Remember the days of dreaming about having kids of your own? The thoughts of bliss and relaxation. The kids doing their chores while you got to sit back and enjoy a well-deserved break. Perhaps your experience isn’t exactly lining up with the utopian ideals you once dreamt about! Maybe you’re finding yourself at the end of a long day, the kids are home from school, you’re tired and they‘re raring to go. Raising kids is hard and exhausting.
Joking aside, I’m assuming most of us didn’t have kids to take care of the chores and make our lives easier. Whatever our reason, our task is to raise them to be Jesus-loving, self-sufficient, level-headed adults who contribute to society. I’m not here to give you all of the answers on how to get your kids from point A to point B, I am here to give us a couple of thoughts to help out along the way.
One of the best pieces of advice I received when Ashley and I started having kids was to make sure that I made myself available to them when they asked for it. This sounded easy at the time, but as they got older and began to ask me to play with trucks, jump on the trampoline, build a fort, go out and play in the snow, I realized that I was saying “not right now” or “maybe later” more than I was saying yes. I needed a pick me up (more like a kick in the butt) and I needed it quick! Let me share with you three things I do to make sure I’m making myself more available to my kids:
- Prepare Myself
At the end of a long day of work (or just a regular day of work), I would walk into my house and be bombarded with kids who wanted something from me. They want to show what they made at school or tell you something they read in a book. They need something for the next day (that they’ve known about for weeks), or they just want to play. In those moments, I found myself getting overwhelmed by the asks and not interacting well with any of them.
Instead of walking into the house unprepared, I began to use my drive home as a way to help get mentally ready for being home. For me, that meant turning on the radio and singing along with worship music. Other times, depending on the day, I would turn off the noise and either spend some time in prayer or just enjoy the quiet!
It doesn’t matter exactly what you do, it matters that you’re intentional about mentally preparing yourself. Leave the workday at work and prepare yourself to be home and be present.
- Say Yes
Seems easy enough, right? Now that you’re somewhat prepared as you walk in the door, it’s time to just say yes to those requests. This isn’t necessarily easy and it doesn’t mean you won’t be tired, but it is pretty amazing what happens when you choose to say yes versus begrudgingly agreeing to join in.
For me, saying yes meant that my interactions with my kids were less transactional, I’ll play with you if you clean your room first, and more relational. What will it mean for you?
- Make A Plan
There are times when your kids will ask for your time and you just don’t have anything to give. Whether you’re trying to make dinner or have other plans that evening, sometimes, the answer has to be no. What I have found that works best for me is to try and make a plan that works for everyone. When I have to say no, I do my best not to leave it at that. Find a way to do what they want in a different way that works. Figure out a better time to do what they want to do so that it works for you and they feel like they’ve been heard and understand why.
I hope that these have gotten you thinking and have challenged you to give your kids a little more of yourself!
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