When we had three young children four and under, we went to a parenting seminar in which the wise teacher (Gregg Harris) taught us how to manage our day—and get in the things that are truly important to us: “Attach things that are important to you to something that is already in your schedule.”
I was a struggling young mom, trying to teach our little ones to obey, love each other, enjoy learning, be helpful, desire God’s Word, play creatively, and more. However, like many young stay-at-home moms, I had prioritizing and follow through problems. Mr. Harris’ advice helped me get a handle on my preschoolers’ days.
We came home from the seminar and began attaching our “priorities” to the things that were already in place. Some things are predictable in a day automatically; they are “constances,” so to speak. Children get up in the morning, eat three meals (and snacks!), take naps (more on that later!), and go to bed at night (more on that later, too!).
We chose the things that we truly wanted to make happen in our littles’ daily schedule: Bible reading in the morning; chore training; afternoon story time; etc. We attached these to the “constances” of our kids’ days, and before we knew it, we were having successful days…and we soon attached more things to our attachments until we were attaching to our attachments. And our days became one big, long attachment—getting to many of the things that were priorities in our hearts but were not happening in real life.
I have talked a lot about doing things with our children that teach them important Christian virtues and behaviors. It is easy to hear someone talk about these things, and think, Yeah, that sounds great….but it is easier said than done!
I’m here to tell you today that you can do this! If something is a true priority in your family’s life, you can make it happen, regardless of children’s ages, work schedules, financial situation, and more.
Take the most important thing to you that you know you should do with your children but never seem to get to. Daily devotions? Prayer time? Read aloud? Story time? Chore time? Morning routines? Talk time? Only choose one—and decide that this one thing will become a habit in your home.
Now choose the most constant scheduled activity in your family—rising, breakfast, lunch, after school snack, bedtime, etc. And attach your priority to that. Be realistic. Do not try to do everything at one time. Do not make it a long, drawn-out affair. Just start tomorrow doing the highest priority item attached to the most consistent “constant.”
Keep your activity short at first. If you choose to read a Bible story aloud while the kids eat breakfast each morning, get one of those One Minute Bible story books or some other quick read, and dig in and do it. Do not be discouraged if it is a five minute read. Do not be dismayed if you miss occasionally (the “more often than not” principle will be explained tomorrow!). Just do it!
Once you have some consistency with this, you can tackle another “attachment.” And so on and so forth. Before you know it, your home will be a center—a learning center, spiritual center, fun center, heart-affecting center—all of the things that the Christian home was designed to be. Don’t worry if you mess up—our children are quick to “catch us in inconsistencies,” and they will be sure to let you know that your “attachment” is slipping!
How have you managed to be consistent with important things in your home? Give us some of your tricks!