This is our last and final session for the 30 Day Parenting Challenge. If you missed the first two blogs of this series, you can catch them here: 30 Day Parenting Challenge: Part 1 , 30 Day Parenting Challenge: Part 2 . Let’s dive into the last third of our challenge and see how far we get!
21) Give your kids VIP access: Often times we give everything else in our lives our best energy and we leave the scraps for our kids. Granted, sometimes we do the same thing when it comes to our other relationships as well. We’ll always have distractions in our lives and making this effort to shift our schedules around can make all the difference in the world. For this day, I’d like you to give your best energy to your children. Wrestle that extra 15 minutes, read a few more books, watch their favorite show with them, etc. This will enable you to do more and be more during this day for your children. Matter of fact, this is an important one to incorporate monthly as our kids will need those special days where we’re giving them all we’ve got.
22) Teach them a life skill: Teaching children the necessary life skills to succeed in life happens to be a big burden of mine. The fact is, many children struggle with having the right skills to thrive when they get out of the home. Are your children struggling with communication? What about their manners? Do they show particular interest in a field that you could help them explore? Have they been wanting you to take them fishing? What about teaching them the basics of preparing their own lunches, washing and matching their own clothes or even mowing the lawn? There are literally thousands of little life skill necessities that you can’t just leave to chance for them to pick up along the way. Letting your children leave the household unprepared for the “real” world is a great way to have frustrated young adults who end up getting a couple degrees from the School of Hard Knocks.
23) Pay it forward together: There’s myriads of ways to spread the love and pay it forward. Maybe you pay the person’s ticket at a restaurant or drive through. You can pay the tab of someone’s past due lunch bills at the school or their tuition that’s coming due. What about delivering some pizzas to the homeless or raking the elderly neighbor’s yard. The possibilities are endless so get your kids involved and find someone who’s in need!
24) Document how you feel towards them: In a previous post Letters Every Father Should Write I talked about writing down your feelings of love, pride and acceptance that you have for your children individually. There’s a lot of ideas, but one that I particularly love is to wax seal the letter for the appropriate time. I write these letters every so many years so I’m updating my message to them. I may never die before they leave the household, but I’m prepared if I do. If you’d like to see these letters illustrated, you can check out my YouTube video here Letters to Your Kids! Part 1.
25) Give them more chores: I know this sounds antithetical to having a better relationship with your children, but it in a weird way it does-I’ll explain. Children who have a good work ethic have more confidence in their abilities and frankly have a greater sense of satisfaction from a job well done. Obviously the amount of chores and the duration of them has to be age appropriate. Hard work produces a well -rounded spirit and I’ve always been a believer that if you work hard, you should be able to play hard as well. Developing a solid work ethic late in life is very difficult so cultivating this early on is a critical part of parenting. Many parents these days let their children off too easy because it’s easier or they don’t want to take the time to train them. Don’t fall into this trap. Teach your children to work hard and they’ll benefit emotionally and physically the rest of their life.
26) Pray with them: Maybe you have that special prayer closet that you can invite them in with you, or a place in the yard that grants you the solitude and tranquility to talk to God. What are five things that you could pray with each child about that would change their life? Are there areas where they need to grow or currently struggling with? I like to weave in their personal wants in the mix because God grants them so often as well. Teach your child how to be thankful to God for everything, how to pray for others and how to seek His guidance in their lives. Maybe you have a special prayer list drawn up for when the both of you are together. Whatever you do, make it special and model how they can start developing their prayer life.
27) Lend them your ear: Whenever I come across verses in the Bible that reference God lending an ear, or turning his ear to our cries and prayer; I imagine myself doing that for my children. You get the sense that God is not distracted when we come to Him like so many times we are as parents. Take this day to focus on listening to your child. Get on their level, look them in the eye, ask intelligent questions and respond with thoughtful answers. If you listen to your children when they are young, they’ll be more apt to come to you later with bigger issues because they know that you’ll listen to them. Don’t be too quick to judge before you’ve heard the whole story. Don’t cut them off or interrupt them just like you wouldn’t do anyone else. Remember that your children will likely mimic your level of communication in one way or another so make sure they understand the listening portion of it is a vital part.
28) Grow with them: It’s no doubt that your children are growing like weeds and it seems those clothes that fit them yesterday are already snug. I think it’s easy as parents to plateau at certain times of our lives and allow the younger crowd (including our children) to do the growing. We’re supposedly past that stage, have some solid experiences under our belt and life is good. The problem I see is that our culture changes, music changes, drugs change, pressures change, technology really changes, yet many parents are stuck in the early years of their adulthood and they haven’t progressed. Their children can run circles around them in technology, their children experience pressures in school that the parents have no clue about because they never had to deal with that when they were younger. Progress is crucial as a parent and part of that is to keep up with your kids. I’m not saying that you have to have the latest gear like your kids, but you ought to know what’s out there, what’s confronting them on a daily basis and how you can have intelligent conversations about things that are relevant to them. What’s one thing in today’s society or in your child’s life that is mainstream that you could really know some more about?
29) Win the day: Determine first thing in the morning that you’re relationship with your children is going to be the best it can be today. You’ll control your tongue, you’ll set goals and you’ll have an overall positive outlook on the circumstances of the day. Write it on the chalkboard, or on the mirror that you have claimed victory to make the best of everything that comes your way. If your child talks back to you, if they make you late for work, if they forget to feed the dog, or if they wind up in the principal’s office; these are all ways that we can show extra love, include proper discipline to shape their life, pray for God’s work in these areas and to model how to cope with the ups and downs of life. Life is stressful no doubt, but choosing to conquer the day no matter what will help your resolve to do the right thing regardless of how you feel. This will have a tremendous impact on those little eyes watching you.
30) Journal the journey: Not only is taking pictures and videos important along the way, but writing down your thoughts through lessons you learn as a parent are also beneficial as well. If you’re not accustomed to journaling, start one today. Write down those funny things your kids say, what lessons you’ve learned as a parent, what you’ve learned from other parents. After a while, you’ll have a rich collection of insight into your daily life as a parent. Most of the things you document you will probably forget until you read it again. You can even pay services like Fiverr to draw a comic of the experience starting at $5. The possibilities are endless, just don’t forget to capture the moment whenever possible.
Can you believe we’ve finished 30 days of challenging ourselves to become better parents?! You should be proud of yourself for making the commitment and I’m proud of you too. I encourage you not to stop on this special journey as there’s still lots of impacting to do. Take some of the days that especially meant a lot to you and expand upon them or draw them out to more than one day.
Feel free to email me or comment with any of your suggestions or tips. If you like the content that RelevantParenting provides, please follow my blog or subscribe to my Youtube channel RelevantParenting. God bless you and I pray God encourages you to make the most of your time with your kids!