7 Family Habits to Strengthen Relationships

10 01 2012

The book called Parenting Beyond Your Capacity has a chapter discussing family rhythms. Every family has a rhythm, but not all rhythms are deliberate and strategic. Not all families have a plan, but every family settles into patterns, habits and rhythms that shape their lives together. I want to have a family that doesn’t drift off into eternity, but one which paces itself with planned persistence. Part of the plan includes training and specific habits to guide our growth and journey together. The following is not a complete list, but just some standouts that the Bourque family tries to hold to:

  1. Breakfast together including a Scripture verse to memorize.
    1. We use Foundation Verses on my iPhone (from Fighter Verses adapted for kids). You can also access it from the web.
  2. Prayer before school.
    1. Just a short, simple prayer to send everyone off with a reminder that God goes with us throughout the day.
  3. Walk to school, word of encouragement.
    1. I walk my oldest to school on purpose.
    2. I enjoy the relational moments, the fun conversations, jumping over the cracks and making footprints in the snow!
    3. I try to think of ways to encourage her for the day ahead.
      1. Exs: What will you talk about with your friends today? How can you give your best? When someone is mean to you, how can you respond like Jesus?
  4. Play with kids after work
    1. Love this part of the day.
    2. I get to act like a kid, be a horse to ride, wrestle with my boy to show off his tough side, watch my girl dress pretty and tell her how lovely she is.
    3. See You Have What is Takes by John Eldredge for using life as a way to help answer your kids’ primary questions.
  5. Devotions at dinner.
    1. We use a variety of tools, but primarily the Bible.
    2. Tools include: Long Story Short, Thank God Tell God flashcards (prayer cards I made up for my church), Gather ‘Round the Dinner Fable, etc.
  6. Prayers at meal times.
    1. This establishes a consistent time throughout the day to connect with God with thankful hearts.
  7. Bedtime rituals (one of my favourite times of the day):
    1. Brush teeth/get in pyjamas.
    2. Reading
      1. Mr. Men and Little Miss books, Dangerous Journey/adventure stories, kid friendly biographies/missionary stories, board books, educational materials, etc.
      2. We let kids often choose what story they want to read.
      3. Basically, we keep bookshelves filled with all kinds of books to choose from.
    3. Bible story
      1. The Jesus Storybook Bible, Manga Bibles, etc.
    4. Bedtime snuggles and conversation.
      1. We debrief the day and basically talk about anything that comes to mind.
      2. Sometimes we just lay together.
    5. Bedtime prayer
      1. This is a time we guide our kids on all kinds of prayers. Prayers for friends, family, people around the world, etc.

Other habits: take kids to store, mini-dates, lots of hugs and “I love yous.”

While we seek to keep to these habits, we admit that with being human comes error. We do not always do this perfectly every day and that’s okay. However, we do them consistently, and when we don’t do them we simply get after it again next time.

What are some of your habits? I’d love to know!

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