How to Connect with Your Kids this Summer
Summer is here! Kids are out of school, college students are home, vacations are being planned, and it’s time for family! BUT… how can you make the most of that time? Below are my top ten suggestions to connect with your kids or teens this summer.
Between sports, homework, church, and friends, meal time can often take a back seat. Make it a priority to sit together as a family and have fun, engaging conversation. Try to avoid arguments, conflicts or heated subjects. Encourage your kids and tell them what they are doing right, why you are proud of them, and why you love them.
What was the hardest thing they dealt with this past year? What do they want most out of life? How can you be a better parent? How are their friends doing? Do they like their school? Do they feel loved and supported? Are they struggling with stress, anxiety or depression? As you talk with your kids, take a back seat and refrain from fixing, arguing or proving your point, and if they are struggling, ask them how you can help and what they need.
Encourage your kids to have their friends or their small group over. Provide food, games, movies, or whatever it takes (within reason) to create a fun and inviting atmosphere.
This means saying no to work, chores and homework one day a week. Traditionally, Christians practice Sabbath on Sunday, but if that doesn’t work for your family you can do it any day! Watch movies, read books, go swimming, explore the city, play games, visit friends and family…anything that promotes rest and rejuvenation.
Talk about what you are learning, how God is speaking to you, and where you need to grow. Apologize for mistakes you have made and ask for forgiveness. Pray for and pray with your kids. Refrain from gossip. Model compassion. Practice self-control. You are their greatest example of Christ’s goodness!
Traveling can be exhausting and stressful for your kids, especially if YOU are stressed. Schedule down time. Ask your kids what they want to do and give them some agency in the planning process.
Sign up to volunteer at organizations like Feed My Starving Children, Arizona Helping Hands or one of the many other organizations here in the Valley. Visit SBC’s outreach page for a list of organizations we partner with as a church. Modeling compassion will give you an opportunity to talk about God’s heart for the lost, and it will teach your kids how to live out their faith.
If they haven’t broken your trust, give your kids some added responsibility and independence. Psychology Today reports that young adults with overly involved parents have greater chances of developing anxiety or depression (see “The Effects of Helicopter Parenting” on the PT website). Summer is a great time to give them some added responsibility and freedom.
While it’s easy to get out of the habit with vacations and events, GET TO CHURCH. The more regularly you attend, the more likely your kids will build lasting friendships at SBC. It’s also important that your students develop relationships with their youth leaders and youth pastors!
Last, but certainly not least, read some books that will help you understand your kids’ generation. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few suggestions:
- Growing With by Kara Powell and Steven Argue
- Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World by James Emery White
- Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience by Mark Sayers
If we can support you in any way, please contact one of us on the YTH Ministries team. We’d love to come alongside you and your family!