Sometimes maneuvering through the years of parenting a young child can be pretty daunting. The Bible has a lot of good guidance, but sometimes God arranges for us to “live and learn” while trusting that He is working in spite of us. Now I have to say that I had my challenges as the parent of a little one, but my situation was rather unique…I was older (let’s just say over 40), I had the freedom to be a stay-at-home mom, and I only had one child to “train up” in the way she should go. It was fun and I want to share with you some of the keys that made it a worthwhile time – for both of us.
I made a point of making sure we enjoyed activities together. I didn’t sit her down in front of the TV and hope she was entertained or learning. We would venture off to the playground with Abby riding her little bike and me walking. Once there, I didn’t just sit and watch her play by herself. We would do trains down the slide, race up the hill, play follow the leader, and try to climb up the slide with tennis shoes on. I would push her “really high” (in her estimation) on the swing. What delight would show on her face and in her sweet blue eyes! How did I know this made a difference? One clue was from the other children who were playing without a parent. Yes, they had a friend, but several children would often enter into our fun saying, “Look at me!” because the involvement of an adult matters to a child – more than we realize.
We didn’t just do the playground, we did puzzles and colored together. Her confidence grew because I asked her about different color options for my picture or I commented positively on hers. Children love to help us locate that right puzzle piece we just can’t seem to find. We baked cookies and she decorated them which gave her decision making opportunities. Some days we would have popcorn and together watch one of her videos.
Since my husband worked nights, I would climb into bed beside Abby for prayer time with her and thank God, out loud, for as many positive attributes that I could remember her displaying though out the day. I might comment on how fast she ran, her obedience, picking up her toys, her good humming, her helping efforts or remembering. I made sure to say,” I love you on your good days and your bad days; your hard days and your easy days. I love you always.” And I made a special effort to ask forgiveness for grouchiness when necessary. Her little heart would swell with pleasure and self worth.
Parents, you matter. Take as much of an active role in your child’s life as you are able. They need you and want you to show you care. The days fly by so swiftly.