My second child just turned nine. That is a monumental age. To me, it’s a bigger deal than 10.
Why you might ask?
Well, because it’s halfway to 18—which signifies that I’m basically halfway done raising my daughter before she’s able to be on her own! (A double-digit birthday ain’t got nothing on that milestone!)
Not surprisingly nine came quick, and I get the impression the next nine will go even faster. If you have older kids, I imagine you’d confirm that notion, and if you have littles, you probably don’t believe it.
Regardless, we all know our children are a blessing and our time with them is limited and valuable (Psalm 127:3). So, needless to say, we ought to make the most of each passing year!
Here are 4 simple ways to not let the years slip by:
Develop a daily routine to slow down and chat with your kids. Busy days quickly push out our noble intentions for good conversation. That’s why a built-in connecting point is helpful. Maybe a certain meal is a good time, or maybe during after-school snacks, or when you tuck them in at night. It doesn’t matter when, just have a time each day when you are available and attentive.
Make traditions that involve some weekly fun. I’m not talking elaborate, expensive, or time-consuming fun. I’m talking simple traditions where you drop your to-do lists and “hang out” a little. Pick something that involves some joyful moments, some laughter, or some family-friendly competition! (think: movie night, a board game, a hike, etc.)
Break away from normal routines every once in a while to spend extra time together. There are a lot of good and important things we’re all working towards regularly, but now and then it’s good to press pause, and enjoy each other. It could be in the form of a vacation, or an unexpected morning at the beach, or a day-trip to a fun place. Whatever it is, find time to make some extra special memories a couple times a year.
As often as possible use drive time to connect! Most of us will find ourselves in the car with our kids several times each week. Capture those mundane minutes and turn them into sweet moments! Share about your day, tell funny stories, sing to the music, memorize Scripture together. Since car time happens even during the busiest of seasons, you might as well maximize this inevitable time you’re all stuck in one confined location.
Adding all of this to your life might sound overwhelming. But my guess is, you are already shooting to do most of it. The trick is remaining consistent. Of course, we won’t invest perfectly no matter how hard we try, but we can invest purposefully.
So pick a way (or two) you can invest better. It might mean you should get out your calendar and make some plans. Or set reminders on your phone to instill some new habits. These changes won’t dramatically change your life, and they shouldn’t replace your responsibilities. But they will help you build in some routined intentionality. Which is always worth the effort when it comes to the limited time we have with our kids!
So instead of letting the years slip by, let’s grab hold of each one by thoughtfully investing every day, every week, when we drive, and a bunch of other times in between.
— Heather Pace