Remember wanting to feel loved, heard, and important when you were a child? Though the world has changed significantly since your childhood, this remains the same. Children want to know they are appreciated.
Parenting can be challenging, and if you are a working parent, you are often pulled in many directions. You bring work home with you and think about how you will fit shopping, housework, and kids’ activities into your schedule. Setting aside time to do something special with your children can seem difficult. Being a parent is having much to do: a house to keep clean, shopping and meals, getting the kids to and from school and activities.
Seven easy ways you can make your children feel special:
- Ask them questions to understand them at a deeper level and get to know who they are. Their personalities are developing every day! Ask them their favorite singer; remember, this is connection time, so suspend judgment. Your parents probably didn’t like the music you listened to either! Ask them about the book they are reading; delve deeper into what they like about it and why. Ask them how they spent their day; what was the best part of it? As your children grow, continue asking these questions. Listen to them and give them time to tell you their thoughts and opinions. Let them know you have a genuine interest in them without judgment. This simple act will serve you and them well as they enter their teen years. You will deeply understand who they are, and they will know you care.
- Take your kids on an outing—to the park, the zoo, the beach, on a walk, or a hike—& leave your phone at home. This is time for you to interact, to really be with your children, watch them, acknowledge them, and play with them. Spending time in nature can be very calming for the whole family! For the sake of your children and your relationship with them, decide to be an interactive parent.
- When you see your children after school or work, refrain from immediately asking them questions about school or homework. Ask yourself, “What can I ask that would make my kids happy to see me?” Take a few minutes to connect with each child individually before launching into questions. “What were some wonderful or exciting things that happened today?” is a better question than “How much homework do you have?”
- Dedicate 20 minutes every night to read a children’s book aloud to your children. Reading to your children creates a special bond. They will have fond memories of those days when they are an adult. Reading books helps children improve their curiosity and creativity, increases their attention span, and prepares them for academic success. You too will remember these special times.
- Write notes and messages for them to find. During your work break, write notes for your kids; slip those notes into their backpacks or lunch boxes. Or you can go high-tech and text the note to your children. Do this at least once a week; it lets them know you are thinking of them even when you are away at work.
- Turn the mundane into a fun activity. Housework must be done, but it doesn’t have to be a chore; adding fun doesn’t take too much time. Assign tasks to each child and gamify the tasks to make the activity more fun. You can have the children race each other to see who gets it done first or twist it up and race to see who does the best job. Or, you can set limitations like only using one hand to see how the kids use their creativity to get the job done. If you run out of ideas to make it more fun, you can crank up the music and have a dance party while completing the task.
- Schedule one-on-one time with your kids; if you have more than one child, it might be two-on-one or three-on-one. The idea here is to be with the kids—totally. Phone off, TV off, social media off. The goal here is for you to create an environment in which they feel valued enough that you set aside time for them. Take the boys out by themselves; take the girls out by themselves. Special time is, well, special. Let the kids decide on the activity; limit it to a couple of hours. You will find your connection deepens, and communication eases during these special moments.
Yes, it is hard to juggle so many things. Could the house cleaning be deferred while you spend time with your kids? Of course. Make time to give your children more of these special moments so they know they matter.
No one ever wishes on their deathbed that they could have played one more level of Minecraft or binged one more episode of Game of Thrones. They will regret they didn’t spend more time with their kids. In the end, it is only relationships that matter.
Now is the perfect time to take your relationships to a higher level. As you reprioritize your time and show up focused on your loved ones, you may notice you feel more satisfied in your daily life overall. You will certainly see a change in your children.
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