Create Your Dream Connection With Your Kids In Just 10 Minutes A DayJan 11, 2021
It doesn’t have to take spending hours on end with each child to build the attachment you want.
It’s the small and simple moments, done consistently over time, that make the biggest difference.
1) Meals together
Do you eat your meals together? Maybe even thinking about family mealtimes conjures up images of a fancy table with home-cooked, slaved-over delicacies you most definitely do NOT have time for. Does this idea overwhelm you and stop you from even trying? It doesn’t need to be gourmet to have impact.
It doesn’t need to be 3 meals a day either. Could you start or end your day together with a meal? You can have small but meaningful moments over bowls of cold cereal (even for dinner!)
While you're sitting down together, put the phones and other distractions away and focus on communication. Ask questions. Listen. It’s about focus not food. Focus on the relationship.
2) Connect before you direct.
All of the connection experts really encourage this one. Don’t just start barking out orders the minute your children walk in the door or as soon as you come home from work.
Focus on connecting with them first. Talk and listen.
You can tell that you’ve connected when they are looking at you with their eyes and feel like you’re truly listening to them.
Once you’ve made that connection, then make your request of them.
Let them know you are listening. “You did have so much fun at the park didn’t you! I’m so glad you got to go. Let’s hang up your coat and you can tell me more about what part of the playground you liked playing on best.” Genuine interest, warmth and enthusiasm go such a long way.
You’re also much more likely to have a positive outcome connecting first, then always ordering or correcting.
Think about it, don’t we all respond a little better to someone’s requests of us when we feel seen and heard?
3) Love languages (link here).
What way does your child receive and give love? Do they like spending time with you, gifts, physical affection, words of affirmation, service?
Write each of your children’s names at the top of a blank page and do some brainstorming. Spend time pondering on ways you’ve interacted in the past and how they’ve responded. Does little Bobby seem to be all about those quiet snuggles, while chatty Susie wants to tell you all the details of her day? Usually with some time, you’ll think of ways to add these little moments of love to your day.
Focus your connection time with them in the way they feel love most easily.
4) Individual time.
It’s easy with multiple children to get used to parenting them all as a group and spending most of your time with everyone at once. Spending 1:1 time with each child, each day, can make a huge difference to your individual relationship with them.
This could be as simple as a 5-minute chat before bed with your teen or 10-minute play time with your toddler, letting them be in charge of the game, even if it means kitty and babies (my daughter’s current fave) day after day. At first, you may want to set a timer so you consciously know the lego-building, or ponies or whatever they pick isn’t actually going on forever, like it may at first feel. But as you focus on making it a priority daily, you will come to see it has so little to do with what you're doing and that it’s really all about the connection that it’s creating.
5) Physical connection.
Children need a lot more physical affection than we may think. Often when they age, we pull away in our physical connection, but it is still very needed for them.
This one is simple. Collin Kartchner was famous for encouraging parents to give their children 8, 8-second hugs per day, which is a great way to connect! Other easy ways are to rub their feet, wrestle, snuggle up on the couch, pat them on the back or sit close beside them when you’re talking. It doesn’t need to take hours, it can be minutes or less, and be added in to the things you're already doing. Make this intentional change and you will for sure notice your connection with them changing.
Remember, you don’t have to do ALL of these things EVERY day. The goal is small, simple changes in your family rhythm. Pick a few that you can do regularly, that you enjoy and that come naturally to you. Focus on those ones.
For example, I don’t focus too much on my children’s love languages, but I do focus on spending time with each one each day, and parent/child date nights out regularly. Family dinners are a must for us, but breakfasts and lunches just fit in wherever, and we often aren’t all sitting around the table at the same time for them.
Small habit changes make the biggest difference over time.
What’s one small shift you can make this week? Focus only on that. Once it’s a no-brainer, add something else… and so on.
Small and simple is the way to great change— and great connections!
Remember, the changes happen first within US, not them. <3