Intentional. Done on purpose; deliberate.
When we are wanting to deepen the connection with our children, we need to be intentional about the quality of effort and time spent on that. There are many ways to connect with our kids spiritually, physically and emotionally.
Pray for them. We can and should pray beyond our current needs. Pray for your child to grow in his/her faith; to be obedient; for their friends; their teachers; their future spouse; your future grandchildren; for God to use whatever means necessary for their salvation; to protect them from your failures as a parent. There’s no limit to His promises. Think about ways you can ensure you take time to pray for your children daily. The beautiful thing about prayer is that God hears us.
One-on-one time. In the midst of life’s busyness, it’s easy to blindly shuffle priorities. Plan a date with your kids for tonight, tomorrow – several times a week! Do a puzzle; read a few books; go for a walk; play balloon volleyball; build a fort and have a picnic in that fort; create an obstacle course with couch cushions; bake cookies… There’s lots of fun things to do without even leaving the house. Undivided positive attention is good for the whole family!
Unplug and connect. One of the main reasons to put the phone down a little more often is that children feel unimportant when they have to compete with the attention of their parent’s smartphones. Spending less time on smartphones and more time playing with your child early on reaps great rewards in the years ahead, not limited to brain development, communication skills and social skills.
Being intentional means to live a life that is meaningful and fulfilling to you. It means you make thoughtful choices in your life; it means you actively interact and engage with your life, your relationships, your children.
“The greatest contribution to the kingdom of God might not be something you do, but someone you raise.” – Andy Stanley
If you cook a lot or even just a little, stir things up and get your kids involved with dinner tonight! Sure there might be a couple extra messes, but it’ll create lifelong memories for everyone! There are lots of benefits to children helping in the kitchen. Here’s just a few…
- Boosts Self-Esteem – when you praise their hard work, you’re developing independence and self-sufficiency in your child. Teaching them to do things for themselves that results in instant gratification is a reward in itself.
- Teaches Math Skills – Cooking with kids is a great way to teach them numbers. Have them help count out the number of items or ingredients you’re cooking with. You’ll be amazed at all the mathematical sense they pick up simply by assisting us in the kitchen.
- Curbs Picky Eaters – Kids are more likely to try something that they made, encouraging an adventurous palate. This also helps create a life-long healthy relationship with food.
- Educates on Healthy Choices – Parenting is all about teachable moments, so teaching our children about healthy eating and living is a large priority. Learning healthy food comes from the kitchen and not from a drive-through.
- Deepens Family Bonds – When you cook together, you eat together. This automatically encourages connecting as a family. Getting in the habit of making this a priority will substantially grow your bond through the years. Create a weekly tradition. Every Friday make pizza together, or every Sunday make brunch together. Turn off the devices and turn on some music – have fun with your kids in the kitchen!
Sitting down for a meal together can be the highlight of the day. And even better when you’ve had little hands that helped make that meal possible. Enjoy each other’s company. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to engage your family!
Things you will need for a family pizza party:
- Pizza dough – Our two favorite options are:
- Pillsbury pizza dough (it’s an easy (wet) one to work with. One tube will feed approximately 3 adults. Cut the dough into individual sections for each person to make their own ‘pie.)
- Target’s Market Pantry sells mini/individual (dry) round crusts
- Pizza sauce
- Cheese and other favorite toppings
Then bake according to the package directions. Enjoy!