I am sure you’ve never been out in public with young children and been embarrassed by their behavior. Never, not you. Not your kids. But just…
Discipling our children is quite the weighty task. In fact, there’s few roles more important than spiritually investing in the souls God’s entrusted to us. And while we seek to maximize the time we have with our kids all throughout the year, with Summer approaching, we have the perfect opportunity to plan ahead and get ready to step up our game as the school year comes to a close.
So as you begin to think through Summer, here are 8 ways you can plan to sneak in some extra investment (some of which involve planning and research you can do now!):
#1 Find a good book to read together.
Especially as children become tweens and teens, Summer is the perfect time to pick up a good book (one that challenges your child spiritually) and read it together. And by read it together, I don’t literally mean sit down and read it at the same time, although you could do that. Rather, read it separately and then spend time together chatting about it.
What I’ve found especially productive is reading the same chapter (or two) every few weeks and then going on some outing where we get a treat and discuss what was read. This creates a sweet bonding time to talk about life, to enjoy each other, and to discuss what we are learning.
Now’s the time to do the research and find that perfect book to go through this Summer!
#2 Make Bible reading and prayer a non-negotiable.
Many parents want (and even ask) their kids to read the Bible and spend time talking to God each day. But we all know how busy life can get— and how good intentions don’t always produce results. Well, Summer will be the time to slow down and not move on with the day until we all spend time reading the Bible and talking to God. It’s even a good idea to schedule in slower mornings for this purpose.
Hopefully, this pattern will actually build a new habit that they carry into the whole year, even when life gets super busy again!
#3 Instill some new goals.
What are some practical goals that would help your child display more godly wisdom and character? Summer will be the perfect time to make those goals a reality!
Sit down with each kid over the next month and talk about what they know they need to start working on (and mention 1 or 2 you think they should work on). Post them up somewhere, make a plan, encourage any progress you see, maybe even reward their effort as they make progress.
#4 Memorize a catechism.
Last Summer my husband and I gave our kids the opportunity to memorize the New City Catechism for money (something like a dollar per question and answer). The reason being, we know our children don’t see the value in memorizing a bunch of statements, but we do! One day we hope these truths will either ring true in their hearts or haunt them until they do! So paying them is worth it for us and it makes it worth it for them!
Realistically, we’d make them work on memorizing the catechism either way, but the money is usually enough motivation to make them work a tad harder.
#5 Assign a few good books.
I’ve already mentioned reading a book with your child, and making sure your kids are reading their Bibles, but you could also assign another quality book or 2 so they digest even more biblical truth with their extra time. What’s nice about this idea is it’s pretty hands off. Other than determining the book, you don’t need to do much else. Let’s face it, your Summer is probably not as free as their’s — so this is the perfect way to invest in their spiritual lives even when you feel busy.
#6 Invest in your kid’s friends.
Friendships will be hugely influential in your child’s life — so investing in their friends is investing in them. With that in mind, set up some casual time to have the youngsters over so you can get to know them. Invite them over more often than you normally do.
If you are feeling extra ambitious you could consider starting a little book club (or maybe some type of activity club) with your kid and their friends. This allows you to invest in multiple souls, while also getting to know your child’s friends better. After learning more about your child’s friends, talk to them about their friendships, encourage the beneficial ones, while helping them navigate the tougher ones.
All that to say, make it your aim to leave Summer knowing your kid’s friends better, while also building better communication between you and your child about their friendships.
#7 Serve together.
It’s easy to feel like Summer is all about us putting our feet up and chillin’ as much as possible; but find some way to focus on other people together this Summer. Whether it’s an official way you can serve at church, or whether it’s helping grandma out, do something that reminds your kids how sweet it is to serve others.
#8 Pray more for your kids.
Unlike the other ideas, this one doesn’t involve the kids’ participation. But there’s no activity that’s likely to be more impactful than this one — prayer! While you watch your kids swim, spend time praying for their salvation. When you watch them at the beach, pray their life makes an impact for Jesus. On the road trip, pray they learn to live a holy life.
Whatever activities Summer brings, see if you can’t spend some extra minutes before the throne of God on their behalf.
Of course the idea of doing all of these things in one Summer could seem overwhelming! But look ahead and plan to try just one or two, or maybe focus on a new one each month. Whatever you do, get ready to enjoy these unique months with your kids and make the most of them by intentionally investing in their souls!