It’s that time of year again! Summer is winding down and the kids are heading back to school. For most families, this can be an exciting time of year, and for some it can also be a time where our already busy schedules become even busier. As parents of five kids who are all under the age of 12, we too are in that season of life where we feel pulled in every direction. Sometimes we need to slow down and just enjoy each other, even during the school week!
Here are a few suggestions on how to do that and enjoy this time as our kids go back to school:
1. Be Intentional:
I love to come up with ideas and then come up with the plans to put them to good use. The problem is- I fail to execute them the way I had envisioned. I know I’m probably the only one with this issue, so please feel free to skip to the next point. In all seriousness, you aren’t the only one! Thinking about doing something that promotes improvement makes me feel great, but actually doing it makes me feel awesome. Parenting kids is not much different. Looking for the small win is better than going for the grand slam. If leading a Bible study for 45 minutes each morning with your kids is unrealistic, and it is for me, then don’t try it. Be intentional with whatever you are doing. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. If teaching your kids the Bible is what you want to accomplish, how about starting with a family memory verse every week, or every month? Post it on the fridge and talk about it on the way to school or to soccer practice during the week. You’ll be amazed at the small win that will come from being intentional in this way.
2. Stay Connected:
It sounds obvious, but the busy bee is always ‘doing’ something. If we are not intentional about connecting with our loved ones, then we will fill up our schedule with everything else. A simple solution is to schedule a regular time to connect with the family. I’ve found that connecting around things you normally don’t do on a daily basis can have the greatest impact. Perhaps a game night on Mondays, an evening at the park on Thursdays or going out for breakfast on Saturdays. There’s no need to make it complicated, pick something that you can commit to as a family and stick to it. All of you will have this scheduled connection time to look forward to in the midst of a hectic school week.
3. Be Spontaneous:
Being spontaneous can serve as a great opportunity to intentionally connect with your family too. In general, kids love it when parents decide on doing something fun that was unexpected. With the new school year comes a lot of routine, it’s okay to be spontaneous every now and then. It adds some mystery and excitement back into the routine. Deviating from a structured schedule can help to slow the pace down which lets you focus on what really matters. My kids love it when I come home from work and take them out for a surprise ice cream trip. Even waking up on Saturday morning and taking the family for an impromptu hike or a bike ride is fun and promotes opportunities for your kids to open up and connect.
4. Pray Together:
Lastly, but most important, take every opportunity to pray with each other. Through both intentional and spontaneous prayer, you’ll find your family growing closer together. Connecting through prayer will help to keep the school year in perspective. Kids will have plenty of things to pray for throughout the year; such as friendships, school work, sports and health just to name a few. If you drive your kids to school or walk them to the bus stop, take those moments to pray with them. Taking this opportunity to focus on prayer and align our desires with God’s, will knit your hearts together more effectively than anything else. Colossians 4:2 is a reminder to devote ourselves to prayer. Being obedient to this will showcase the power and importance of prayer in our daily lives.
I hope you will find ways to be intentional, connect and add some spontaneity to your family’s routine this school year, and doing all this while being devoted to prayer and keeping Jesus at the center. I trust that the Lord will meet you in this effort as you grow closer together and to Him. Be blessed and enjoy the school year!
By Ben Glen – Kids Pastor