by Elizabeth Bourgeret
As parents we have such busy lives! Working outside the home. Working inside the home! Cleaning, cooking, organizing, coaching, referee-ing... sometimes it's easy to lose touch with our youngsters. I'm not talking about simply making contact, or barking out orders, or reminding them about soccer practice, I'm talking about really committing to them and reminding them that even though your life is hectic and crazy that they are the most important part of your world. Here's five tips that will instantly connect you with your child in the midst of chaos.
1. One on One Time! This is so important to carve out a bit of time for each child. Sometimes it can only be a bedtime story before they get tucked in or it could be as extravagant as a date night once a week! Find something that you can both enjoy. Even though they may fuss about it at first, I promise you, underneath that pout, they are happy for that time with you and it will stay in their memories long into adulthood. This is the perfect opportunity to get involved in some of the things that they are involved in. It might not be your cup of tea, but imagine the support your child will feel when they see you at their band practice or you're cheering from the sidelines at the skateboard park or playing their favorite arcade game with them while munching on some cheese fries. Step out of your comfort zone mom, and really try to see what your chid sees in their activities, music, movies, games and more!
2. Praise!! No one ever gets enough praise. Make sure it is sincere and honest (because they can tell the difference) and don't go overboard, but every once in a while, slip in an extra "I heard you practicing the piano the other day. You're really coming along." or a "great job on your science project. Your's was my favorite." Maybe even a "Thank you for helping your brother pick up the toys," would work nicely.
3. Be respectful. Do your best not to yell at your child in anger. Sometimes, you just can't help it, but try to regulate your emotions and discuss things on an even keel. No one likes to be yelled at or disrespected. This does not mean that your child does not have to abide by the rules. Make sure there are consequences and they are utilized consistently. And when yelling does occur, perhaps allow yourself a moment to compose before continuing the conversation.
4. Eye contact. When speaking to your child make sure you get eye contact. This allows you to see what they are feeling, and it also gives you that they are indeed hearing you. When making a request of your child, make sure that eye contact comes with a nod or affirmation so you both know you're on the same page. Same goes for you, mom. When your child is trying to communicate with you, stop what you're doing and make that all important eye-contact. Put down the phone, turn away from the computer, turn off the television. Give your child your undivided attention. It will show him that he is important to you.
5. Play! Play with your child! Let down your guard and laugh and tickle and sing and wrestle! This has so many benefits to all involved! It releases stress, lowers anxiety, boosts your oxytocin levels and changes attitudes! I know it might have been a long day and all you want to do is sneak off to bed, but give your child a few moments of playtime!!