OUR DAUGHTERS WANT OUR TIME. DAVE AND I KNOW THIS. THE GIRLS PROVE THIS TO US TIME AND TIME AGAIN, YET WE STRUGGLE TO REMEMBER. HOW CAN WE SPEND MORE QUALITY TIME WITH OUR KIDS?
THE ONLY THING A CHILD WANTS FROM THEIR PARENT IS UNDISTRACTED, UNPLUGGED TIME.
First of all, I am not a resolution person. I am a reflective person. If there is a such thing as overly reflective, I might be that.
Honestly, despite how reflective I am, it doesn’t mean that I reflect and things instantly change.
Dave and I both struggle with time management and the distractions of life.
We are trying to focus on actually being emotionally present for our kids while being physically present. I think most can relate, right?
In order to tackle this parenting struggle we face, we decided to try a new system that will hold us more accountable and less distracted.
We will be incorporating a new technique at home so we can parent with the constant reminder that we all only have 18 years with our children before they leave our homes.
Bottom line for us: Our relationship with Jesus, one another, and the 18 years we get to spend shaping each of our daughters are the most important time commitments we have on this EARTH.
To complete our plan, we are using the following acronym -GUILTY– to help us remember that our number one job is to parent WELL.
I chose guilty because of those nights where I drift off to sleep listening to the music in my mind filled with the lyrics
as I recall my parenting mistakes from that day.
To make this “focus on time” task a little easier, each day will be dedicated to the accompanying letter in the acronym . We will have easy (or more challenging) activities to do for that specific day depending on our time commitments that we can’t ignore. We will use those activities to remind us to be a more positive presence while focusing on time even when we don’t feel that we don’t have time.
IF YOU ARE READING THIS AND THINKING THIS IS CRAZY THAT THEY WOULD NEED A REMINDER, KUDOS TO YOU. HERE IN THE CIRCUS, WE HIDE IN THE BATHROOM TO GET AWAY. The only time I find myself looking for is free time.
Also, I left Sunday out. With the exception of church, we try not to schedule much on Sunday. Everyone does what they need to do that day. Whether it be homework, look at a job, watch football, watch Netflix, have friends over, play, or nap it is always a spontaneous day with unlotimted free time and a lot less GUILT!
Here is an example of what this new plan would look like at our house.
G- God Time- We will do a more interactive devotional activity to get the kids talking to us about different topics and tie it into the importance of needing Jesus.
A simple craft, role playing different social “dilemmas” and good food would make this an easy night.
U- Uninterrupted- All devices off until the kids go to bed. Can you do this? Do you think it is impossible to spend that much time away from your phone? This will be tough.
No job, is more important than our kids…especially one night a week.
I- Instruction- While doing homework, we will make it fun. We will let them be the teacher and they will teach us their homework while they are taking the time to get it done in a more interactive way.
This will help them develop leadership skills and confidence. We can do this as a family or individually with each girl. These could be nights that leave a impact for a lifetime.
L- Let It Go- We will share stories with the girls of times we had to let things go. We can share stories of struggles we faced when we were their age. If we don’t remember or don’t have anything specific to share, a little time researching what kids their ages are struggling with takes minutes and makes us more relatable as parents.
Another idea could be to take the time to find books on my favorite website linked here Brightly. This is a great website where I find the perfect books for us to read as a family.
This will open up the lines of communication about times we had to face struggles, lessons we learned, and truly forgiving people by moving on in your words and your heart.
Now, before I write the next couple of sentences, please understand that I know that we all deal with different things that require more time for healing. I am specifically talking about my life.
No one has done anything to me that I have held onto in my heart. Of course, people and situations have made me unbelievably upset, but I know that I can let it go. I have learned how to eventually turn things over to Jesus. Of course I am able to recall if provoked, but I am working on that.
I also know that I am able to let it go because I had a near death experience and after the fact was able to say to Dave
“At least I wouldn’t have died mad at anyone. I hope no one was mad at me”
and that was almost 8 years ago. I have shown slight improvement.
I am talking real forgiveness. There has to be a time limitation of holding on to stuff in my life. I believe that not letting things go only separates us from God, so why not take the time to work on this as a family.
T- Time- On Friday nights we will take time to look back on the week and look ahead at what is to come.
Clearly, self reflection is so important. We will explain that we never parented “Insert Names” and humble ourselves while explaining that we are doing the best job we can and that is all we expect from them.
Naturally, we should expect is effort- not perfection. Only Jesus was perfect. How can we expect perfection from kids or adults? Kids need to understand that. This can be done at a restaurant, in the car, anywhere. It is all about communication, time together, and reflection.
Y- You- Get a babysitter, put a movie on for your kids and take time to be with just your spouse. Hide in your room with take-out, put your kids to bed early and order sushi, I don’t care what you do, but this night should be about your spouse and your relationship.
This is how your foundation becomes stronger and that foundation “builds” a stronger family. Consider this, spend time at the gym, your body gets stronger ; spend time with your spouse and your marriage gets stronger.
This isn’t a script that we will follow. We aren’t robots. We may not be able to realistically do this every night, but it costs nothing to try. I think we will quickly find our kids happier than they have ever been before.
Try these ideas too. Create your own ideas for each letter and share them. I want to have a greater impact on my kids. Don’t you?
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You can read about my initial experience after being in a coma for six weeks right here https://kristihertzog.com/what-is-happening-to-me/