[guestpost]This is a guest post by Andrew Linder. Andrew is a husband, the father of four awesome kids, and a children’s pastor at a thriving church. Andrew is passionate about intentional parenting and helping other parents and leaders effectively reach the next generation. He blogs at AndrewScottLinder.com, and can be followed on Twitter @AndrewLinder and on Facebook. If you want to guest post on my blog, check out my guest post guidelines and submit your post.[/guestpost]
One of my greatest goals in life is to influence people, and there are no people I desire to influence more than my children. They are truly the greatest lasting legacy that I will ever have.
There are five things that, by God’s grace, I try to be very intentional about doing with my children every single day. These things not only help me to be a better parent, but help me to be the greatest positive and spiritual influence in their lives.
Little things are big things to a child. What may be seemingly insignificant to us as a parent can actually mean the world to our kids. Small daily things that we might easily overlook are actually drops in the bucket of their life that accumulate over time.
Here are 5 things you must do with your kids…every single day:
1. Make them laugh
Life can be hard, even for our kids. You don’t have to be very old to realize that life has it’s problems – tests, bullies, not making the team.
But laughter naturally lightens the load and brightens the day of any person, especially our children.
When I put a smile on my child’s face, it brings a joy to both them and me that nothing else can provide. Some of the greatest memories I have growing up are of times when our family would sit around the dinner table and laugh our hearts out. Learn to let loose with your kids, be okay with a little (or a lot) of craziness, and just have fun.
2. Tell them “I Love You”
Other than spending time with them, nothing speaks “I love you” to your kids more loudly or clearly than simply saying it.
Your kids long to know that they are loved by you and enjoy hearing it in your own voice. It’s one of the easiest things a parent can do, yet we so easily overlook doing it.
We can make excuses like “that’s just not how I was raised” or “they already know I love them”, but the real loser when we adopt that mindset is not us, but them.
God wired us to long to hear that we are loved, and there’s no one a child should hear if from more frequently or more sincerely than mom and dad.
3. Pray with them
I can remember many nights when I would “dread” Mom coming to tuck me in because Mom could pray for what seemed like eternity. But now, looking back, I treasure those moments of prayer with my parents, as inconvenient as they seemed at the time.
Teaching our kids how to pray happens through example by praying with them and for them. Pray about everything, because God cares about everything.
Get a list of things to pray for as a family and then share in the victories and celebrate the answers to prayer when they come. Kids won’t believe in the power of prayer if they never see it at work first hand. A great reminder of this is the article When You Pray, God Don’t Play!
4. Hug them
Physical affection is a basic human need and vitally important with kids.
There’s just something magical about someone you love wrapping their arms around you and squeezing you tight.
It communicates love, security and acceptance. Don’t let a day go by that you don’t hug your kids.
5. Tuck them in
Nothing helps a kid sleep better at night than being reassured that they are loved. And nothing speaks love louder at the end of the day than when you take the time to tuck them in.
Every night as my kids go to bed they give me a hug, a kiss, and on their way to their room they always shout out, “Come tuck me in, Daddy!” They daily reaffirm their desire to end the day with me by their side and I daily reaffirm my love and blessing upon their lives by doing so.
Many times we can be guilty of looking at it as an unnecessary inconvenience, when we should look at it as one of the easiest opportunities to end every day with our kids being confident of the love and security of family and home, regardless of what has taken place during the day.
(And when you tuck them in, it’s a perfect opportunity to give them a second… or third, dose of #’s 2-4. I’m sure they won’t mind.)
Which one of the five do you need to add or improve upon in your daily routine with your kids?
Photo credit: Author