Brynna woke up with a smile on her face Saturday morning. She knew that a lovely breakfast of French toast with powdered sugar would soon be cooking. She hurried to dress, eager to get her chores done and help mom in the kitchen. After a nice breakfast, and table chores, the whole family gathered in the living room for Bible Time.
We all looked at Brynna. She got to pick our opening hymn. Her eyes closed for a moment to ponder, and then declared, “He Is King…all of it.” We sang all the verses of her favorite hymn, and continued with Bible time. She got to pick our blessing challenge and select the verse of “Count Your Blessings” that we’d sing.
During free time, Brynna’s mind wandered to the leftovers in the fridge. She picked those for lunch for Saturdays. She knows that if there aren’t enough leftovers to go around, she gets to make her own. Peanut butter and jelly tacos are her favorite!
After lunch, her eyes gleamed with delight as she considered the possibilities for family play time. After all–SHE got to pick the game today. And during the first part of quiet time? Her favorite time of all. Special time with Mom.
And then it’s dinner time. She picked breakfast for dinner and today is pancakes! Yum!
I’m sure you can tell that Saturdays are Brynna’s favorite day.
They are HER day, after all!
Seven years ago, Bryan and I decided to give each of our kids a day. It’s been key in streamlining our busy life and helping ensure we get special time with each child. If you’re looking for a new way to reduce decision fatigue and get more done, I highly recommend giving your kids a day.
Here are three reasons to try this in your family:
1. Designated Quality Time
On their day, each of my children get to spend the first 1/2 hour of quiet time with me. Just the two of us. And that child gets to pick our activity.
During our special time together, we’ve:
- Had a tea party
- Painted fingernails
- Set up the train tracks
- Took a walk
- Played a game
- Read a book
- Done an art project
- Cooked something special
- Played with playdough
- Played house
- Built with Legos
I’ve enjoyed so much fun quality time with each of my children, simply by letting them pick what we do for 1/2 an hour on their day.
Some of my kids spend all week thinking of the very best way to spend time with me. It’s a huge deal to them, and a time we both cherish.
I love the time to chat, snuggle, and learn more about each child that God has blessed me with.
Also, on their day the kids often help me cook. It’s another special way to spend time together and for them to learn practical skills.
2. Children Thrive on Routines
Children who come from families with routines develop strong social-emotional skills. Or so says the research. I have to agree. When we’ve been lax on the routines, chaos rules in our house. It’s not a pretty time, for anyone. I’m sure it stresses the kids out.
When we have our routines, including everyone having a day, the days are smoother. The children eagerly anticipate their day of the week.
It’s a fun part of our family culture that the kids enjoy. They love the predictability of knowing that every week they get a day.
3. It Reduces the Number of Decisions I Have to Make Each Day
Seriously. This mama’s brain is too busy to be making last minute decisions all day long. Designating a day for your child helps alleviate some of these simple decisions.
On their day, there are certain privileges. Among those are making some of the smaller decisions about the day.
For instance they:
- Got to pick the themes for our annual meal plan
- Select the activity for Family Play Time
- Get 1/2 an hour of Wii at Quiet Time
- Can choose where they’re going to sit for Bible Time (they get the first choice…)
- Select a song to sing at Bible time
- Lick the spoon if I bake something
- Pick the episode or movie to watch while I cook dinner
They truly look forward to their day! They get to have things more “their way” than on the rest of the week.
But, with privileges come responsibilities. On their day, I also ask them to take care of any small chores/jobs that pop up (not the normal stuff). Things like:
- Sweeping the porch (or spraying it with water)
- Emptying the overflowing trash can from the kids’ room
- Collecting any packages from the UPS truck
On their day, the kids get to serve a little bit more. This balance is good for them. It helps them see that the world doesn’t revolve around them, even on their day.
And…knowing which child I should ask to do these things frees up my brain immensely. I no longer have to try to keep things “fair” in my mind by remembering who did what last. Instead, if it’s their day, I ask them. If it’s not, I ask someone else.
When You Give Your Child a Day You Simplify Life
When you give your child a day it makes your life simpler. The above reasons are just a quick overview of the benefits we’ve experienced.
Do your children have a day? If so, what other perks do they get on that day? If not, would you think about adding this tradition to your family?
This post was originally published on Sep 7, 2015. It talked about Ellie in the beginning and not Brynna, since Brynna was only a baby back then…But this post has now been updated and refreshed!