I’m willing to bet, the topic of conversation in most families and homes right now is, “What is this year going to be like? What is our new normal? How will sports, carpool, new schools, transitions, extracurricular’s, etc. change our day to day routine?” Or maybe for some, it’s “How are we even going to survive this year!?!”
No doubt the start of a new school year brings many different, exciting (and anxiety producing!) opportunities. So my question to you is –
What will your rhythm/schedule be?
Is it possible to create a rhythm that feels more meaningful than just merely surviving? If you already feel like you’re giving your all and barely keeping your head above water, I’m hopeful these simple ideas can help you move past survival mode and feel confident in your rhythm for this year.
TELL IT WHERE TO GO
You may have heard the quote that “a budget is telling money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” The idea is that money is going to go somewhere and you’ve got to be intentional about telling it where to go. I think the same is true with our time. Time is always on the move. We all feel time starved and we wonder where the time has gone.
My invitation to you, as you start off a new year, is to think through how you can tell time where it will go and how it will be spent. My friends over at Parent Cue have provided some great resources to help us as parent think through how we can leverage our naturally busy lives, but also find ways to bring meaning into the chaos! (You can find out more this idea and their app here)
The idea is simple. Since parents can’t cram anything else into their busy schedules, they help parents use the time they already have. There are natural times during the daily routine where you, as parents, have opportunity to connect with the heart of your child. What if we take these times and tell them how they will be used and leverage the natural opportunity they present?
It’s highly likely that if you are a parent of young kids up to middle school, you have these natural parts of your day already in your schedule:
What would it look like for you to start to think about these time as opportunities to connect with the heart of your child?
I imagine those parents with high school students would tell us these times go fast. That drive time, meal time, and bed time are rhythms that only last so long. I imagine they would invite us to take advantage of the time while we have it.
(Don’t worry high school parents, Parent Cue has ideas for you as well!)
DON’T LET THEM RIDE THE BUS
Personally, after thinking through this, I realized that I had a great opportunity to spend 15-20 minutes with my child on the way to elementary school each day. I decided to commit to driving my kids to school (aka not letting them ride the bus everyday, even though they want to!) and using that time intentionally.
Do I plan each morning? Nope.
Do I know what I’m going to say before I say it? Sometimes.
I do occasionally make a plan, but more importantly I’ve made the decision to be present and open to connecting with my child. No phone calls, no worrying about traffic, no radio, sports talk, or podcasts.
The reality is I don’t do much. My child often recognizes my being present and offers up the topic of conversation that day. It’s actually fairly easy. I also believe it’s meaningful. I recognize that these fleeting moments are building a foundation for a relationship that will hopefully survive adolescence and last into adulthood. At least that’s the end game!
I know of another middle school family who realized the only chance they had to have a meal together was breakfast, so they carved out some time to eat together in the morning. It’s a cherished time for them of pep talks for the day, connecting, and being together.
So, as you start this year, what will your rhythm be? What are some natural times in your day that you can begin to leverage to connect with your child?
I would love to hear your thoughts or ideas!
This post may be helpful as you think through this topic – http://www.parentingthoughts.com/2017/03/just-talk-about-it-how-to-have-spiritual-conversations/
See more about the Parent Cue App here: