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This is a Powerpoint Presentation outline for a talk I will be giving late April 2013 during a local symposium for adoptive, foster, and kinship parents.  It is in conjunction with several other county agencies and community organzations.  The presentation will be a prelude to our first monthly meeting of FAMILIES BY GRACE, a new local orphan care provider support group.  The Icebreaker titles introduce a hands-on skill builder I will be teaching to parents, so they then can teach or use with their children as a parenting skill to promote communication and relationship building.desserts

One of the icebreakers is about selecting your favorite dessert, and what your selection can tell others about your personality.  For me, I like every kind of dessert, so I’m not sure what that says except perhaps I am an overachiever and enjoy life to its fullest ?

Shari’s Powerpoint ‘Raising Other People’s Kids’



I just love 4 y.o. boys!  Their over-the-top questions, filthy bodies from playing long and hard outside, and exhuberance for wrestling, are special memories.  Don’t get me wrong, I have loved my girls’ toddler years (butterfly kisses!)  I just was always more of a tomboy, than a tea party girl . 

Adopted toddlers can be especially energetic, talkative, and inappropriate as they settle in to their forever family’s home.  New routines can’t happen all at once, but  parents can start introducing them one-at-a-time so as not to overwhelm.

A.  Practicing good habits early on creates lifelong routines:

  • personal hygiene: teeth brushing, hand washing, regular bathing, clean clothes each day (kids would wear their favorite outfit for a week if allowed!)
  • simple chores:  bed making, table setting, putting away toys
  • manners: at the table, not interrupting, shaking hands with adults
  • regular schedules: consistent bed time, meal time, work before play
  • daily family devotion w/ Dad, perhaps before breakfast or after dinner

B.  Polite communication skills make non-stop chatter a blessing, not a curse:

  • please and thank you
  • Mother (Father), may I?
  • slow down and settle down; talking too fast while jumping makes a story hard to understand
  • indoor versus outdoor voices (yelling is for outside, screaming only for blood injuries!)

C.  A few basic house rules help reign in untoward behavior:

  • bedroom doors open except while changing, alone; no playing on bed w/ others
  • outdoor toys and wild games stay outside (including baseballs and tag!)
  • no tents or closet play – potential for hidden secrets involving private parts
  • work out sibling problems using words, then get parent if needed
  • limit electronic/tv/dvd time (1-2 hours max daily),
  • greet guests, and play quietly (keeping electronics off) while they visit

D.  The 10 Commandments are easily posted, memorized, and practiced:

  • put God first in all things
  • honor Dad and Mom with love, respect, obedience
  • no stealing, lying, hating/hitting
  • be appropriate with your body and others’

E.  Have fun and enjoy this season of you child’s life:

  • crafting once a day with your child develops his/her fine motors skills and mind
  • encourage (and supervise) imaginative play, outside when weather allows
  • play WITH your child in the house, yard, or park
  • take long walks outside observing God’s world
  • teach children your interests/hobbies, encourage theirs’
  • work together doing everyday things like housework or maintenance
  • read, read, read to your child every chance you get

Toddlerhood is a season for Dads to really get involved as the child’s infant clinginess to Mom begins to wane.  Close bonds forged now will bear fruit as the child matures and looks to Dad as loving shepherd during elementary years, and respected authority during young adult (aka teen) years.  An investment of TIME in your child’s life during this stage will be worth every sacrifice in the future.  Plus, it is enjoyable!

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