Like many parents, my children are currently on their long summer break from school. The summer break can often bring mixed emotions for parents including delight at not having to make packed lunches or concerns about how to entertain the children for weeks on end. If we’re not careful it can become easy to forget what a blessing our children are; we can begin to take their laughter and playfulness for granted and simply end up trying to “get through” the break rather than enjoying our children.
Now there are some aspects of raising children that I don’t enjoy such as the endless laundry pile but with summer break in full swing and with much more time than usual to spend with our children Christian parents should ask themselves, “Could we be doing better at enjoying our precious little ones that God has entrusted us with?
The Importance of Enjoying Our Children
The Bible says children are a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5). They are a blessing, a gift entrusted to us. The problem is that when we are busy, tired and struggling with parenting, our children don’t always feel like a blessing. We can end up having days when we are not enjoying them and may actually long for a break. We need to understand that while summer breaks may seem endless, our children grow up very quickly. As adults, our school summer holidays often make up many of our childhood memories. Our children will remember these holidays and the times spent together. Our children can also sense if we’re seeing them as an inconvenience which is in sharp contrast to the joy that they feel when we are enjoying spending time with them, laughing and playing together. Our times reading the Bible and praying with them can naturally flow from the fun day that we’ve spent together, hopefully result in the men joying and learning more from these times together, rather than it being an add-on to a day where we have been detached, merely attending to their needs.
Why We Often Don’t Enjoy Our Children as We Should
Children are a delight, but they are also hard work. There are the reasons why we don’t enjoy them as much as we should which seems to me to have more to do with us than them. When this happens we should ask ourselves two questions:
- Are we viewing our children as an interruption to our plans?
- Are we expecting too much from them at their tender ages, which then leads us (and them) to feel frustrated?
We need to be careful not to indirectly filter the issues and concerns that we have going on in our lives onto them through disengagement or being short with them.
Practical Advice to Begin to Enjoy Your Child More
Maybe you’re struggling to enjoy your children as you should, or maybe you enjoy them more some days than others! Below are a few ways to help enjoy our children more this summer holiday as we aim to show them Christ’s love:
- Be thankful for them and appreciate them, even during the most mundane parenting tasks. Never take them for granted.
- Get rest! Rest helps us to be more patient as we parent, helping to stop us getting annoyed with normal childlike behavior. It is also vital that our children get enough rest as it should help reduce the tantrums and sibling squabbles!
- Focus on our children. This may sound obvious when we are busy all day looking after them, but our attention could still be elsewhere, preventing us from really being in the moment with our children and enjoying them.
- Be organized-to an extent! Enjoy being able to let go of term time routines but have a loose plan of activities you want to do over the summer. Allow for flexibility though and don’t be too rigid so that you cannot adapt to different circumstances that will inevitably crop up with children.
- Don’t pack in too much by spending the holiday rushing around from place to place. Also, don’t multitask and try to do too many things at once. This usually ends in frustration for all involved!
- Don’t expect a perfect summer, lower your expectations. Cut back on the time you spend on social media. Stop focusing on how others are spending their holidays but instead enjoy your holiday, with your children.