One of our biggest desires in children and youth ministries at First Trinity is to partner with parents in helping children grow in their faith.  This resource page will hopefully be one tool to accomplish that goal.  Each month we will add new resources to this page.

If you have suggestions of certain topics or types of resources that would be helpful for your family, please contact Rebekah Freed, Jason Christ, or Susan Steege.

New Resources This Month

  • November Everyday Faith Calendar – Daily ideas to gather as a family around God’s Word (Example:
    Read Matthew 16:13–16. Make a list of names for Jesus. What’s your favorite?)
  • Teaching Kids Gratitude instead of Entitlement –  Drawing from research and personal experience, Christine Carter — a sociologist, happiness expert, and director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Parents program — shares insights on how practicing gratitude, not just at Thanksgiving but year-round, can make for happier families.
  • ScreenTime Labs – Manage the time your kids spend on their tablets and smartphones with this tool.

Grade Specific Resources

  • Grade Specific Developmental Guides – With one for each grade level, this set of documents helps us know more about what’s going on with children at specific stages in their lives in 4 areas: Physical Development, Emotional Development, Relational Development, and Spiritual Development.  While each child is very unique, these guides give a framework to begin understanding your own child.

Summer Resources

  • Silly Shopping Trips – 4 great free or cheap ideas to make memories with your family this summer!
  • Fun 4 Kids in Buffalo – A neat resource updated often with activities for families in the Buffalo area.
  • Weekly Summer Schedule – Come up with a daily schedule to help plan activities for your family this summer. e.g. Make Something Monday; Take a Trip Tuesday; etc. (See link for one idea).
  • 10 Simple Rules for Family Vacations – Some ideas of how to be fully present on your vacation and enjoy the time you have together.
  • 50 Summer Bucket List Ideas for Families – 50 ideas for families of things to do this summer. Maybe use this list to craft your own “Family Bucket List” of things to do this summer to be intentional about spending time together.  Some could be done with the whole family or some could be used as one-on-one time with each of your kids.

Family Relationship Builders

  • Say This, Not That – Sometimes, the way we phrase things can make a big difference. It’s not always easy to remember what to say or how to say it, especially when your child is in the middle of a meltdown.  So, here’s a quick reference guide for parents.
  • 52 Family Discussion Questions (Part 2) – Use some of these questions at dinner or in the car while driving between sports and school and other events to get conversation going among the family.  One idea would be to print them all out on slips of paper, put them in a jar and pull a couple out each day for everyone to answer.  Many of the questions are great for all ages.
  • Bedtime Routines – Having a good bedtime routine is the best way to create sweet sleep in your home.  Bedtime routines are often some of the best talk time we can have with our children. We want to help you capitalize on this important time by equipping you with tools that will create significant conversation at bedtime.
  • The Marriage High Five – The Kids Parent resource email for this month is about self-care.  In the midst of trying to care for your kids and care for yourself, caring for your marriage can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.  Check out this article for an idea of how to keep your marriage strong while raising kids.
  • Making the Most of the “Chauffeur” Role –  This is an article about how one mom leverages her role as chauffeur to build meaningful relationships with her kids.
  • 52 Family Discussion Questions – Looking for ideas of things to prompt conversation around the dinner table or in the car?  Here are 52 ideas.  Another fun option is to use these questions but guess what the other person would say before they tell you.
  • 30 Cheap Hobbies – A shared hobby can be a great way to build a relationship with your child or teenager. Here are some ideas to get you started in finding something you can do together this summer
  • Plan a Family Movie Night – Not only can you review movies at pluggedin.com you can now download conversation guides and anything else you might need to let movie night in your house go a little deeper with conversation about real life topics.
  • 25 Easy Ideas to Intentionally Spend Time with Your Child -Let’s face it. Connecting with our kids, especially during teen and tween years, can feel really complicated and difficult. We are busy and often overwhelmed. Each of these ideas takes less than 15 minutes a day amongst the craziness to make a connection and build the relationship.
  • BOOK: The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family – In this unique and groundbreaking book, business consultant and New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni turns his sights on the most important organization in our lives—the family. As a husband and the father of four young boys, Lencioni realized the discrepancy between the time and energy his clients put into running their organizations and the reactive way most people run their personal lives. Having experienced the stress of a frantic family firsthand, he and his wife began applying some of the tools he uses with Fortune 500 companies at home, and with surprising results.
  • 10 Ways to Make More Time to Spend With Your Child – The link above has ideas of how to spend time with your child. Here are some more that focus on how to create that time in order to be able to do some of those ideas.
  • Spending Time with Your Teen During the Holidays – Your kids may be home for the holidays, either on break from college or home from school, and you may be glowing with excitement for this time you will spend together. On the other hand, you may be dreading the extra time with your adolescent, bracing yourself for the increase in arguments, hostility, and general disinterest they may have in family activities. Here are some ideas to spend time with your older children during the holiday season.
  • Creative “Staycation Ideas” for Spring Break – Whether you’re excited for the chance to do fun things you normally don’t get to do during the school year or dread figuring out how to manage spring break with kids at home… this resource is for you.

Holiday/Seasonal Resources

  • A Sense of the Resurrection: an Easter Experience for Families contains 12 fun, hands-on, easy, meaningful activities to help your kids come face to face with the Easter story.
  • Trail to the Tree is a free download, with each day of the 17 day devotional including a Bible reading through the significant events of the life of Christ, a short action point, and a prayer. There are also printable “art” cards that can be hung on what she calls an “Easter Passion Tree”.
  • Lenten Lights eight devotions to prepare your hearts for Resurrection Sunday. It can be used weekly or daily (in the week leading up to Easter).
  • Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries are available online or printed copies are at the information center at First Trinity
  • Names of God Family Advent Devotional – A reading and activity for each day of December leading up to Christmas
  • Super Simply Family Resolutions for a New Year – An outline of a way to make some super simple, easily attainable goals for your family in 2016.
  • First Trinity Advent Pinterest Board – find all kinds of ideas for how to celebrate Advent and Christmas as a family together!
  • Advent Bible Verse Cards/Calendar – Free printable cards with Bible verses to read each day or to use as an Advent Calendar
  • December Parent Devotion: Chasing Peace in the Chaos – A devotion written with parents in mind as you go through what can sometimes be a crazy and busy time of year.  Take a moment to stop and find some peace.
  • Family Holiday Planner – Somewhere in the midst of fall sports, Halloween costume-making, and Thanksgiving turkey-shopping the holiday season sneaks in on us whether we’re ready for it or not.The series of worksheets, checklists, and printables here are designed to help you prepare your family’s heart and schedule for this coming holiday season so that you won’t miss precious, divine moments with your family this Christmas.  Start NOW.
  • 30 Ways to Serve as a Family – As we head toward the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, maybe use one of these thirty ideas as a way to spend time as a family while serving others.
  • Thanksgiving Tree Printable – Here’s a great printable activity for you to do as a family to grow gratitude leading up to Thanksgiving.
  • Family Advent Guide – Use this resource to “Worship Fully” as a family as we head toward Christmas.
  • Word For the Year – Instead of focusing on New Year’s resolutions, this guide walks your family through a process to find a “Family Word for the Year”.  You’ll land on one word that you desire to strive toward this year, one word that unifies as everyone works to uphold it, one word that gives vision and direction for decisions as a family.  Try it out or maybe do it once a month and have 12 “words” this year.
  • 15 Ways to Teach Kids Gratitude – At the end of this blog post there are 15 ideas of how to embrace gratitude with your family not only around Thanksgiving but all year round.
  • Chain of Blessings Kit – Fun simple activity to do with your family around the Thanksgiving table.
  • Our Gratitude Tree – Print this out for your family and have everyone add a leaf each day of the month leading up to or after Thanksgiving.

Faith Growth

  • 10 Ways to Pray for Your Daughter and 10 Ways to Pray for Your Son – Printable resources to remind you of things you might want to pray about for your child.
  • Bible App For Kids Website – Building off of the phone app “Bible App for Kids”, this website provides video episodes, coloring sheets, activity packets, and parent guides for multiple Bible stories.
  • The Family Box – This is a great resources for parents with kids aged 4-9 especially heading into the summer months.  One you subscribe, each month you receive a box in the mail with weekly activities and devotions with everything you need to do the activities as a family to help you grow closer to each other and to God.
  • Teaching Kids to Pray – This article gives practical ideas of how to teach kids of any age how to pray along with conversation starters and question to ask yourselves and your children.
  • Textable Devotions – Are your teens past the stage of slipping a note in their lunch box (never!)! Try texting them a devotion each day instead as a way to encourage them and help the grow in their faith.  Here are over a months worth of options! (Maybe send them to your spouse too as a way to encourage each other.)
  • Lunch Box Notes – 100 encouraging notes to help pass down faith.  The notes are pre-written, include a scripture, and divided into helpful categories.  All parents have to do is add their own personal touch, and it’s ready to go!
  • Lunch Box Notes – Set 2 – Youth Edition –  This resource is designed to help you offer a daily note of encouragement to your child.   You can tweak the note, add what you want to say to it, and give it to your child.  * Put it in their lunch box each day * Write out the note and stick it to their bathroom mirror * Slide it under their pillow * Text it to them each day * Stick it in an envelope and hand it to them as they leave for school or find another way to connect with them.
  • The Family Five – A resource created by Rebekah Freed to help families engage with each other and with God in powerful ways just 5 minutes a day for 5 days a week.  While this is edition targets families with teenagers, we will soon be putting out a version for younger families as well!
  • Sticky Faith Blog – Sticky Faith provides great research-based, practical ways for families to build lasting faith in their children.  Find out more on their blog at this link.
  • BOOK: Sticky Faith by Kara Powell and Chap Clark  (See Rebekah Freed if you would like to check it out the church’s copy of this book.)
  • How Do I Share My Mistakes With My Kids– This post from the Sticky Faith blog talks about how parents and other adults can share mistakes with kids as a way to show the importance of forgiveness.

Technology

  • 10 Ways to Safeguard Your Child Online – In this day and age, there are multiple access points that our children have to view things that we would rather them not. This document will give parents 10 tips to safeguard their house and devices so that they can ensure that their children are only viewing what they would like for them too.
  • Parents Guide to Technology – A great resource put out by ParentTechGuide.com helping parents understand technology, it’s impact on their children, and practical ideas for using technology in safe ways as well as ways that  honor God.
  • Using Social Media to Strengthen Family Bonds – A practical guide from the Fuller Youth Institute for parents how to make the most of social media with their children.
  • BOOK REVIEW: Tech Savvy Parenting – We live in technology crazy world.  Read this summary of Brian Houseman’s book called “Tech Savvy Parenting to find out some tips of important tech-related issues for our kids and see if you might want to read the whole book.
  • Parental Controls Overview – Best Buy has an article about basic parental controls you can use to provide a safe environment for your children online. They mention Microsoft Family for Windows PCs, but don’t provide the link. Here’s a good overview of setting it up.

Tough Issues

  • Talking with My Teen about Death and Suicide – A page filled with resources from First Trinity and other places to walk with teens and older children in the midst of a death of someone close to them.
  • What Now? – An e-book put out by ParentMinistry.net helping families protect their homes from pornography and respond in a healthy way when teenagers encounter it.
  • McAfee Family (Formerly Safe Eyes) – Parental Control Software from McAfee including pornography accountability software for computers.
  • XXXChurch.com – Parent Resources connected with the issue of pornography including blogs, articles, accountability software for computers, phones, etc. and more
  • “What Now: How to Respond When Your Teenager Gets Dumped” is an ebook for parents whose teenager has gone through a break up. This book will help parents know how to empathize with their teen and know what steps they need to take to walk their teen through their feelings of brokenness. This is such an awkward and difficult time in the life of a teen and we can bring hope and joy in the midst of it!
  • Video about Depression in Youth – This video was created by another church for their ministry, but has excellent information about depression in children and how you as a parent can walk with them whether it’s just occasional teenage sadness or an illness that needs attention.
  • Teen Depression: A Guide For Parents – This guide is a helpful tool for learning more about depression in general and how to help your children or others dealing with this common issue.
  • Understanding and Spotting Signs of Depression  – 1 in 10 adults, along with many children and teenagers deal with long term depression.  Know the signs to watch for and get some basic facts as well as ways to help at this website.
  • Saddleback Church recently hosted a Parent Summit about Teenagers and Mental Health. They recorded the whole thing here to allow others to benefit from the event as well. While some of the pieces (especially the last part) were specific to things going on at their church much of it provided great information about mental health and mental illness especially as it pertains to youth.
  • Counseling Services – While there are many places to get counseling services, we highly recommend the Christian Counseling Ministries of WNY.  If you need more information or other recommendations, please contact a staff member.

General Parent Resources

  • Parenting Well In A Messy World – A 22-page quick read e-book that covers four main keys for parenting in a confusing, messy world: fight for simplicity, don’t parent alone, create rhythms, and HAVE FUN!
  • Topical Bible Verses to Encourage Parents– Find yourself in a tough situation, or perhaps a wonderful one and want to see what encouragement God’s Word might have for you as a parent in the midst of it?  This resources has verses for nearly 20 topics including: celebrations, funeral, divorce, loss of job, graduation, forgiveness, prayer, success, worry, and more.
  • Parenting is a lot Like Pinball – … we win by patiently anticipating the direction of the ball and consistently keeping it in play.  Here’s some encouragement on how to “keep the ball in play” and what to do when it doesn’t.
  • Allowance Story -There are tons of opinions out there on the best way to handle allowance with kids. Some parents don’t believe in giving allowance at all. Here is a story of how one family decided to handle giving their children allowance.
  • 10 Biblical Truths For Your Child Whether They Win or Lose – Ten Scripture passages that you can share with your children as they compete that help them focus on what’s most important no matter if they win or lose.

Parents of Teenagers

  • The X Plan – Giving Your Kids a Way Out – This is a blog post describing how one family has created a plan for helping their kids get out of tough situations with one simple text message. Great idea for families with teenagers.
  • Teens Respond to Terrorism in their Own Words – Terrorism is a common word in our day, yet one that seems difficult to talk about among our families.  Perhaps hearing about teens responding to terrorism in their own words might help prompt conversations in your own families with your children.
  • 5 Guilty Confessions from a Mom of Teens – You’re not alone!  Come get some encouragement from someone who understands!
  • 3 Efforts I’m Making in 2016 with My Teen – One mom’s efforts to connect with their teens in 2016.
  • 25 ways Teens are like Toddlers – A funny read about how the teenage years are eerily similar to their toddler years.
  • Crash Course on Parenting Teenage Boys
  • Crash Course on Parenting Teenage Girls
  • BOOK SUMMARY:  How Your Teenager is Wired by Katie Brazleton – We know you probably don’t have time to read a bunch of books.  This link will give you a summary of this book with some if it’s highlights!
  • Taming the Tongue – Using our mouths for good not hard can be tough… both as parents as well as children.  Swearing, gossip, lying, and being rude with our words can seem so much easier than encouraging, uplifting, and using them to praise.  This resource has some ideas and Bible verses talking about this topic and how to engage in conversations about it with your children.
  • Talking with Your Teenager About Sex – Most teenagers are not thrilled about talking with their parents about sexuality and dating. If we’re honest, most parents are equally apprehensive about discussing it with their sons and daughters.
  • BOOK: Disconnected by Chap and Dee Clark – (See Rebekah Freed if you would like to check it out the church’s copy of this book.)
  • BOOK: When Kids Hurt: Help for Adults Navigating the Adolescent Maze by Chap Clark and Steve Rabey – (See Rebekah Freed if you would like to check it out the church’s copy of this book.)
  • The Best Family Summer Ever – Ideas for how you can connect as a family throughout the summer months.
  • Tips for Parents of Graduating Seniors – Here are some articles and tips for parents of seniors as their final year of high school comes to a close.  This month’s edition focuses on how to spend quality time with your student while still respecting their greater and greater desire for independence.
  • Navigating the College Choice Dilemma – This is a great article for parents of high school students about how to help your children figure out what post-high school options are best for them.  While it focuses on college, many of the tips are helpful even for students who may be choosing to go into the workforce or military.  Perfect read for parents of current juniors to prepare for next year!

Grandparenting

  • Twenty Ideas for Grandparents – The more active, caring adult figures a child has in their lives, the better off they are in many ways.  Here are some practical ideas for grandparents to get involved in their grandchildren’s lives whether they live close or far away.

Parents of College Students

  • 30 Day Prayer Guide – This 30 day guide is our gift to parents of college students to help them cover their children in prayer during their college years.
  • Launching Kids into Adulthood – This is part one of a guide by the Fuller Youth Institute to help parents with students who are in their young adult years.  It would be a great read especially for parents with graduating seniors.
  • SoulFeed:Christian College Care Packages – SoulFeed is the college care package subscription box that allows parents, grandparents and friends to provide consistent spiritual encouragement for a loved one during the college years…plus yummy snacks and fun stuff! Now you can feed their mind, body, and soul!

Other Resources