As I ready our home for a family adventure this week–a real road trip, I thought I’d share a simple thing with you that we do in our home. I won’t post again until the weekend since I’ll be having fun elsewhere!
Living in a large family, it can often be hard for my kids to get a spare moment with me or my husband alone. We also struggle with the fact that we would like to do family devotions, but can’t ever seem to get it together enough to do it. So in an effort to fix both of these problems we started a new tradition in our house. I’d like to say this idea was pro-active parenting, but really it was re-active parenting so that’s why our magic age for this is 6–because my daughter was 6-years-old when the idea finally dawned on us.
When our children reach the age of six, they travel through the rite-of-passage that allows them to stay up late one night per week. All of the other kids go to bed at the regular time, but that one child gets to stay up late with the parent of the same sex. My daughter stays up late with me and my sons stay up with Daddy.
During that time, they get to do two things. Every night is different, but they generally do a devotional of some sort with us and then they get to do an activity with us. Usually the boys play a video game with Daddy or he teaches them how to fix something. We have a special box in my husband’s office that is filled with things that need to be fixed. They will get that out and pick certain items to be worked on that night. My daughter and I will either go shopping (because running errands with only one child is much more pleasurable), knit or some type of other crafty thing.
One of our favorite things we like to use for devotional purposes is the books by Jennie Bishop. Her books are “The Princess and the Kiss” and “The Squire and the Scroll”. Each is great as a stand-alone, but they also have “Life Lessons” that have devotionals to go along with the book. Also, there are coloring books as a companion.
Although there are some nights that I can barely stay awake for this time with my daughter or sometimes I am “D-O-N-E” for the day, I am glad for the time alone with my daughter. It gives her a time each week that she can talk to me about the things that get lost in the shuffle of the daily grind because she can tell that I am not in a position to really listen to her. As much as some days I don’t really want anyone around after 8:00pm, I can testify that my daughter (and her brothers too) look forward to the night that they stay up late. Usually at least one of my sons has a count down as to how much longer until they get to stay up late with Daddy. So because we know how much they love this time, we continue on our “tradition” of staying up late and giving them a piece of us because they deserve it. They deserve to have time alone–to learn and to just relax alongside us.