Summer is upon us, and I know how quickly our schedules can fill up and before we know it's September. I loved summertime when the kids were off of school, and the pace was a bit slower with more family time. We can too easily get addicted to activity and not take the time to relax together as a family.We can too easily get addicted to activity and not take the time to relax together as a family.
Below are some ideas adapted from Little House on the Freeway by Tim Kimmel. This book would be a great read to start your summer. It's a helpful, practical read and just a good reminder that there are many things we can be doing but we don't have to lose our calm and joy along the way. Mr. Kimmel helps us to see how Jesus had a hurried life placed upon Him, but there were things he did specifically that enabled Him to maintain joy and calm in the midst of it.
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
~ Psalm 90:12
I'm sharing the ideas below for summer but they are year-round activities.
I'm usually the planner in the family, so I'm going to print out this list and work some of the ideas into our weeks this summer. Even though our kiddos are adults, I can still work some of these in with them and with my grandbabies.
If you'd like some date night ideas with your spouse check out this post and this one for questions to work through as a couple. There are some helpful family conversation starters here for those dinner nights at home.
25 Ways to Enjoy Your Family:
2. Take your wife on a dialogue date.
3. Read your kids a classic book
4. Memorize the Twenty-third Psalm as a family.
5. Give each family member a hug for twenty-one days in a row (they say that's how long it takes to develop a habit).
6. Pick three nights of the week in which the television will remain off.
8. Plan a vacation together.
9. Take a vacation together.
10. Sit together as a family in church.
11. Take a few hours one afternoon and go to the library as a family.
12. Write each member of your family a letter sharing why you value them.
13. Take each of your children out to breakfast (individually) at least once a month for a year.
14. Help your kids with their homework.
We have only the time allotted by God, and none of us knows when it will run out. Every Christian life runs by His divine timetable and against His divine clock. We do not know how long He will hold open the door of a given opportunity or of our entire time of service. “Be careful how you walk,” Paul counsels, “not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). God gives us many things without limit – His love, His grace, and many others. But His gift of time is strictly measured.
~ John MacArthur
15. Put together a picture puzzle (five hundred pieces or more)
16. Encourage each child to submit to you his most perplexing question, and promise him that you'll either answer it or discuss it with him.
17. Tell your kids how you and your spouse met.
18. Call your wife or husband from work just to see how they're doing.
19. Complete a family tree and teach your children the history of their ancestors.
20. Get involved in a family project that serves or helps someone less fortunate.
21. Spend an evening going through old pictures or videos of family vacations. Put together a ChatBook from the photos on your phone.
22. Praise your spouse and children—in their presence—to someone else.
23. De-clutter your house together.
24. Become a monthly supporter of a Third World child. Write them letters together as a family or assign the children different turns each month to write and send a picture. (We personally support a child with Compassion.)
25. Give each child the freedom to pick his favorite dinner menu at least once a month.
My last thought is the reminder of how special bedtime rituals are as a family. My children are grown but my son was back home for a short season, and I still loved just sitting in his room with him chatting together and kissing him goodnight.
We can get so busy and forget to cherish these moments together. Give your children the sweet gift of the sense of calm and peace before bed. If you don't have a bedtime routine established I encourage you to start one. Maybe it's stories, praying over them or singing them a song as you tuck them in. I still have memories of my grandmother tucking me in at night and singing sweetly to me.
Let's slow down the pace if we're feeling hurried and take the time to determine our priorities as a family.
There are some simple options from this list that you can incorporate daily to get those moments to sit and just be with your kids and your husband. Again, figure out what you good things you may need to say “no” to so you can say “yes” to the best.
“The more scarce something is, the more valuable it is. Gold and diamonds would be worthless if you could pick them up like pebbles on the side of the road. Time would not be so precious if we never died. But since we are never more than a breath away from eternity, the way we use our time has eternal significance.”
~ Donald Whitney
Little House on the Freeway by Tim Kimmel