Do you feel like as soon as you pick kids from school, it’s cacophony of voices? Do updates on the latest school drama, complaints that someone is breathing someone else’s air, and pleads for snacks fill your ears, until all the children are tucked away safely in bed at night? I don’t know about you but it’s hard for me to stay sane, much less connect with my children under these circumstances.
For the last several years, I’ve been striving to have more meaningful relationships with my children. When I only had one child, I was too immature to really appreciate all that on-on-one time. By the time I gained the understanding of its importance, I had lost a lot of valuable time – and by then, I had several children competing for my attention. I’ve learned a couple of tricks along the way that I wish I would have understood when my children were much younger.
Take time to have fun
I’d like to say I have some fun, relaxed time everyday with my children. Unfortunately, some days are too crazy and filled with too many activities and meetings. I do play several times a week. Sometimes we just read a chapter from our family book club book, or are silly at the dinner table. Other times we play a card game or go for a walk.
Spend one-on-one time with each child
At the beginning of the month I ask each child what special thing they want me to do with them. We play tennis, go to the park, or go shopping. Whatever we do, it’s just the two of us. By allowing the child to choose the activity, I stay in touch with their interests. The only rules we have are we have to leave the house (to avoid interruptions), and it has to be free.
I’ve heard a variety of comments about the time I spend with my kids. Some say I’m too into my kids. I figure they are only going to want to be around me for a limited time – I better use it well. Other people have also said I’m some kind of Supermom. Since I see all of my weaknesses, I don’t buy into that either. I want to know and enjoy my children while I can. Maybe if I build strong bonds with them now, they will know they can always turn to me because they will know how much I care about them. These two techniques work for me and my family, maybe a version of them will work for your family!