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3 Practical Habits To Make Time Matter More

3 Practical Habits To Make Time Matter More

So time is moving. And it’s moving faster than you think.

What does that mean for you as a parent? How can you make the most of the limited amount of time that you have with your kids? How can you make sure that time isn’t getting away from you?

I certainly don’t know the answer to all those questions. But here are three pretty practical ideas that might be helpful:


You don’t have to count down the seconds, or the minutes, or even the days. But maybe there is a value in counting your weeks. Because when you see how much time you have left, you tend to get serious about the time you have now.

So create a visual reminder. Have a countdown clock. In my family, we have two jars of marbles—one for each child. Inside each jar are enough marbles to represent the number of weeks that we will have with them before their high school graduation (we hope – fingers crossed for passing every grade). Every Sunday, I remove a marble from each jar as a reminder that our time is limited. Removing the marble doesn’t do anything special for my kids. But it does something for me mentally. It reminds me that time is moving. And because I know my weeks are numbered, I tend to make what matters matter more.

*A really simple way to keep track of the number of weeks you have left with your son or daughter is to download the FREE Legacy Countdown App!


Some parents are naturally wired to schedule things. Some (like me) are not. But regardless of how scheduled or unscheduled you are, you probably have a calendar or a notebook or a napkin somewhere that helps you remember what you need to do.

As a working mom, I am constantly filling my days with meetings, and deadlines, and tasks that feel really urgent. But if I’m not intentional, that’s ALL that will get space on my calendar. So, once every month or so, I look at my calendar and schedule the things that no one is asking me to schedule. I mark up the calendar with things like:

go on a date with Sawyer.
take the kids to the park.
have a movie night.

That may sound silly. But by “marking it up,” it reserves the time. Because I know the weeks are limited. I need a reminder to make the weeks count.


Every day isn’t a special day. In fact, most days are pretty typical. But one of the best ways to make the most of every week is to create some habits. There are just some things that are inherently part of the rhythm of our world. And by creating some intentional rhythms, we can make the days and the weeks count a little more.

So if you want to make your time count, don’t undervalue the simple things:

What do you do every morning at breakfast?
What if part of your breakfast routine just became looking for ways to encourage?

When do you eat together?
You don’t have to make a home-cooked meal to have a conversation. What if one meal a day was a media-free time when you were intentional about having a conversation with your child?

What’s the last thing you do before they go to bed at night?
Every day ends the same way. We go to bed. So what’s your bedtime routine? How do you make the most of the moments right before your son or daughter drifts off to sleep?

I know there are people reading this blog who are smarter than me and parents who are just better at this TIME thing than I am. So what are your habits? How do you make the most of your TIME? How do you Count it Down, Mark it Up, and Measure it out? I’d love to learn from you!

Follow the rest of the conversation on Playing For Keeps as Reggie, Kristen, and others talk about the 6 things every kid needs over time. You can start with the first part of the series about how Time Matters.

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Kristen Ivy

Kristen Ivy is the Executive Director of Messaging at Orange and co-author of "Playing For Keeps", "Creating a Lead Small Culture", and "It’s Just a Phase - So Don't Miss It". She combines her degree in secondary education with a Master of Divinity and lives out the full Orange spectrum as the wife of XP3 Students Orange Specialist, Matt Ivy, and the mother of three children, Sawyer, Hensley, and Raleigh. Read more from Kristen on her blog,

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    Please add me to your email list to receive the latest articles etc. I am a mother of 5 daughters now ages 10, 10, 13, 21, & 23. Though I have adult children and have been through all the stages of development up to this point, we NEVER stop learning , right? I know first hand how fast time flys … I never got that when I was younger but now that I am older and now my oldest us married with 2 little one…I don’t remember getting old… I want to seize every moment that I can, while I still have time. Great article on time, the marble in the jar idea is so clever. Would love to automatically receive articles to encourage and remind me to stay focused on what is IMPORTANT not what it’s seems urgent at the moment.


    As an orange parent and a children’s pastor I decided to create a visual representation of the legacy marble countdown. I knew I needed something that will help me as a dad, to “number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom” and a fun way to teach other parents this powerful concept.
    I made a picture frame with each child’s name inside (one for each child) and the exact number of marbles needed to represent the time until graduation. With a frame full of marbles, surrounding their names, and I trap door on the lower corner to release one marble a week I pray that I will gain a heart of wisdom as a children’s pastor and most importantly, as a dad!

    Thanks for the legacy countdown and helping us dads and children’s pastors do our job better!



      I so appreciate this Micah! Mom of two and the family kids pastor at my church too 🙂



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