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Are You A Babywise Mom

By Joey and Carla Link
May 26, 2021

There are two ways to feed your baby. You can feed him on demand (whenever he cries) or on a routine. Like anything else where there is more than one way to do it, how you feed your baby is a choice. We demand fed our 3 kids. When we met Gary Ezzo, the author of On Becoming Babywise, our youngest, Amy had just turned a year old. She could walk, she jabbered constantly, but she didn’t sleep. Even as an infant, she took 15-20 minute catnaps and woke up several times a night and at a year old, nothing had changed.
Our other daughter had chronic respiratory problems and had to be hooked up to a machine every 4 hours around the clock for 30 minutes. At 2 years old, Briana understandably didn’t like the treatments and when they were done, she cried for another 30 minutes while I rubbed her back and sang to her trying to calm her down. Her crying always woke Amy up so I would put one down so I could feed the other.
Joey was a family pastor at the time and we attended a conference hosted by Gary Ezzo who was also the author of the very popular Growing Kids God’s Way parenting curriculum. Joey wanted to check this program out to see if it would fit his vision for the parenting ministry in our church.
Anne Marie Ezzo sat down with me during the conference and explained the Preparation for Parenting course, which eventually became the foundation for the On Becoming Babywise book. We put Amy on the routine immediately when we got home from the conference, and after 3 bad days, she started sleeping through the night. Unbelievable! The next day I went to her room to see what she was up to and was surprised to see her laying on the floor, sound asleep. She slept for 2 hours! We became immediate believers in the Eat, Wake, Sleep routine. Two ladies in the young marrieds class at church were pregnant and they agreed to try this program from birth, with “by-the-book” results.
We have led the Growing Families Int’l parenting classes in our area for over 30 years now. Gary asked us to oversee all the classes in 14 states and eventually we served as National Ministry Overseers for the entire country. We also were guest speakers with the Ezzo’s at many parenting conferences which led to us speaking and teaching at seminars and conferences throughout the United States on our own.
Why are we encouraging you or others you know to put your baby on the Eat, Wake, Sleep routine you find in On Becoming Babywise?
If you want your baby to sleep through the night (6 hours) by 6 weeks of age and 10 hours by 12 weeks; play happily when he/she is awake and fall asleep on his own when you lay him down – this is the book for you!

I have been a Contact Mom Coordinator for the Babywise ministry for over 30 years and was the National Ministry Advisor for many years. Here are tips I have learned from working with hundreds of moms over the years.

Babywise Tips:
1.   When your baby is a newborn, start a 3 hour Eat, Wake, Sleep routine around the clock.
Start with first feed at 6 am, then every 3 hours feed your baby again. 9 am, noon, 1 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm, 9 pm, midnight, 3 am.
Set your alarm for the midnight and 3 am feedings. Think of it this way, your baby is going to wake up a couple times a night to feed anyway. By establishing set times, this will give you and the baby consistent sleep in-between feeds and give the baby consistent metabolism around the clock.
You can treat the 6 am feed like a nighttime sleep – no stimulation, no talking to him/her – just feed and change the diaper if needed.
This allows you to shower, dress and get your other kids up and feed them breakfast.
1.   When the baby is about 4-6 weeks old, one half of the baby’s cycle will be sleep and the other half feed and wake time.
Until then, his wake times will be inconsistent and there will be very little wake time for the first 2-3 weeks.
“4-6 weeks” is a very general guideline for this. Some babies wake time might be longer at a quicker pace than another baby whose wake time might be 15-20 minutes at 4 weeks.
2.   Put the baby down at the 1st sign of sleepiness – yawning, tugging on his ear or hair, or first sign of whimpering.
Don’t wait for the baby to work himself into a crying fit as it is much harder for him to settle down when he does.
3.   Although On Becoming Babywise tells you it is a flexible routine – keep it as consistent as possible the first 8 weeks. You will benefit from this with a chubby, healthy baby who will sleep through the night.
4.   When your baby starts moving around he no longer needs the swaddle. He will feel bound by it and will cry. It is really only needed the first couple weeks.

5.   The baby will sleep better if he can’t sense you are nearby. I would recommend you move him/her to his crib in his bedroom after the first 3-4 weeks.
6.   When planning your baby’s routine, the two Mom’s Notes presentations “Structuring Your Child’s Day, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2” will be very helpful. The Notes/PDF version also shows how, with a family of 4 children you would blend all their routines into one that works for the entire family.
7.   If you have a toddler or preschooler when the baby is born, get them on what the baby’s routine will be now so he/she will be on it when the baby comes. Let the baby’s feed times be DVD time for the 1st couple weeks until you and the baby are settled.
8.   If you have guests over or are at an event at church or elsewhere, watch your baby to see that he/she doesn’t get overstimulated. This happens when he is held by too many people or overwhelmed by too much noise. Overstimulated babies are unhappy, cranky babies.

The success of On Becoming Babywise for over 25 years now is worth trying the Eat, Wake, Sleep routine with your baby. A routine brings peace of mind because you know when the baby is ready to eat, you know when it is time for him/her to sleep, you know how long he will sleep and so forth. The best thing about a routine is YOU KNOW what to do and when to do it!

Why Do We Lecture Our Kids?

By Joey and Carla Link
May 19, 2021

When parents lecture, they think they are helping their children by reminding them of the training and teaching they have given them. We don’t think there is a parent alive who is going to say lectures get their child to make wise decisions and be responsible. Lecturing is just a polite way of yelling at your kids for not getting something done or for not doing it right. Let’s look at what lectures don’t do.

  • Lectures don’t give kids new information. Truly, all they hear is “blah, blah, blah.”
  • Lectures do not motivate kids to do the right thing. They do however motivate kids to do the wrong thing.
  • Lectures do not encourage kids to succeed. When you keep pointing out the wrong your kids are doing, they don’t think they can do anything right.
  • Lectures do not give kids (especially teens) the freedom to make mistakes they can learn from. When legalistic parents lecture their kids in an attempt to prevent them from doing wrong by continually reminding them of their strict expectations, they are surprised to find their lectures prevent their kids from doing right.

When you lecture, your kids are unengaged because they know nothing is required of them. Kids keep a small sliver in their mind tuned in to what you are saying and let the other part of their mind wander wherever it wants to go. It is depressing to realize your kids don’t have to think hard about what we are saying to keep track of our words and intent, isn’t it? Parents tell us they appreciate our teaching on this topic and many of them asked us to write a book on empowering parents to teach their kids to think for themselves which will stop parent’s need to lecture. So we did! Each chapter in this easy- to-read book is filled with practical examples, illustrations and ways to do what we share to help you stop lecturing and begin getting your kids to think and take responsibility for their own behavior. After “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think” was published, it was entered in a book contest and we won the Christian Author’s award!
Why not make this book your next reading project? Better yet, think about reading it with your spouse a chapter at a time. Then you can talk about each chapter and decide if the information will work for your family. Another idea would be to get a group of friends together and go through the book. On the Parenting Made Practical website you can download questions for each chapter for group discussion. Lots to think about!
Taming The Lecture Bug Study Questions

Talking the Language of Love

By Joey and Carla Link
May 12, 2021

Your child is cranky all the time and you can’t figure out why. He obeys most of the time, he/she gets their stuff done on time and they are doing well in school. He just doesn’t seem happy or like he is in a good mood. If you came to us with this scenario about your child, the first question we would ask you is how consistently you and your spouse are having couch time. The next question would be this: ARE YOU MEETING YOUR CHILDREN’S LOVE LANGUAGE NEEDS? Why do we ask this question? No amount of discipline will be effective if a child’s emotional needs are not being met. The #1 emotional need every human being has is the need for love. Gary Chapman first introduced the concept of love languages to the Christian community in his book “The 5 Love Languages” in 1992. The premise of love languages is that we need love spoken to us in a certain way and we also speak that same language when we are expressing love to others. The 5 Love Languages are: Acts of Service (we all want these kids in our homes!), Physical Touch and Closeness, Quality Time, Words of Encouragement, and Giving Gifts. Are you having trouble figuring out what your child’s love language needs are? The following are some examples of how a young child would show you how he loves you. 

  • Is she always telling you she loves you, how nice you look, how good dinner is, etc.? Consider “words of encouragement”.
  • Does he bring you pictures he has drawn/colored, or rocks he found in the yard? Consider “giving gifts”.
  • Does she follow you around asking what she can do for you? Is she helpful? Consider “acts of service”.
  • Can he not walk by you without giving you a hug, or climbing in your lap? Consider “physical touch and closeness.”
  • Is she always asking you to read her a book, or color with her? Consider “quality time“.

           How can you really know what your child’s love language is? Watch him/her for a few days and see if their behavior towards you and their siblings falls into one of these categories. If you are still unsure, ask him!  Ask your childwhat it is that you do that makes him feel special or loved by you. Pay close attention to his/her answer. It will fall into one of the above five categories. We cannot tell you how many times when we found ourselves frustrated with the attitude of one of our children, the culprit was not the discipline we had used, but rather that their emotional “well” or love tank wasn’t full. Before our son Michael got his driver’s license, I drove him to band every day, which was about a ten minute drive, and I picked him up when that period was over. (He was homeschooled the rest of the day.) Since our office is in our home and Joey usually was home during that time, I often left the girls at home when I made this drive. I didn’t realize how often however, until an incident that happened one time when I had the girls with me when I picked him up.  I needed to take them shopping for new shoes, and decided to pick up Michael and take them all at one time. As soon as he saw us in the van waiting for him, it was apparent he was upset. I asked him what was wrong, and after pressing him repeatedly, he finally blurted out, “What are the girls doing in the van? This is my time with you!” I was surprised at the anger in his tone. I took him home, and then took the girls shopping, during which time I thought about how to deal with the matter. I had not put the same value on that time as he had. Michael’s primary love language is “quality time’”, and having those few minutes with me each day was a way that he was getting it filled. When I returned home, I told him I would try to honor that time for just us. However, in return, should I on occasion need to have the girls with me, I expected a better response from him in the future. There were a few times I did have the girls with me before the term was over and he handled it well. Now, with love languages, we have found that there are two categories of people. The first is what we call the “accordion”. This type of person usually has a “high need” in 2 or more of the love language categories. Just when you think you have really worked hard to fill his “well”, you find that he is feeling unloved because another area has been overlooked. We think of an accordion, because their need to have love expressed to them in a number of different ways is squeezed together like this old musical instrument is! How do you keep your “accordion” child’s tanks full? I would write in my journal something I was going to do to fill a different tank each day. When I was consistent in doing this, it wasn’t difficult to figure out which one needed extra filling because I didn’t have to look too deep because all the tanks were near full. The other type of individuals are those who have a great need in area and only one. The other areas are fairly well spaced apart. My love language is words of encouragement and the rest are way down the ladder. I don’t see how this would be difficult to keep filled, however, I married a man with the Melancholy temperament. “Encouragement” is not a word easily found in the Melancholy’s dictionary! If you are uncertain as to what your child’s primary love language is, then take steps to figure it out and develop a plan to start filling his tank all the way to the top! “This is my commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.”John 15:12

Spring Cleaning

By Joey and Carla Link
April 28 2021

In our community, we always looked forward to neighborhood spring cleanup days. On these days, a person could get rid of furniture and other items you no longer want, setting stuff out in front of your house on a specific day and then the city cleanup crews would come around and pick it up and take it to the dump. Since our kids are grown, we have had the best intentions of going through piles of stuff that has accumulated in their former bedrooms and attic. But life gets in the way and somehow cleaning out always gets put on the list titled, “Later”. We wonder how many parents put off cleaning up and out their kids’ wrong behavior issues, thinking they will deal with them “later”. Then one day you realize “later” has arrived and it’s time to clean things up and throw them out of your child’s heart. You start working on a behavioral issue in your child’s life that needs a parentally supervised clean up. It isn’t long before the WOW! factor kicks in. Your persistence in staying involved in your child’s cleanup efforts reveals many other rooms in your child’s heart that are filled with junk that needs a clean sweep as well. For instance, a family we have worked with recently has a 9 year old with an unkempt heart. When they started pulling back the layers of dirt, they found not just lying but deception taking root there to the point they no longer knew if they could trust anything he said. A 14-year-old girl was making everyone in the family miserable while she was trying to get a paper done that was due for school. She was making her family pay for her procrastination. To her way of thinking, that she had waited 2 weeks to get started on it was irrelevant. When we encouraged her parents to look into other areas of her life her tendency to procrastinate could have (unknown to them) affected, they were surprised to find she frequently didn’t get homework papers turned in which were going to affect her grades, which would substantially affect her ability to get into college. These families later told us they appreciated our encouragement to spring clean the closets hidden in their kid’s heartsSpring Cleaning Basics:1.   How are they doing in the 4 levels of Obedience Training? Give your kids a grade in each of the 4 levels of obedience:

  • If they don’t come to you when you call their name 75% of the time or better, put that at the top of your “spring cleaning” list for this child.
  • The 4 levels of obedience training are coming to you when you call their name immediately, they say “Yes Mom/Dad” as they are coming and look you in the eye when they get to you, they don’t argue with you or whine and complain  as they come.

 Why don’t we notice when our kids are sliding down the slippery slope of disobedience? While it may not always be possible at the moment, it is easier to deal with our kids’ disobedient behavior before it becomes a habit or gets out of control. 2.   Tighten up your child’s boundaries – “Credit Card Parenting” — pay now with no interest or you can let your kids jump over their boundaries again and again and pay off your child’s bad behavior debt over time.

  • Help your kids get on a routine so they get their schoolwork and chores done at consistent times. Your “helping” includes approving what they (10 yrs. and up) come up with for a routine and holding them accountable for sticking to it.
  • Consequences for not sticking with it? Take away the privilege of what they were doing instead.
  • Remember to praise them when they do stick to the routine, which they are more likely to do if they come up with it themselves.

 3.   Look at character rootsthat are driving the symptoms you see – One reason our efforts to work on our kids’ wrong behavior aren’t working is because you are dealing with symptoms of the behavior but not the root of it.

  • The root issue is always tied to character. Are they kind in words, tone and deed? Are they selfish? Lacking in self-control?
  • Make a list of character traits and grade each of your kids 6 yrs. and up in them. This is an easy way to see at a glance where each of your kid’s hearts need training.

 4.   Don’t forget about your child who disobeys quietly (passive rebellion). If you have one child whose heart needs spring cleaning, you can assume your other kids’ hearts do as well. If this is too overwhelming for you right now, then make it a goal to (with your spouse) get to work on the oldest child.  Solomon knew what he was talking about when he said:
Train up a child in the way he should go;even when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs 22:6

Can Your Kids Trust You?

By Joey and Carla Link
April 21, 2021

A young mom was struggling with her parents. They had promised her they would help her pay off a financial debt she had incurred while going to school. But when it came time to make good on their promise, they didn’t step forward. They later told her they totally forgot about it, but it was too late and her credit was ruined as a result.
I (Joey) remember when my Dad said he would take me fishing on Saturday. I had just gotten a fishing pole for my birthday. I was so excited about this gift. It had a heavy rubber sinker on the end to practice casting in my backyard. Friday came and Dad helped me get weights and hooks on my pole.
He told me to get to bed early because we had to get up early to catch the fish. The next morning, my Dad woke me up and we went fishing. While I never caught any fish that morning, it was the memory of the day that I still remember, and the promise my Dad made to me that he kept. I knew I could trust my Dad after that.I don’t know why that event was the one I remember to this day that showed me my dad was willing to keep his promises, but most children have one, either positive like mine or negative like the girl whose parents never followed through on their promise to help her pay off that loan. 
When you make a promise to your kids, if it doesn’t come to pass, as parents we tend to shrug it off. But our kids don’t. They count on whatever was promised and they remember it and dream about it. When it never comes to pass, you have slipped off your parent pedestal and are tumbling down the hill.
The point is, can your kids trust that you will keep your word? God says it this way in Numbers 30:2:
“A man who makes a vow to the LORD or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do.”
Making a pledge to the Lord is the ultimate promise and we need to keep it. In your child’s mind it should be the same with them. Kids see promises you make to them as vows that should not be broken. Kids do not trust parents who do not keep their word.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You SayThis has long been a favorite phrase of Joey’s. How can you be characterized by saying what you mean and meaning what you say? 1.   Don’t use the words “I promise”. Don’t give the impression you are going to do something you have no idea whether you will ever get around to, like going to Disney World. 2.    Do use positive words. Instead of saying “I don’t care if your best friend went to Disney on vacation with her family, we can’t afford to go and that’s final!” Try this instead: “Wow, I have always wanted to go to Disney too, but it is something we don’t have extra money to do right now.” 3.    Don’t tell your kids to do something you have no intention of following up on. If you tell your kids to pick up their toys and an hour later see they are still on the floor, if you intend to mean what you say, you need to do something about it. 4.    Do notice the good. If you are going to criticize your kids when they do something wrong, encourage them when they do something right. Encouraging words go a long way to build up a child and they will stay buried in a happy place in his/her heart for a long, long time. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.”I Thessalonians 5:11