I love taking advantage of the regular moments in life to connect and communicate with my children. Whether that is during our chores at home, on the ride to school, while they are doing their homework, or during whatever moment is presented.
However, there is another opportunity that we must take advantage of as parents. That opportunity involves an intentional plan to spend a specific time with your child. One thing I have introduced into our family is a quality “Date Time” with each of my children. This is a time that is scheduled and set aside to spend one-on-one time with my kids. I use to do this weekly with each of my children, but now that I have 5 kids (soon to be 6) I don’t have enough nights available in my week to spend with each of them individually. So, right now I schedule 3 times each week to spend with my children on date nights. I rotate through them, so I have at least one date night every other week with each child.
These date nights can look a little different each time. Here are some date nights I have incorporated with my kids to give you an idea of what it might consist of:
Go have a meal together
Go play at a park
Go to the bookstore or library and read some books together
Stay at home and just talk (without any other family members in the room) -a cup of hot chocolate is always nice!
Stay at home and play a board game (without any other family members in the room)
In each of these scenarios, one thing is always taking place. I am always asking questions about themselves. I ask questions like, “Do you know who you are?” “Do you know what God thinks about you?” “How has God used you this past week?” I try to take this time and allow the Holy Spirit to show me how to speak identity into my children.
One of the most powerful aspects to the Christian life is the fact that God wants to spend time with us. He is actively pursuing us so He can spend time with us. As parents we need to model this to our children. We should reflect the heart of the Father to our kids. Our kids need to know that we are actively pursuing them...that we desire to spend time with them. What an impact this will make in the lives of our children if we will just intentionally spend time with them so they know how important they truly are!
Is this difficult to do? Yes. Am I often extremely tired before spending this quality time with my kids? Yes. Do my kids look forward to these times? Yes. Is it worth it? YES!!!
If you are not currently doing this with your kids, I would highly encourage you to do it (or something like it). It may very well mean that you have to sacrifice something else in your own life (watching TV, time on the computer, reading the newspaper, a hobby) to make this happen. But remember that the time you are spending with your kids now, is an investment into their future.