Life is a stage and you play the lead role. And everyone in your life are the players who are the characters in your life story.
Some people walk on and off your stage, but some people join the cast. And your kids are the ones that burst onto the stage and take over the show.
As a mom, I find that my kids take over my life, my space and even my thoughts. They have no sense of personal space. They are little invaders because they don’t want to miss out on life.
This is a wonderful experience, but it can also be very overwhelming and exhausting some days.
First I want you to know that I know how you feel. It is normal for moms to feel tired and overwhelmed. It is a sad side affect of the times we live in, our overcrowded and terribly busy lives. There are definitely ways to simplify your life and I urge you to do so, but today I want to talk to you about finding connection in spite of feeling exhausted.
Mom I hope you know that you can do this! You CAN find precious moments of connection with your kids every day.
Children flourish when they feel safe and secure. They do not deserve to feel like they are a burden on us. And as hard as it is some days, we need to be the grown ups and make sure they get to grow up in a home filled with love.
An anonymous author once wrote: “Starting from birth, babies learn who they are by how they are treated. Loving relationships provide young children with a sense of comfort, safety and confidence. They teach young children how to form friendships, communicate emotions and deal with challenges.”
If we as parents can build a strong relationship with our kids, we lay a solid foundation for all their future relationships.
Here are 10 simple ways how to connect with your kids every day:
1. Snuggle up close. Physical contact is crucial for a child’s development. Even when boys become teenagers, a pat on the back can go a long way. And most younger kids love hugs. My eldest is a very touch orientated child and when I don’t give her enough hugs she will literally tackle me before bedtime. When you make time to sit with your child in your arms, you both can relax for a moment, even just 5 to 10 minutes, and children automatically open up their hearts in these moments.
2. Read a book to your kids. Especially young kids appreciate a quick story. Being close to your child and giving your undivided attention speaks volumes. Even if you only have a few minutes.
3. Get them to help with cooking supper. From about the age of 4 years kids become very capable of helping out in the kitchen. When kids help you in the kitchen they get satisfaction because they feel needed, and you get a little help. I know sometimes they hinder more than they help, but if you choose WHAT they do wisely, you can both benefit from this activity.
4. Head outside for a stroll or a bike ride. Fresh air can cure the worst of emotions. It is beneficial for everyone in the family to get out and get some fresh air. On the stroll, hold hands or play the game “I spy with my little eye”. Just BE together.
5. If you have small kids you can take a bath together. My kids think it’s the coolest thing in the world if we take a nice long soak together. Even when I sit in the bathroom with them, they feel that I am close and they are allowed to have fun ‘WITH ME’. This is a great moment to spend time together before bed time. For added benefits, put a couple of drops of lavender essential oil in the bath and you’ll all feel relaxed after.
6. Play a board game. I suggest this for evenings where you have the capacity and energy for a bit more effort. Board games are well worth the giggles, laughs and fun that can come from a quick game. Some of our family’s favourite games are Bananagrams. It is similar to scrabble, but much faster and little ones who can’t spell can play in teams with the parents. Another simple and easy game is Uno. Even my 3 year old can play.
7. Painting together is also a great family activity especially if your family likes making art. To make this activity stress free we do a 30 min water colour paint session after supper. Watercolour paint is easy to set up, causes very little mess and dries quickly.
8. Have a dance party. There is nothing better than music to lift one’s mood and put a smile on everyone’s faces. Make sure you pick some songs for the kids and also some songs for the grown ups, and just go crazy. Your kids won’t love you any less if your dance moves are terrible and if you show them it’s ok to let go and make a fool of yourself, you will all have a GREAT time. Having a dance off after supper is like having a mini party every night.
9. For the active families out there, a quick round of soccer or basketball, or any type of sport is a great idea. Whether you do soccer in the garden, or throw a frisbee in the park. This activity is great for kids with loads of energy. When a family plays together, they grow together. Remember to use these moments to build valuable connections.
10. Put the phones down at dinner time. One of the important rules in our house, is no screens at the table. Our kids are still little so they don’t have a choice, but when mom and dad are constantly on their phones and not present at dinner, kids will feel that they are not important enough to their parents. So put the phone down, look your child in the eye and talk to them. This is the perfect time to share daily war stories and challenges. And always make sure to celebrate the wins of the day.
I also just want to remind you that kids have a way of waiting till the last second of the day to open up and share what’s on their hearts and minds. Be prepared to take 10 minutes extra to sit on their bed and give them the opportunity to offload. My kids know that this is only allowed to be a short chat, because face it, if we allow them they’ll keep us busy till midnight.
Those tiny moments of connection we build into each day don’t have to be momentous or memorable. They just need to say: “I see you, and recognize your needs and I’m here for you.“
Weekends are different because you have more time on your hands. Then you can build a lot more into your children, but during the very busy weekdays, a little can go a long way.
So make sure you share lots of hugs and cuddles and give your child the chance to just BE with you.
If we treasure these little characters that burst onto the stage of our life, we will have lifelong partners in crime to paint beautiful stories with.
What little things do you do to connect with your kids? Tell me in the comments!