He taps on my back as I click away on the keyboard. “Mommy, can you play trains with me?” I don’t even make eye contact. “Just one more email, baby.” He sulks away as I continue to type. Time ticks on and the emails keep coming. What seemed like productive time comes to a screeching halt. Wailing and shrieking echo through the halls, as his sister comes running. “He crashed his mack truck into our doll house, pulled my hair AND bit me,” she accuses. I look at the clock. Desperately wanting a better way out of this situation. Thirty minutes of email, one broken heart and a house full of havoc. Maybe the email should have waited after all…
Yesterday I wrote about how intentional time has greatly impacted my children as they walk through the valley. Today I’d like to share some practical ideas for making this happen. Whether walking through hard times or not, intentional time with your children is the catalyst for a meaningful relationship.
We love traditions in our family. Children thrive on repetition and routine. Even when it seems mundane to us, they can’t imagine living with out it. Traditions don’t need to be fancy to be exciting. Our family favorite is family game night. Every Sunday night is reserved for a time to set aside responsibilities and play together. We play Wii, board games, hide n seek, etc. We also have dessert. Another favorite is pancake day. I know it seems simple, but my kids can’t wait for Friday morning. Everyone helps with the baking. We love to get creative and make our own recipes
~Schedule it Out
I schedule everything that is important in my life. Why not schedule time with the kids? I have two goals. I schedule time to simply play with all of them and I schedule in 15 min per kid. Usually, they pick a book for me to read with them. I have found that I need to choose the type of activity so we don’t end up with a two hour project on our hands. It might not seem like much, but I have been amazed at the difference this time makes.
Recently, I added an additional time for my oldest daughter. She has always been an early riser, so I have invited her to join my quiet time. I plan to begin a mother daughter study with her soon.
My favorite scheduled idea is birthdate date night. Each month on the number of their birthdate, each child gets a special date night. Since I don’t have the opportunity to take them out, I put all of the others to bed and plan a special activity for us to share. My kids LOVE date night and count the minutes until the next one.
~Make the Most of Your Time
I give up much quality time for lesser things. I’ve learned to get really creative. Making the most of my time means including them as I complete my to-do list. I have them help with cleaning, cooking, or shopping. It will take longer, but those extra minutes will be well worth it.
Another thing we do a lot is ride in the car. I am terribly guilty of trying to make phone calls or simply zoning out while driving. But this is prime time for having my kids attention and I am missing it. A captive audience always makes for a fun conversation!
Dare I mention the table? Meals need to be unplugged! No TV, no iPods, no game consoles. It is my fear that if I let my 8 year old play video games during a meal that I will never get her back. As she gets older, it will be harder to compete for her attention. Now is the time to set that standard. During meals we pray for the family of the day (chosen from last year’s Christmas cards). We also have discussions about upcoming events or we spend time evaluating previous events. Sometimes I read to the kids. We’ve even been known to sing songs.
Ok, but how?
Sometimes I find that I might have some time to spend with my kids but I am not sure what to do with them during that time. I have printed out a list of ideas so they are at my fingertips when the time comes. Here are a few suggestions
- develop a hobby together- knitting, scrapbooking, stargazing
- teach them…to keep house, ride a bike, memorize scripture, etc. Don’t leave it to someone else.
- Visit this website for 101 Fun Activities to do with your child
I hope you feel inspired to spend some intentional time with your children today.
Please share your thoughts. What is your biggest obstacle to planning intentional time with your kids? Do you have a tip to share with us?
Looking for an easy way to spend time with your 3-6 year old? Babba Box is wonderful…
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