In parenting, the days are often long, but the years are short. The thought may sound cliché, but it still rings true.
The busyness of getting our kids ready for school, going to work, and shuttling them to extracurricular activities seems to speed up the short time we have with our kids. We know teaching our kids about Jesus is important, but we don’t often have time to plan or walk through family devotionals. Thankfully, there is the summer.
You may not think of how perfect the summer is for discipling your kids. The season gives us both the space to consider how we disciple our kids and the time to set good habits before the busyness of fall.
When we think of summer discipleship, our minds may race to big events like summer camp or vacation Bible school. But discipleship doesn’t have to be a production. God transforms lives at summer camps, but he also works powerfully in little moments of faithfulness throughout a normal day.
Like Paul says in Ephesians 5:16, “making the most of the time because the days are evil.” The original Greek literally tells us to “redeem moments, because the days are evil.” As a parent, all you have to do is use little moments throughout the day to teach your kids about Jesus.
Here are a few ways you can use the little moments this summer:
Show Them Your Relationship with Jesus
The most impactful testimony to your children about Jesus will be the way you follow him. During the summer, they will likely be with you more than usual, watching how you live out your faith. Can they see your daily spiritual habits? Do you show them grace when they act out or when airline delays mess up your vacation plans? Your interactions and reactions can teach your children far more than sermons.
But be ready. Your kids will do more than watch you. They will ask you questions about the way you treat others, the Bible, church, and God. You are their most trusted resource. But that doesn’t mean you have to know all of the answers to their questions. Be willing to admit when you don’t know something, and make sure that you follow up by seeking answers with your kids to their big questions.
Regulate Media Engagement
Having no homework and too much free time in the summer can result in our kids over-indulging in video games or social media. Unplugging and taking a break from technology can create space for more meaningful connections and conversations. Instead of getting buried in your devices after dinner, make a summer habit of enjoying an evening walk with your family. You could even make the car a screen-free zone, choosing instead to listen to redeeming podcasts together or talk about the day with your kids.
When you do watch TV, consider replacing what you normally watch with something that will point your kids to Jesus, like The Slugs and Bugs Show, Worship in the Word, or Stories from the Storyteller.
Hold on to Important Commitments
The summer presents a welcome chance to untether from our weekly commitments. But while we may be thrilled to be done with after-school carpools, there are some weekly staples that we should make a point to hold on to. Even if the summer is busy, prioritizing family dinners, church attendance, and time together is well worth the effort. Everything can change during the summer, but what stays the same is often the most impactful.
Partner with Church Summer Programs
The summer is a perfect time to invest in your children’s spiritual growth by sending them to a sleep-away camp, vacation Bible school, or a mission trip. But what they learn at camp shouldn’t stay at camp.
You can help your child take what they experienced at camp or on a mission trip and let it influence the rest of the year. Talk to your kids about what they learned and help them apply it to their everyday lives. For example, if your child memorized a Bible verse, have them write it on a notecard and tape it to the bathroom mirror as a daily reminder of God’s love for them.
Summer offers us a space to get out of the regular habits of the school year. It can be a nice reprieve and an excuse to get very busy. But no matter your schedule, you still have little moments every day to influence your children toward Christ. God can turn our little moments of faithfulness into a lifetime of our kids following him.
If you struggle to know how to talk to your kids about spiritual topics or how to answer their questions about God, check out Natasha Crain’s series, Talking with Your Kids about Jesus in the RightNow Media library.
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