As a parent you are a constant learner, at least I am. I always on the lookout for new ideas, tips, suggestions and help to be a better parent. Most of all to help my children discover the joy of faith in Christ for themselves.
There are the regular challenges of finding that sweet spot between a child’s attention and a parent’s energy to do family devotions, the challenges of making it engaging for a different ages and the challenge of not losing it while talking about the love of God when your kids decide to play up. There is also the challenge of how to parent well the touch-screen generation (long article).
Here are a few pointers that I have found helpful to remember:
Listen to the advice of more experienced parents
Your family can be an unhelpful bubble sometimes and you need to listen outside voices that speak with wisdom and the experience that comes with years of learning. So as I read Mark Altrogge on things he would do differently if he was raising his kids again I paid attention. I noted that I too emphasize manners a lot, that I can correct more than I encourage and that I expect their attitude to change much quicker than mine ever does. Good things to hear, now to apply.
don’t read bible stories and forget the gospel
It’s fun to read stories about Jonah & the Whale or David & Goliath but my goal is not to simply instruct them in Bible stories but to introduce them to Jesus: who He is, what He has done and His call to follow Him. So we need to make sure children actually hear the Gospel and not just a bunch of Bible stories.
don’t let prayer become a ‘let’s get it over with’ recitation
That happens in our house. The sheer amount of energy expended between evening meal and bedtime is quite frankly astonishing and so by the time a kid is actually in bed, I’ve nothing left to call upon the Lord. Yet if that and a quick grace before a meal is the only experience my kids get of prayer, well let’s just say it’s not a very rich or compelling picture. So I heeded this mother’s plea to invite children to pray with us.
it’s ok to borrow ideas
My wife is one of the most creative people I know but she is daily on Pinterest looking for ideas for crafts, projects, experiments. So when it comes to devotions with my children, I’m looking to try new things out (because my boredom threshold is as low as my kids) which is why I find articles like this one really helpful.
These in no way cover all the bases (how could they?) but what encouragements or reminders would you suggest? (limit is 4!)