” who they are while growing up.

Kids Teaching Kids

If your child is especially great in a particular subject, like math for example, this is a gift. It provides them with an opportunity to help students who aren’t as strong in that subject. Encourage your child to reach out to struggling students. They can quietly say to the student, “I think I can help you understand this formula, do you want to try with me?”

Taking the time to do this is a great way to build character.

Lend a Helping Hand

When it’s time to clean up—whether that be put away toys, fold laundry or wash dishes, many kids zone out and leave it to the adults. That’s why it’s greatly appreciated when a child looks outside of their own desires. Your child should embrace helping a teacher organize chairs, or helping adults clear the table after a large meal. This will teach your child the value of lightening the burdens of others.

These kinds of habits will help your children tap into selflessness, and demonstrate love. For ideas on doing good works as a family, check out this awesome family guide to helping others.

These are the kinds of principles taught at CornerStone Christian Academy & Tykes, a faith based Christian Las Vegas school with small classrooms and Christian values. If you are looking for Christian schools in Las Vegas or private schools in Las Vegas, please contact CornerStone Christian Academy & Tykes  at (702) 939-5050.

The Power of the Road Trip

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You do the best you can for your family. You do everything possible to ensure they’re safe, fed properly, and receive the best possible private-school education (which you can possibly do for free). But in today’s busy world, we sometimes let life get in the way of the simple things – like spending time together and truly being a part of each other’s lives. One of the most adventurous ways to come together as a family is to take a road trip together. The occasional road trip can really go a long way with helping you bond with your children.

Below are a few tips to help you design your own experience to bring your family closer together.

Limit Personal Device Time

If everyone is too busy with Facebook, Twitter or texting, it sort of defeats the purpose of taking that trip together. However, calling for their total elimination might cause a mutiny, so maybe the next best step is to ban them for a short period of time so you all have no choice but to talk with one another. Another little tip is to play an audio book that the majority agrees on for those long stretches. You can use that book later as a topic of conversation.

Don’t Plan Every Detail

In other words, go with the flow. Take an unscheduled detour to visit that ghost town or anything else that looks interesting. And don’t feel the need to rush back into the car after making a pit stop. Take a walk. Enjoy the scenery if possible.

It’s Never about the Destination

The key thing to keep in mind when taking a road trip is that the destination is the least important part of the whole trip. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling across the country or just across town to visit a museum or a cool new restaurant, the whole point of taking a road trip is to spend quality time with those closet to you.

Lastly, don’t be a slave-driver and force everyone to stick to a schedule. Often the most memorable parts of any road trip is not the destination but the little things that occur along the journey.

At CornerStone Christian Academy & Tykes we understand the importance of parents taking an active role in their children’s lives and make every effort for families to spend that necessary time together. For more information about our parent/child programs, or to learn about sending your child to private school in Las Vegas please call us at (702) 939-5050.

Teaching Your Child to be a Good Winner (and Loser)

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Winning and losing is inevitable in every child’s life, and how they handle both during their childhood will determine their attitude and character for many years to come. Whether your little one doesn’t make a team or they’re dealing with a friend who’s jealous of one of their accomplishments, here are a few ways to teach your child & prepare them to be gracious in victory or defeat.

Highlight Famous Failures

Every successful person on the planet has the same thing in common – they fell down many, many times before they got back up again. Michael Jordan lost over 300 games during his basketball career. Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime and he is regarded as one of the best painters to have ever lived. Harry Potter was turned down by 12 publishers before it became a worldwide phenomenon. With good examples of people who faced failure and overcame it to do amazing things, your child can rest easy that one failed test is no reason to give up on dreams of being a doctor or an astronaut.

Remind them that Life Isn’t Fair

Especially in households with more than one child, you’re bound to hear every parent’s favorite phrase a time or twelve, “that’s not fair!” Children have an innate sense of fairness and can be distressed when they see someone receive more than they do, particularly when they feel entitled to the same exact flavor of cookie or size of teddy bear. It’s important to instill early on in your children that life isn’t always fair, and that sometimes people receive/need more than others and, that when they receive more it is their duty to give and when their sibling receives more it is an opportunity to be happy that another is happy and blessed.

Congratulate them on their Effort, Not Just Results

When your kid is only praised when they are successful, failure can become even more discouraging and it can be difficult to motivate themselves to want to keep trying. Kids need to be recognized for their hard work, and their effort being noticed/appreciated will make even the biggest disappointments still worthwhile as character building and learning experiences. This is also great for when they win, because they know you are proud of their character and not just their accomplishments.

Don’t Let them Win Every Time

Letting your child win at every video game, every race, and every game of catch is a loving idea in theory, but it’s also robbing them of vital experiences. If they never have the chance to lose to someone who loves them and will win gracefully, it will be hard to lose later on in life. Additionally, they will feel entitled to always win every contest (even if it is not deserved) if they are handed every single win they get, and will have a hard time accepting when it is time for someone else to be in the spotlight. Winners are only real winners if they are honest, gracious and kind; a healthy mix of winning/losing at home will provide lots of opportunities to develop those virtues.

Don’t Compare Your Kids

Finally, your kids are unique individuals with different talents and aspirations. Nothing positive will come out of comparing them to each other, especially in a way that brings one down by wishing they were more like the other one. It’s important to recognize your children’s personalities & strengths in a positive and constructive way. The rest of the world will likely compare them through life, and they will feel secure and loved knowing you respect them both absolutely equally for exactly who they are.

At CornerStone Christian Academy & Tykes, we strive to teach good values through a family like support network. To learn more about the benefits of sending your child to a Las Vegas private school, contact us at (702) 939-5050

Best Apps for a Religious Education

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There are apps everywhere – on phones, on tablets – and trying to monitor what’s under the thumbs of your children can be exhausting or just downright futile. So if you can’t beat them, join them. It may be more productive to provide your kids with bible study apps you deem acceptable for your children. Below are seven entertaining apps suitable to further a religious education.

  1. Bible App for Kids

    For children of all ages
    Apple, Android
    Free to download
    Walk through the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Help Noah load animals onto his arc. Visit baby Jesus in his manger. Kids can explore the stories of the Bible through all sorts of interactive adventures.

  2. Superbook Bible, Video & Games

    For children of all ages
    Apple, Android
    Free to download
    Developed by the Christian Broadcasting Network, kids can view and interact with 14 full-length episodes from the Emmy-nominated series including David and Goliath, The Ten Commandments, and The First Christmas.

  3. Bible Buddies Director’s Pass

    For children ages 4+
    Apple Only
    $2.99 to download
    Allows your child to push the limits of their creativity with the ability to create, star, and share their own animated features. A wide variety of stories from the Bible are available including: The Birth of Jesus, Noah’s Ark, David & Goliath, Jonah, and more.

  4. Guardians of Ancora

    For children ages 4+, but designed for kids 9-11
    Apple, Android
    Free to download
    An epic parkour adventure game where players run across rooftops, ship masts, and slide down zip wires, meet Jesus, and help return light to the city of Ancora.

  5. David vs. Goliath – A Righteous Tale

    For children ages 9+
    Apple, Android
    Free to download
    A well-produced and well-acted interactive story where you help David go from shepherd to hero as he slings and fights his way to face Goliath. Comes with dozens of chapters including over 100 achievements and 7 mini-games.

  6. Granny’s Bible Dojo

    For children ages 4+, but designed for kids 9-11
    Apple, Android
    Free to download
    A fast-action fun experience where players advance through various levels by selecting the books of the Bible in order.

The academic program at CornerStone Christian Academy & Tykes is both well-rounded and challenging. Along with our core curriculum, we offer an assortment of specialty programs such as: Spanish; music; art; and computer science, where students have the opportunity to learn programming skills, website design, photo manipulation, and video game design for the iPad.

To learn more about the benefits of choosing a private school in Las Vegas, or to learn how to fund all or part of your child’s private school education, contact us at (702) 939-5050 today.

Encourage Gratitude by Counting Blessings with Your Kids

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It can be easy to forget the many reasons we have to be grateful. Kids (and if we’re being honest, adults too!) often live in a constant state of want. As soon as one desire is satisfied, another quickly takes its place. It’s an endless cycle that can only be interrupted by gratitude. For these reasons, and many more, it’s important to take the time to count our blessings with our children to help them understand gratitude and being thankful a bit better.

Looking Around to See Our Blessings

It might seem simple to talk about reasons to be grateful. But how often do we really take time to point out everyday blessings? Sure there are the basics: food, water, and shelter. But what about your kid’s favorite food or beverage? It’s good to feel especially thankful for those things that bring us a joy. Remind your child to be grateful for being blessed with friends and a loving family. The next time you go to the park, have your child point out a favorite tree or a favorite part of the playground; these are all blessings from God!

From Talk to Action

To better help your child remember to always count blessings, you can create a blessings chart together. Dry erase boards work great for this activity, but a piece of poster board is just as effective. Create a list of five blessings that your child can feel grateful for each and every day and list them in a column on the left-hand side of your chart. Some examples include, “I have a sister” or “I learned something new today”. Allow your kid to get creative. Then, in a row along the top of your chart write each day of the week. Every time your child mentions a blessing to be thankful for, add a sticker, a magnet, or draw a happy face on the blessings chart.

Gratitude During Hard Times

There’s no question that we live in an incredibly materialistic society. However, it’s important that you emphasize to your child that there is no enduring satisfaction to be found in worldly possessions. Cultivating a love of the Lord will afford you child genuine pleasure and purpose. It is important to trust in God when times are tough and to still be grateful regardless of the hardships we face. It’s through God’s enduring love that we overcome life’s many obstacles.

When kids can actually see the reasons they should thank the Lord for, they might truly feel more grateful. If you incorporate activities that promote gratitude into kids’ daily routines, they are more likely to remember to count their blessings instead of lamenting what they don’t have.

Another reason to feel grateful? You might be able to send your child to school for free. If you’re curious about private school in Las Vegas or you want to learn more about private Christian schools, contact us at (702) 939-5050. We’ll help you schedule a tour of CornerStone Christian Academy & Tykes to see if it might be a good fit for your child.

Three Fun DIY Projects to Try This Weekend

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Las Vegas is an amazing place to raise a child, especially since you can now send your child to private school for free. However, during those Saturdays and Sundays that school isn’t in session, you can bring the whole family together with these three Christian related DIY projects that will make your children smile and help bring them closer to God. We’ve covered other bible-related arts and crafts and Christmas-specific crafts, and are excited to bring you even more ways to get some creative family time in.

Homeless Blessing Bags

Take the family down to the dollar store and pick up items such as socks, moisturizer, hand sanitizer, snacks, small bottled waters, toothbrushes, floss, deodorant, and other essentials that less fortunate people would be grateful to receive. You can then make ‘blessing bags’ (we suggest gallon size Ziploc storage bags to hold the items) together to keep in your car, and (under supervision) have your children bring them to the needy. They will never forget how much joy it will bring them to give to others generously, and you will never forget how proud having a kind and selfless child will make you.

Prayer Sticks

This is one of the best Christian projects that helps teach your kids how to pray and give thanks in a number of different ways. All you need is a jar, popsicle sticks, and a sharpie. Write down different methods of prayer that your family enjoys such as ‘read today’s gospel’ and ‘write in my prayer journal’ and whenever you need inspiration for how to give thanks on any particular day, you will have a jar full of ideas made with love.

Verse of the Week Board

For this craft, you’ll need a board and a clothespin for each member of the household, a hot glue gun, and as many colors and types of paint/glitter/buttons/feathers your heart desires! Have your little ones decorate the boards however they like, so long as they write ‘verse of the week’ somewhere on it. You can then glue the clothespins where appropriate and put a new verse on each child’s board every week (which can be hung in their rooms) for their own personal reflection and prayer whenever they see it.

You can discover even more fun family Biblical activities here! To learn more about Private Christian schools, private school in Las Vegas, or to schedule a tour of our school, contact us at 702-939-5050.