Some nights, as I tuck my kids in bed, this sad truth hits me–I haven’t really connected them with my precious boys today. Yes, I spent the whole day serving them indirectly or directly by cleaning the house, feeding them, helping them with homework, teaching them, working on lesson plans to teach them, reading a book on how to parent better, working from home to bring extra income to our budget…
Yes, all of these things sum up to lots of love and kindness.
Each day I sacrifice my time, my desires… because, I care and love them but still I’ve missed those small opportunities to really connect with them through out my day. I started to wonder how I could fit in more of those precious minutes for us to we really connect, laugh and play.
When we make time to connect with our children it teaches US to release and give rather than resist and hold back.
Even worse, some days I do all of the above kind acts–begrudgingly, complaining and just in a down right bad mood. All the while, calling out orders and smart remarks like…If I have to tell you again to clean your room I’m going to….”
Have you been holding back?
- By either always saying “no”, or digging in your heels and picking another battle (not worth anyones time).
- Complaining as you serve your family.
- Staring at a screen when you could be connecting with your child.
- Or have you simply just been holding back your time to connect with your child because it seems to overwhelming, you don’t know how, you think you don’t have time, it hurts too much, they are too complicated to understand, they are of the opposite sex than you and that’s intimidating…
We can break those tween and teen walls that have been constructed by connecting with our kids even if they act like they don’t want this from you or for that matter, even have you around.
Consider this thought: Just about everything we say or do could probably be greatly enhanced with the addition of a little more kindness.
Connecting with our children has become more of a challenge as we are presented with more options that draw our attention away from each other. We have instant access to the worldwide web in the palm of our hands: movies, social networks, magazines, Pinterest, blogs, messaging, video chatting…
We were sitting at Chili’s restaurant one Sunday afternoon. There were about 25 people around us of all ages–mom, dad, with the kids, couples with no kids, father and daughter and mom and daughter groups. Out of all these people our family and the father and daughter sitting across from us, were the only ones without our screens on. Even the babies in these groups had some sort of iPad gadget to play on. We were the only ones engaging with each other and not with our screens. Eventually, the dad & daughter team gave in to pressure and he spent the rest of the time with his screen on. I was saddened and in complete shock by what I was observing.
How often are your children present but all they have is your presence?
The worst part of it all is this isn’t an isolated weird situation. It happens every day in peoples homes, at every meal, at almost every single outing. I’m guilty of this myself not so much in a restaurant but at home when I’m perusing the internet which is why I had to tell myself that I couldn’t work during certain times of my day. Obviously, I can’t give them my time all day–everyday, but in intervals, it’s healthy and good for our family.
We missed these precious opportunities, at meals, at the park, in church, in the car rides together… Kids are zoned out, parents are tuned out and for what reason because we want to reply on Facebook to the status of that friend we haven’t seen in 30 years or we’re tweeting and chatting with our classmate about some silly rumor about that girl you don’t even know at your school.
In this weeks Love Dare Parent Challenge (click here if you want to join, it’s free), we are looking at Dare #3 Love is Kind and Dare #4 Love Values. Last week, we took on Dare #1 Love Blooms and Dare #2 Love is Patient. So, I want to challenge myself, and you my fellow sojourners, to show kindness to your child this week and help them see that they are valued by connecting with them at least 12 minutes each day. Although nothing can replace having a large quantity of time with your child, the quality of the time spent can definitely make a difference to your connection with your child. Below are some ideas!
25 Ways to Connect With Your Child
Connect with your child by doing one of the following activities or something that you know will encourage your child and help them see that they are valued. If you have more than one child pick one child a day to do one of these activities with. One on one time is key so let’s aim at individual time together this week though time as a whole family is wonderful. If you have more than 7 kids then double up your days but not your 12 minutes.
My only “rules” for you my fellow parents is this: During this time, your child needs to have your full attention, and do the activities they enjoy, not just things you enjoy. So, yes, dad this may mean playing dolls with your daughter or son, if that’s what they like.
When our child’s love tank is full, then he has fuel to feed other positive relationships.
- One day this week let your child stay up 12 minutes past their bedtime and play a game together.
- Tell your child about an experience you had when you were his/her age.
- Exercise together.
- I spy on a neighborhood walk or in the car together.
- Using a kind voice, even if you have to fake it.
- Make art or build something together.
- Read and act out a book using puppet together. If you have an older child–just read together or read the same book and then together discuss a chapter or section.
- Have a silly dance party.
- Bring out your family photo album and talk about your precious memories.
- Listen for the feelings behind your child’s words.
- Read your favorite childhood book with them.
- Give them a hug for no reason at all–not because they are leaving to school, or going to bed or because they did something.
- Have a tickle party.
- 100 kisses. My kids love when I give them “100” kisses. It’s not really 100 but the silly part is how I end up counting to 100.
- Play hide and seek. (even your tweens will like this)
- Share the story about how you decided to name them and what their name means.
- Tell your child that you love them even when you’re angry at them.
- Turn off the television and all screens.
- Memorize a bible verse together.
- Go on a snack picnic.
- Tell your child why you’re thankful that they are a part of the family.
- Leave your child a kind note under their pillow.
- Find ways to say, “yes” rather than “no”, if you’re a “no” parent.
- Catch your child doing something right.
- Make a dessert together.
Come back and tell me in the comments below how you chose to connect with your kids this week? How did they respond?