31 Days to Bless Your Home, and How to Have Fun Doing It Too!
Week 4: The Fun of Home: Enjoying Our Families
Day 21: Enjoying Our Children, Adult Children, Children In-Laws, and Grandchildren
Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3 NLT
they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3 NLT
|My boys when they were little|
As we continue with blessing our homes by building the relationships within, we will focus today on our offspring. Books have been written on the subject, so I won’t attempt an exhaustive dissertation; however, I want to share some ideas that will help you enjoy God’s precious gifts to you.
1. Routines. One way to build happy memories as well as to prevent many power struggles is to have routines during strategic points in the day. When they know what to expect, they will be more compliant. For example, instead of sending them off to bed with a video, devote some time with them to build their cognitive and memory skills as well as to bond with them. Read together, do devotions and pray, sing songs, make up silly stories or games, or play “Tickle Monster.” Have a special “thing” that is just between you. Do it the same way each night, and they will look forward to their time with you. Then, when it is time for lights out, be firm. Some of my best memories with my children are the bedtime routines we had. One silly thing I used to do was to act like the armoire from Beauty and the Beast. In the movie, she sang operatic and then jumped on and squished the enemy. I did the same to my kids. I would sing a high note and then pretended to fall on them on their beds. They would laugh and laugh! I know, silly!2. Structure. When my children were little, I found that they were happiest when we stuck to a basic schedule. I’m not talking about a strict timeline, but in general, allow them to eat, nap, and go to bed about the same time every day. Don’t take them to a hot, crowded store at nap time, for example, and expect them to be cheerful if they are hungry or sleepy. When you capitalize on their best times of the day, you will enjoy being with them more. Be flexible, however, or you will stress yourself out!3. Don’t entertain them all the time. Children in this generation have so much stimulation coming at them from every direction, and generally, they cannot seem to be able to stand boredom. Every moment of their day seems to be scheduled, and they are often given the role of being the center of the universe in their homes. This can create self-absorbed monsters. While they do need some undivided attention from us on a daily basis, they also need to learn how to entertain themselves constructively. Don’t overwhelm them with lessons or sports every single day of the week, but allow them some free time to exercise and relax. Be so careful that your children do not become idols.4. Discipline. Often we equate the word discipline with punishment; however, it really means training. Take the time to train them in the way they should go. If we give in to their demands as toddlers, we will create disrespectful teenagers. If we love without discipline, we create messes. However, if we discipline without love, we lose our relationship with them. Discipline, or train them in love, and you will enjoy them when they are grown.5. Family Fun Night. OK, we have talked about that one already this month, but it is worth saying again. Choose one night per week and have a blast together!6. Love Languages. Learn your child’s primary love language and look for ways to communicate love to them that they will truly understand. If your child needs words of affirmation, give them sincere praise. If they need physical touch, let hugs and back rubs abound. Most children are a combination. Learn yours and experiment with expressions of love that seem to really get the message across to them that you love them “bigger than the sky.” For more, I recommend Gary Chapman’s book, The FiveLove Languages of Children.
My one and only piece of advice here is balance. Give them space to be grown-ups, but don’t forget that they still need their parents. Allow them to be independent, but it is OK to be a safety net while they launch into the world on their own. Be willing to listen and help them talk out problems, but don’t insist that they do things your way. Allow them to make mistakes and learn some things for themselves. Be involved in their lives without interfering. Stay close, but don’t smother. Accept them and be proud of them, but don’t enable or praise bad choices. Don’t harp or nag. Continue to insist on respect, but do treat them like adults. Be generous, but don’t pay their way. They need to build skills to be self-sufficient and independent. Make a habit of getting together regularly. Don’t let too much time go by without talking to them on the phone, but don’t expect to be the center of their world. Now, enjoy your children as adult friends!
|Our adult children, their spouses, and one fiance'|
You are not always going to see eye-to-eye with your child’s choice in a mate, but it is your son/daughter’s choice. Don’t lose the precious relationship with your kids because they aren’t choosing the path you envisioned for them when they were little. They have to make their own way. Welcome son and daughter-in-laws with open arms. Be involved, but give them space at the same time. Show respect and encourage them. Let them do things their own way, even if you don’t like it. Don’t jump on them or speak up every time you disagree. Be kind and treat them the way you would want their parents to treat your own children.
In our family, we have the two Matts married to our daughters, and they are like sons to us. However, we know that they are the heads of their homes, and we must respect that. Our son Bryan is engaged to Ann, and she is my soon-to-be-daughter-in-love. I really love her, and I can’t wait to welcome her into our family! I try very hard not to be overbearing on one end or too stand-offish on the other. Our relationships with our adult children and their spouses are much more important than being right. Stay close.
|My precious grandbabies|
I am new to this one, but I love being a grandma! When sweet Parker calls me and says, “I love you, Nanny,” my heart simply melts! Here is something that I have learned that helps our relationship. We have a few things that we do every single time he comes, and he has learned to associate it with me. He walks in the door, looks for the sidewalk chalk and wants me to go draw in the driveway with him. We always have to do bubbles and read the book, Dog Breath, too. He knows I will have cookies in my cow cookie jar and suckers in the pantry. When I cook, he loves helping me. I let him add the ingredients. He can always count on a bike ride too!
Those are our things, but you find what your grandchildren enjoy and give them something to associate with you. Maybe it is to have the same kind of cookies each time in a special cookie jar, or it is a favorite game. Having a “thing” is the key to bonding with them.
Grandchildren can really sap your energy, but if they do not get to visit very often, it is so worth it! When they come, it is all about them! You can take Advil and rest when they leave.
Week Four Challenge: Set aside time to invest in and enjoy each relationship in your family.
Today’s Challenge: Tell your children you love them.
Tomorrow I will be sharing from my heart about enjoying our in-laws. I know that is a tough one for some of you, but this will bless you!
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|image via The Time-Warp Wife|