What is considered normal in your household?

Note: Periodically I’ll post book reviews to serve as a resource for readers looking for recommendations. I plan to include books for adults as well as kids’ books. Very few of these reviews will be on new releases. If you’re like me and are about two to three years behind on your reading, then this section is for you! You can find other book reviews here.

Habits of the Household

Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms
Justin Whitmel Earley
Zondervan, 2021

In the chaos of family life—work responsibilities, school, extracurriculars, running a household, hobbies and everything in between—it can be difficult to find a moment to catch our breath, much less connect with God, our spouse, and our kids. In Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms, Justin Whitmel Earley encourages parents to implement intentional rhythms, or habits, that allow the whole family to daily love God and others well, despite their busyness. Earley gives readers tools to structure their days, creating a sort of liturgy by which parents, children, and families are discipled to love both God and others.

I'm convinced that the funniest and least true thing a family can say is any sentence that starts with "When life calms down...", for life seems to be full of increasing busyness with very brief moments of calm in between. That is why it is vital to be proactive about stewarding our time well. That can start with implementing habits that allow us to create healthy rhythms in our households. Habits of the Household is a helpful book that gives parents theoretical and practical tips to proactively use parts of their day—such as waketimes, meals, playtime, bedtime, and more—to teach and disciple their kids to know and love God, and to love and serve others. While most readers may not find all of Earley's categories applicable, Habits is a great resource for families seeking to become better stewards of their time.


  • I've read a lot of books on habits and habit formation, but this is the first I've seen that's written specifically for Christian families—that's not just about spiritual disciplines (not that there's anything wrong with spiritual discipline books, of course!). The book addresses the broader category of habit formation in other areas of family life, but tailored for a more niche audience.

  • Earley's framework is accessible and addresses categories that likely fit most families. He also combines the theoretical with practical tips and ideas on how to tailor his categories for your family in different seasons or for families with different needs.

  • Many books on habit formation can, intentionally or not, encourage self-centered motivations and somewhat insulated living for the sake of productivity, growth, etc. Habits of the Household pushes back on this notion and shows how habit formation can be both spurred on by love of God and others and foster more of it in our families.

  • I'm not always convinced by Earley's theological grounding for some of his categories (for example, his description of "Work in the Story of God"). Nothing major, there are just some points where I may simply disagree and move on.

  • As mentioned above, Earley's categories may not apply or be helpful for all families. For example, I did not find the section on screentime particularly helpful because of certain choices we've made in our own family on that particular issue.

Who Should Read This Book:
Habits of the Household is a helpful resource for parents seeking to create better rhythms throughout the day to disciple their children, grow in their marriage, and become more thoughtful about how they use their time. Parents of younger children may find this book most helpful, given the author's stage of life when he wrote it. However, it's never too early nor too late to start building healthy habits in your home, so families of all stages would benefit from reading this book.

Favorite Quotes:
"One of the most significant things about any household is what is considered to be normal."
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash