4.  Be Grateful for Whatever Time You Get.

Odds are good that you’ll wish that you had more time with your son or daughter, and that the four hours or four days you spend with them won’t feel like enough.  You might even say to your child as your visit comes to a close, “I wish we had more time together.”

You think that expressing a desire for more time with your child communicates your love for them, and you may be right.  But it can also make them feel guilty and inadequate.  Let’s be honest:  who among us wants to be around someone who triggers those feelings?  Now stop, take a deep breath, and read that one again.

So even if you wish for more time, resist the urge to verbalize that. Instead, thank them for whatever time they carved out to be with you, and the sacrifices they had to make. Later you can cry on your spouse or best friend’s shoulder and tell them how deeply you miss your kids.  But by keeping a positive attitude while you’re together, you and your children alike will be glad for the chance you had to be home for the holidays. 

For more ideas on how to connect with and build long-term faith in kids of all ages, visit stickyfaith.org.

Dr. Kara E. Powell is executive director at Fuller Youth Institute and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. She is the co-author of Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids Series (Zondervan, Sept. 2011). Dr. Powell has also authored or co-authored several books, including Essential Leadership, Deep Justice in a Broken World, and Help! I’m a Woman in Youth Ministry. She is the general editor for The Fuller Youth Institute E-Journal and regularly speaks at conferences and seminars. She lives with her husband and three children in Pasadena, California.