Published by Time Inc. Books “The Bible. Unlock the Bible’s Secrets. All the way it can transform your life.”
As most of us can attest from our own childhoods, the “right path” isn’t always obvious. Nor is it always as exciting, as interesting, or as heavily populated as certain alternate routes. One of the biggest challenges Christian parent face is teaching their kids to recognize the beauty of the right path.
It’s a challenge custom-made for the parents who is doing some soul-searching at the dawn of a new year. If this challenge appeals to you, here are six things you can do to embrace it in the coming year.
- PLAN ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH YOUR KIDS EVERY WEEK.
Depending on your family’s schedule (and the number of children you have), set aside at least one or two hours to spend with each child every week. What you do together is up to you. One week you may go bowling; the next week you may go shopping together. The point is to allow some bonding to occur by talking about common points of interest and finding out what’s going on in each other’s lives. While you’re together, make sure you give your child your full attention – and ask the same from him or her.
Designate one day (or night) a week as a “distraction-free” zone. That means no mobile devices, no social media, and no screen time (unless you’re watching a movie together). The idea is to lift the electronic partitions that keep you apart and encourage personal interaction, conversation, and family fun. The ability to connect apart from the wired world will serve your kids well as they grow older.
- MAKE HEALTH A PRIORITY
Examine your current meal plan with your spouse and look for areas of improve, whether that means substituting broccoli for fries every once in a while or ordering takeout less often. You could set a goal to introduce one new healthy food or dish into your rotation every week. Or recruit your kids to help in the kitchen so they can see what goes into preparing a healthy meal.
Start an exercise regimen. If finances allow, invest in a family gym membership – or some exercise equipment for the home. If that’s not an option, start routine of taking family walks after dinner.
Sleep is also important for family health. Make sure your kids get the amount of sleep they need. If that means cutting back on activities, make the sacrifice. The sleeping patterns your children establish now may stay with them for the rest of their lives.
- START FAMILY READING INITIATIVE
People who spend time reading are lifelong learners. If you help your kids develop a love for books, you will give them a head start in understanding the world around them. You can start by setting a good example yourself, reading whenever you get the chance and talking about books you enjoy. During mealtimes, encourage your spouse and kids to talk about books they’re reading. Make trips to the library a regular family outing.
- WORSHIP TOGETHER
One of the most important gifts you can give to your family is to make church involvement a priority. The first step is to schedule other things – golf outings, kids’ sport activities, trips to the lake – around church services and youth group meetings, not the other way around.
You’ll also do your kids a tremendous service by helping them understand why it’s important to spend time worshiping, fellowshipping, and serving with other believers. Talk about what it means to you to be a part of the body of Christ. Brainstorm ways your family can get more involved at church, and then commit together to serve in one or more of your church’s ministries. Your goal is not just to make your kids feel comfortable in church but also to help them become fully participating members – to weave church into the fabric of their lives.