Helping Children Set Priorities

By: Beverly S

“Seek ye first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these other things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Children have no comprehension of time management or “planning ahead.”  They absolutely cannot understand why they must clean their room before they can play (we think—“let’s get the worst over before the fun begins”) or even why they should brush their teeth before bedtime (“…but Dad, I brushed after breakfast!!”).  Helping your child focus on a daily priority check-up might get their days off to a better start.

Priority #1—Seeking God: Does your child/teen see you seeking God as you begin your day?  This can be a breakfast prayer, a visible morning quiet time, a family worship time, or just a gentle pat on the head or back and a one-sentence prayer, “God, be with ___ today.  Help him/her have a great day today.”  With this you are setting a standard – a priority that will empower your student the rest of his/her life.  “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3

Priority #2—Serving Others: Ask your child: “Is there someone you know who needs help today?  Do you have a friend who needs a phone call or an email?  Is there someone who needs a visit, or help with schoolwork?” Begin to show your child that servant hood is also a priority in a Christ-like life.  It may surprise you when it begins to spill over into family situations—“I’ll watch __ for you so you can visit with the neighbor”—may knock your socks off one day.  Parents need to model servant hood for a child to recognize and incorporate it into his/her value system.

Priority #3—Sizing Up Own Needs: Help your child assess his/her own personal needs.  Ask him/her, “Is there something you want to do for yourself today/ is there a kind of exercise you need today/ a food you need to eat today/ a book you want to relax with for a bit of time today?  This will make your child aware that they need to take care of themselves, but also, that it should not be their first priority of the day.

Priority #4—Structuring the Day: Ask your child what must be accomplished that day.  Notice that I said, ask not tell. Begin to guide your student toward assessing daily activities and structuring the day to accomplish the most important tasks firsts.  What assignment is due today or tomorrow?  What subject is the most difficult right now and will require more time?  What chores/duties need to be tackled today?  Helping your child clarify his/her needs moves them toward daily work assessment.

Jesus certainly modeled priorities for us…

And we are His beloved and His priority, “We love because He first loved us.” 1 Jn 4:19

See also:

5 Ultimate Education Goals for the year

Educational Planning (Running the Race–Planning your Child’s Education for the Long Haul)

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3 thoughts on “Helping Children Set Priorities

  1. Pingback: Running the Race (Planning your child’s education for the long haul) « The Education Cafe

  2. Pingback: 5 Ultimate Education Goals for the New Year « The Education Cafe

  3. Pingback: 4 Ultimate Education Goals for the New Year « The Education Cafe

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