As if our dining room is the medieval Grand Couvert of Versailles with a full-service dinner performance, my kids like to be entertained while they eat.
On too many occasions when I was desperate to get food into their bellies, I let them watch TV. And before we got to Sesame Street’s “Letter of the Day” song, their plates were empty as fast as they watched Cookie Monster gobble his cookies.
Obviously, this isn’t the best case scenario. I’m not against screen-time, but I like to reserve the opportunity for when I need to get something done around the house.
But because this became a consistent rhythm, family dinners at night became more challenging because they expected the TV – which, how can I be surprised? That’s what I taught them.
Have you experienced something like this with your kids?
I needed to make a healthy change that worked for all of us.
In the mornings, I started reading a story to them at the table. (We read this one and this one) To my surprise, they paid attention and started eating because they had something to focus on. I did this a few days in a row until I started reading to them during lunch, too.
In the mornings, we read a children’s book or two, but for lunch I started reading them something from the Gospels out of our Family Bible. I use the TLV Family Bible because they love looking at the pictures! My four-year-old likes the illustration in John 1 because Yeshua looks like a superhero. Recently, she pointed at it and said, “His skin looks like paper”. That opened up a conversation about “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”
Try explaining that to a four year old!
Taking the time to read Scripture to them benefits me too because I get to spend extra time reading the Bible – a win/win for us all!
So far, we’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now. They still ask to watch TV occasionally, but I try my best to stick to our new rhythm.
My children are still so young. I was told my whole life I’d never be able to have kids – ever. But here I am sitting at the table admiring the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever seen and they came naturally from my womb. I’m SO NEW to raising children and am convinced I’m the least qualified. But for some reason, God entrusted me with the precious lives of His two daughters.
His Word says to “train up a child in the way he should go…” and “teach them (the Words of God) diligently to your children, and talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up…” and I try my best every day to do that.
I’m far from a perfect Mom. But, I am learning to trust God to fill the gaps of my parenting with His everlasting love and faithfulness while I rely on His strength entirely, for He alone is my rock and my salvation, my strong tower to which I run toward and am safe in His loving presence.
May the God of Israel continue to bless His children.