Often in life we need accountability. Whether it’s meeting a goal that we’ve set, a spiritual battle that we need help with or even pursuing our own career path at work; we need that encouragement from others to beat the status quo, take risks and elevate our life. Life is not meant to be conquered alone, but if we have others keeping us in line, that can make all the difference.
What I’d like to propose to you is a 30 Day Parenting Challenge to boost your parenting experiences. I’ll break these up into three sections of ten so make sure and look for Part 2 & 3 coming soon. Hopefully many of these activities will pay dividends well beyond the moments with your kids. You can practice these on the corresponding days of the month, pick any one that fits your day specifically, or even allow your children to pick them out for you.
Just like any other successful habit, a commitment to change will help you through those times that you’d rather stay comfortable than pursue a higher calling. Parenting as you know is no easy task, but with some elbow grease, prayer and a plan; you can make a lifelong impact in those saplings of yours.
- Get Started: Truly it’s that simple. Whatever you’ve been considering doing as a parent, just do it. You don’t have to have a perfect plan, you don’t have to be a perfect parent, just get started and you can always improve as you go along. Too many people get stuck in the paralysis of analysis and never take that first step in making a change. You’ll never know unless you try and you’ll end up regretting it if you don’t. Don’t allow the past to dictate your future. If you have a dream of doing something for your kids, making something for them or making a major change in your lifestyle to be there more for you children; then I say get on with it and you’ll never look back!
- Work on one area of weakness with your kids: This could be your temper with them, your lack of involvement, the absence of listening, or a scarcity of physical affection shown to them. No one is going to be a perfect parent, but think of one thing you could focus on today to do better? I’d say go as far as asking your child what you could do to be a better parent to them.
- Say “yes” to their requests: Is it really going to hurt you if they ask you to play soccer in the backyard with them? What about a board game, reading a book to them, or playing house or tea with them? Showing your kids that you believe their world is important along with their desires will give them the confidence to engage you in more important matters down the road.
- Change up your routine: Maybe one parent takes the kids to school, but this day the other one does. Try having dinner outside in the backyard instead of at the dinner table. Allow the kids to sleep in your room and you sleep in theirs. Cook breakfast for dinner and maybe serve them breakfast in bed. Give them a day off chores and you do them for them so they can spend that extra time in play. Show up at one of their sport practices instead of just their game. Children will sometimes forget the grind and routine of everyday life, but these change-ups of routine they will more than likely never forget.
- Create a new tradition or celebration for your family: What does your family enjoy doing that you could implement more often? Was there a special occasion in the history of your family that you could celebrate? Maybe it was going through a trial that made everyone stronger, or a spiritual decision that you’ve made as a family. These traditions will be so intertwined with your kid’s core experiences that they’ll probably carry on some of these tradition with their kids. Traditions/celebrations are rich in meaning and they can anchor kids in many ways that other activities can’t.
- Bless your kids: If you’ve never had the chance of laying your hands on your kids and requesting God’s blessing on their life, you’re missing a great experience. My children often ask me to bless them and it seems to encourage them even if they don’t understand everything I’m praying for. This was often practiced in scripture and we all need God’s protection and blessings in our lives to flourish anyway. Try huddling up your child(ren) and pray over them asking God to do wonders in their lives and pour out His blessings on everything they do.
- Apologize for your mistakes: I think one of the worst things that we can do as parents is to never apologize to our kids. Ask your kids flat out what you’ve done to set them back, hurt them, or be a bad example. Trust me, your kids will tell you and you’ll enjoy some humble pie. Don’t be that proud parent who can’t admit their wrongs. If you want to raise bitter kids, than don’t bother with this one. Sometimes the greatest lessons your children will learn are those that you’ve missed the boat on, but humbly encourage them to take a better path.
- Take a parenting sabbatical: I’m not saying to skip your parenting duties, but ask your spouse if you can take a few hours or maybe a half day to evaluate your priorities and goals as a parent. Go to that special park or hike that really gets your mental juices flowing. Are you doing everything you can to be the best parent? Use this time to come up with an action plan that you can implement to set a new course for your family. We all need to recalibrate at one time or another, and taking some time away from the daily grind will help you figure out a clear path.
- Take a road trip: Kids seem to have a natural inclination to explore. Sometimes we lose a portion of that drive as we age, but going on a road trip has so many connection points as a family that you can do in a couple hours or even a day or two. Make up a treasure hunt or a scavenger hunt with your family. Find that local historical hotspot that you can peer into the past and learn from it. Don’t always allow the stacked up chores to prevent you from taking those special times with your children. The chores will always be there, but your kids won’t.
- Focus on their love language: Each of your children is going to be different in how they receive and show love. Keying into this early on will make sure that your child’s emotional tank is always full. If you’re anything like me, certain love languages are easier to meet than others based on your own love language and maybe the current demands on your life. I know when my children ask specific requests, they’re asking me to show them love the way they feel loved. Sometimes I have to consciously make an effort to fulfill these requests so I’m meeting their needs. If your child is always giving you cards, telling you that you’re a good parent, or even giving you lots of kisses and hugs; they’re probably telling you how they want to feel loved as well. Start looking out for these little clues so you can maximize your love shown to them.
Now that you’ve been challenged to focus on specific areas where you might be able to make an immediate impact, it’s time to continue this journey as there’s still two more parts! Hopefully you’ve experienced some momentum as you’ve made the most important step and that is too just get started. Later this week you’ll get another 10 days of Parenting Challenge so get ready to make a difference and look for those activities that you might want to repeat later on in the year.
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!