CONNECTING WITH KIDS
In this current age of busy-ness, technology, gadgets, and fast pace life; connecting with others can often get lost in the shuffle. Even connecting with our children. And I will be the first to admit, there are times when we are all absorbed in our own distractions even sitting in the same room together.
But with two boys growing up super fast, I want to make sure I'm still taking time to be intentional about connecting with them, to build our bond, and develop a closeness that I hope with translate into adulthood and nurture core values of family and be present.
In this article I'm sharing a few ways I connect with my kids, who are currently 6 and 8, and some approaches I use to keep them engaged. I know sometimes it can be difficult to get a real conversation going with our kids sometimes, when the answers just come out as "fine", "good", "I don't know".
My boys and I eat at our kitchen counter together. Away from the TV. And tablets and toys are not allowed at the counter while we are eating. This is usually breakfast and dinner. Somethings we might chat over at breakfast is what's happening for the day, I love getting my boys' input, and sometimes we will do a morning devotional reading or bible verse together. During dinner or even in the car ride afterschool, I'll find out how their day went, what they had to eat at school, all the latest classroom gossip (LOL), and in general how they were feeling for the day.
Tips for Engaging Conversation
So if you want to develop a good conversation with your kids, avoid asking questions that can be answered in one word "yes", "no", "good". But rather, ask more open ended questions. Here are my favorites...
"What was the BEST thing that happened in school today?" This is something they might have to think about, but it will put them into a good mood to recall something positive that happened. And you can celebrate with them!
"What was the WORST thing that happened?" I like asking this for a couple reasons. One, I want my children to know they can come to me for the good and bad in life. I want them to feel comfortable and safe sharing bad news with me. Two, it gives me an opportunity to show compassion or possibly help them work through a problem.
"What was the SILLIEST thing that happened?" This is my favorite part! You'll notice I sandwiched the "bad" news in the middle. Now we are back to fun feelings and a silly story that might have everyone laughing!
I love these conversation starters with my boys!
For our family, our Faith is important to us. And while my children go to a private Christian school, and have exposure to prayer and the bible at school, I also want them to see it in action in our home as well.
So we will often pray together, whether it be before a meal, if someone is sick or got hurt, for our soccer games, or just for our day as we drive to school. My goal is for my children to develop prayer as a regular part of their lives and also see it modeled by their parents. I love that we can do this together as a family.
This might be one of the more challenging ways to connect. Especially if you're a mom with sons and find that you don't share too many common interests. So it takes a little intention to do something together that's just for fun.
Personally we like board games, movie nights, or playing ball outside. While I'm not into video games or pokemon cards, I will let my kids explain their hobbies to me, because I want them to know I care about what they care about.
I can't tell you how much they light up when they have mama's full attention. Especially if it on something THEY are really excited about.
Sometimes my boys will want to join in what I'm doing. Like if I'm journaling, Koamalu will say "Can I journal with you" and get his composition book and pens and come write along beside me. Or if I'm doing a workout, La'akea might come try some of the moves with me.
How Will You Connect?
So mama, in a world of endless distractions, I hope you are finding - no - MAKING time, for intentional connection with your littles. Even if busy days only afford you a conversation in the car. Nurturing our relationships with our littles feels so good. And I know they feel loved when we take that time out too.
Share this with a friend who might appreciate it. I'm sending you all the hugs and would love to hear from you! What are your favorite ways to connect with your kids?
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Malia was born and raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii and graduated from Azusa Pacific University. She spent the majority of her career as an Early Childhood Education Teacher/Administrator.