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A is for Active: Tips for Time-Crunched Parents

Helping your family to be active and achieving helps them to find and fulfill their purpose in God. As we look at the specifics of how to increase the activity of your family, please be aware that it will come with a cost. The cost will come in the form of your time and commitment. You must spend time with your children, with your family, implementing the changes that need to be made. This will require you to look at what you’re currently doing and how you’re spending your time and to restructure your day so you can support these changes.

Let’s take a look at how a typical time-crunched parent, using a father in a two-income household as an example.

He gets up early (earlier, in fact, than he’d really like, given when he got to bed the night before) to get ready for work and help get the kids ready to go off to day care or school. With moments to spare, he’s dropping off kids at the bus stop or day care. All day is taken up with work, and before he knows it, it’s time to go home. If he gets off work earlier than his wife, he’s probably the one who picks up the kids. If not, they’re already home by the time he arrives. Dinner is eaten, homework is done, and all he wants is just a little bit of time to himself to unwind. In fact, he looks forward to when the kids are finally in bed so he’s able to spend some time with his wife.

When life is like this, finding ways to become more involved and spend more time with your children is hard. Hard, but not impossible. Here are a few suggestions I have for this dad:

  • Get up early enough to sit down and have breakfast with your children.
  • Take time the night before to choose a particular verse of Scripture to share with them as you eat together.
  • Use the time you have in the car with them to reaffirm your love and your desire for them to have a good day and to pray with them.
  • After work, take part in an organized activity with your children.
  • Take your children to the library on another day of the week.
  • Participate together in a midweek church service or Bible study.
  • Walk the family dog to a local park.

In other words, get out of the house and commit time to what makes your children happy. Sure, the easy thing to do is to come home each evening and determine, based upon your day, that the best thing to do is sit on the couch or in front of the television or computer doing just what you want to do. But your children need you to reserve time and energy and involvement for them, especially the younger the child.

What is the cost?

It means you won’t be able to watch that television show or get on the computer as much. It means you’ll need to reorient your focus from what you want to do in the evening to what’s best for your children. I think you’ll find, however, that the rewards of this connected, involved, and active time with your children will far outweigh the costs.

“Jesus said unto them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.'” ~John 5:17

SOURCE: Chapter 4, “A is for Active,” in Healthy Habits, Healthy Kid: A Practical Plan to Help Your Family by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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