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Let’s Do It Together

Let’s Do It Together

“I get to see a real person?”

I’d just gotten off the phone with my friend and the kids’ beloved babysitter. She’d called to say she was on her way over to pick something up. Our seven-year-old daughter heard my side of the conversation and couldn’t contain her excitement over seeing an actual person somewhere other than a computer screen.

When our friend arrived, the kids rushed onto the front porch to say hello. Though we maintained a six-foot distance and chatted in the front yard, it felt good to enjoy a face-to-face conversation.

Months of social distancing have taken their toll. But they’ve also taught us the value of human connection. Of sharing life with the people who live in our spaces.

It’s easy to take for granted those we love the most. Even in our families, we can unintentionally live parallel lives and forget to enjoy the relationships within our own walls.

I’m thankful for the reminder to see my people. To value our interactions and invest in those around us.

Here are four ways we can be intentional in cultivating togetherness in our homes:

  1. Make room for fun

I’m a bit of a no-nonsense person. At any given moment, I could recite the mental to-do list looming in the back of my mind. Most days, work feels more important than play. Yet if I wait until it’s all done, I’ll never stop to enjoy our life.

I’m learning to see the value in play. For in those moments when we’re simply enjoying each other, I learn a lot about my people — their strengths, their passions, their sense of humor. And I realize that the memories we’re making help build our family and solidify the relationships we share.

So make room for fun — family movie nights and afternoon board games, books read aloud and hikes through the woods, cookie baking and Lego building, bike rides and jumping together on the trampoline. It all adds up to shared experiences and hearts drawn close.

  1. Prioritize one-on-one time

While family time is priceless, our kids need one-on-one time with us, as well. They need to feel seen. To know we like them and want to spend time focused on them.

Ask what they’d like to do together – just the two of you – then do your best to make it happen. I love seeing each child’s personality shine as we spend these times with one another. My oldest daughter likes to scroll through Pinterest or just sit and talk. My son usually wants to build with Legos or take a bike ride. My littlest enjoys baking something we’ve never made before or reading a book.

If you have more than one child, be creative in occupying your other kids while focusing on just one of them. You can designate a “quiet time,” where everyone spends 30 minutes playing or reading in their room. Or set out coloring books on the kitchen table while an audio book plays in the background. Or make a stack of board games for them to play together. Be sure each child knows this is a special time for just you and their sibling, but that they can look forward to their turn soon.

Planning for these times takes some intentionality, as well as a good dose of spontaneity, but it’s well worth making a priority.

  1. Face hard things together

The Bible talks often of the value of facing life with another person. (See Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.) Especially in the hard times, our kids need to know we’re with them and for them. Whether it’s a worldwide pandemic or the uncertainty of a new school year, let’s give our kids the gift of knowing they’re not alone — that come what may, we’re in this together. And that even when we don’t have all the answers, we’ll walk through uncertain times with them.

Recently, God taught me that this concept of togetherness is also helpful when I must administer discipline. As our perfect Father, He wants to walk through hard times with us — even when they’re the result of our own foolish choices. So when possible, face the consequences with your child. If it’s a time out, have them sit in the room with you. If it’s an added chore, grab another broom and help them sweep the floor.

Let’s make sure our kids know we’ll face the future with them.

  1. Invite them in

In Romans 14, we’re reminded to accept those who are different from us, because God also accepts that fellow believer. In the Bible’s original Greek, the word “accept” carries the connotation of welcoming into friendship.

I love that picture and the application it has on day-to-day family life. Each family member is so very unique, yet God calls us to welcome one another into friendship.

Invite them to work with you in the kitchen. Let them join your no-longer-quiet “quiet time.” Share your struggles and what God is teaching you through them. Let them walk with you through the ups and downs and ins and outs of everyday life.

As families, we have the privilege of enjoying human connections each and every day. Let’s invest in those relationships and be purposeful about doing life together.

By: Meredith Mills is a wife and mother to three inquisitive, adventurous, fun-loving kids. She loves finding Jesus in the everyday and is passionate about helping others experience Him, too. She blogs about living from a heart at rest at www.DazzledByTheSon.com. Connect with her on Facebook at Dazzled By The Son and on Instagram and Twitter @DazzledByTheSon.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

2 Comments

  1. Meredith, these suggestions are absolutely fantastic! My kids are teens and all 4 of your points are still completely applicable–just the reminder I needed today.

    I have never thought of participating in my child’s discipline with him/her. What a beautiful model of how Jesus remains with us even as we face the consequences of our sinfulness!

    Thank you for taking the time to pay attention to what’s happening in your home and for sharing it with us.

    • Carol, thank you so much for your encouraging words. Parenting is such a learning process! I’m thankful we have the perfect Father as our Teacher!

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