How can we use the limited time we have to connect authentically with our children?
You say, "I don't have hours and hours available for deep connection!" I hear you. Fear not. You can make a deep connection in just a few minutes. Look for those little windows of time and make yourself available. Here are five ideas:
1. Sing a simple song to your toddler while getting her or him dressed. It makes dressing more fun and eases conflicts. A silly song may help you get the clothes on even faster!
2. Make your teen's favorite snack and sit down to share it with them after school. Tell about something from your day before you ask them any questions about theirs. Mutual sharing keeps them from feeling like they're on the hot seat. Better yet, share a funny story from when you were a teenager!
3. Put a jigsaw puzzle out on the table for everyone to work on. Sit and help while you chat with your kids. When their hands are busy they are more likely to converse and give you some insights to their thoughts.
4. Keep a tennis ball handy and pull it out to play catch. This is great as a little break while kids are doing homework. Moving your body helps your brain think more clearly.
5. Spend a few minutes reading to your child before bed. These quiet times are special and will help your child drift off to sleep more easily. Set a limit you're comfortable with at the beginning, for example one picture book or one chapter, then say goodnight and lights off.
**Bonus idea - this one takes the least time of all.**
Smile at your child and notice one thing they are doing that you like. Tell them. Simple, so simple, and yet there are days when we forget.
"I see you already have your jacket on to keep you warm on this cold day!"
"I noticed you fed the dog without being reminded. Thank you!"
"I appreciate that you kept your shower short when you knew others were waiting."
As you take the opportunity to use these little windows of time to get in touch with your child you may see positive shifts in their behavior - your presence and acknowledgement are very much wanted and appreciated!
For more info on being a great parent see www.maryupham.com