By Dr. Zev Ballen
Shabbos is the best day of the week for mothers and fathers to be together with their children and teach the children to thank Hashem for everything. Rebbe Nachman discovered the importance of thanking Hashem for everything when he was a little boy. He was especially careful to add his own personal thanks to Hashem for each Shabbos food in addition to the Birchas HaMazon. This is something very special that you can teach your children too.
Make sure to finish your preparations for Shabbos early so that you and your kids can rest before Shabbos. This way you will have the energy and patience to stay up late with your children on Friday night. There is no better time to bring the Light of Holiness and joy into your home than singing Shabbos songs with your family. You can give out prizes to the kids who sing the most or help out the most. Use your time at the Shabbos table to demonstrate to your family how you thank Hashem for each of them by name. Bless each of your children and thank Hashem out loud for: your home, your spouse, the food, all that transpired during the week, for the holy Shabbos itself, for the time that you are about to spend together as a family and anything else you can think of.
Since everything comes from Hashem, there is no end to the things that we can teach the children to thank Him for. Shabbos is the best time to sit with your children and speak with them. Read the children's emuna books such as Nachman HaKatan and Yosef HaTzaddik with them; and be sure to make a copy of of this week's Shabbos Parsha Sheet: Download CSC NL Week 26 Beha'alotecha (2), so you can also read from it to your family at the table.
After you put your kids to bed and say the Shema with them, show them how to thank Hashem for what transpired during the week and request sweet dreams and a pleasant sleep from Hashem.
Remember, the main moral and spiritual education of your children is your happiness. Keep a smile on your face and have a beautiful family Shabbos!
Dr. Zev Ballen