7 Ways to Invest in Your Kids.

Sometimes in the midst of the busy it’s easy to lose perspective beyond the dishes.

Yesterday, as I was trying to reclaim spaces within my home – after the boys decided to make a massive fort in our family room with every possible blanket and book and item – I thought about how it was actually important that they built that hideout. Even with the mess. It was about being able to step back and see the bigger picture, the hearts of those exploring and creative boys, and in turn investing in who they are and are becoming.

Today, I’m sharing with you some ways to invest in your kids and their hearts.

1. Let them be creative. And let’s face it, being creative means often, making a mess. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times where I’ve blurted out look at the gigantic mess that you’ve made and then one of my children will tell me back, with tears in their eyes, this was my amazing invention. Or project. Or set. Being creative means letting them make messes, mix up toys, and not follow all the obvious rules. Encourage creativity, but be prepared and remember that it’s most often not very neat.

2. Give them space. Kids need a schedule, but they also need space. It’s in that space, those free blocks of time, that they can begin to discover the things that interest them. If everything is hyper structured than the freedom to dream is dampened. Let them have snippets of time within their weeks where they can let their imaginations run wild and they aren’t being told why something won’t work or that there is no time and they need to hurry to the next thing. And remember point one, often a mess will result, but it’s not as much a mess but rather some bit of exploration.

3. Play with them. I am notorious for either playing with my preschoolers in their room and playing distracted as I’m pretending to drive a car around but am actually silently sorting their toys into the boxes or I tend to play what I want to play with them versus letting them choose what to play. I’m going to be real with you – playing takes work for me. My mind is constantly reminding me of all the things that I need to finish. I become distracted, impatient, and not really present. They need me, the not so focused on my to-do list mom, but rather at times the focused on being present to them. My trick? Set the timer. Be intentional. That pic? From last winter after a massive snowball fight in my yard with my boys. They still talk about it because it was about me joining in with their fun.

 

4. Establish a Routine. It can be a truly simple routine – with larger boxes of time that can be filled with what needs to be done – but it still gives a general order to the day. I’m not a planner that blocks everything out to fifteen minute increments. I am a planner that has a basic structure for the day. Kids need to know order – this actually blesses them because they know what to expect in the time to come. And, again, remember to cultivate space within those blocks of time for play, creativity, and imagination.

5. Invest in Yourself. I know, on a post regarding investing in your kids? Absolutely. Here’s why: You need to give yourself a dream, space, and time off. My appreciation for my family is often greatly increased after I return home from a couple hours with my girlfriends at the coffee shop. Why? I need to decompress. To talk about where I messed up, got frazzled, or did great. We need encouragement and fellowship. Motherhood is hard to do well on your own. Make sure to find something to do that you love – gardening, writing, playing piano {I’ve played since I was four}, knitting – I don’t care what it is, but just as your kids need space to create you need space to allow your creativity and your passions to flourish. Don’t wait until their older to invest in yourself this way – make it a priority to intentionally set aside time now.

6. Speak Well of Them.  Do we have times where being a mother is incredibly draining and frustrating? Absolutely. I do however, make it a priority to speak well of my children. There are times, of course, where I chat with my friends about things that are challenging or frustrating or overwhelming. We’ll talk about attitudes, strategies and hearts – but I make it a point to talk well about them. It’s easy to complain — so find a balance between talking about needs and still keeping our words about them ones they would be okay with hearing.

 

7. Celebrate Family. In our home, one of the things that I try to emphasize to my kids is the gift of family that they have – the connections with their siblings that will be with them their entire lives. I’ve been known to tell them how I dream about them wanting to continue spending time together throughout their entire lives and that I hope they’ll be playing Bridge someday after I’m gone. The platform for this is really begun now in these early years at home. Family matters. Make it a point to emphasize the gift of those sitting with you and to work to strengthen the bonds between family.

These are just seven of the ways that I invest in my kids.

What are some ways that you invest in your kids?

15 Responses to “7 Ways to Invest in Your Kids.”

  1. October 10, 2012

    Lynda Reply

    You’re so right about mess. It’s so important to allow some, but so difficult to see the mess from a child’s point of view rather than an adult’s. When my kids were learning to feed themselves I used to tell myself “it’s not mess, it’s science” whenever they turned a bowl over or mixed their juice into their food. How will they find out what happens if don’t let them experiment? How will they know what tastes they like if we don’t let them try different combinations?

    Thanks for a wonderful blog. So glad you and your daughter escaped safely the other day.

  2. October 10, 2012

    Rachel Reply

    Thank you, Lynda. It really is this constant reminding of myself that childhood is a bit messy. I get so stuck wanting everything to be perfectly ordered and yet sometimes my kids need a bit of freedom from the order so they can dream.
    Thanks for your kind words. Yesterday I drove by the section on the freeway where the accident happened and was amazed at all the skid marks all over the road. So grateful for today.
    Rachel

  3. October 10, 2012

    rollforpainting Reply

    mess is a difficult one for me…I’m not a neat freak at all and happy to allow messes…However we live in a small rented flat and I have to limit devastation somewhat because it is not my carpets and not my walls..

    not sure how to walk this line right.

  4. October 10, 2012

    Angela Reply

    Thank you for the reminder about being present with my kids. I have many opportunities to be with them and yet tend to be very distracted by all the things I need to do. Being tends to be a hard thing for me in general. Thank you for being a vessel through which God can do great things in many people’s lives.
    Angela

  5. October 10, 2012

    Rachel Reply

    @rollforpainting — I set limits and times for the creativity. I cannot have it constant chaos in my house. And, I have areas in my home that are always {or almost always neat} simply because I’ve learned that is what I need.
    You’re right – it’s a balance.
    Rachel

  6. October 10, 2012

    Jodi Reply

    Cooking/Baking! I have 4 children ranging from 14years to 17 months so it’s hard to spend quality time that’s capable of pacifying all of the kids. We are a very busy family with sports and school activities and it’s hard to set time to give strict individual attention per child above and beyond everyday life. So we cook or bake together. We have family movie nights where we plan a dinner and/or dessert that everyone gets to help build and enjoy. (Like build your own homemade stromboli’s followed by milkshakes) They learn lessons in working together, being different and having different opinions, and how to cook along with having fun! It can get messy, but they love it and feel so accomplished when their food and/or treats are done! And of course, picking the movie. It’s hard to find a happy medium with the age differences, but it IS possible! We ALL love these nights! I hope and pray they will all do this with their own families some day!

  7. October 10, 2012

    christina Reply

    LOVE THIS! I laughed about play time! It is so true though … all they really want is our time and attentions.

    I try to stop what I am doing and look at them when they are telling me a story.

    I always try and give praise I don’t want to always be re-directing or disciplining a little praise can go a long way!

  8. October 10, 2012

    Chris Carter Reply

    I loved all of these! I absolutely applaud your honesty on the playtime thing. I am the VERY SAME!!! Reading your words were just like saying them myself. Your ways of investing in your kiddos and your family sound so great. I guess the one additional investment I would add is spending the time in growing your faith, both for each individual and for the family unit as a whole. 🙂

  9. October 11, 2012

    Emily's World Reply

    We’ve never met but I just love and appreciate you so much! It’s true messes are there but they had fun in the journey to that mess. I make plenty of messes myself when I am doing my projects. Why is it that our brains always go to that to do list? It’s always there! I try really hard to step back and enjoy and remember I can only do one thing at a time.

  10. October 11, 2012

    Becky Reply

    Thank you.

  11. October 11, 2012

    Lynn Reply

    Praying!
    Psalms 86:5-7 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.
    My email address

  12. October 11, 2012

    lilndmama Reply

    We do a lot of crafts around here and so I try to always expect some sort of mess although sometimes it’s more than I bargained for!

    Through watching my son play I’ve learned that it’s important to let them pretend toys are something else. For so long he would take a toy cup or toy food and pretend it’s a spaceship and he’d run around all afternoon pretending it was a Tie-fighter or the Death Star and just go with it.

  13. October 11, 2012

    Alyssa Reply

    Love this post! Especially the creative one…I am usually the mom who blurts, “what a mess!” One way I am realizing my kids need me, is one-on-one. As they get older, they more time to talk and relate and question, without always sharing the stage with their siblings. This is hard cause my to-do list is running through my head. But…

  14. March 11, 2013

    Dance with Ashley Reply

    I love the focus on talking positive about your kids. I am constantly adoring my babes with my man, but often use girlfriend time as a chance to hash out some of my difficult parenting moments. I’m constantly working with others in my professional life to “talk positive” to create positivity… how important it is to do on the home front as well…

    I enjoy investing in my kids going on mini-adventures with them. I am the working parent and often my kids see me leave home. I love the opportunities when I get to take my kids with me – to work at rehearsal of a class, or on our own library/grocery store/playdate adventure. These are our times to go out into the word together and come home together.

  15. October 15, 2013

    Heather Reply

    I love this so much! I especially liked the first one — reminds me of something I read from Ann Voskamp’s blog years ago (something that has become one of my motherhood mantras that I have to repeat in my mind often), “Yes does mean more mess, but isn’t this how we bless?”

    A couple ways I invest: one, I bake with my boys (I was baking with my first when he was only 18 months old)and two, reading with them. Basically, I share a couple of my favorite things to do with them! 🙂

    Thank you so much for your blog. I can’t tell you how often it has been my pep talk. Thank you for finding and conveying so well the nobility found in motherhood.

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