Time flies when you realize your child just outgrew another pair of shoes or needs a new backpack for another year of school. But time sure seems to move slowly when you’ve just had a meltdown, sibling fight or are trying to finish your basement.
I once heard a great statement in regards to raising kids: “Days are long, years are short.”
Since then, I have tried to capitalize on the moments that make up the days that make up the years. We have about 18 years with our kids at home, the last few of which they are already disengaging and moving into independence.
I remember my grade school years growing up in Southern Illinois. The memories are of specifics – birthday party, buying a horse, building a swing set, playing kick ball, acidentally setting off a fire extinguisher in the house, camping, going to mini-mart, 4-H projects, Christmases, a wood burning stove and more. But we only lived there four short years.
For parents, the days may feel long, but the years are short. Keeping that in mind makes me want to maximize each year.
Here are nine ways to maximize this year with your kids:
Parent with the Relationships in Mind
I got this concept from Andy Stanley. The north star is the relationship. If you’re raising more than one kid, fairness doesn’t work, justice probably doesn’t work either all the time. Each kid is so unique and each relationship with the parent is so unique, that has to be where you begin.
Parent with a Goal to Have Your Kids Want to Come Back Home Once They are Grown
A great goal in parenting is to build the bridges and structures that cause kids to want to come back home once they are grown. This is a prayer for any family.
Give Simple Things Lavishly: Encouragement, Love, Time
The best things in life are free. Give these things to your kids lavishly – encouragement, instruction, love, attention, and time.
Enter Each Day with Gratitude
Every day is a gift – live with gratitude. You’re alive. You’re here. You’re reading this. It’s best to give God thanks and allow our lives to pour out from there.
Plan Something Unusual to Do with Your Kids This Month
Do something unusual this month. Don’t try to plan a something every month from here on out – just this once, do something different. Take a look at your calendar, find a time, then go create a memory together doing something out of the norm.
Begin Reading a Devotional Book or Scripture Together
This can happen as often as you are able – but read a scripture verse or a devotional during dinner some nights or at bed time.
Celebrate Milestones Regularly
Kids love to celebrate milestones. We just recently had a lost tooth in our household. It was a first for our six year old and we talked about it all day, Facetimed family, drove to the grandparents and then she woke up an hour early the next day just to see what she got under her pillow. We celebrated that milestone today. Tooth be told, it was a much bigger deal for her than we had expected, but we all jumped on board!
Discipline Your Children While They are Young
Proverbs 19:18 says, “Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.” Do all you can to construct a fence of discipline around their lives so they are better positioned for success, life and faith!
Don’t Get Too Bent Out of Shape Over Little Things
This is big. Save your energy. Save the trouble. There are some things that just don’t need to be worried about. The art is knowing which things those are. Most parents learn this instinctively. It’s like triage – where and when do I step in? Don’t get too upset about little things, in the long run, no one will remember it anyway.