“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’” Proverbs 31:27-29
“The habits of the child produce the character of the man.” Charlotte Mason
- It’s time to meet with your Jesus. He is the One who loves you and knows your every need before you even speak one word. Come to Him in faith as His daughter. He is with you and is closer than your very breath. Ask Him to speak to you. He will!
- Read Proverbs 31:10-31. Write verses 27-29 in your journal.
Establishing a Life-Giving Routine in Your Home
Once upon a time, I was a mom with littles. I remember how much fun it was to have young children in my home; it was a sweet and precious time in my life. As I was praying about this Bible study for our section on homemaking, I felt the Lord guiding me towards sharing about a life-giving routine that leads to a more peaceful and joy-filled home.
When I speak of a life-giving routine, I do not mean a rigid schedule. The type of routine I am talking about is more like a rhythm. A rhythm feels peaceful, not controlling. It allows for illnesses or a friend coming over to play. If the family has a chance to go to a movie together, the children can stay up a little later and enjoy some special family time. When we rule over our schedule instead of allowing our schedule to rule over us, we can enjoy spur-of-the-moment fun activities, knowing that the schedule will return to normal in a day or two. A rhythm helps you enjoy your life and the moments God brings across your path. It also helps your children feel safe and secure when they know what comes next and what to expect within their days.
Here are a few tips for your family on how to establish a life-giving routine in your home:
1. Mornings in your home should be pleasant. Greeting your children with a smile and telling them you are glad to see them creates a joy-filled start for their day. Put worship music on in their rooms as you wake them up and tell them, “This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 NKJV). Help your children learn to love mornings from a young age. As with everything else, you set the tone in your home. Make sure the mornings feel joyful! This may be challenging if you have been up all night with a sick child or couldn’t sleep for some reason. In my experience, spending a few minutes with God first thing in the morning, even when I was tired, helped me to be a better mom. Time reading the Word, praying, and committing my day to God, equipped me to enjoy my children and accomplish all God had for me that day.
2. To help your mornings go more smoothly, set the breakfast table the night before. Make sure you have what you need to enjoy a lovely meal together, even if it’s simple. Be sure to pray with your children for their day and read a little devotion from a children’s Bible. It’s a great way to start the day!
3. After breakfast, if you take your kids to school, do so while listening to a fun kids worship CD in the car. We made it a point to only listen to children’s worship music or books on tape in the car when we drove with the kids. When we dropped them off at any activity, we would tell them to “Go M.A.D!” meaning “Go Make A Difference!” Doing this helped our kids be mindful that they could make a difference for the Kingdom of God, no matter their age.
4. If you homeschool, make sure your school hours are spent with as much prayerful peace as possible. In our home, we read out loud a lot! But that didn’t mean our kids were simply sitting like little cherubs at the kitchen table while mommy read. No, we gave them delicious tea and hot cocoa as well as many crafts to construct while I read to them: Lego’s, knitting, sewing, puzzles, playdough, or watercolors. We made sure to allocate a budget each month for trips to Hobby Lobby for the kids. Both of our children are extremely creative to this day and have fond memories of our reading time.
5. Have quiet time in the afternoon. When our children grew out of their naps, we gave them the choice to sleep, read, or listen to a book on tape in their rooms for an hour while I rested in my room. Our daughter says that these were some of her best homeschooling times and that she loved that hour of resting and reading great books! Our son would quietly play with Legos in his room and listen to Adventures in Odyssey. He loved this time as well!
6. Make family dinners a priority. Establish a time for regular family dinners with no TV. Carve out time to eat together, even if you have sports or other activities, and make sure to ask questions of each other to get the conversation going. In our home, we always asked the question, “What’s the best thing that happened to you today?” or “High/Low;” which meant, “What was the best and the most challenging part of your day?” These questions helped us connect with one another and to linger at the table a little while longer. The dinner hour should be a sweet memory of your child’s life. When dinner is over, everyone helps pick up and clean. Put on some fun, active music and dance around the kitchen together as you clean.
7. If you have babies, begin to gently establish a consistent bedtime routine. I know there are a lot of schools of thought out there, but some of my husband’s and my sweetest memories are rocking and singing our babies to sleep. Looking back, if we did contribute to negative sleep habits for our babies by rocking them to sleep, the fact that we felt very close to them and they to us overruled the little bit of lost sleep.
Also, be sure to have realistic expectations for your baby’s sleep habits. Don’t be angry or grouchy with your baby because he or she is not sleeping like your friend’s baby. Let. It. Go! I assure you that your children will outgrow getting up at night. Be like Dory from Finding Nemo and “Just keep swimming!” Continue to be consistent, knowing all things take time, and soon your baby will outgrow the need to wake up at night.
8. Create a fun bedtime routine for your children! Be sure to begin bathtime and bedtime early enough to where you can take your time putting your children to bed. The bedtime hour should be one associated with a sweetness of spending time with mom and dad. In our home, we read countless books to our kids at night. Randy even read science encyclopedias filled with pictures to our daughter, Christie. As a child, science was her passion, and she is now happily employed as a software engineer. They also read through all of the C.S. Lewis children’s books.
9. Let your kids listen to fun books on tape after you tuck them in. You will need to account for this in your bedtime routine. We put our kids to bed 20 minutes earlier so they could listen to their favorite CD’s such as:
•Wee Sing Bible Songs (both of our children gave their lives to Jesus while listening to this). They are now available on iTunes.
•Classical Kids Collection (Kid friendly stories about famous classical composers).
•Adventures in Odyssey (From Focus in the Family).
•Your Story Hour (Uncle Dan and Aunt Carole tell a variety of stories, from Bible stories to American History stories).
10. Don’t sign your kids up for too many activities! One per child is plenty! Resist the urge to schedule every moment of your child’s life. Trust me, it’s not worth it. A child needs time to simply be a child.
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- How is the atmosphere of your home? Do your kids have a lot of meltdowns? What can you change in your home to make it less stressful? Are you too busy, especially at night? Do your children need more downtime at home?
What is one idea from today’s study that you can begin to implement in your home this week? Adding or changing one habit is usually doable, but don’t try to do too much all at one time. Maybe add one new change or habit every week or two. Give your family time to adjust.
I remember going into my daughter's room night after night and kneeling beside her bed and crying my heart out to God because I didn’t know how to be a Christian mom; I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. You know what? God is so faithful! He answered me and simply said, “Spend time with me, Deb.” And so I did. I began arising 15-30 minutes earlier each day so I could read my Bible and pray, and plan out my day with my family.
If there was one thing I would love to share with you is that God is personal and loves you as you are. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved by our amazing God! Come as you are! His loving presence can be practically known and experienced. He is not a God who is far away, He is near and easily found. He longs for you to come to Him!
Randy and I have been married for 28 years and we have two grown children, Christie, and Jack, and one answer to prayer son-in-law named Alex. And now I get to be a Gigi to my sweet little grandbaby, Aspen! Yay!