MY DAUGHTER Charissa and her husband Daniel have been doing well to make life manageable in raising three young children aged 8, 7 and 5 living far from relatives. It gladdens our hearts to see our grandchildren growing up to be creative, imaginative, productive, engaging, and responsible. Here is her take on what works for them.
Daniel and I grew up in different cultures and backgrounds but the one thing we have in common is that we were raised by parents who truly love and obey God. Our parents are wonderful role models when it comes to prioritizing God in their daily lives and they strive to pass on this baton not only to their children but most especially to their grandchildren. God has used this to foster in us the desire to be involved in ministry wherever we are planted. Right now, God has planted us in a foreign country. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but currently we are away from any “village”– no extended family to come along side us as we raise our kids. Thankfully, we have a big God who helps us maneuver this calling of parenthood. We are not perfect parents in any way, but I have found that the following concepts have worked well for us at this season in our lives.
Routine. The importance of routine in children works really well for us. My kids follow a routine during school months and also in the summer months. A routine helps them know what is expected of them and encourages them to be independent, and helps me remember the important things in the day. Daily routine includes fixing their own beds, morning devotions, memorizing verses, reading chapter books, practicing musical instruments, school work, chores, outdoor time and free play. These varied activities throughout each day leave little room for screen time. The kids know there is only a set amount for screen time, so we do not end up arguing over whether or not they can watch TV. Having a routine also leaves little room for the kids to be bored – although, being bored is not a bad thing at all, as they are quick to entertain themselves and look for activities to do or create during their free time.
Chores. I grew up in a home where we had help. My parents provided opportunities for me to learn, but it was not an everyday thing. When I pursued an M.A. degree overseas, I had to learn everything. That time was a crash course to “prepare” me for being a home maker. Although we could hire help, I have embraced the opportunity to use this time to train the kids to learn age-appropriate chores that build on their independence and give them a sense of responsibility. I include these in our daily routine checklist so they know they have chores to accomplish each day. One of the basic chores we worked on was learning to fix their beds. It was a battle to get them do it at first, but as they performed it daily, they got better each day that I can proudly say they fix their beds as well as an adult. Doing other chores around the house became easier too, especially when you clean with them. Their chores include putting away clean dishes, sanitizing light switches and doorknobs, throwing away trash and putting their toys in order. My eldest is now taking part in baking and cooking in the kitchen, which she enjoys. (To be Continued)
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