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7 Ways to find Joy in the Sabbath with Kids
Have you ever been asked a question that leaves you reflecting upon it again and again?? Today I was asked what is your favourite thing about Sundays?? And for a long time I would have answered taking a nap and that probably still would be my answer for today but I rarely actually never get to take naps on Sunday. And as I reflected on that I realized that right now I am in a season where I have little people who rely on me to run their world. They need me to be available to them during this season of their life. But in saying that it also means that my expectations surrounding my Sundays needed to change. And I came to question and reflect on how I could make my sabbath a delight with kids because if my expectation was to come home from church every Sunday and have a nap only to never meet that goal was it realistic to hold on to that hope?? Or I came to consider that maybe what I truly thought brought me joy on Sundays really wasn’t it. The question has really weighed on my mind all day because if I had to pick having these precious little girls want to spend time with me or to take a nap what would I truly desire or want?? When I was up 4 times and then everyone woke up at 3:30 until 4:30 last night I would love to say that my answer would be take a nap!! But really I would pick my girls wanting to be with me time and time again. So with that in mind I needed to consider what truly would bring me delight on a Sabbath Day with Kids and I came up with 7 ways to Find Joy in the Sabbath with Kids that truly can bring both me as a momma and my girls joy.
7 Ways to Find Joy in the Sabbath with Kids
- Read bible stories and church books togetherOne thing that the girls have seemed to really love was having a book bin that was set aside just for Sundays. IN it I had placed books that were Sunday related or taught the biblical principles that I wanted the girls to know and learn in my home. I love going to thrift stores and finding a bunch of children’s books that focus on the bible in different ways. Some books rhyme, some books use a simple phrase like did you know? and then state a fact about the bible story that you’re reading together.But what I love just as much as what my girls love are the stories by an author named Max Lucado. I tear up just talking about this author because he has truly honed the skill of teaching those who read his stories the love that God has for each of us personally. I first came to learn about Max Lucado from the story The Wemmicks- You are Special. The Wemmicks is a story about wooden hand carved puppets who are in a town where they give each other stars or take them away based on their beauty, talents, or skills. There is one puppet named Punchinello who feels like he will never belong or isn’t of worth until he learns about the love and care and doesn’t need to prove himself to be of worth. I have read these books many time but somehow Max Lucado is able to grasp in such a way that shows the love that God has for us.I have also found that in saving those books for Sunday that the girls treat them with a bit more respect and love than the other books that are available to them everyday. They are gently placed back in their bin and put away for the next Sunday. I want to say that it is just because they are only able to come out on Sundays but I think it is also the feelings that the girls have when they read these books where God can testify of His truths to them in such a way that they are able to listen. Reading with my girls is a delight and brings a joy that is probably just as good if not better than that nap I so desperately want or need.
- Set aside special activitiesThis is an area where I need to spend some more time being proactive about finding some toys or activities that would allow gospel centered learning to happen where each family member is available free of distractions to learn more about God’s words. When I just had Big Girl I posted a question on Facebook about how different mommas spent their time on Sundays making it different from the rest of the days of the week. One friend, who came from a family of 7 kids, and had 3 of her own shared that she had a special toy bin that only came out on Sundays. In it contained the Little People series of Noah’s Ark and the Nativity. And I loved this idea so much but I wanted to keep my special Little People’s nativity for Christmas. So this summer I plan on scouring garage sales to find different toys and activities that are geared towards gospel centered learning that allow the girls’ testimonies to grow in a way that allows them to have a closer relationship with God and Jesus Christ.Another momma spent the time making binders for her children with church file folder games. The Finch Family Games is the product that she used to put together her binders. If you have never heard of File Folder Games before let me enlighten you!! Filder folder games are educational activities that are printed out, coloured, and laminated and then placed in a file that you can keep in a filing cabinet or binder!! Some of the activities teach or engage children in the play of matching colors, letters, or act out different parts of the scripture stories.
This is another goal on my to do list this summer to have ready to go that allows the girls some new opportunities to learn and have fun as September rolls around.
- Watch special sabbath day movies togetherSince I have come to terms that I won’t be able to have a nap I do allow the girls to watch a movie after we get home from church. However, the catch is that it has to be a “feel good” movie that speaks to building our character and relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Now to be honest, we haven’t found a ton of movies that do this as of yet so when the girls get tired of the movies we do have to choose from they bounce to Veggietales. The movies we absolutely love and rely on a lot are Joseph The King of Dreams and The Prince of Egypt. We also love to watch the Mormon Messages that are short stories told in about 3 minutes that help us to talk about faith and things that will buoy us up through the storms we have in our life.Now before you go run and hide and say that you don’t want more and more TV to be watched because it is not healthy I want you to take comfort in this. There was a recent Ted talk given by a lady who talks about how we can embrace TV and use it as a learning tool. The difference between the Tv just being used as a babysitter (and I am not knocking that because for some things it is useful) and being a learning tool all depends on the adult’s interaction with the child during and after the show. If the adult is allowing it to help reinforce principles being taught in the home then watching the show and having a discussion around it really helps to solidify those ideas for young children.
- Bake together If I had to choose between baking and cooking I would choose baking every time. So when I saw a momma share this special family tradition that they do Sunday afternoons I knew I had to jump onto it. After church once everyone has changed and has settled down this momma brings out her recipe book and her littles help her to bake cookies for the week. Once the cookies are baked and cooled, the family gathers together to read books and stories all cuddled down together. Being a fellow book nerd I loved this idea and think it is a great way to have family time together. For Sundays we have a book bin we pull out of scripture storybooks and bible stories. This is such a fun fun fun idea that I am trying to incorporate when my babes are a bit older.
- Play Games together You know the saying the family that play together, stays together is true. My Sister in love’s family is really great at playing games together and have been able to truly bond over the fun that they have. If you sit with them you get to hear all of the stories that are brought up surrounding their family game nights and that is a lot of fun to hear about and embrace. Also I have found that the families that play against one another usually play more for fun than winning and so any feelings of animosity that could have been present aren’t. So if you keep hearing the “b” word coming up on Sunday why not get together and play some games to create some lasting memories and fun.
- Spend time with family members either visiting them personally or on Facetime Growing up on Sunday afternoons many times we would drive across the city to visit my grandma. She was an interesting lady to say the least and although it honestly wasn’t my favourite thing to do because my Grandma wasn’t that warm and cuddly personality it still is a memory I cherish of the importance to visit family and keep those important connections.Due to the fact that the girls and I live around 4 hours away from our close family members a lot of the times we spend our Sunday afternoons calling family members through FaceTime. Many times the girls will show a dance they have done, read a story they have practiced, or sing a song we have learned that week during Joy School/ homeschool times. This has become a cherished time that the girls love to showcase their talents and the new skills they have developed.
- Sunday EtiquetteAnother idea that I have come across during my years of researching about parenting was the idea to treat Sundays as a day where the girls learn the skills surrounding etiquette. If I could get more organized it would be really fun to hold Sunday tea parties where the girls learn a different skill surrounding manners or etiquette. This would be a fun idea to do as the girls could use their princess outfits to dress up and use a special tea party set to create fun while teaching the foundational truths to teach these little women to lead their lives through grace and poise.
So while maybe my sabbath day won’t be joy filled through getting that nap I may sometimes long for at least there will be the opportunities to find joy as I create special bonds and memories with my dear precious babies who will be grown up and gone all too soon.