6 Ways to Effectively Lead Young Children
What does it mean for a parent to effectively lead a family with young children?
The answer to that question has come to me through years of trial and error (mostly error). As a young mom, I didn’t give leadership much thought — I was just trying to get through the day. But as my kids grew beyond the toddler years, I realized something important: Kids do what they see. They believe what is prioritized at home. That meant I was a leader whether I liked it or not.
My leadership grew right along with our three kids. Then, when those kids became teens and young adults, my husband, John, and I adopted seven children and started all over again. Seeing what worked — and what didn’t — the first time around made me more confident as a leader the second time. Also, seeing my older kids as adults confirmed what we did right.
6 Ways to Effectively Lead Young Children
Setting Family Priorities
The values and priorities you model in good times and bad are likely to become the values and priorities your kids adopt as adults. These are the things they will pass down to their kids, too. So we want to make sure they pick up the right things! Here are six ways I have found to effectively lead little ones:
Yes, it really does matter if you go out for ice cream after naptime if that’s what you promised. It’s easy to follow a leader we trust. Kids are quick to follow when they know you care about them, consistently meet their needs and keep your promises. The more instances where we do what we say, the more our children become willing to follow. Also, trust built in the early years forms a strong connection that will help kids to turn to you in the tumultuous teen years.
What is your family about? What makes you a special group of people? Let your kids know they are an important part of your family. Be sure to point out their best qualities, and let them see how you need them and they need you. Of course, words are not enough. Make your child a part of the team by giving her simple chores, such as setting the table, sorting the laundry and pulling weeds in your yard. Point out how her small efforts benefit the family as a whole.
Where you place your focus will direct how your family spends their days. John and I worked together to determine what things were important for our children’s futures. Then we decided how to make those things important now. Because we want our children to have a relationship with God as teens and adults, we have a time of daily Bible reading and prayer with our kids now. We attend church and serve other Christians by volunteering in children’s church. We collect baby items for our local teen-mom support group to model helping those in need. These small but consistent acts demonstrate that we put God first as a family and build a strong foundation for our children’s future faith.
As children grow, priorities change. It’s important to set routines, but it’s also important to be flexible. Nobody enjoys being around a rigid leader. If something you did last year doesn’t work this year, be willing to try something new. Different strategies may work with different personalities of children, so be prepared to change things up.
Leadership isn’t just about where you go, but also what you protect…
Read the rest of 6 Ways to Effectively Lead Young Children here: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/6-ways-to-effectively-lead-young-children/
Have you seen my new book Grumble Free Year? It’s the story of how our family took a year off from grumbling and complaining and found God’s goodness in our gratitude and thanksgiving. My friend Elisa Morgan had this to say about it:
2 Parents + 8 Kids + 1 Grandma = A house full of chaos, mess, and noise!
And between homeschooling, writing and leading a Teen MOPS group — I definitely get frustrated and cranky at times.
But You know what bothered me the most? Hearing my kids complaining. It drove me crazy until I realized I could teach them something better.
I could teach them gratitude. We could learn to be a family that’s grateful and thankful. Together we could become Grumble Free.
Would a year be enough to teach us all to focus on God’s goodness through every opportunity?
We found out in our Grumble Free Year and now you can read about how we faced whining and complaining head-on and became a stronger family because of it!
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