Can you believe we are starting 2017? At the beginning of a new year it is normal to reflect… thinking about those personal or work goals we marked off the list or on those that remain unconquered. At Stetson Baptist Christian School, we want to encourage you to take a moment and reflect on your 2016 family life. How much time are you all spending together as a family? How much time are you spending together “unplugged” from TV and other electronic devices? Does your family spend time reading and/or studying God’s Word? Does your family attend church together?
Here are some practical tips for spending and enriching the time you spend together as a family:
Make your family time a priority. You may even need to plan and schedule family time to ensure it happens! Start by simply setting aside one night and calling it “Family Night.” Have each person in the family commit to making this night a priority. Your family night might consist of something as simple as everyone being home or you might want to plan activities such as playing a game or baking cookies.
Check every family member’s schedule for “commitment overload.” Of course, you want your children to be involved and active, but make sure you are saying yes to those things that really matter. Commitment overload can cause unwanted stress on the entire family.
Establish a feeling of “we are all in this together” by creating a helpful attitude among family members. For example, work with and help your child during homework time and then point out that they are helping you when they do their daily chores.
Eat together as a family as much as possible. This can be difficult if your family is suffering from commitment overload! Eating together as a family fosters communication. It teaches speaking and listening skills. Eating time is also a wonderful time to teach manners, practice Bible verses or play simple games to build each other up. For example, keep a small slip of paper on the table with each family member’s name on it. At your evening meal, have each person choose a slip and state one thing they love about the family member listed.
Read, read, and read some more! Nothing can help your child’s attention span, language development and reading ability more than reading. Read signs while traveling, read to your child before bedtime, take turns reading to each other or simply establish a reading time in the evening. If you establish a reading time, remember that all family members should commit to reading and that everyone should be “unplugged” from electronics.
Lastly and most importantly, pray together as a family. Go beyond meal and/or bedtime prayers. Start slow and establish a prayer time on family night. Use a notebook or chalkboard to make a list of prayer requests. Recording your requests will help your family see God’s work in your lives. And before you know it, your family prayer time will be a treasured part of your family and will help you train up a child in the way he should go.