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Playdates for Big Kids - Live life with your kids - Issue 093
March 06, 2009
Hi there! ....

My week: One of the things we have talked about this week is how to encourage each other to do the right thing. There are times that conversations slip into the unedifying - they aren't necessarily wrong or bad, they are just niggle-y. We have decided that we want to trust each other, believe the best of each other and with that confidence we can say "this conversation is going nowhere!" If everyone's heart is for the same thing then this will be a signal, to both parties, that there is something that they themselves can change. They can change their attitude, they can change their choice of words, their body language, their emotions. As each of us receive or give this prompt we will learn to recognise the time for change ourselves that little bit quicker. Encourage each other to love and good works has become a bit of a theme around here! (Heb 10:24)

Live life with your kids!

Be a Deliberate Parent
Playdates II - Playdates for Big Kids

A while back my older kids and their friends happen to mention that they were too big for ‘playdates’ now. They explained that when they visited with their friends, they no longer ‘played’. Fair enough – I don’t play with my friends either! This was said light-hearted enough, though they had a point and there are times where I try and change my language as my children grow up.

The real change when kids grow up though is much more subtle and really much more important than whether you call it a visit or a playdate. The true issue is: what do they do when they are together?

One of the things that teenagers like to do is ‘hang out’. This is how they describe their social time together. What is your reaction to this? When we have young children we are proactive with training and boundaries in regards to their playdates, and we need to continue to see training opportunities in social situations even as our children grow into the teen years.

We have a principle that we try to live by in our home and that is that we are to use our time wisely, this includes playtime, social time and down time. My belief is that just ‘hanging out’ with friends leads to some undesirable habits; it leads to being idle.

When the owner is lazy
The roof sags;
When hands are idle,
The house leaks.
Ecc 10:18

When I first discussed this with my older children, we had to find out what their roof / house was. They don’t own a ‘house’ so what is in this scripture for them? The house is their life; the rooms in a house are like the many different aspects of their life but the whole house is like their life. When they are lazy, when choices get sloppy, hands are idle, then the house (their being, life, behaviour; their very self) starts to leak, fall apart.

What does a saggy roof look like? What does it look like when a house (their life) starts to fall apart?

  • inappropriate choices
  • unwise words
  • unkind actions
  • silliness
  • lack of self control

In understanding what idleness is I went to and found nine phrases that describe idleness:

  1. not working, or active, doing nothing
  2. not spent or filled with activity
  3. not in use or operation, not kept busy
  4. habitually doing nothing or avoiding work
  5. of no real worth, importance, or significance
  6. having no basis or reason
  7. frivolous
  8. meaningless, senseless
  9. futile, unavailing

This gives some good material to define idleness but more importantly to defining an activity of value:

  • Is there purpose or reason to what we are doing?
  • Will our activity produce something of value?
  • What did God create you to do? Are you doing it?
  • Is our choice creating a good habit?
As you look over that list of dictionary meanings you may well find other significant questions that can help you define an activity of value in your family.

Back to playdates – or social time, visits, hanging out! Our value, of using our time wisely, needs to direct and guide our children in their social choices. It isn’t that I am against them sitting and talking to their friends, listening to music and so forth, but I know that if this becomes the only thing that they do when they are together they will soon talk about inappropriate things or they are more likely to start doing inappropriate things. We need to help our children find ways to control their words, thoughts and actions, even when they are with their friends.

As a result of thinking through these issues, in our house we have two guiding tools that our children have learnt:

  1. Before any social time, our children think about their options of how they could spend their time. They may choose to have some board games in mind, a sport activity, a craft activity, or a project they are working on with their friend. Once they have thought about this they have something in mind to redirect themselves, and their friends, when things start to “sag” and “leak”.
  2. They know to keep their ‘just talking’ time to a minimum, and it is preferable that they keep their hands busy while they talk. I also encourage them to think about an encouraging or edifying topic they can bring up and talk about during their visit. This helps them to be proactive not only in using their time wisely, but in encouraging themselves and their friends to do good. (Heb 10:24)

Keeping hands busy is a key against "saggy" and "leaking" lives!

And let our people also learn
to maintain good works
for necessary uses,
that they will not be unfruitful.
Titus 3:14

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
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  • Family Life is a Resource for Education – Spotlights on a particular aspect of family life so we can see the natural opportunities available to us in educating our children.
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