There is No Summer Break for Christian Parenting. June is over, and many families are full swing into their summer routines. Long days at the pool, playing in the sprinklers, nights chasing fireflies, grilling, boat trips, and enjoying the sun being out a little longer. Family vacations may have started and ended, or perhaps one is coming up and the family is planning what that will look like. Most kids are enjoying not rushing off to school every day, and their parents are glad they don’t have to keep everyone on such a tight, stressful schedule, constantly on the move. Schedules for some families may stay the same, but for many, summer brings a little relaxation for the entire family.
Like an Arizona Pool, Parenting is a Job You Can’t Neglect
I was in the pool scrubbing after a major dust storm. If you’re in Arizona, you know we are hitting monsoon season, and with the large storms come an abundance of dirt and dust in the air. We got an above-ground pool for the first time this year, and while it’s fun, it takes a lot of work. Sometimes it’s almost therapeutic. To get in the pool, grab the brush and scrub off the sides and bottom, grab the net and skim all the leaves and bugs off the top and then get the vacuum and get the dirt and heavier items that have fallen to the bottom.
Watching all the dirt and grime disappear and the bright blue color return can bring a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Other times, it’s an inconvenience; especially when you have four kids and have one on the way. There are times I want to sit down and rest. I would love to be able to walk out any time of day/night and jump in the pool, simply relaxing without having to think about whether it’s clean, whether the chemicals are at the correct levels and whether bacteria might be growing somewhere that I can’t see. But this pool, as with Christian parenting, is a job you can’t neglect if you want it to achieve a specific result.
There May be a Break from School, But There is No Break for Parenting
In many ways, we feel summer is a time to let our parenting relax a little. School-age children are no longer bringing home mountains of homework. There are no class trips, big projects due the following day that your child forgot to mention (SURPRISE!), or parent-teacher conferences. Maybe you homeschool, and as the teacher, you get to relax and decrease your workload as well. Perhaps your child was having issues with another student, stressing over friendships, or struggling in a class. Summertime can offer a reprieve from many things. However, there is no summer break for Christian parenting.
Be Intentional About Your Parenting During the Summer Months
Christian parents are called to be intentional in raising their children. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says,
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontal on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Maximize your Opportunities
Christian parents can and should maximize the opportunity right in front of them. Your children are HOME! Maybe they still have camps, clubs, and time spent at friends’ houses. However, without the stress of all they must do during the year, this is a great time to build their character, improve your relationship, and ground them in faith. The sooner and more often we do this, the more likely our children will stand firm in those things as they grow older and face adversity. Starting now can also help establish a routine that you might be able to keep once the school year is in full swing in the fall.
Being intentional with your kids through the summer doesn’t have to mean an official curriculum or study. While it can be, it doesn’t always have to be a sit-down, focused conversation. Here are some ideas.
#1 Maximize Car Drives or Road Trips
Whether a quick trip to the store or a long trip for vacation, maximize the time spent in the car together. You are all trapped together, and there’s nowhere to run! It can be much more comfortable and less confrontational to talk in a car where you sit next to each other and not face-to-face. Many children of all ages will open up quickly when in the car. So, turn down the radio, roll up the windows, and ask your children some open-ended questions about their lives and interests to get those conversations flowing.
#2 Find a Particular Trait You’d Like to Focus on with Your Child
That trait might be patience, perseverance, self-control, etc. Grab a book like “Parenting with Scripture” by Kara Durbin and pick a character trait. Focus on that trait for a few days or a week, find verses associated with the character trait, and come up with prizes for memorizing the verse.
#3 Take a Structured Approach
If you’re like me and appreciate the more structured and routine schedule of a curriculum or study, that’s ok! “Not Consumed” has some great studies for children ages 4 to 18. https://store.notconsumed.com/collections/bible-studies
#4 On a Tight Budget? Try “Kids of Integrity”
Focus on the family has a free resource called “Kids of Integrity” https://kidsofintegrity.com, where you can pick a characteristic, and they provide Bible verses, activities, and discussion questions. It’s great for children from preschool to Jr High and allows you to adjust appropriately for their age and maturity.
#5 Watch a Movie Together
After the movie is over, discuss the film. Talk about the movie’s theme, hidden messages, subtle suggestions, etc. Tailor the discussion based on the child’s age, with simpler concepts for younger children. This is a fun way to teach your kids to think on a worldview level, to recognize that everything they watch is sending them a message, conveying ideas, most of which are secular rather than Biblical.
#6 Make an Activities List
Sit down as a family and list the things you would like to do together this summer. Then, make a schedule and start working on them. Summer will be over before we know it.
Make Christian Parenting Fun
Try to make it fun. Kids need to be allowed a break from rigorous academic study and to unwind for a bit. Summer may be the opportunity to do more practical application style learning.
Christian Parenting Does Not Get a Break… So Be Intentional
Whether you have a newborn baby waking you up all hours of the night, toddlers, school-aged children, teens, or even children who are out of the house, Christian parenting doesn’t stop. Your role may change, but it doesn’t end. Children need their parents to be there, to check-in, to open the door for conversation, and to encourage growth.
So, what are your plans for this summer? Whether on vacation, sitting on the porch, taking road trips, or reading before bed, how can you be more intentional with the time you have together this summer?
Share Your Thoughts!
We would love to hear your suggestions and what you have been doing this summer to be intentional about your Christian Parenting.
By Rebeccah Sinclair