Intentional parenting is kind of an ambiguous term. Most of us have good intentions as a parent but often, we unintentionally fall short of our goals due to schedules, jobs, family obligations, or lack of planning.

Some days we are just trying to survive. We are doing the best we can, but when things fall apart with our kids we feel inadequate to remedy the situation.

What if your parenting had more focus? Perhaps even goals to achieve on your parenting journey. If you are a Christian mom, I can’t stress enough the importance of intentional parenting because it is the key to passing your faith down to the next generation.

What Is Intentional Parenting?

What is intentional parenting? Is it making sure your kids have the latest gadgets, sports equipment, or lessons? Perhaps it is more about making everyone think all is perfect with your child, no matter what is happening.

Maybe you are exhausted and have fallen into autopilot parenting. You are so busy that you aren’t even sure what is going on with your kids. You don’t have any real interaction with them because you think it’s up to the school or church to instill values, not you.

In fact, you have left them up to their own devices (literally) because you don’t know what else to do to be a good parent.

There is another way…

Intentional parenting is about making parenting choices that are thought out in advance. There is a purpose to what you say and do. If you are a Christian, intentional parenting takes on a spiritual tone that reinforces a biblical worldview.

Take time to honestly assess your child’s character traits. Ask yourself if you are consistently reinforcing God’s truth daily. Furthermore, how you can take them to the next level in their spiritual walk through intentional parenting.

How Can I Be a More Intentional Parent?

Check out these 11 awesome examples of intentional parenting as a Christian mom. These tips will help you bond as a family and also develop godly character traits in your kids.

1. Devotion at mealtime

Read a devotion that focuses on good character traits. Ask a few questions at the end of the story to reinforce the moral. Use this time to focus on the choices that were made–good or bad. Let your kids talk freely.

10-15 minutes is plenty of time to focus on a biblical worldview each day and pass faith down to the next generation.

RELATED: 40 Fun Reading Activities For Pre-School and Elementary Age Kids

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2. Prayer/Bible time

Implement a quiet time during the day or before bed. Have your kids read the Bible and pray. I used this scale as an idea for their spiritual time: age=time. If your child is 15 years old, encourage a 15-minute Bible/prayer time.

Younger kids can do a modified version such as color a biblical coloring page, listen to a Bible story, or Bible songs.

See also  51 Easy Christmas Activities For Every Age [ Letter to Santa]

This is intentional parenting at its best.

RELATED: 19 Creative Ways to Have a Quiet Time with God (That Are Fun)

3. Volunteer

Find a place to volunteer together as a family (elementary age or older). Most schools require a certain amount of volunteer hours. Use the summer or holidays to do it together. You will have something to talk about when you are done.

Talk about what happened, how the people reacted, and how it impacted you as a family.

4. Mission trip

For years we did a family mission trip in the summer. Both of my kids say this was the best thing we did as parents. It was life-changing for our whole family.

If you can’t go, send your kids on a trip. Intentional parenting isn’t always easy, but it is worth it.

RELATED:The #1 Best Gratitude Activity to Do with Your Teenager

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5. Teachable moments

Take time to talk about things that are important to your kids. (Driving home from school, the dinner table, or bedtime are great times to do this.) It will change as they age.

Younger kids will be more interested in things that affect their small world, while older kids will wrestle with how culture affects their ever-growing environment.

Nonchalantly go back to the Bible when they are struggling with what is right and wrong. Ask questions. Talk through the issue and let your kids wrestle with it. You don’t have to have all the answers.

6. Focus on character traits

Pick a godly character trait each week. Your kids can help pick it out so they have ownership of the choices. Weave that character trait into discussions all week long.

You can start with the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22-23). There are free Fruit of the Spirit printables to color such as love, joy, peace, patience, etc. for younger kids. Older kids can center their quiet time around the theme of the week.

This is a wonderful intentional parenting activity.

7. Give to others

Have the kids work around the house or do a lemonade stand. Teach them how to give tithes and offerings with their earned money. Or have them help an older neighbor for free.

This will develop a heart that is not centered on themselves and curb entitlement later on.

8. Pray together

Pray together every day at meals and at bedtime. Your kids are never too old to pray. (I prayed on the phone with my 19-year-old the other night.)

Pick someone outside the family to pray for such as a missionary or friend. Or let them choose an issue they care about such as the homeless, hunger, etc., and pray for ways to help those who are hurting.

See also  7 Biblical Ways to Reverse the Moral Decline In America and Protect Your Kids

Intentional parenting means you consistently reinforce the same Christian values throughout the day and night. Prayer is the thread that ties it all together.

RELATED: How to Pray for Your Child: 6 Tips to Pray In Your War Room (really pray)

9. Eat together

I can’t tell you how important it is to eat with your family most days. Turn off the TV and talk to each other. You will find out a lot just by listening. Give time for each person in the family to talk. Intentional parenting has to be fought for.

It is a non-threatening environment that gives you a clear window into your teen or child’s heart. I suggest there never be any harsh punishment given while at the table. It will muddy your time with the family.

RELATED: How to Deal with Picky Eaters: 3 Easy Tips That Really Work

10. Have fun as a family

Some families do really well at having fun together while others of us have to make time to get out and play. If you are strapped for money, you will have to get creative. (Before you say you have got this covered, attending soccer practice or games doesn’t count.)

I am talking about intentional time together with only family where you actually talk to each other and create good family memories. Yeah, not always easy when your kids get older but schedule in time because it’s important. Camping is one of the best ways to do this!

RELATED: 51 Easy Christmas Activities For Every Age [Printable Letter to Santa]

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11. Focus on gratefulness

Many times we forget how good we have it. Most of us have food on the table, clothes to wear, and a roof over our heads. Many of us have way more than that!

Teach your kids to say thank you and to be thankful for what has been given to them. This is not easy in the age of Instagram and Facebook when it looks like everyone else has more. But keep trying! Gratitude is a great character trait to have.

Trust me, we all have something to be grateful for. It is all about perspective. By the way, God doesn’t like complaining and entitlement. so it is a good idea to model it before you teach it to your kids!

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What Does It Mean to Be Intentional with Children as a Christian?

Intentional parenting for a Christian parent means spiritual parenting if you think about it. If you want to take your job as a parent seriously, then find out what God says about raising kids.

I would start in Proverbs. There are 31 chapters full of wisdom. One chapter for each day. You can start with this verse…

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”(KJV).

See also  How to Find a Good School: 45 Insider Secrets From a Teacher-Mom

One thing to remember…you can do all the right things, but at the end of the day, your kids get a choice. So don’t try to force or control because it will only produce good external behavior. You are going for the heart. This takes a lot of time and patience (and prayer).

How Can I Be a Better Christian Parent?

First of all, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. We are all flawed.

Most of us go into parenting with biases, hurts, and thoughts about how we are going to do it right. Even right the wrongs that were done to us. Unfortunately, the baggage we carry many times passes down to the next generation unintentionally through unforgiveness. (I know firsthand. Read my book below.)

If you want to know how to be a better parent, you are going to have to work at it.

Read books, listen to Christian podcasts, read parenting blogs, or get counseling if you are stuck in a hard place. Focus on your junk, and it will help your kids. Break the spiritual stronghold with you so you pass down positive character traits, not negative ones.

For more intentional parenting tips check out the Crazy Cool Family podcast. They have wonderful ideas on how to be an intentional parent too.

What kind of intentional parenting are you doing with your kids? Share your ideas below!

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Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or have a family estrangement? Do you feel shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement (and reconciliation) from my Christian family but also gives solid tips to help you with your family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

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Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

Join the group Christian Family Living on Facebook

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to freely talk about parenting, marriage, faith, family, and culture. Being a Christian is hard! Let’s do it together. Most of all, a sense of humor is required. Got memes? Bring it on!

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There are tips on building a Christian home, parenting, marriage, family issues, and faith. Learn how to get back to the things that matter most in your life and the life of your family. It’s time for a revival!


Julie is a wife, mom, author, and blogger. She writes about Christian family living, marriage, and faith with a touch of humor.


  1. As a homeschool mom, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate time with God and learning more of who he is and who God wants them to be. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Kudos to you. I homeschooled for one semester. It was hard. I couldn’t wait to put my kids in school . I did learn alot and incorporating God in daily activities made it one of the best things about them being home.

  2. Love this! Thank you for this perfectly timed reminder! We all can do better at being intention with our children! Love these tips, especially having more fun together as a family. It’s so important to put things aside and make time for fun!

    • I found this to be a huge struggle as my kids got older. We did camp together which made it a great time to bond and hear their hearts. Many times, there was no cell service! A tip I would not share with your kids, by the way.

  3. “maybe we have lost focus on them as a person and their character.” so true! I love this! My son is 2 so I have a while before the teen years but I do think I need to prepare and always be on alert on focusing and relating.

    • Adrienne,it comes faster than you think. It is never too early to start training good character. Simple things like not hitting, tantrums, etc. can be used as times of reinforcement for what is acceptable. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Mental Health is super important and I wish it didn’t have to take celebrity deaths to bring awareness to this. I work at a science museum and we recently opened an exhibit on mental health to reduce stigma and increase conversation. People need to learn to recognize signs for help and not de-legitimize someone’s struggles.

    • Rachel, this is so good to hear. I think talking about it really helps. Prince Harry has done a lot by making it a point of conversation. Glad you all are doing your part, too. Thanks for commenting.

  5. These are such great mantras to focus on especially over the summer months when you dial life back a bit and really reconnect as a family. It is the perfect to put done the technology and get back to the grassroots meaning of a good life.

    • Jen, I do miss the days of very little technology. I just had to deal with the TV and computer when my kids were younger. But cell phones came into life when they were in Jr. High. We, of course, got them one eventually. Ugh.

  6. These are some great ideas. It’s important to give young people our time, it’s such a challenging time growing up. I agree with you about buying things to fill a void. It’s all about making memories and time together.

    • Jean, thanks so much for your comment. It is easy to send your kids with money and not spend time with them. There needs to be a balance of time and getting needs met.

  7. Teenage years are full of emotional ups and downs. Its wonderful that you are keeping time together so organized. this is one age group that truly deserves a lot of one on one attention.

  8. Teenagers really do need our attention, they can hide so much from us but not in a malicious way but because they don’t want to share or burden us with their problems. I try to do something with my daughter one on one at least once a week, it gives her time to just open up and chat in her own time without feeling the pressure. We are also going on a holiday at the end of July, there is no wifi and no electronics allowed while we are away and I’m hoping it will give us all some well needed bonding time x

    • Charli, that is so smart. I think they do enjoy connecting with us. I am so glad you will be away for a while without electronics.

  9. Jubilee D Meyer Reply

    I think it would be amazing to go on a mission trip as a family!

    • Katie, so hard to realize this. We keep coming back to stuff instead of dealing with issues. Thanks for your comment.

    • Yes, eating together is very important. I am so glad we did this. You learn a lot about what is going on with your kids. Thanks for your comment.

  10. Becca Wilson Reply

    I really think that we definitely don’t spend enough time together as families anymore. This is so very important!

    • Becca, it is hard to spend time with your kids if both parents work full time. It is important to make the time though. Thanks for your comment.

  11. These are amazing tips. As my son gets older, I am more am more and more conscious of giving him attention. Just because he is getting independent, doesn’t mean that we don’t still need to connect.

  12. it’s just so sad hearing about the deaths of successful people.. really serves as a reminder that depression does not discriminate.

    • Annick, you are so right. It sure doesn’t. You can have everything and feel like you have nothing. Thanks for reading.

  13. Spending time together seems like the best solution! Great article! ?

    • Caitlin, yes, they are. I am so glad we did this with our kids. It reaped great dividends. Thanks for your comment.

    • Vannessa, yes, it is coming. It will be here before you know it. It is good to start working on character at any age. Thanks for reading.

    • Apolline, that is one of the best compliments. I am always thrilled when someone says it was well written. Thanks for taking the time to read.

  14. I love these ideas. I am already doing a few of them with my teen, but will make an effort to add a few more!

  15. These are all really great tips to be more involved with your teen and family. I always try to have a family dinner or breakfast each day, I think it’s a great way to talk and get involved. I’ll have to try some of the others as well, thanks for sharing!

    • Nicole, it is so great that you eat together. You do find out a lot from your kids. HA HA. Thanks for reading.

  16. Kate Spade is such a tragic loss. Same thing happened to me actually, I got my very first Kate Spade nude Cameron Street Lucie which I LOVE. I then went on to get the same bag in rose gold. I can’t believe she has passed now. And how heartwarming that you turned this tragedy into something so mindful and positive.

    • Jojo, it is horrible. I feel bad for her little girl who will never have her mommy again. Such a loss. I hope we can find something good in this situation. We have got to stop this. Thanks for reading.

  17. I love these great tips! We always try and eat together as a family sooooooo important! Also think is very important to teach how to make money as well as proper distribution of that money. Enjoyed this read.

  18. Yes, there is certainly more to life than a great purse – being a traveller, I don’t focus on material things too much, anyways. But I must say that my daughter turned out just find – very happy, healthy life, great circle of friends, cool career – and we are not a religious family; as a matter of fact when I look at all the things that have happened in the name of religion – entire continents were basically destroyed, I personally do not believe that praying and a religious obedience are key to a happy and fulfilled life; they can be for certain people and I’m happy for them to have found meaning in that, but it does not have to be so for everybody. You can be a very empathic, good-hearted person without having prayed in your life.

    • Renata, I am so glad for you and your family. You have learned that stuff doesn’t make you happy. Yes, there have been all sorts of wars over religion, but I would say it is a cover for the real reason for some of the wars-greed, power, lust for more.
      I can’t begin to convince you why I find a relationship with Jesus is meaningful. For me, it is not a religion, but a relationship. I am so glad there is something way bigger than me because if this is all there is in life, I am gonna be really depressed. I am really not that impressed with myself or anyone else, for that matter. We are all sinful.
      If you ever get to a place in your life that seems hopeless, I hope you will ask God to show you if He is real. He has a way of showing up. Thanks for your honesty. I am thrilled you commented.

  19. This is def. a great reminder! I know remember how it was to be a teen so i pay extra special attention to my oldest daughter. I want her to know she is loved and that no matter what she is feeling she always has a safe space with me!

  20. Certainly, a very good reminder to concentrate on the priorities! Thank you for sharing this inspirational post.

  21. Great Post
    This article is a reminder as to how important family interactions are . Indeed how we teach and treat our kids is reflected in their behaviors.

    • Morry, family interaction is so important. Eating together is one small way to reconnect every day. Thanks for reading.

  22. The teen years were tough for me as depression hit me hard after my brother was killed. I will focus on these tips with my teen for sure.

    • Oh, Tara, I am so sorry. That would be hard for anyone. Teen or not. Things like that are hard to process. I hope you have been able to work through the pain and loss. Thanks for reading.

  23. Times have changed a lot since I was a kid, and I see the kids rather play inside with videos games or phones instead of spending more time outside playing games. I remember my mom not letting us in the house during the summer unless it was for lunch, or snacks, she wanted us to really enjoy ourselves outside.

    • Andrea, yes, this is so true. I feel like we have this generation has been robbed of their freedom because of an uptick in crime and electronics. So sad for our kids. It was wonderful back then to roam around. Thanks for your comment.

  24. Asher Kabeer Reply

    Depression is due to the fact that they are not taught any specific code to live a self-contented life. When people start chasing material things, they always end up no where.
    You’ve discussed great tips to put our focus on children. Well being South Asian, and specifically a Muslim, we are taught from the very early age to respect human and people around you more than material things because these things have no real value.

    • Asher, it is so good to hear your culture values human life. We could all learn a few things about respecting people more than stuff. Thanks for your comment.

  25. These days I think kids/teens get way too caught up in technology and I don’t think that’s healthy at all. They need to get outside, EXPLORE THE WORLD – see it in front of their eyes in person, not on a screen!!!

    • Gigi, amen! I agree. Camping was one way we got our kids out in the open, Such a fun thing to do as a family. Thanks for your comment.

  26. Ohh.. love this post. All ideas are nice. It is an inspirational article. Thanks for sharing this great post.

  27. Beautiful – I love this. I’m going to be holding on to it for when my kids are a bit older!

    • Sophie, you can start training your kids early when it comes to character. I read the Bible outloud to my babies in the womb. God’s word will not return void.

  28. I love your idea of the Character Quality discussions. While we do talk randomly about different character qualities, I think focusing on individual character traits for a week and weaving into everyday life is a great suggestion. I feel this is something that our children need to know and understand.

    • Julie, thanks for your thoughtful comment. It is hard to be purposeful somedays. Many days we are glad the kids got their pants on right side out! Hope you will make time to work on different character qualities as time permits.

  29. I think doing having some teenager moments with them is a great tip, it will make them feel like they are in control of choosing what to do which is something I remember I loved! also eat together is so important and not done so much lately in our days!

    • Amalia, yes, we are so busy working and running kids to practice that we don’t have time to do what is really important. I hope parents will make time to spend with their kids and work on character. Thanks for reading.

  30. This was a very well written article and one that I hope reaches a lot of people. Times have changed a lot since I was a kid and all I see now are children who rather play on the phones or on videos games. Even as an adult, I sometimes feel like I’m missing out when I see the luxurious post on social media. Mental health needs to be at the forefront in every household, checking on people in person rather than online!

    • Brandon, yes, I am here online now. it is hard to get away from it. We are becoming more and more connected with a screen instead of people. Thanks for reading.

  31. Great tips! We’re planning on taking a long family trip this summer and I’m hopeful that it will give us a chance to really connect with our teens and tween without technology being in the way. For as wonderful as technology is, it can also be so damaging. ?

    • Brandi, hope you have a great trip without all the screened things. Great for family connection. Thanks for reading.

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