Seven Ways To Reconnect With Your Children
- Quality time
Don’t mistake quantity for quality, 10 minutes of laughing, joking, feeling and connecting is far more quality than spending all day together with nothing to say. Children will remember quality emotionally filled moments (good and bad) make great emotional memories with quality time. Invent a game, write a story, learn to play cards, get the imagination flowing, sit and read together, put suggestions in a box and pick one at random. Years ago on Christmas day, we played an old game where you pick a letter and have to identify a boy’s name, girl’s name, place, food, colour, etc that starts with that letter. The children still remember it now.
As parents we are often busy multitasking, parenting, chauffeuring, coach, nursemaid, teacher, cooking etc and listening sometimes Is low on our priority list, especially with chatty children or more than one.
- Make time to listen – meal times, activity time, sit together, etc.
- Ask questions – what happened? how did you manage it?
- Hear their emotions as they speak - I can see how happy it made you.
- Let them know you’ve heard by paraphrasing what they say e.g. so you’re saying Bodie was not nice to you today but you did really well and went off to play with Zac.
- Take time out from every day life
We get busy being busy and lose sight of where our time goes, sports clubs, hobbies, music lessons, school, work, the days and weeks pass by quickly. Plan time where there are no every day distractions and do something together, cloud art, nature bingo, walking in the rain, playing games, swimming, reading, watching a movie in pyjamas, blind food tasting, etc. Turn off your phone, put down your tablet and laptop and be in the moment with your children. Do you ever have a rush of memories due to a smell, taste or a sound, do activities that engage your senses sound, smell, taste, touch, visuals, describe what you see, smell, hear. We talk about Christmas tasting and smelling oranges, they don’t all smell or taste the same but the strong aroma and evokes all the nice feelings of Christmas.
- Learn a new skill
Learn a new skill together, play an instrument, knitting, morse code, spy techniques, make a bird table, art and crafts, build a fire, it can be anything, maybe you have to try a different skill until you find the one you really enjoy. Cook or bake a new recipe, get your minds thinking, creating and designing. Design your ideal home, world, den, car, pet, let the imagination run free.
- Give each other space
This one is as important as spending quality time together, having space to be an individual, even little babies benefit from time just kicking around on the floor, without any other stimulation. Allow them to play alone (safely), allow them to get bored, allow them to become curious and learn by themselves.
Talking is only one element of communication, communication is also body language, putting your phone down and giving eye contact, how you say things is important too, consider your tone, children pick up on your tone and body language. My daughter recently said to me she knows when I don’t like someone and then proceeded to imitate my body language and facial expressions, she is a watcher.
- Do some team building
Plan activities where you have to work together, be a team and pull together to succeed. Team building often allows each member to see how the others work, how the others think. We often make assumptions about each other in families, we assume we know, but it’s sometimes not true. As a parent I know there have been times when I have missed a new development, one particular incident was a sports day and my son was given a hula hoop and I just thought he’d never seen one before and wanted to kick myself for not buying one. He only went and hula hopped for the longest, I was surprised and proud all at the same time. When we take a step back watch, listen and engage with them on different activities we see different things about them, we learn more about them and them us. We once had an upside down day, when the children took over as parents and parents became the children.