10 Ways to Nurture Your Children

 Hello y’all! Did you get to read that post I wrote about ways to pray for your husband {inspired by this bookmark}? Well, I am back today with 10 Ways to Nurture Your Children, courtesy of Time Warp Wife.

One of the things I am always paranoid about is worry that I am somehow doing something that is teaching my daughter that I don’t have time for her, love her, care about her needs, care when she cries, etc. Of course, this is an insecurity not based on much since I do all of the above things, but I think every mom has things that she worries about or feels inadequate in.

I’m afraid that I am going to do something to my child unconsciously, and somehow mess her up psychologically. Totally a dart from the devil, right?!

I love these 10 ways to nurture your children because it helps me to see specifics that I can do often in order to foster a nurturing environment and home.

1) Provide an atmosphere rich in love and faith – no brainer, right? Well, sometimes I think that we get so caught up in the tasks of the day and the doing, that we forget to pour on the hugs and kisses. I try and make a point to tell my daughter I love her, that Jesus loves her, and shower her with physical affection. I’m a hugger…so it comes naturally ;)

2) Honor your husband so they will honor him too – If you haven’t noticed, our kids tend to mimic what we do. From my daughter jokingly saying, “You stop it!” to me when I’m not following her playing lead to when she accidentally picked up “shut up” from her auntie, they hear us, see us, and will mimic us. That is why it is so incredibly important for us to model respect and honor to people – especially their father. Even showing him affection, laughing with him, and making your relationship with him a priority will show your children how to honor one of life’s most important relationships.

3) Spend time with them so they feel loved and respected – This can come in many forms. I just read an article from a friend talking about benefits and negatives of working moms and stay-at-home moms. Obviously, the season of life the Lord has you in is going to affect your ability to spend lots of time with your kids. I do believe, however, that if the Lord has called you to work out of the home, he will provide in many ways to the relationship with your kids. Anyway, this is one I struggle with. Running a blog, shop, and a home can often take time away from our families. I have found myself saying “Just a sec,” way too many times…and so lately, I have been watching this. If my daughter comes up to me when I am doing something, I make her my priority. I listen, help, and chat…and if it requires me to come away from what I am doing, I am trying to remember that my daughter is SO much more important and that these “little people” days are few.

4) Teach scripture to your children – This obviously comes as they get old enough to speak and memorize things, but helping them to memorize even the smallest phrases is a great start. Our daughter knows “God made everything,” “Jesus is God,” and “God made you special, and He loves you very much” {that last one is thanks to VeggieTales – heehee}. She also has memorized the story of Noah and pieces of other Bible stories. While we have yet to embark on scripture memorization, I know it isn’t too far off and that she will pick up on it. This is important because it helps them to store the Word in their own little hearts. For my child to understand that God is always with us, and then for us to repeat that when she gets scared of thunder during a rainstorm, this is teaching her to rely on God and His Word.

5) Exemplify the values you teach – Oi. Practice what you preach. Easy to say, hard to do sometimes! But like I said earlier, our kids watch us, and what better example to what we teach them than our own behavior. It also holds us accountable!! Teaching my daughter not to speak disrespectfully to mommy or daddy holds me accountable to not speak that way to others when she can hear me…which in turn helps me to keep a bridle on my tongue always. Not only when my toddler is within earshot.

6) Teach them the importance and the power of prayer – I love this one. We have included prayer as a part of my daughter’s bedtime routine since she started sleeping in her own room at 3 months old. Now, she participates in thanking God for the Bible, her coming brother, and whatever else is on her heart. It is amazing what even the littlest of kids will pray for. Sometimes silly {thank you God for fish sticks}…sometimes profound {I pray for angels over us}….but we always encourage her to pray for whatever she wants. Although, we have to be careful that she doesn’t start to use this as a stall tactic – she sometimes starts thanking God for the things she can see…thank you God for my books, thank you God for the light, thank you God for mommy’s shirt…lol

7) With the Bible as your compass, clearly teach the difference between right and wrong – Such a big responsibility, but so important. We need to show them and teach them the right things to do, ways to act, ways to speak and respond to people, etc. While this can be situation driven {i.e. rewarding for good actions, punishing for bad}, we also can use Bible stories, daily situations, etc. to teach right and wrong to our kids. So very hard, not much to write about this one since it is a constant learning experience!!

8) Encourage Christian fellowship from a young age – As Christians, we want to teach our children the importance of Christian fellowship. The Bible calls us to meet regularly and have Godly counsel, and I believe that having our children around people who share values is important. Not only do our children get to see us in action, but they get to practice having relationships within a Godly framework.

9) Wisely correct them when they have done wrong and offer due punishment when necessary – This is a toughie too…sometimes giving in is easier. Sometimes ignoring a behavior is easier than punishing it {when needed}. But the long-term payoff for following through in discipline is profound. Making sure to always give a consequence is important is showing consistency to our kids and letting them know that they will not be getting away with sinful behavior will help to shape their behavior and help them to understand that there are consequences to actions. One thing that may help is to give varied consequences. Not always giving a timeout for everything but having multiple disciplinary tactics in your basket will help to keep your child from giving you that “I don’t care if you spank me” face. My daughter may get a slap on the hand for trying to touch the fireplace {dangerous!}, but may get a timeout if she tries it multiple times. You get the idea…

10) Embrace with intention, and let your hearts mingle before you let go – Like I said before, I am a hugger! I love giving and receiving physical affection and know the importance of not just a quick kiss or hug but a meaningful embrace. I make sure to give my daughter plenty of affection while I am with her, and you know what? She now voluntarily asks for “family hugs” {where my husband and I hug her in a big group hug}, kisses and hugs from us, and even spontaneously will say “I love you, mommy” very often! Take time to hug and love on your kiddos, it means so much! It creates secure attachments and really just feels good. ;)

Hope this was as helpful to you as it was to me. Our kids are little for such a short time…I never want to look back in regret that I could have taken more time to do something. Really, unless dinner is going to burn…there is not much more important that stopping for a second to give your child a hug or chat with a babbling toddler. Just think, what if the person you were talking/reacting to wasn’t your toddler or young child, but an adult? Would you be embarrassed at your short, irritated response? What if that person asking for a hug or kiss were your husband? And you pushed them away because you were busy? Often, we think that our children don’t quite understand how we are reacting to them, but really they do see and know. I don’t want to assume my daughter will forget the mean way I respond to her…what if she doesn’t? What if that goes unchecked and her memories of childhood is that mom was busy and always snappy? I shudder to think of it.

I want my home to be nurturing, refreshing, and enriching to my children. That when they come home, they know they are in a safe place where they are loved, protected, and cared for. No need for defenses, insecurities, or fears…they have no place in our home. :)

What are some ways that you show your children a healthy and happy way to live?
xoxo – erin