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intentional parenting

Intentional Parenting: 9 Meaningful Activities to Do With Your Kids

As moms, we try to have intentional parenting in our daily activities. Unfortunately, good intentions fall short of our goals due to schedules, family obligations, and exhaustion. Sadly, some days we are just trying to survive. We are doing the best we can, but it feels like it is not enough.

What if your intentional parenting had more focus? Perhaps even a goal so you know where you are going to end up. However, before we talk about how to have intentional parenting, let’s talk about what it is.

What Is Intentional Parenting?

What is intentional parenting? I had to ask this question to myself often when my kids were growing up. Is it making sure my kids had the latest gadgets, popularity, and sport’s scholarship? Or is there more?

Perhaps intentional parenting is about character traits. It is about helping our kids to be men and women who follow Jesus all the days of their lives.

As parents, are we more concerned with the internal than the external? Take time to honestly assess your child’s character traits. Ask yourself where they are emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and how you can take them to the next level in their spiritual walk.

9 Ways to Have More Intentional Parenting

Check out the nine ways to have more intentional parenting. These tips will help you connect in ways that will bond you together as a family.

1. Devotional at Meal Time

Read a devotion every day that focuses on character traits. Ask a few questions at the end so you can get feedback. Use this time to focus on the story and the choices that were made-good or bad. Let your kids talk freely.

10-15 minutes is plenty of time to get your points across.

2. Bible/Prayer Quiet Time

Focus on your children by creating a quiet time during the day or before bed.  Have them do Bible/prayer reading. 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.

This is inspirational parenting at its best.

RELATED: 19 Creative Ways to Have a Quiet Time with God

3. Volunteer

Find a place to volunteer together. 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 as a family.

There will be bonding over what you saw together, and how you made a difference.

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: Family Bonding Activities: Fun Ways to Spend Time Together

family estrangement

Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

5. Teachable moments

Take time to talk about things like suicide, #metoo, or whatever is important to your family. Talk through all the aspects of it, and let your kids wrestle through the issues. You don’t have to have all the answers.

RELATED: How to Create Family Memories: 3 Ways to Love Your Kids

6. Character traits

Focus on your teen or young children by picking 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.

7. Giving

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

8. Pray together

Pray together every day at meals and at night. Your kids are not too old to pray with them. 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.  Someone that your teen/child cares about.

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.

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 real punishment given while at the table. It will muddy your time with the family.

I pray you will make time to focus on your teen or young children so they realize there is more to life than a designer purse or the next best piece of sports equipment. Put your time in things that are eternal instead.

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intentional parenting

What God Says About Raising a Child

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. Start reading aloud to your kids in the morning before school, or at night before bed.

This will be a sure way to ground your child in the Word of God. This doesn’t mean your child will never stray, but it does give him the foundation he needs to know the truth.

I think this verse says it all.

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).

For more 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?

family estrangement

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.

A farm scene with a farmhouse upside down sitting on a grass field with a lake in the background.
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!

Follow Me on Pinterest!

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!

74 thoughts on “Intentional Parenting: 9 Meaningful Activities to Do With Your Kids”

  1. “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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

    1. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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!!!

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

  19. 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.

    1. 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.

  20. 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!

    1. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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. ?

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