Summers almost over [insert rabid fanfare from parents and moaning and gnashing of teeth from kids]. With school about to start up and schedules about to get busier, here are 4 things you should do more with your kids. Recently my wife and I got to go on vacation with her family and we had a blast. My favorite thing, honestly was getting to spend some time with our kids. Here are 4 things that we were able to do more on vacation and we are trying to intentionally do more with our kids.
1. Sharing what you love to do.
One thing I love about having kids is getting to somewhat relive your childhood by sharing with them the things you love. From childhood games to childhood movies, take the time to share what you love to do with your kids. Even as they get older this is something that can help you grow closer to your kids and something that can help educate them on what really matters. (Like the Back to the Future trilogy).
2. Doing what they love to do.
I think sometimes we get hung up on number one as parents. Party because we tend to do it naturally. But great parenting, I’ve come to observe, is done INTENTIONALLY. We tend to ONLY do what we love to do. The truth is your kids are different than you. My daughter right now loves to color. I don’t. It sounds stupid but honestly I don’t even like the scraping/rubbing noise the crayons make on the paper. It’s like fingers on a chalkboard to me. Anyways one day, on vacation, I asked her if I could color with her and did it for about 10 minutes. One of my best memories of vacation is her asking the next day “Daddy, will you sit and color with me again?”. Parenting is like any other relationship, it helps so much if you get to know the other person and their world.
3. Challenge their imagination.
One of the other fun memories I had with my kids over vacation was just seeing them use their imagination and encouraging it. The house we were staying in had a hot tub. As we were playing I tried challenging them and asking what all the hot tub could be. We came up with:
Spider-Man & Doc Oc fighting over Mary Jane in the ocean.
Just a regular octopus chasing swimmers on the beach.
Then a shark chasing swimmers on the beach.
Then we pretended to be potatoes cooking. (It was my idea, I was tired! They weren’t a fan of spud impressions)
My point is, it’s fun to see kids use their imagination. For younger ones it helps them play, for older ones it helps them dream and set higher goals.
One of the things I’ve realized is that we don’t do this enough with our kids. Sure we do before meals and most nights before bed, unless they’re already asleep. What I’ve found though is that there are more impactful times we can invite our kids to pray with us. For instance, once when Lizzy told me she was scared about something, I asked if I could pray for her about it. She was still scared, but I hope she learned a knee jerk reaction for those moments. Another time her cousin hurt his hand after we cleaned up we prayed for his hand. What was interesting is later at bedtime, without us bringing it up she asked to pray for his hand. I’m finding out two things as a parent; my kids need to see us pray and how they pray will be modeled after what they see not what you say.
Hope this list encourages you to make the most of the summer you have left as well as the schedule and routine you’re about to build for the next season of the year. What’s something you’re trying to do more with your kids?