by Lindsey Bell, , Tell-Me-How Tuesday Contributor
As I dropped my four-year-old off at preschool a couple of weeks ago, he said something that nearly brought me to tears: “Mom, you don’t need to walk me in today. I can go by myself.”
Our children are growing up. Fast. And our world is encouraging them to grow up even faster.
We can’t go into the mall or even check out at the grocery store without seeing pictures of women dressed immodestly. Sexual predators lurk online (and unfortunately in our communities, too), just waiting for an innocent victim to catch. The news is full of heart-breaking stories: stories of murder, rape, hurricanes, tornadoes, brokenness, and devastation.
All of these work together to steal our children’s innocence…to force them to grow up too soon.
So how do we do it? How do we protect our kids from the dangers of this world without scaring them? How do we keep our children little, when the world wants them to grow up fast?
Here are a few things I am doing with my children:
1. Let them be little. For some reason, I’m always looking forward to the next stage my kids are getting ready to enter. I’m looking forward to the time when naps won’t dictate our schedule and I can ditch the pack-n-play. In essence, I’m rushing my kids. I’m not allowing them to just be little. To play and have fun and make messes. The world is doing enough to rush them; I don’t want to add to it.
2. Limit screen time. We all know the benefits of play and the dangers of spending too much time online. It’s nonetheless a struggle for most (if not all) parents to limit screen time—in both their own life and in their child’s life. My family has learned to limit screen time by setting a timer. When the timer goes off, the television or computer goes off too.
3. Monitor their time online.Purchase a monitoring system and install it on all of your devices. Know what your kids are watching and whom they are talking to.
4. Don’t overexpose them to news. A couple of years ago, a tornado devastated our community. I learned then (by overexposing my 3 year old) that it’s important to limit the amount of exposure our kids get to the news. It’s also important to tell them about positive things going on in the world.
5. Teach them about dangers, but don’t terrify them. Our kids need to know about stranger-danger. They need to be prepared for fires and storms. But they don’t need to live in fear. As parents, we have to walk that fine line between preparing them and scaring them.
Let’s talk: How do you protect the innocence of your children?
About Lindsey Bell:
Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity, a parenting devotional to be released in January 2014. She’s also a stay-at-home mother of two, minister’s wife, avid reader, and chocolate lover. You can find Lindsey online at any of the following locations:
Her blog: www.lindsey-bell.com
Her website: www.lindseymbell.com
About Searching for Sanity:
Have you ever looked at your beloved children and wondered, what in the world am I doing? Why did God trust me—of all people—to raise them? Motherhood is the most difficult job many of us will ever take. Searching for Sanity offers moms an opportunity to take a breath, dig into the Word, and learn from parents of the past. In short devotions designed for busy moms, this book uses the parents of the Bible—both the good and the bad—to inspire today’s mothers.
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