Connecting with anyone can sometimes be a struggle. But, with the hustle of the days and feeling like you have all the time in the world, sometimes our children get the shaft. Always vying for attention, we have a tendency to brush them aside at times.
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My guest poster today, Genesis Davies, hits this subject head on to give us some great suggestions on how to connect with your child that work well in tandem with my free downloadable offer: Get Lost in Your Child.
How often do you really connect with your child on a daily basis? I don’t mean nodding and muttering “uh huh” as you try to finish the dishes or work on a project as your child chatters away beside you.
The problem with not connecting with your child is that they eventually give up. You may have done this in your own life. Do you know someone who is always busy or always on the phone? It’s nearly impossible to have a conversation with someone like that. Eventually, you’ll probably just stop trying.
The same thing happens with our children. That doesn’t mean you need to stop in the middle of every project to pay attention to them, but it does mean you need to respect your children and make a point of connecting throughout the day. Here are a few ways you can do that.
1. Make Eye Contact
When you are listening to your child, turn toward them and make full eye contact. This works even better if you get down to their level. Being at eye level makes it easier to talk for a small child and it also helps them feel more secure.
Eye contact is something that many of us miss out on these days. It’s so easy to look at your phone while listening to someone talking, but looking them in the eyes lets them know that what they tell you is important.
2. Ask Questions
Whether your little one is showing you a leaf they found or explaining about a bully on the playground, you can ask them a question about it. Not only will you understand their perspective better, you’ll also let them know that you are listening.
For school age kids, make a point of asking them some questions that will get them talking. This can be right after school or once they’ve had time to decompress.
3. Offer Physical Contact
Kids need a physical connection, as well as emotional. Giving a child a hug or kiss can help boost their feeling of being loved. You can even take it up a notch and engage is wrestling, tickle fights, and spinning. Of course, if your child doesn’t enjoy these activities, don’t force it. Sometimes, even just snuggling up together on a chair to read a book is enough.
4. Create Together
Building or making something together is a great way to connect if you don’t want to just sit and talk or if you’re tired of playing make-believe. Creating can take any form, from baking cookies together to making handprint art, or even repairing the fan together.
Think back to your own childhood. Did you ever make something with a parent? It probably stuck with you, because it is that special to a child! Now you can recreate that memory and build new ones with your own child.
5. Go On a Date
When I was a child, my dad would take me out for a hot chocolate date every so often. It was a wonderful idea. We had one-on-one time that was tough to get in a big family and I felt extra special . . . even though he did the same thing with my sisters.
Your “date” doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. It could be as simple as letting each kid stay up 30 minutes later than usual and doing an activity together. Or, you could take a walk, just the two of you. The idea here is to have some one on one time that lets you really focus on each other.
If you feel like your children are out of control, or grumpy, and you just don’t know how to get through to them, connection is often the key. It’s amazing how much their attitudes change after a hug and a little quality time. Try it for yourself.
Genesis Davies is mom to three crazy boys and a freelance writer. Though from Canada, she lives in Guatemala with her family, which provides no end of interesting things to write about. You can catch up with her on Mom Upgrade.