Do your conversations with friends ever go something like this?

“Hi, how are you doing?”

“I’m pretty busy, how are you?”

“I’m so busy too! Life just never slows down, does it?”

Well, that’s how my conversations begin, anyway :)

There are lots of things we need to do as moms, wives and women. Household chores, work of many kinds, making meals, bringing kids to and from different events or appointments, nourishing a relationship with your spouse, not to mention the spiritual focus we’re supposed to have each day! When you have so many things calling for your attention, how do you zero in on teaching your child character? Is it possible to thrive and not just survive during these challenging moments of motherhood?

Yes, I think so! And it doesn’t have to be incredibly time-consuming either. Teaching character amid life’s busy schedule takes some preparation, which initially may take some time, but as you grow and learn about the Lord and His Word along with your children, you’ll find that the business of guiding your children’s spiritual growth comes more and more naturally!

In the first two days of this series, we talked about the most essential thing we need to grasp about teaching character in our children and how we can lay the foundation for effective training and teaching. Now let’s look at some practical techniques for redeeming the time so even the busy moments of our days can be used in a most excellent way {see 1 Corinthians 12:31 leading to chapter 13}! Just to warn you, this post is a bit longer than most but I hope that it will be helpful and encouraging to you!

First of all, I want to start off by saying that throughout this post I use the words training and teaching. I actually wasn’t very fond of the term “training” because it sounded to me like I was making my children obey–training them–like a dog. I’ve taken some time to look this term up in the dictionary and in the Bible. Here’s what they say!

training: {noun} the education, instruction or discipline of a person that is being trained. {verb} to develop or form the habits, thoughts or behavior by discipline or instruction

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16

I’m realizing now that training is not a negative thing but something that is a part of our Christian walk and that Scripture is the primary tool used to make this happen! So here I use both terms, with the overarching understanding that it is really the Holy Spirit that trains and teaches my children as I rely on the Lord’s wisdom and knowledge!

Use Your Time Wisely – And Yes, that May Mean Creating a Routine

In the last post, I shared some thoughts on doing devotions as a family. So what is the best time of day to do so? Yep, you guessed it, in the morning. I’ve found that my children are much more attentive and better listeners when they’re fresh from a night’s sleep and are sitting at the breakfast table than they are during the time in the evening when we are supposed to be “winding down” {ahem}. Doing morning devotions is actually a habit we’ve fallen out of since I found out I was pregnant 2 months ago and was going through my horrid all-day sickness.

You can make morning devotions work for your family! Teach your children to get their clothes ready the night before {help them out a few times first}. This is a great opportunity for character training about responsibility and diligence! Print out a simple morning routine for them to get everyone moving. Not every morning will be the same but even for mommas who like to just go with the flow, a basic routine is incredibly helpful if you want to make the most of your time. And remember that a “routine” doesn’t have to be something intimidatingit just has to be some general events that I put into practice enough times to make it a habit. {Read also my four simple tips for creating a daily routine.} This is what our kids’ routine looks like:

During breakfast is the time when we will ideally begin doing morning devotions again. If you need some suggestions for what to use for kids’ devotions, I’ll have some ideas in Friday’s post!

Other ways that you can use your time wisely during the day:

  • Do devotions on the go. On the days when time falls through the cracks despite your best efforts, squeeze it in during moments in the car. Talk about a Bible verse or ask your child what you can pray about together and then do so right then. Check out Focus on the Family’s “Devotions on the Go.” {click on the link and then scroll down to Family Devotions by Topic}. I wish you could have these specifically as an app but if you subscribe for free to Thriving Family magazine, you can get the whole magazine as an app, which includes the Devotions on the Go. 
  • Listen to Scripture music, at home and in the car!
  • Pray over your children each morning, it only takes a few moments.
  • Point out the beauty of creation as you go on a walk or ride to school. Learn a few verses about creation that you can be reminded of as you talk about it!
  • Pray with your children at bedtime and spend those few moments to connect with them. I’m amazed at the spiritual discussions that arise when we just talk with our kids. 
  • When you do a service project with your kids, remind them of the eternal significance of their actions. Matthew 5:1-12 comes to mind for these moments!

Run Like Mad from the Things That Hinder Your Efforts in Teaching Character

When we’re busy mommas, the last thing we need is to have someone or something compromising our efforts. What are some things that may be working against us?

Now, I’m not saying we should all go live in a cave and read the Bible 24/7 while fasting and praying. ;) But I’d encourage you to take a look at the books your children are reading and the tv shows and games your kids are playing to see if they are really just compromising all the effort you’re putting into teaching your children! No “one step forward, two steps back” for us! 

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

For instance, I won’t let my son read the Junie B. Jones books because I feel that her character is disrespectful and speaks in a sloppy manner. Caillou is a no-no in our house because I think he’s whiny and pouty to his parents and still manages to get his way. These are just a couple of example for our family; everyone sees things a bit differently in these areas. As we compare things to what we call the “Philippians 4:8 rule”, the Holy Spirit will show us what we can each do to fill our kids heads and hearts with what is good!

Pay Attention! {To Your Kids}

Many teachable moments seem to pop up when I’m busy doing something else, like checking Facebook or organizing a closet. Kids fighting for the umpteenth time? Resolve today to address this every time. Remember that in the beginning this moment by moment character training takes some effort but it pays off and will save you time in the end {kind-of like keeping an organized pantry so you can quickly find what you need in the future!}. Tomorrow I’ll share some specific examples of some of the things we’re aiming for in regards to character and how to address them!

Another thing that has occurred to me recently is how important it is for me to listen to my children if I want them to listen to me! Leading by example is so, so important. Like Amber says in her Purposeful Parenting post, kids will do as they see! I’m praying for an awareness of moments when my children want to connect with me so I can form a trustworthy relationship with them that will lead to better learning and growing for everyone. 

Minimizing our distractions is such a help in this area. These can be in the form of TV, books, the internet and the phone. We can be physically present but mentally absent from our children. If you feel convicted about how often you are distracted from teachable moments, don’t let those things have control over you! Instead, take every thought captive to Christ! He will give you the focus you need to make the most of every opportunity.

Tomorrow I’ll share some specific moments where I needed to put these principles into practice. I hope you’ll join me and share your experiences as well!

How do you “redeem the time” so you can teach and train your children?

Be sure to check out the other ladies taking part in the intentional living series {which this series is a part of!}. There are some wonderful topics being shared! Find the list of blogs and post topics here: 5 Days of Living Intentionally.

Shared at True Aim Education, Raising Homemakers, Raising Mighty Arrows and Walking Redeemed.

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5 Comments on Teaching Character When You’re Busy: Making the Most of Your Time

  1. Jenn, this is a REALLY good post! Such wise advice and practical application. I will be sharing this with my readers. Thank you for giving me the kick in the pants I need through this series :) You are a blessing to my life in many ways!

  2. It is an excellent point that there are so many seemingly innocent books/shows that are deadly for the character. Be beholding we become changed and as parents we have the blessed opportunity to determine what image we want to see our children changed into. Excellent post, Jenn!

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