I'm hoping to share them with you since they have helped me so much.
1. Look up the verses your child is learning in the Bible. (Even though my child cannot read the Bible yet, I want her to know where these words are coming from and who wrote them.)
One of Julia's verses was 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God breathed. Well how do you think I explained that lofty verse to my 3 year old? I said, "Julia this means that God wrote the Bible and everything He says is true!"
Being intentional means taking the time to explain things to our children so that we help them to think properly, not brainwash them! It allows them to become critical thinkers, perhaps this is why 3 year olds are so good at asking a million questions!
2. Make working on the teaching cards or handbooks a special time. Awana for us is on a Thursday. When Julia gets home that night we go over what she learned with Ms. Kathy and she tells me ALL about how much fun she had. Thursday nights are our late nights to bed, and Julia and Mark can totally handle it since we are really good about every other night going to bed by 8:30 (we changed our bedtime since the clock changed this weekend). But Sunday nights are a real treat because Sunday nights we all do Awana workbook time. We read the next lesson all together as a family, and we put the new week's verse on the white board so we can pracitce it througout the week. Doing anything WITH Daddy is special and I wanted Daddy to be a part of our Awana learning time. It is such a great Bible curriculum and we are so amazed at how many verses Mark and Julia have learned so far...over ten verses!!!
3. Make attending Awana a priority; don't let your child hear you complain about being too tired or too busy to take her to church.
Ok, this is an easy one for me because we LOVE going to Awana every week! We haven't missed one class yet! And we are always there ON TIME, and I like to show up early to pick Julia up so Mark can see how much fun she's having (sometimes Ms Kathy even lets him draw a picture for the last few minutes and be a part of the class) this way next year is a smooth transition when HE gets to go! Being an intentional parent means I intentionally make it a priority by being on time, being excited about it, and enjoying hearing about it when Julia wants to share about her class.
4. Encourage your child to thank his leader as he leaves club each week. If we want grateful children we have to teach them when it is appropriate to say thank you. I know for me when I have served in a ministry and give of my time, it means a lot when people take the time to notice and thank me. It doesn't mean I need to be thanked for serving, but it sure is nice to be appreciated. I think it's really important to let the people who invest in our children's lives know how thankful and blessed we are to have them serve!
5. Ask him questions about the lessons. This is a good review, and lets you know that the child understands what is being taught. I also do this to find out if Julia was paying attention. She has several close friends in Awana and I want to be sure she isn't just playing during class time (except when they do parachute time of course), so I remind her to focus on what her teacher is saying and not to be fooling around during the lesson time.
I really found all of these tips really good reminders for me as a parent and also gave me ideas how to handle other outside activities like Library story time, Gymnastics, Sunday School and Taekwondo. Being an INTENTIONAL parent is a lot of work, but I know we will see the benefits of the time we take with our little ones as they grow.