Feb 11, 2014

How to Spend Effective Time with your Children

This is Part 2 of a two part series.  You can find Part 1 here.
6. Take Time to be Together at Mealtimes as often as Possible.
"This is a challenge. . .But happy conversation, sharing of the day's plans and activities, and special teaching moments occur at mealtime because mothers and fathers and children work at it."
Benefits of having frequent Family Dinner:
  • Everyone eats healthier meals.
  • Kids are less likely to become overweight or obese.
  • Kids more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
  • They're less likely to drink alcohol.
  • They won't likely try marijuana.
  • Less likely to use illicit drugs.
  • Won't likely abuse prescription drugs.
  • School grades will be better.
  • You and your kids will talk more.
  • You'll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
  • Kids will feel like you're proud of them.
  • There will be less stress and tension at home
Research has also found that the more dinners you eat together as a family, there are fewer emotional and behavioral problems, greater emotional well-being, more trusting and helpful behaviors toward others and higher life satisfaction, regardless of gender, age or family economics.
7. Take Time Daily to Read the Scriptures together as a family.
"Individual scripture reading is important, but family scripture reading is vital.  Reading the Book of Mormon together as a family will especially bring increased spirituality into your home and will give both parents and children the power to resist temptation and have the Holy Ghost as their constant companion.  I promise you that the Book of Mormon will change the lives of your family."
I've always had a testimony of this.  I know there are great things that happen when you hold family scripture study.  However, this is something my family struggles with.  We've used every excuse to skip scripture reading:  it's too late, we have too many kids still out for the night, everyone is too tired.  This year, the hubs and I made family scripture reading one of our goals.  I'm happy to report, we haven't missed a night.   Some nights we have to read just a couple verses or even just one verse, but we're still having it, and I can testify that the blessings are there.
Along with President Benson's promised blessing, President Marion G. Romney has also promised:
“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1980, 90; or Ensign, May 1980, 67
More here.
8. Take Time to do Things Together as a Family
"Make family outings and picnics and birthday celebrations and trips special times and memory builders.  Whenever possible, attend as a family, events where one of the family members is involved, such as a school play, a ball game, a talk, a recital.  Attend church meetings together and sit together as a family when you can."
"Mothers who help families pray and play together will stay together and will bless children's lives forever."
You can read about my family's birthday traditions here.
9. Take Time to Teach your Children
"Catch the teaching moments.  This can be done anytime during the day--at mealtime, in casual settings, or at special sit-down times together, at the foot of the bed at the end of the day, or during an early morning walk together."
"Mothers, you are your children's best teacher."
"Don't shift this precious responsibility to day-care centers or babysitters.  A mother's love and prayerful concern for her children are her most important ingredients in teaching her own."
Teach them:
Gospel Principles
it pays to be good.
there is no safety in sin
a love for the gospel
modesty and respect for manhood and womanhood
sexual purity
proper dating standards
temple marriage
missionary service
the importance of accepting and magnifying Church callings
a love for work
the value of a good education
the importance of the right kind of entertainment
the evils of pornography and drugs
the value of living a clean life
"Yes, mothers, teach your children the gospel in your own home, at your own fireside.  This is the most effective teaching that your children will ever receive.  This is the Lord's way of teaching.  The Church cannot teach like you can.  The school cannot.  The day-care center cannot.  But you can, and the Lord will sustain you."
"This kind of heavenly, motherly teaching takes time---lots of time.  It cannot be done effectively part-time.  It must be done all the time in order to save and exalt your children."
I don't know about you, but my family spends a lot of time in the car.  I've found this is a great place to teach your children.  Sometimes, we'll read out loud an article from the Friend or New Era while we're driving to our destination, or we'll discuss a topic that needs discussing.  When my older children we little, I use to keep a notebook full of learning games that could be played in the car.  As we would drive to the grocery store or the doctor's office, we would play one.  Many of these games I found in the Family Home Evening Resource book, under the family activities section.
10. Take the Time to Truly love your Children.
"A mother's unqualified love approaches Christlike love."
"Mothers, your teenage children also need that same kind of love and attention.  It seems easier for many mothers and fathers to express and show their love to their children when they are young, but more difficult when they are older.  Work at this prayerfully.  There need be no generation gap.  And the key is love.  Our young people need love and attention, not indulgence.  They need empathy and understanding, not indifference from mothers and fathers." 
President Benson ends his talk with a promise.
"I promise you the blessings of heaven and 'all that [the] Father hath(see D&C 84:38)as you magnify the noblest calling of all--a mother in Zion."