Connecting with our kids is possibly the most important thing we should be doing as parents on a daily basis. When we connect, we are able to demonstrate love, support, interest, pride and confidence in our children.
Children who feel connected to their parents are more motivated to model themselves after the positive behaviours which we share with them. They will have a higher degree of confidence in themselves because they know that we are there every day and in every way for them.
Sometimes though, it seems that there are so many things to do each day that even meeting everyone’s basic needs is a challenge in itself. It’s at times like these that connecting with each other is actually even more important and the best way to do this is to make daily connections a habit. When you establish habits and routines in your life, you enable yourself and everyone around you to be able to accomplish them with less effort. The fact that they have become a habit means that it is harder to break away from them than it is to keep them.
Here are some habits which will help you to keep connecting with your kids every day.
Start when they are young. Set aside a certain time in the day for snuggles. It could be at the end of the day just before bedtime, or first thing in the morning before they wake up fully to start the day. Cuddle together, read books to them when they are young, sing a song or play “wake up” games with them. Get into a routine where you have a chance to be close to them so that you can communicate how much you love them both through your presence and through touch.
Check In at Change Points
Whenever your kids are about to experience in a change in rhythm during the day, try to be there and give them a small measure of reassurance. Typical transitions that occur could be: waking up in the morning, getting on the school bus, coming home from school and going to bed. Just a cheerful hello or goodbye, a touch on the hand, a quick hug, a moment to ask how the day went or to wish them good luck before an event; will allow you to connect with them and let them know that you are with them even as they switch into a new activity.
Be There for All the Milestones
Try to make it to all the milestone events in their lives. School concerts, team tryouts, first day anywhere, graduations, sports events and any other activities where parents are expected to be there. Just knowing you made an effort to come and knowing that they are not alone despite the crowds will let remind your kids of the connections you share.
Make Time to Talk
Set aside some time to ask them how the day went, or to allow them to open up and talk to you. It could be the family dinner table, or it could be just before bedtime when you share a cup of milk before going up. This routine will become more important as your kids grow up as it will most likely begin to replace the earlier “snuggle time” as the most important part of the day when they know they can connect with you.