5 Ways To Pour Into Your Children Every Day
Pouring Into Our Children in Intentional Ways
Motherhood is very busy. That's what I'm learning as a mother to three young sons. While each week consists of such tasks as laundry, sweeping and mopping, cleaning the kitchen, paying bills, grocery shopping, and endless other chores, it's also important not to forget why we wanted to sign up for this gig to begin with-- to pour into the sweet, innocent little lives of our children! I feel convicted about this sometimes as my older son vies for my attention during the day. "Mom, watch me! Are you watching?" I hear his loving little voice say. No, son, I am not always watching because I am busy. Trying to remember the phone call I was about to make. Trying to recall what payment I was about to send. Trying to get all the dishes washed or the laundry done. But my son just needs me to stop for a moment and pay attention to him. Because he will never get this moment back. And neither will I. So if you're like me, and you're a busy mom with a lot on her plate, don't forget to stop and be intentional about your parenting, even in midst of the mess.
1. Laugh and Be Silly - Have Tickle Time!
Children need to be laugh and be silly with their parents. There are many times throughout the day when they are told what to do. "Sit down and eat your food. Get in your carseat. Sit down in the bathtub. Don't jump on the bed." So on and so forth... you get the idea. If you think about it, it would be tough to always have to obey so many orders when all you want to do is play and be silly and enjoy your day. I'm not saying kids don't need disciple and structure. I'm just saying that sometimes, you need to take a break from your agenda and build a fort in the livingroom and have a giggle fest! Sometimes, you need to let the bedtime routine go a little longer so you can tickle them and have a pillow fight! Life is such a drag when you never take the time to smile, laugh, be silly, and get a good tickle time in.
2. Teach Them About God and Tell Them Bible Stories. Take Time to Pray
The other night at dinner, my son and I watched a Bible video about Daniel in the Lion's Den. It was a really neat time together. During the video, he asked me "Where is God?" I said, "God is in heaven. He can also be in your heart and will always be with you no matter what. We can't see Him, but we will meet Him in heaven someday." My son smiled really big and said, "I miss Him!" That moment touched my heart so much. It had honestly been a while since we had talked much about God or watched any Bible videos. I felt so convicted. He absolutely loved watching the video and we talked a lot about God. When he said he missed God, we stopped right then and prayed. He was so earnest when he closed his eyes and bowed his head, and folded his hands in prayer. That time really blessed my mommy heart and made me realize how important it is for me to take the time to pour into him spiritually. Bedtime can be a stressful time, because kids pull out all the stops in order to not get in bed. They need water, they need bathroom breaks, they need special stuffed animals, and so on. Sometimes as a mom, you just want your kids to go to sleep so you can get a break and they can get the rest they need! However, bedtime can also be a very special and wonderful time to pray with your child and talk about the Lord together. I know that for myself, some of the best conversations about God have taken place when I slowed down and took the time to pray with my son and tell him about the Lord. Really, your child will be asleep soon anyway, so what's a couple more minutes? It could change their lives for the better. Maybe even for eternity! If bedtime is too stressful to extend that time, have your child read a Bible story with you during the day or watch a Bible video together. I am also trying to be intentional about praying with my children at mealtimes so that we remember that all our blessings come from Him! Taking your child to Sunday School at church is also a wonderful way to teach them about God, but make sure that isn't the only time they hear about Him. They need to see you being intentional about it in the home as well!
3. Imaginative Play
Motherhood is messy. If you're not careful, your whole house can be a disaster before 8 a.m. I've recently created a cleaning schedule for myself, because I'm still learning how to navigate this whole having-a-toddler-and-a-baby thing. In the midst of the messiness, though, it can be easy to become so bogged down that you forget about engaging your child where they're at.
My son loves to use his imagination. He makes up restaurants. (He's come up with some pretty good names for them, and sometimes I think we should open an actual restaurant just so we could use one of the names he came up with. They're that good!) He loves to play pretend. He has a pretend kitchen with play food, and a tool/workshop. He has cars with a garage and car wash. He has a train set and he loves to set up his tracks. He loves to build towers and then knock them down dramatically. He loves to be read to, and he still loves to sit in my lap (which I'm soaking up!)
I don't want to miss these times because I was worried about getting all the dishes finished by a certain hour. I don't want to miss these times because I was angry that I didn't get the laundry completed that day. I don't want to be so preoccupied with a bill that I don't spend time with this precious angel in front of me. The one I prayed for before he was born. I didn't spend 21 hours in labor so I could gloss over his fourth year and miss this.
So I'm getting down on the floor with him every day. I'm playing with the car wash and fire truck and we're building the craziest train tracks ever and we're going to make the best darn restaurant with the tastiest pretend food anyone's ever seen. We're going to make play doh creations and I'm not going to be on my phone texting at the same time or on the internet, or making a phone call. I'm going to be there. With him. In the present moment. We're going to be using our imaginations and my phone is going to be in another room, because everyone else will just have to wait.
4. Outdoor Play
It's so important to get outside in nature with our children. Too many children are constantly stuck behind screens, and that's not healthy at all! Don't get me wrong, I let my son watch some shows on Netflix, like Magic School Bus, and some educational and fun YouTube shows, like Baby Bum and Blippi (if you've never heard of those, you should check them out!) But it's also so vital to let children stay children for as long as possible, and this includes running and jumping outside, getting wet and muddy, climbing trees, riding bikes, and so on. I'm actually really excited to hopefully purchase a bike with training wheels for my oldest son's next birthday, and start teaching my middle son how to ride the tricycle. We've had so much fun this past summer picking apples, grapes, peaches, cherries and plums from our fruit trees as well. There's something so healing about being out in nature! There's really nothing else that can compare! So make sure you make time to let your little ones run and play outside.
5. One-on-One Time
If you have multiple children, making a habit of scheduling one-on-one time with each individual child can be so worthwhile. A date to a Daddy/Daughter dance as a young girl could create lasting precious memories. A Mother/Son date could be as simple as going to the movies together, or to get frozen yogurt. Looking back, these will be the moments you treasure, when you really get to talk with your children without all the daily distractions brought on by everyone else being around. So take that time out and really get to know each one of your children as individuals. They will feel special and loved, and you'll establish that strong and enduring bond before they enter into the difficult, and perhaps unpredictable, pre-teen/teen years.