As I was returning home from an errand a couple of days ago, I glanced out my car windows as I rolled slowly down our small town streets. I couldn’t help but notice several high-school age kids walking down the windy street, the guys punching each other on the shoulders, the girls laughing.
Knowing some of the situations of the young men and women in the group, I couldn’t help but think about our children and our home situation as well.
I am privileged to be a (mostly) stay-at-home mom. My husband comes home after work and enjoys spending time with our family. He and my parents take care of our four kids during the winter when I coach my competitive speech team (my awesome very part time job) on Saturdays and after school two days a week. We are very blessed!
But just because that is our situation doesn’t mean that this set-up automatically provides something incredibly essential: a home that is a haven for our children.
Creating an encouraging, fun and warm environment for our kids here at home actually takes more work than I thought it would (back when I had one small baby and life was very simple). My mother developed this type of environment for our home so effortlessly, but honestly, motherhood and all it’s complexities doesn’t come naturally to me.
If that’s what you’re like too, it can take intentional effort to make sure our kids desire to be a part of our family and physically enjoy spending time in our home, especially as they get older and the constant barrage of activities they can be involved in can pull them away from us!
Here are five ideas that we have been implementing in our home and continue to work on each day. They are simple tips that you can bring into your home as well to create a comfortable place that your children will want to come back to each day!
5 Ways to Make Your Home a Haven for Your Children
1. Provide a place where they feel confident in sharing their feelings.
Whether you homeschool or send your children to school, I think it’s so important to make our homes a place where our kids feel comfortable sharing their struggles and other feelings. When I brush past my child who is super excited about the island they created in Minecraft or the number of baskets they made at the driveway basketball hoop, I am in a sense telling my child that I don’t care about the things that thrill them. If my daughter tells me about something unkind a friend said to her, it’s good to stop and take time to hug and talk with her about how to respond graciously when we feel hurt.
If our children don’t find compassion and understanding at home, they will search for it elsewhere. Strive to make this a habit when they are young! I am constantly finding myself asking God to make me aware of moment where me children really need me to pay attention instead of telling them to wait a minute.
2. Give them a chance to grow spiritually and emotionally with gentle guidance.
It’s such a blessing to be able to be chosen by God to parent our children. Teaching the Bible to them can lead them to a knowledge of the Lord, guided by the Holy Spirit. I pray that my husband and I will grow in the wisdom of the Lord so we can continue to teach our own children that wisdom and character!
Let your child know that you are their strongest supporter (besides God) as they wrestle through the different emotions and experiences of life both inside and outside the home. Share Biblical truth with your children without the lecture.
Some resources for teaching character and the Bible to your kids–simple guides to get you started, without the expectation of perfection!
- The Busy Mom’s Guide to Teaching Character
- 7 Ways to Teach the Bible to Your Children at Home
- 20 Hands on Bible Lessons for Kids
- 4 Ideas for Teaching Scripture to Your Baby or Toddler
- Kid-Friendly Bible Reading plans
3. Speak life to your children each day.
Encourage your kids and help them to see where their talents lie, brainstorming how they can nurture them. Tangibly show them love through hugs and kisses. Speak or pray Scripture over them and just simply pray for them whenever it comes to your mind each day. Teach them how to pray and inspire them to do the same for others. Don’t ever underestimate what a kind word can mean to your kids! A wise mom once shared that she tries to say eight encouraging statements to a child for every criticism that comes out of her mouth.
Download these 14 printable Bible verse cards to pray over your children!
4. Listen, even when you’re busy.
I know as much as anyone the craziness that ensues from trying to get anything accomplished with children around the house. Some days I wonder what I actually did for the eight hours between the time when my husband leaves and when he comes home!
But, even in that day’s time, I can be intentional about not simply being with my children, but being there for my children. Not only physically present but emotionally present as well. (You know where this is going, don’t you? ;) )
Put down the iPad, computer and iPhone! I really don’t want my kids to draw pictures of me sitting with my laptop at the kitchen table anymore ;) There are times during the day when I tell my children that I need to have some uninterrupted time working on a project but I usually end up being interrupted. That’s hard for this type-A personality!
While we don’t need to be slaves to our child’s every whim, I do think that we would benefit from stepping away from the technology more often, even if it just gives us the chance to take the kids on a walk or let them play in the yard while we sit and read an actual book or just relax in a chair….you know, when that opportunity actually presents itself!
A book that really gave me some tangible ideas and inspiration in this area was Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford.
5. Try to be at home as a family as much as possible.
Don’t over-involve your children in every activity known to man in an attempt to “build their skills” or make them better at something. While it’s great to encourage their interests, we don’t have to put them in every. single. extracurricular. that exists.
When I was in high-school, I was super involved in activities and clubs and, although it was a lot of fun and I excelled at what I participated in, looking back I realize that I hardly spent any time with my family. It’s great to gear our children toward their natural talents and interests but we also should fight hard against believing the lie that the need to be doing so much.
Take a hard look at your day-to-day schedule and see if you can “prune” the things that are a waste of time and money or that your kids aren’t enjoying so that more time can be spent doing activities as a family.
The benefits of family togetherness are endless and chances are our children won’t be playing hockey AND doing gymnastics AND excelling in the chess club (et. al) for the rest of their lives.
I truly believe implementing these things goes a long way in encouraging our children to desire being at home with their family! Through a nurturing relationship (it’s not easy but it’s worth it!) we can prepare them for the future and help them know that wherever they go, we will always be there to help.
If you want to do some further reading, I would highly recommend The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson!
Through personal stories and Biblical application, she has helped deepen my understanding of what motherhood as a calling looks like in daily life and how we can teach, instruct and encourage our children so that our relationships deepen.