As a young mom, I remember being somewhat overwhelmed by all the responsibility of being a mom and trying to navigate all the things that needed to be done to protect, love, and care for my girlies. Not a single one of the children I have known came with an instruction manual and that can be scary at times.
You may be wondering what should I do with my child? Should I play with my child? What should I do with my kids at home? These are fantastic questions and you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to find out 5 simple but critical things you should do with your child every day.
You want to do everything you can for your child to make sure they are safe, clean, fed, watered, well-rested (even if you aren’t), loved, and nurtured. Even the basic of things such as feeding can become overwhelming with so much information about food allergies, lactose intolerance, gluten-free, dye-free, etc, etc. But what to do with your child doesn’t have to be hard!
5 Things to Do with Your Kids
Each one of these simple, free things to do with your kids is simple, and all that’s required is you. These are the important building blocks that will mold and shape your child and build a strong relationship with your child through the coming years.
Talk To Your Child
Studies have found that a child builds 85% or more of their brain core structure in the first five years of life. Talking to your child introduces and adds vocabulary, provides meaning to the conversation, helps children learn how to communicate and have conversations, and teaches them to take turns in talking and listening.
As your child grows, talk to them about the things they are interested in. Model what good conversation looks like. If you need help know what o talk about, check out these cute Conversation Starter Cards. Use one each night while you are eating supper or take them with you while you are driving.
Talk to your child about what you are doing, things you are seeing out the window of the car, and about feelings. Describe things to them and answer their “why” questions. Teach them to be kind in the way they talk to others and to you. Teach them to say please, thank you, I’m sorry, and I love you.
Talk to them about God and about how much He loves them and takes care of them. Tell your child how valuable they are to you and how much you love them.
Read To Your Child
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of reading to your child. Many of these benefits are similar to talking to your child which helps with language acquisition. These benefits do not stop with young children! Reading aloud helps a child acquire new vocabulary and understanding of new words.
Listening to someone reading aloud also helps children develop a sense of correct sentence structure. Choosing a variety of books and stories to read together helps children develop the ability to discern meaning from context.
Voice inflection can even help children learn proper punctuation just by the natural pauses that we incorporate when we read a sentence with commas, periods, question, or exclamation marks.
Reading together inspires imagination, creativity, and vision. Character building stories can help your child relate to tough topics that children may find difficult to understand. A child is never too young to be read to. They will also learn to love being held or sitting close when you read which also fosters security in a child.
Choose Books Carefully
Choose books that will encourage kindness and character traits that you want to encourage in your children. Read Bible stories to help your child learn to love the characters in the Bible and teach them the lessons portrayed by people.
Read stories about Daniel – who would only worship God, Joseph – who followed God in spite of difficult times, and Moses – who listened and obeyed God’s command to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt.
Choosing books to read out loud can be so much fun. When you start a series of books that is exciting, you share the joy of reading together. As a child, my mom read to us while we were on road trips and my dad read to us at night. I can still remember the specific books we read by the campfire at Teton National Park and the book we read by the fire while we were on a canoe trip in Canada.
Sing With Your Child
Another important thing to do with your child each day is to fill their life with music. Music has the ability to evoke emotions and can rapidly build memory skills.
It is amazing to watch and listen to a young child sing and realize how much they have stored up in their memory in music. Singing encourages listening and copying or echoing which in turn helps a child to learn to differentiate sounds, tones, words, and rhythm.
Because music also has the ability to impact our emotions it can be a powerful tool to use with learning. Children can learn their ABC’s and counting, they can sing story songs, and learn Bible verses much more easily with music.
Music can provide the backdrop for happy feelings and also evoke feelings of sadness. Music can unlock memories that have been stored away for a long time.
When my daughter was young, we had to move and give our cats away. My daughter was 2 1/2 when this happened. My girls often chose to listen to the same CD every night when they were going to bed.
One song in particular always brought my little daughter to tears about missing “Fluffy and Lisa,” our cats. This went on for years until we finally put the CD away for good. My daughter couldn’t even remember the cats, but the music brought back emotions.
Choose the music you play, sing, listen to, carefully because songs stick in our heads. Fill your child’s world with happy music, songs about Jesus, and classical music to encourage their brain development.
Encouraging your child to experience and move to music also encourages their gross motor skill development and helps them learn to do two things at once such as singing and dancing or singing and actions.
Play With Your Child
Playing is an essential part of childhood, and adulthood as well. Babies learn through their senses as they play and explore. As children develop, playing encourages their curiosity, imagination, and social learning as well.
Second only to talking, playing is one of the things you should do with your kids daily that will take the most time. But, playing together can be so rewarding!
Playing with your children can teach them new ways to use their imagination – such as having a play dough picnic and making “food” or building roads and streets with blocks.
Children imitate what they observe and they love to observe and imitate us! Just watch a young child with their parent’s cell phone and you can quickly see how they love to imitate adults.
When you take time to play with your children, you are communicating to them that they are valuable. They are worth your time. They are important to you. Playing games together teaches children how to take turns, how to be a good loser, and how to be kind when you win.
Playing with toys with your children often encourages conversations and scenarios that might not happen if you weren’t playing together. These can turn into teachable moments that you can use to train our children or teach them something they don’t know.
Spending time playing with your child provides the opportunity to see what they are acting out and hear the conversations that their toys are having. These are great opportunities to gauge what your child is hearing and seeing.
If your child plays with her dolls and one doll is always mean to the other one, this can provide the opportunity to talk about what your child is thinking and why the doll would be unkind to the other one. Perhaps your child is role-playing something they have observed.
When playing with cars, you can use the opportunity to have conversations about colors or how many of a certain type of car. These opportunities provide windows into what your child is learning and processing.
As your child gets older, the conversations will become more complex and the playing may change, but the bond that develops from playing with your child will strengthen the more you do it.
Pray With Your Child
This may be the last thing to do with your child every day, but it is eternally the most important. Praying with your child is one of the most important things you can teach your child. Teaching them to pray introduces and builds your child’s relationship with Jesus. Praying every day models a positive relationship and builds trust and feelings of security and safety.
There are many opportunities to pray throughout the day and the more you pray with your child, the more comfortable it will become. Pray at mealtimes, in the morning, in the evening before bedtime, when you’re traveling, when they are scared, when you’ve lost something, or when they are happy.
Teach your child that Jesus is the first person you talk to when you are afraid. Be intentional about praying in front of your child or within their view. If you are having devotional time in the morning, do it where your child will see you. Talk about your answers to prayer with your child. Create a family worship time that you spend together each day
Don’t stop at just praying with your child, but also pray for your child. When you pray for your children, you are praying prophetic words into your child’s life. When you pray for their choices, growth, and safety, you are praying for the future and not just the now.
Pray for wisdom as a mom. Ask God to help your life will be an example of Jesus’ love for your child. Pray that God will put a hedge of protection around your child, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Start praying circles around the life of your child.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do With Your Child Every day
Being a parent isn’t always easy, but with Jesus at your side, you can be the best mom your child needs. Children don’t need fancy clothes, high-end food, or matching bedroom furniture. They really just need YOU. They need to know that you love them. They need to experience this and feel this every single day. When that part of their life is stable and consistent, they are set to learn and grow and mature in a healthy way.
Savor every moment, Momma! The days go by slowly but the years go by fast! Take time today to do these 5 things with your kids whether you are at home, in the car, or visiting a relative. Spend some quality time with your child today!