Getting your kids ready may sound like an easy thing, but sometimes it can get downright stressful! Here are some ideas from the Bourque family to make your transition times more enjoyable and actually a meaningful part of daily life! (While this article targets parents, there are important principles for children’s ministry volunteers as well). I’ll get the difficult point out of the way first and then get into some fun stuff.
1. Getting your kids ready may take some SACRIFICE.
When you became a parent, you gave away some of your personal freedoms…you now have someone else to take care of. When you refuse to sacrifice or be a little flexible in this, tempers can begin to flair. So embrace the fact that you must give up some of your personal interests for the sake of family peace and unity! “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4).
2. AVOID “RUSH SHOCK” when you can.
When you rush your little ones and even your older ones (ok, even yourself) you set yourselves up for shock. No one likes to be interrupted and forced to move on. Solution? Create times of transition. This may mean waking up a little earlier (I have a REALLY hard time with this). You should give a warning that soon you’ll be leaving. As kids are old enough they’ll begin to understand, “In 10 minutes we’re leaving so turn off the tv in 5 minutes.” You could use a timer and say, “when this timer beeps it’s time to get your shoes on.”
3. Turn your getting ready times into CONVERSATION TIMES.
Talk about the day and what they’ll be doing. Share a positive and encouraging word with them as they zip up their coat. You may say something like, “You’re really good at math. What kind of problems will you be tackling today?” Or, “I know you’re having a difficult time with Jimmy, how could you be friendly like Jesus to him today?”
4. MAKE IT FUN!
My wife is a pro at this. She likes to make up little jingles. One of her instant classics is the bath time song. After dinner when we want to get kids ready for bath time we say, “IIIIIIIIt’s BATH TIME!” And then we break out in song, “Da na na na, na na, na na na na na, Da na na na, na na, na na na na na.” I’ll let you make up the tune for that one or ask Daphne Another jingle she made up that’s fun to sing when you’re getting ready or anytime goes like this, “Skiddly winky dinky dink, skiddly winky doo, I love you! Skiddly winky dinky dink, skiddly winky doo, I love you! I love you in the morning and in the afternoon. I love in the evening, underneath the moon. Skiddly winky dinky dink, skiddly winky doo, I loooove you!” A fun thing Sonora (and now Josiah too) likes to do is run around the neighbour’s driveway. Instead of raising my blood pressure demanding her to come I turn myself into a monster, or giant, or whatever and grunt and run and grab her playfully. Then I dump her into her car seat. With Josiah I like to wrestle his feet and toes trying to get his socks on. He loves the fact that I have to wrangle his wigglies while saying, “Get back here foot!”
What ideas do you have?
I hope your family will continue to grow into a place of wonder for your children. I hope that they will wonder eagerly about what you’re going to do next. I also hope that their sense of wonder about you will eventually turn into wondering about Jesus who fills you up with the love that you are showing to your kids!!