I never really valued time until I had babies. All of a sudden time mattered. At first it was subtle. Sleep was lacking and the little pockets of time I could find to afford myself a bit of a reprieve were a gift. As my babies grew, special moments with them were cherished and seasons of teething, discipline and struggles were prayed over until they passed.
As a working mom, I began to strategize time. I crafted opportunities to make the most of every minute and be absolutely present when I was in my mom-mode. One of the moments I found to be special were our morning and afternoon car rides. While my attention is on driving, my kids are literally strapped in and it gives me a chance to be creative in our interactions. Here are some of the ways, I emphasized these moments together …
- The Talk. You might be amazed at what kinds of conversations we have on our morning drives! Our boys have started to get used to the 30 minutes or more in the car each way and it’s natural for us to talk about random things. I love hearing their hearts about anything from their current friends to what they are excited to eat for lunch that day. If the chatter simmers down, and I see them wandering off out the window, I often ask them questions that require more than a yes or a no – like … “What are you thinking about?” “What do you see?” “What’s on your heart?” … It has become especially fun to take a listening role and hear their answers. This has become a cherished time for me. I am always amazed at what I find out about our kids once I get them talking!
- The Music. My husband and I share a love of music and even before we had kids we discussed what songs and genres were influential to us. We began early playing our music in the car with them early on in hopes that the songs that mattered to us would intuitively begin to matter to them. As our boys have grown, we have started to ask them to share what they like with us as well. We take turns sharing control of the radio. It’s an opportunity to be cross-generational. Also, our kids see us valuing their tastes even from an early age. Dance parties are also a highlight and it’s a good time to show your kids a lighthearted, fun side of your personality.
- Toys and Books. I don’t limit much of what they bring into the car because it’s a great time for them to be screen free and play! I will admit to allowing them to bring anything from playsets to remote control planes. While I can’t read to my boys when I’m driving, we recently discovered books on CD and they love it. They can listen and turn the page when it chimes! We keep a small box of books on cd in the back seat and it’s been a big hit!
- Faith. Certainly, teachable moments present themselves in different ways, but I have found that in the car, our boys a bit less distracted and it provides us with opportunities to have meaningful conversations about our family’s faith. In addition to sharing what we believe, this year we started memorizing verses with our boys. We started with simple verses that speak of God’s faithfulness and love. We found that from memorization comes questions and it provides another avenue to engage in conversation about the truths found in God’s Word.
- Finally, the Drop Offs. Our morning time is so special to me. While I use that time to make sure they brush their teeth and their book bags are packed, it’ even more important that I have the chance to talk with them in the car about their day before it begins. It’s our routine to discuss the things they are excited and nervous about, who they hope to see that day, and what types of good choices they can make. Granted, it’s not always easy to glean this information from them, but starting it early and making it normal to be open about these things keeps the dialogue open. It does my momma heart good to watch them walk in each day and see how their confidence and demeanor changes from the beginning of the year to the end. Probably my favorite thing about that time is the opportunity to be intentional about praying over them as they walk through the doorway.
Hopefully some of these ideas will be encouraging to you and may help spark some creativity in even the simplest of moments with your kids. In such a fast moving, ever changing culture, social media and advertisements are readily available and are constantly battling for your child’s attention. Making the most of the moments we have to pour into our kids and influence them are so important.