Our days can be very busy with work, school, homework, housework. We have the worry of keeping our family comfortable as regards having a roof over their heads, food on the table and making sure everyone gets a decent night’s sleep. Sometimes I look back on the previous few days and realise that they have been consumed with thoughts of decent breakfasts, healthy dinners and working activities/outings around being back on time for my boys to get to bed on time (jeez, you’d be withered!)
We may spend a lot of time with our children, but if that time is full of distracting thoughts, we are not connecting with them and thus there is not an experience of closeness that children thrive on where their feelings and thoughts are validated leading to increased self worth and self esteem.
If some days we find that our only ‘together-time’ with our children is when we tuck them into bed (‘together-time’ being time that we can focus on each other and feel close) maybe we should be investing more together-time into our day. These tips are really very easily done. They don’t take up much time but the benefits will be seen throughout the day.
Watch their TV programme
I know it may seem like a type of torture to sit down with the kids to watch some of the weird and wacky TV shows that are out at the moment, but when you do so you are showing your children that you respect their choices and you can find similar shows entertaining. In fact I think I laugh harder than my boys at times when watching ‘Gumball’.
A lot of those cartoon shows will often have themes running through them that concern young children/pre-teens like making friends, pressures of school work, sibling rivalry etc and these are usually touched on in a humorous manner. What better way to bring up any issues your child might be going through than to remember that episode you watched together.
Slow Down while you run errands
I know the scene too well… Only 15 minutes to get from the bank to the butcher to the veg shop all at opposite ends of the town, before collecting big brother from school (why didn’t I bulk buy earlier in the week?) “There is no time to dilly dally, you can relax at home while I cook the dinner”
Maybe next week you could bulk buy what you can, leaving only the bank to visit. When you have those extra few minutes, have a look down at your little one to see what exactly is causing the dilly-dallying. You’ll probably find it’s similar to one of the following… avoiding the cracks on the path, spotting an insect that must be examined, watching a duck floating down the river, people watching. Join In! Avoiding cracks usually means that there is lava involved so you’ll need to take this seriously or you’ll get scalded . As lovely as it is for your child to see that you are interested in what she/he is, it’s a bit of fun for you too. Watching local wildlife and people is a nice distraction from the mundane and a fun topic of conversation for you both.
As feeding the family can be all consuming at times and you feel you’ll never escape that kitchen, this is an opportune time to involve your children. If you have left plenty of time for preparing a meal (this may only be possible one or two days in the week!), that time can be spent showing your child some tricks on food prep or a lesson on good nutrition. More importantly, this is a time where you and your child can chat and recap quietly with vegetable peels being the only distraction. At the end of it all you’ve produced a lovely meal together, something to proud of!
Put Down Your Device
It’s such an obvious tip and one that has been repeated numerous times. There is so much information, funny video clips and updates to be seen on that little screen that it is quite difficult to put it down. You might miss something if you turn it off, but really you’re not missing anything that can’t be looked up later when there is no one nearby craving your attention. It must be so hurtful for a child to be phubbed (snubbed with a phone!). We as adults don’t like it, and we have some understanding of how addictive it is, whereas our children don’t really have that understanding.
Becoming closer with your child involves listening to them and letting them lead the way so that we have a better understanding of what is going on in those little heads. This will lead to a better rapport between you which will pay off when you need it most during the trying times in their lives like puberty, love life issues, studies and online safety to name but a few.