CB&J was developed for preschool aged children, (ages 3-6). Some activities my two year old jumps right into! Other activities, my first grader begs to do with us after he’s gotten home from school! So, while it is aimed at preschool children, CB&J can be enriching for a variety of ages!
What if your kids don’t LOVE learning or have trouble sitting still? Great news! Sitting still is never a requirement for any of our activities! Sure, there are times when I’m reading a storybook out loud and I expect the boys to listen, but CB&J activities are meant to be a sweet time of togetherness with your child. Time that you are intentionally nurturing their heart, mind, and soul which always involves everyone doing some talking AND listening!
I am so thankful God has given me four boys who couldn’t be more different when it comes to learning styles. For example, when Chip was four years old he WOKE UP asking not ‘“What’s for breakfast?” or “What are we going to do today?” But rather, “What are we learning with CB&J today? Can we start NOW?!” He was and still is 100% engaged in every activity at any time! It is truly a gift and so encouraging to me.
Banks is very different! After Chip went to Kindergarten and was no longer home to be the ringleader of Circle Time, I had to change my vision and expectations of what CB&J looked like. I adopted Banks’ schedule which is a more organic, naturally occurring approach to CB&J rather than a scheduled one. He recently turned four, and I have discovered three insights that make a BIG difference in how smoothly our days run when it comes to incorporating CB&J.
Banks has taught me to be flexible with our schedule, which to be honest, is hard for my personality. I LOVE having our days planned out but last year we came up with a compromise. During breakfast, I show Banks an activity that I hope to do sometime that day. I show or tell him about the activity to get him interested then I tell him that HE gets to pick WHEN and WHERE we do the activity. Throughout the day I gently remind him about the activity and when he’s ready, he lets me know! (Sidenote: ALL activities in CB&J have been vetted/completed with my boys! This was so important to us that before we recommend an activity to YOU, we want to make sure it’s worth your time and energy and that children actually enjoy it!)
Another example that perfectly illustrates TIMING with Banks is naptime. One day, I told him it was time for naps, to which he replied, “What about CB&J?” Rather than sticking to my schedule I seized the opportunity, pushed naptime out fifteen minutes and had the sweetest time with him.
2. Personal Connection
I have discovered that Banks truly loves music. Songs are a powerful tool with him and can lift his spirit and change his mood. If I notice that he is having trouble getting into the groove of wanting to do something besides battle Batman and Joker on the playroom floor, I ask Alexa to play a song! Then, I tell him I need his detective skills to see if he can listen and find our WOW word in that song. Or, I play two songs for him and ask which one he likes better. It’s amazing what this small connection does for his spirit. Notice what your child loves and find ways to use it to point them towards the Father.
My tried and true technique…giving choices! Do you want to help tell the story of the Good Samaritan outside or play the helping hand game inside?! (Without a doubt, Banks will always reply…”I want to play the helping hand game OUTSIDE.” Why not? Sounds great to me!) This is a win for both of us, Banks gets to choose an activity he is excited about, I am planting seeds of compassion, and we both get to spend time together making memories and having FUN.
We try and practice our memory verse daily, and we usually do two or three CB&J activities a week so there is still plenty of time for basketball games, rescue adventures with Chase and Rubble, movie nights, and fort building. There is a lot of simple childhood fun going on at our house but having a WOW Word to focus on each month helps me find ways to incorporate Jesus into our daily conversation and broadens our kid’s view of God.
“Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night.” -Deuteronomy 11:18-19 MSG
Through CB&J we hope to spread the gospel message to the ends of the earth! Equipping the next generation to be rooted in faith, scripture, and love! To not view God as only someone we talk to and learn about when we ‘go to church’ on Sunday mornings but to see that He can be found everyday in everything we do.