None of us really expected that we would be indoors together, not really having human contact with other people and it can be really hard, for so many reasons. It’s easy to go to social media and vent about how difficult it is to be with your spouse 24/7 or how challenging it is to be with your little humans all the time. And yeah, it’s easy to get on each other’s nerves and it’s hard to be in close quarters with people.
But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? What if our children look back ten years from now and remember this spring and summer, not as primarily frustrating or frightening or an angry time, but rather a time of fun and deeper relationships with siblings and parents and meaningful conversations? And yes, even intentional spiritual growth. I truly think it’s possible and I want to offer you ten ways to bond with your family during this time. Lots of these are things that my family and I have been doing together even this past week.
Number one: the biggest thing is to read together. We try to read the Bible together over breakfast, which is so much easier now that everyone’s home. It’s one of the bright spots to have a consistency in our schedule and not be rushed to catch the bus anymore.
Things like simple crafts can keep children engaged. Another thing you might be able to do is to read a family devotional together. We also listen to audiobooks together. So reading together is number one.
Number two is bake or cook together. You can share some of your favorite childhood recipes with them, something that your parents would make for you. Or maybe you try that one recipe that you’ve always been meaning to make but you’ve never had time. Just make memories and have fun in the kitchen.
The next idea is to pray together. And it can be it can be a challenge sometimes with little ones, I know – because I have little ones! But it can also be very rewarding. One way to do this is to create a prayer jar where each family member can drop in requests either at a certain time each day or throughout the day. Then have a set time aside where you pray over those requests.
Another idea is to write letters. One thing that I want to do during this time is to encourage my children to write letters . I want to write letters to my friends that I haven’t seen now for quite some time. But I also want to pass that on to my children as well. Just imagine surprising grandparents and cousins with a letter from the whole family. Again, you’re creating positive memories, you’re using your time in a way that bonds you together, but also serving other people as well.
The sixth idea is to go outside and play together. It’s embarrassing to admit, but so often we give our children our divided attention. I’ll have my phone in one hand and I’ll be watching my child out of the corner of my eye. Or maybe I’m stirring the pot for dinner, or I’m at the oven, or I’m washing dishes, or I’m putting laundry away. We’re always doing something. But this is an opportunity to slow down and to be present with our children, to just pour our attention on them.
Number seven is to take a time out with your spouse. This can be a challenge: date nights just aren’t going to happen for a few weeks, so my husband and I have to get creative to spend time alone. Last night after our little show in the basement and playing together with our kids, we snuck upstairs and left them to play (they were playing so well!) and we went in the laundry room and snuck some ice cream. It was just the two of us in the laundry room eating ice cream, catching up on life, and just saying, “How are you doing? How are you really doing?” And again, giving our spouse our undivided attention. It was just such a sweet time, maybe just twelve minutes. We heard the kids running around the house looking for Mom and Dad and we snuck out of the laundry room so they didn’t know our secret hiding place. It was just so much fun. But it was a connecting point with my husband and we’ll probably keep doing that in the weeks to come as well.
Number eight: create screen free days. I talked about putting the phone away, but we’ve been doing this for a few months now. Mom and Dad put their phones away, the kids put their tablets away. We put the TV, Netflix, shows, and everything away and we just be together. It creates space for our souls to breathe. It creates space for us to just talk with one another, to take naps, to wrestle and have tickle fights, to have dance parties, or bake. You’ll be surprised at the sense of relief that comes when you put screens away. So try that.
Number nine, is serve together.
A way to serve together as a family is to volunteer to serve the elderly and the immunocompromised in your communities, in your neighborhood. To run errands for them or do grocery shopping for them so that they don’t have to leave their house. You can serve that way with your kids and, again, it bonds you in a way that it’s harder to do when we’re rushed. This time of slowing down and being together can really help us that way.
The last one is probably the hardest, and that is to serve one another.
One thing that I’ve done that I think you could do as well is to surprise your children. I snuck out of the house this week went to the Dollar Store to buy some supplies. And I made these little baskets for my kids that have some playing cards, a glue stick, a ChapStick, a Ring Pop, some seeds for them to plant, and I wrote their name on it and personalized it for each one. They were so excited that I had thought of them, that I went out of my way to put something together for them. It was super cheap and just a little way to serve my kids during this time and to let them know that they are my joy.
The last part of this is to invite our children and our family to join us in serving one another in this way. I was thinking of challenging my children to secretly clean each other’s rooms or fold each other’s laundry, to make them part of this conspiracy that we’re going to surprise their sibling.
These are some of the things that we have been doing as a family. I would challenge you to write down one specific thing that you’re going to do in the next 24 hours, one way that you want to pour into your family, love on them, and bond as a family. Allowing God to use this time to refine us in the way that we love and serve one another.
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ASHERITAH CIUCIU is a bestselling writer and speaker, wife to her high school sweetheart Flaviu, and mama to three spunky kiddos. She grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and studied English and Women’s Ministry at Cedarville University. Her passion is helping women find joy in Jesus through creative and consistent time with God’s Word. Discover your creative Quiet Time personality at www.OneThingAlone.com.
This content originally appeared at www.moodypublishers.com/help for the Moody Publishers Rethink Rhythms. Find Joy. campaign. Used by permission.