37 Practical Ways to Improve as a Parent

I posted this list from an article I read about a year ago. This is not meant to be an end all list, it is only meant to give us a jump start and reminder of what it means to be a parent.
Here is something you may never have thought of. By God letting us become parents is one of His primary methods of sanctification  Within marriage, you ultimately choose what you’re willing to live with. You see, if you marry an angry person, you know you will have to learn to deal with your spouse’s anger. If you marry a passive, or fearful, or impulsive person, in the end you have to admit you chose this person, and thus choosing your future battles.
With our children it is different. They already come out ready made with spiritual battles beforehand that we can’t even begin to imagine. And God in His vast brilliance has the ability to place our child in our family to push just the right buttons to get under one or both of our skins.
Do you see the potential for spiritual growth?  This is enormous! Raising children will truly shape our souls.
So once again, here is this list. Read through them. Consider implementing one or two a month.

In random order:

1. Pray for your child in their presence at the start and close of each day. Keep it brief.
2. Tell your child you love them at least every other day.
3. Hug your child often (even if it’s just a shoulder hug for teens).
4. Give her a short note of encouragement at least monthly.
5. Spend at least 30 minutes of one-on-one time with him each week, and turn off your cell phone and PDA beforehand if you own them.
6. Leave an age-appropriate joke in your child’s lunch box or coat pocket occasionally.
7. Tell her you’re proud of her. Be specific why.
8. Surprise your child with a small gift that you know he’d appreciate.
9. Read the Bible or a devotional lesson together at least weekly.
10. Play a board or card game with your child.
11. Take your child out for breakfast or lunch at least monthly.
12. Take off work early to cheer him on at an after-school activity.
13. Give your child an encouraging card, e-card or e-mail message.
14. Leave an inspirational quote on your child’s pillow before his bedtime.
15. Learn a Bible verse or passage together.
16. Hug your child and tell her “I love you” after disciplining her.
17. Watch one of your child’s favorite TV programs together.
18. Praise your child in front of his teachers or peers.
19. Teach her a new skill of yours.
20. Make a meal of his choice with him for dinner.
21. Serve with your child somewhere in your community – such as a nursing home, homeless shelter or hospital.
22. Ask your child to forgive you for something you did to her recently, such as losing your temper.
23. Pray for your child for five minutes every day.
24. Pray often for God to grow you as a parent.
25. Join your child in doing a random act of kindness for a neighbor.
26. Play catch with him.
27. Rent a funny movie, pop popcorn and laugh hysterically together.
28. Help your child with homework. Commit to being very patient!
29. Hold a family faith night – do a fun activity, read a Bible passage and pray together.
30. Prioritize healthy eating and exercise habits for your whole family. Reward your kids when they achieve milestones.
31. Plan a fun weekend or day trip away for the two of you.
32. Take lots of pictures of your child and your family.
33. Devote yourself to only disciplining your child in love. This may mean delaying discipline for a few minutes while you collect your emotions and pray.
34. Put a picture of her in your wallet or purse. Look at it and thank God for something about her daily.
35. Give your child something from your childhood that was valuable to you. Explain why it was valuable and why you’re giving it to him.
36. Celebrate your child’s successes with enthusiasm.
37. Be the first one to encourage your child when she experiences pain or failure.

Question: What would you add to the list?

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