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Five Fun Ways to Spend Time with Your Teens this Christmas Season

The Christmas season is fast approaching.  Here are five ways to maximize the extra time spend with your tweens and teens this holiday season.

What’s The Plan?
It is unfair for your kids to leave the rigors of the 8am – 4pm school day only to find a lack of structure on holiday.  Maximize the front of your day and build in wake-up times that allow you to spend time together in the morning before work.  Give them a structure for the day so that it is not wasted.  Maybe there’s even time for a nap!

Giving your kids a sense of responsibility is empowering for them during this down-time.  With you not around, they can be free to learn how to work in their own way.  Plus, with all of that work accomplished, your evenings will be free to spend time together!

Phone Free is the Way to be
Make this a phone free Christmas break.  Plan times for them when they know that they’ll have access to their phones, perhaps when you are at work or on a date.  We survived without phones on our breaks and they will, too!

Date Your Family
Make sure that you have plenty of activities planned for weekends and evenings.  This time of year affords many unique and exciting things to do.  Even if you have to work, try to make yourself available to your family for a few hours every day!

Don’t be a Scrooge
Make sure that your kids get to see their friends over the break.  A good rule of thumb is once every five days.  This way they’ll get to maintain connection, but they will not overdo the time away from home.

Perhaps you have come to this point in the article and are thinking of how you might implement some of these things in your own home this Christmas.  Perhaps you have come to this point in the article and are waiting for the punch-line.  In either case, I want to invite you to consider a couple of things as you welcome your students into your home for this extended time together.

The suggestions that I make in my ‘5 Ways’ are not necessarily wrong.  Implementing various forms of these things will be popular in many homes over the holidays.  But these things do create the danger of falling into three selfish and sinful traps which we tend toward as parents.

Father Knows Best
Whether father, mother, grandparent, or other form of guardian, we tend to operate under the assumption that our kids will and ought to do as we say.  While this is certainly true to a point, it is important to remember that we are raising up young men and women, immature believers, to prayerfully mature into godly influences in this world.  Telling them what to do without consulting them and then expecting them to do it is not only unrealistic, but it establishes a dangerous pattern, more than likely to be emulated by your child.  Instead, talk with your spouse and/or kids about what to do and how to do it. 

You’re on My Time
It is absolutely true that our work is important.  It does not follow that everyone else in our families should shoehorn life in based upon our work schedules, even our children.  The sinful tendency here is self-importance.  While your 17-year-old might joyfully attend dinner from 6:30 – 7:30, between your impromptu end of day sales meeting and your planned sales call to east Asia, requiring his or her attendance might be a bit over the top.  Instead, consider ways that you can move toward your family by finding times to block off in your schedule upon which everyone agrees.

You need to know who your children are with and what they are doing.  The sinful tendency with controlling these types of things often shows a fearful desire to exert our own will, rather than trusting our Heavenly Father.  I’ll tread more carefully here, as situations vary and different levels of control are absolutely prudent and necessary.  I encourage every guardian, though, to think before saying ‘no.’  Consider your own heart before God prior to applying motivation to you children or their friends.
Remember, your primary role as a parent is that of a mature believer encouraging immature believers to grow in the grace of Jesus Christ.  Approach the upcoming weeks with prayer, patience, and humility as you seek to lead your children well.  As you turn from your sin to King Jesus, your kids only stand to benefit!