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How to make sure your kids’ summer break isn’t a break from Jesus

By: sara alexander

The long anticipated days of summer break are finally here! The pace of life is slowing as priorities shift to include maximizing the long, hot days of summer. If you're like most families, the biggest stressors are planning your summer vacation, spending weekends at the lake, and doing your best to pack in as much fun with your kids as you can before school starts again.

Whether we realize it or not, we can be our children's greatest spiritual influences.

Summer is also a great time for us as parents to invest intentional time teaching our children about Jesus. These quality conversations can’t happen, however, if we let them spend the entire summer in front of a screen. The truth is, whether we realize it or not, we can be our children's greatest spiritual influences. God has given us the unique opportunity to speak into our children's lives and teach them what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.

4 practical tips to equip us in pointing our kids to Jesus this summer:

1. Stay consistent with attending church.

Now that school is out, it’s easy to get out of the habit of going to church each week. Not going to church regularly teaches our children that church isn’t important to us. By getting together with the local church on a regular basis, we can experience community and worship Jesus together (Acts 2:42-47). Make church attendance fun for everyone — cook brunch together after a morning service, or go out for ice cream after the 6pm service.

2. Continue to pursue your personal relationship with Jesus.

When we spend time daily reading the Bible and praying, our kids notice. Time with Jesus changes the way we parent our children and respond to them. If this is a new habit for you, summer is a great time to get started! Check out this 16-Day Devotional on Romans to help you understand more of who Jesus is and how much He loves you. Let’s not let the change in schedule stop us from continuing to grow in our own walks with Jesus. Remember you are the greatest influence on your child's spiritual life.

3. Find an age-appropriate Bible or devotional to read together as a family.

We do this at breakfast because most evenings, my husband and I are too tired to do it well. Find what time works best for your family, and do it every day. Simply reading a verse and praying together can make such a huge difference in your family. Here is one great resource that my elementary aged kids enjoy.

4. Plan one or two service projects to complete together.

Do not overthink this. Something as simple as doing yard work for an elderly neighbor or preparing a meal together as a family and delivering it to new parents can make such an impact on how our children see Jesus. Jesus set an example of service for us and calls us to serve one another in the same selfless way He did (John 13:14-15). So let’s be like Jesus and look for opportunities to serve the people around us!  I think we all can appreciate teaching our children to think more about other people than themselves.

This Summer, let’s remember that technology was never meant to be a babysitter. Important conversations about Jesus can never happen if our children always have a screen in front of them.

Be intentional with your time, and ask the Lord to bring opportunities for you to talk about truth from God's Word with your child. Above all remember to pray, pray, and pray some more for your children. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

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