Connecting with Your Kids: 5 Ideas
Parents..... we chose to have children so that we could be with them, to have quality relationships and pour out our love and care. Yet, how soon we forget.
After too many whiny car rides, exhaustion meltdowns and doses of teen angst, many of our daydreams involve getting away for alone time. But when everything calms down and everyone is settled into bed with quiet in the house, our hearts truly long to be connected to our kids. Unfortunately, it seems that by the time we have ordered our lives to connect with them, they are too busy to be with us. Is there a solution to connect with our kids today? Yes, there is.
Here are five ways to connect with our kids in every day life without spending a million dollars. I’ll begin with the most important:
1.) Quality time – children want to be paid attention to. Let me correct that, children need to be paid attention to. Whether it’s as overt as, ‘mommy look at me’ or as hidden as crossed arms, dour look and hiding under a hoodie, our kids are telling us that they need our attention. Yet, in order to have quality time count for our children it needs to be on their terms and not merely on ours. Children are less aware of what makes a great time, but they are experts on what ruins a great time. So, whatever we do a few things need to be kept in mind: First, it can’t be boring or they emotionally disconnect. Second the more everyone is having a good time, the more their cup is filled. Third, don’t rush the moment or constantly remind everyone of time limits. When you are in Disneyland you want to make-believe it will last forever. Finally, be present in the moment to listen, laugh and ask questions. They know when our minds are somewhere else.
2.) Get out of the house – House is a place of patterns. Every house has a vibe, a way that things normally go. In order to re-establish connection (if it has been broken) we need to alter the patterns to get everyone engaged again. This is done most easily by changing the atmosphere. It doesn’t have to be an expensive outing. Children don’t count dollars spent when calculating joy.
3.) A Safe Place to Talk – I only have daughters and my daughters love to talk, a lot. Maybe you have boys and they are completely content with doing activity and don’t have three words to say. But, if a child needs to talk, it’s critical that they have a safe environment to do so, or they will stay tight-lipped. A safe place is created when we listen deeply, perform active listening and affirm that what is being said will be kept in appropriate confidence. Remember, they are sorting things out, what they say is not as important as what they are trying to say.
4.) Laugh - Laughter is critical. Fun is vital. The way to a child’s heart is through their funny bone. The world around them has crushing concerns and the moment they are old enough to track on those, their hearts begin to shrink. Let them laugh; make them laugh. Laugh with them. Laughter is not just good medicine, it’s good parenting.
5.) Projects of Value – If you are less of a talker as a parent, you need to think of things that you can do with your children that conveys emotional content. For example, let them assist in a project that truly matters to the household (not busy work). This will show them that they contribute and they will feel valued. Serve others that are less fortunate with your children so that they learn deep truths side by side with you. Certain activities can say far more than you could ever verbalize. Lead them to feeling special.
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