With school having just started many of us have mixed emotions. We’re sad because summer is over and yet relieved that school brings a schedule and some consistency. The school season also brings its own stresses of homework, athletics and ferrying kids around to friends’ houses and activities. While the school season often isn’t as “fun” as summer I know I want to be intentional with the time I have with my kids and not look back on the year with regrets.
Here’s four things we can do this year to put the “fun” back in parenting:
When I was growing up every summer I visited my cousins that all lived in the same neighborhood. We could “pop-in” to anyone’s house or just wander over to see if someone could play. It was a community and I have to believe it was great for my aunts and uncles too! Have a conversation with your neighbors or friends and invite them to “pop-in” whenever they’re in the neighborhood.
Don’t Hold Guilt
The pervasive use of Instagram and social media makes it hard to not compare ourselves to others. Even though we know we’re seeing a curated account of our friends’ lives we can feel like we don’t measure up. Getting and giving permission for the “pop-in” above helps us all be okay with people seeing the messiness of real life and inviting our friends into it. We can also post some “real” images from time to time!
Don’t Make Them Happy
As much as we might want to, it’s not our job to make our kids happy – they have to choose happiness on their own. We get to model choosing happiness ourselves in a variety of situations and finding our Joy in Jesus. Helping them be competent and responsible will lead to them choosing happiness in the long run.
Let it Happen
Chasing an ideal future for our kids can lead to overscheduled miserable parents. Of course we want every opportunity for our kids, but what they really need is time with us. Give yourself permission to not complete that household task and go for a bike ride with your kids instead. Ask your kids what they want to do on a Saturday, let them plan the day, and then participate alongside them.
Of course parenting is full of responsibilities and choices but we can live with joy because we’re secure in our identity in Jesus. Looked at from the right perspective know the time we have with our children is small. Let’s choose to put the “fun” back in parenting!