This is a crazy busy time of year.  There are end of year wrap ups as well as Christmas focused events.  There family happenings and church events, work do’s, and club parties all filling our diaries.  This is all added to our everyday ordinary day life as well because that doesn’t really stop.

When life has these extra events it is easy to shift our focus from our children to the event. This could be anything from a birthday party, to redecorating the house, to having visitors, going on holidays or celebrating Christmas; extra events that come along, adding to our daily life. It is hard to balance intentional training and cope with the extras on our to-do list.

If we don’t though, we lose ground with our children very quickly. It doesn’t take long for our children to start to feel a little unsettled with the extra freedoms they have. It doesn’t take long for them to start pushing buttons. It doesn’t take long for them to be hyped up and out of control. It doesn’t take long before we too loose our cool as a parent!

The Effect of Distraction

When we get distracted with all the other things on our to-do list we forget to help our children do the right thing.

This is what our job is all about – to help our children do the right thing. While our children are developing their own moral where-with-all our job is to help them make right choices. We help them get enough sleep for the day by having a set bed times. We help them play constructively by limiting the amount of toys out at any one time. We help them be responsible by having chore time. These are boundaries we put around our children to help them do the right thing – but if we get busy we forget to put those boundaries around them and they simply can’t cope! Their ratty behaviour is their way of showing us this. They need those boundaries.

[Tweet “Our children’s ratty behaviour can be a sign that we need to slow down and focus on their heart.”]

5 Tips to Balance Life and Training Hearts

So how do we maintain order in our children’s lives and yet do the things we need to do?

1–First we need to review our commitments – have we considered our family as we fill our diaries, are all the events in our diary important; are they consistent with our family purpose or are they just meeting other people’s expectations?

2–We need to consider our standards. I know we are to aim for excellence, and we are to do well with all we put our hand to – but at what cost. I would rather do excellent in my relationships than excellent in the works of my hands. Housework, cooking, decorating is all works. Yes, these things can bless my family but we need to keep it in balance. When I snap at my child and then serve a beautiful meal, I can’t kid myself that my child is going to enjoy even a mouthful of that food. Their heart will be hurting and no fine gourmet is going to fix that!

I need to ask myself does my standard of housekeeping stop me from playing dress-ups and building castles with my children? Does the idea of being organised and tidy hinder the interaction with family members everyday? We need to realise that we are not defined by our housework, our ability to cook or decorate – they are tools we use to create a home, but first of all a home needs relationships.

3–In busy times we need to maintain a skeleton of normality. This skeleton will look different depending on the ages of your children. But for example, meal times and rest times (including bedtimes) are a good foundation for a skeleton routine. Meals may be in a different location, rest time maybe in the car but we can still give our children these boundaries. In our family food, rest and family time are the keys to maintaining balance at crazy times.

4–Maintain your own personal calm. Time with God, food, rest, and conversation with your spouse – these are top of my list for personal calm. The trick is to make time for them. Ironically we always seem to have time for the things we deem important at the moment. Do we deem these things as important – do we value them highly or are they just good things we know we should do? Our attitude to these things will determine how consistent we are with them – which will then affect our calm. The old maxim – we always make time for the things we value.  What do we value?

5—Be heart focused – not behaviour focused.  We must be committed to the heart of our children – regardless of the cost, regardless of the inconvenience, regardless of the humility. Talking to the heart of a child is time consuming, and yet we keep on a merry-go-round of frustration when we just demand good behaviour from our kids.

Talking at heart level means that when a conflict or issues arises, I will walk away from what I am doing and help my child. It means I will explain our family values, I will show my kids what it looks like in their life, I will help them practice it, I will help them own these values for themselves.  It means that I will have to put aside other things, maybe even other people for the sake of my child’s heart.

Our children need us to pause in our busyness and help them do the right thing. We have to decide what is more important to us – this event or our child’s heart.

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