As a kid, you count the days until summer fun begins!
As a parent, you count the days until summer is over.
It’s not because we don’t love our kids. We go to the zoo and the pool and the park. We take a family vacation. We go to the zoo and the pool and the park again. Our kids are enjoying the summer fun so much they say, “I’m bored!”
Cue screen time. And cue guilt for all the screen time our precious angels are getting. The cure is “higher quality” (as in, ridiculously expensive) summer fun: art day camp and soccer and basketball camp and sports at the Y and VBS and … and … and …
And we’re broke, singing, “Blessed is the day, the school bus comes our way.”
What if you could get to the end of the summer feeling like you’ve connected with your kids, you’ve helped them connect with God, and you actually had fun doing it? And, even better, what if you did it without opening another credit card, taking out a payday loan, and mortgaging your life away?
Don’t worry. I’ve got your back. Here are a few categories to focus on with your kids and a checklist of simple, fun, and cheap activities to help you disciple them. You don’t have to be a Pinterest-savvy, Instagram-worthy mommy blogger to have fun with your kids!
Together Time: “Our family eats dinner together every single night …” Let me just roll my eyes as I get off work, cook dinner (aka visit the McBurgerplace drive-through), give baths, put kids to bed, do laundry, clean up the cat’s puke, walk the dog, and wash the dishes that somehow got dirty despite the McBurgerplace dinner. Bottom line, we can’t all eat dinner together. But we can be intentional about finding a spot on the calendar—weekly, daily, twice weekly—whatever—when the whole family gets together without phones, tablets, TV, or other distractions. It’s pretty awkward when your family’s not used to it, but over time it can turn your family from a bunch of crazy roommates to a team conquering life together!
Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. Ephesians 4:3 NLT
Family Values: What values does your family stand for? Maybe you have a wonderful list you wrote before your first kid was born. Check that unfinished baby book—it’s probably in there—then revisit those values, post them, and get your kids involved in creating a couple. When your family’s got vision and direction, you can grow in unity, be passionate about the right things, and know what you’re standing up for, together.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6 NLT
First Things First: What’s your priority? Survival, right? There’s hope! You can transition from survival mode to having priorities that bring peace, routine, and closeness with Jesus into your family. Start small. Maybe you can thank God for the day before you get out of bed. Then maybe you can read the YouVersion verse of the day as your precious angels howl at you from the other room. Make Jesus a part of your whole family’s routine without duct-taping headphones on your kids’ ears and forcing them to listen to the KJV audio Bible. You can pray with your kid before you give them their Pop Tart! You can sing about Jesus while you brush their teeth! I believe in you!
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 NLT
Now, get out there and start having some summer fun!