One of the workshops I attended at the KidMin Conference was Working with Parents: What They Do and Don’t Need from Us with Gina McClain. One of the things she shared has me thinking a lot about family time. She suggested that rather than giving parents something else to do during family time, we should be encouraging and helping them enhance what they are already doing with their families.
Here are some suggestions:
Tuck In Time – Most parents with younger children are tucking them in at night as part of a bedtime routine. This is an opportunity to suggest a book to read at bedtime along with questions to go with that book. A worship song could also be added to the routine. It is also a time to encourage parents to pray with and for their children.
Dinner Time – Gina shared that statistically children who have family dinner three times a week do better educationally than those who don’t. She asked if then wouldn’t that be true spiritually as well. We could give parents suggestions on topics for discussions during this time by giving them a box with question/scripture cards that would prompt conversation.
Drive Time – Most parents spend a significant time in the car with their children driving to school, the store, practices, games, and recitals. This is an opportunity to provide conversation starters as well. Maybe in the form of a card that could hang on the rear view mirror or on the dashboard.
Movie Time – Rather than schedule a movie night at the church, we could provide everything needed to have movie nights for families in their homes. We could suggest a movie to watch along with discussion questions for parents.
One of the most important things that we can do is encourage parents in what they are already doing with their children rather than being critical of what they aren’t doing. Equipping them to enhance their family time together is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. It will have lasting effects not only on their children, but their families as a whole.