Intentional Parenting at A Glance

Being a hands-on Mom is great because you get to spend most (if not all) of your time with your child. However, it can be a bit challenging too, as days go by.

When Matilda was still very young, around 0-6 months, our routine was very simple. She’ll feed, sleep, play a bit, feed and feed and then sleep again. She’s awake for short periods only and we used that time to play.

When she started walking, around 11 months, that’s when it began to be a little tiring for me. I had to constantly guide her and guard her from falling. She also explored a lot and that was the beginning of all the mess we have in our room (and everywhere else!). It was really fun for most part, but, there were also days when I just wanted to rest, and days when I too, got sick and I still had to take care of her.

Oftentimes people ask, “What do you do everyday?”, or “Don’t you get bored at home?”. My answer is always the same. “A lot!” is my answer to the first and “Of course, not!”, is my answer to the second. Let me give you a brief overview of our usual routine for the day now that Matilda is already 1 year and 7 months old.

8-8:30am Usual Wake-up Time
8:30-9:30am Breakfast
9:30-10:30am Play
10:30-12:00pm Nap Time
12-1pm Lunch
1-1:30pm Bath
1:30-3:30pm Play
3:30-5:30pm Nap Time
5:30-7pm Play
7-8pm Dinner
8-8:30pm Bath
8:30-9pm Play
9-8:30am Sleep

We have a No-TV policy at home so even us adults, do not watch at all. A lot of studies have shown that kids don’t actually learn anything from watching the television. Kids also tend to become used to the fast-paced entertainment they get, which in turn causes them to get bored when they actually start playing. Due to this, Joey and I made a commitment that as much as we can, we will not expose Matilda to this yet and just let her appreciate “playing” for what it really is.

So, what do we actually do during play time? Here’s a list of the things we do:

  • Read books
  • Color books
  • Pretend play (cooking, tea-party, picnic, dress-up, grocery shopping, cleaning)
  • Sing songs
  • Dance
  • Interact with kids from our neighborhood
  • Pick flowers
  • Ride the bike
  • Make a mess (art and crafts)
  • Clean the mess (pack away)

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Believe it or not, these things can never get boring. As your child learns while you play, it gives you a some sort of accomplishment that you were able to impart something that will become the foundation of their knowledge as they grow older. Simple activities enhance your child’s ability to learn without you even realizing it. Like for example, I like to sing Praise Songs and Nursery Rhymes to Matilda. I also invent actions to make it fun and entertaining. One day, she just started imitating me and there she was, doing the actions as she listens to me sing.

These are the things that make it all worth while. The fact that I am being there for her, not just to take care of her, but also play with her and teach her (discipline her) in the process is fulfilling enough for me.

This technique that we are doing, wherein we set certain standards is called Intentional Parenting. The focus of Intentional Parenting is molding the heart into helping your children be Christlike. It is being:

Proactive in teaching your kids – raising them in the fear of the Lord so they will know what is right instead of correcting them when they start doing wrong. Like for example, we try to teach Matilda everything that we do on a daily basis like read the Bible, Pray, fix her toys, eat properly, be polite, how to behave when at home and when we’re out, and so on. By doing this, we limit using the word “no” to her since we started with her training at a very young age.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭22‬:‭6‬ NASB)

Modeling to them – setting yourself as an example of authenticity and not perfection. Being a model is being true to yourself. It means you are who you are at home and when in public. We should be reminded that children copy us both positively and negatively. In all that we do, we should be aware that they are watching our every move. One example I specifically have for this is submission and respect to people in authority. In our home, Joey being my husband, is the person in authority over us. As much as I can, even though it is such a struggle, I try to be a submissive and respectful wife to him. I would like Matilda to be a submissive and respectful person to those in authority, first and foremost, to God and then to all those He assigned to lead, may it be in the family, church or government.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭9‬ NIV)

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭20‬ ESV)

Being there for them – playing with them and caring for them. I think, you will agree with me when I say, children who were personally cared for by their parents grow up to be God-fearing and well-mannered children. Well that is if they were brought up the right way! But the point is, if you are there for them to nurture and guide them, I’m pretty sure they’d end up great in terms of their character. This is because they would most likely be closer to you than their peers. We all know most of the foolish things we did back then we learned from our friends, right? So if your kids have a good relationship with you, with open communication at all times, then you won’t  have to worry about them being pressured to conform in today’s world.

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭2-3‬ NLT)

and most importantly..

Disciplining them – shepherding the heart about obedience and respect which will eventually pave the way for you to connect them to the Lord, our God. I must admit, this last part is indeed the hardest. I do know discipline is part of parenting, but I never really understood the depth of it until I read Tedd Tripp’s book entitled, Shepherding A Child’s Heart. The main theme of the book is discipline through spanking. I know, I know, most of you will raise your eyebrows in this area, but following what is said in the scriptures is part or our so-called “non-negotiables” in our faith. As Christian parents, we are commanded to discipline our children this way so they may grow in wisdom and stature just like Jesus Christ.

Discipline is not a suggestion, it is a way of life. Those who did not experience discipline grew up without honoring and obeying their parents. And those people are more often than not, made mistakes that led to terrible consequences, some even caused it their future. For us, Matilda should be trained to obey those in authority, which is us, her parents for now that she’s under our care and to those she will be subject to later in life, like school, work, government, etc. If she learns to obey and honor us, she will grow up able to discern right from wrong. And when the time comes that she’s old enough to make her own life decisions, she will be responsible in making them. Knowing that in every action there is a consequence, is what we are trying to impress on her heart as we discipline her. I will dedicate a separate post about this next time from the things I learned on the book and elaborate on the do’s and don’ts of spanking. There is a right procedure and state of mind to do this, mind you, and it is done not with an unholy anger but with a calm and loving attitude.

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭24‬ NIV)

We love Matilda dearly and knowing that she is entrusted to us by God for a greater purpose, it gives parenting a clear meaning for me and Joey. We are to lead her to God and the most successful way to do this is to apply the principles of Intentional Parenting.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV)