How to Maximize Time with our Kids


How do we balance the business of our schedules and investment in the personal lives of our kids? I’m confident the answer is not – one or the other.

Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of your time. Ephesians 5:15-16

Schedules are full and days are long.  As a parent, sometimes it can feel like “that is just the way it is.”  When we feel like this, we typically walk through life “reacting” rather than “responding.”  When we merely react to all the things happening in life, we miss opportunities to respond to the things happening in the personal lives of our kids. 

There are ways to create time/moments for us as parents to respond to the personal things in our kids’ lives.

  1. Maximize Captive Time – What is captive time?  Car rides, mealtimes, bedtimes are a few examples.  In our family, car time is conversation time.  It’s not a time to check out and jump on devices to distract or numb our kids’ (or our own) brains.  It’s captive time we want to take advantage of.  We ask all kinds of questions and everyone answers.  Make question cards to have on hand before a long road trip.  Determine a list of “go to” questions for after school during the ride home.  Fight to make sure mealtimes are around the table with the whole family present. 
  2. Form the Habit of Reflection – It’s easy to move from one thing to another at a rapid pace.  Our society trains us to do that by the way social media, tv and advertising move us from one product or story to another.  Reflection forces us to stop after each experience and reflect on what just happened.  This is a learned skill that will take time to develop.  Training our kids to reflect on experiences gives us an opportunity to reflect with them – to hear and know how their day was.  Some simple reflection questions you can ask your kids are:  What did you learn from that experience?  What did you love about that experience?  If you could do it again, what would you do differently?
  3. Listen…Don’t fix – One of the best ways we can invest in our kid’s life is listening to them.  If you’re like me, anytime I hear someone communicate something to me, I feel like I need to swoop in and fix the whole situation.  Reality is our kids just want us to know what’s going on in their world.  The majority of them have zero desire for us to fix the situation or issue for them.  This is great perspective as you maximize captive time.  Just listen to what they are saying and empathize with them.  It will go equally as far or further than our “profound” advice.

Even with jam-packed schedules we have the opportunity to maximize captive time we have with our kids to really listen well and invest in our kid’s life. 

Camper Corner:

What is one question you wish your parents would ask you?  What is one question that you don’t want your parents to ask you?  Do you feel like your parents are good listeners?

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