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Love on the Go! Tips on Staying Connected to our Children

There’s no doubt about it, mornings, afternoons and evenings are busy for families. Between checking homework, getting the kids to school, afternoon practices and activities, there is little time for parents and children to connect throughout the day, although they recognize the importance of doing so.

In fact, a recent survey conducted by Kellogg Canada found that four in ten parents do not feel there is enough time during the day to connect with their children.

As a parent myself, I know that daytime routines and schedules are packed, it’s something that you can’t avoid. But it’s how we can make up for it that makes all the difference. Think of creative ways to send a little love to your kids while they are at school, such as putting a note in their lunch bag or tucking it in their coat pocket. Little reminders that mom and dad are rooting for them or just thinking about them, even when they aren’t there, can boost a child’s attitude and turn their day around.

If you’re looking for creative and fun ways to stay connected with your children and show them how much you love them, even when you’re not together, try a few of the following ideas.

Exchange gifts. Make bead bracelets or necklaces for one another. Whenever your child misses you, all they need to do is touch their bracelet and it will bring you close together again.

Send a special message. Express yourself by writing a heart-felt message, like on a Rice Krispies square bar, and pack it in their lunch. A funny phrase, words of encouragement or an expression of your love are all sure ways to bring smiles to your children’s faces.

Say it in pictures.
Photos are a great way to stay connected. Slip a photo of you and your child into their bag. If you’ll be apart for a while, create a photo album featuring pictures of the family together.

Across the miles. If your child’s at camp, or you’re away on business, stay connected via voicemail or video attachments to emails or cell phone messages. Hearing your voice or seeing your face makes you both feel closer while you’re apart.

While parenting comes with no guarantees, 50 years of child development research finds the single best way to increase the health and happiness of our children is to build the strength of our relationship with them. In today's treadmill-paced world, it’s important to push the pause button and evaluate where we can make some simple changes to boost our relationship and strengthen our connection with our most precious gift: our kids.

The following is a list of ideas to help you identify ways you can connect and build in more opportunities to build memories with your children.

Check your schedule and delete one thing. You can't add more time during the day but you can free some up. Does your child really need every one of those activities? Can you drop that extra art class? Dropping just one hour a week can add precious time that you can use together.

Adopt the concept: ‘with.’ Families don't have to go in separate directions all the time. Find common connectors you can do together. You're in a book club - and so is your daughter. Start a Mother-Daughter Club. Your son shows an interest in learning that new computer program, and so does your husband - take an online class from home together.

Keep a message station by the door with a white board/chalk board or just a clip board with a pen and paper. Use it as a tool for family connection - celebrate ‘good goings,’ post reminders and jot down good luck wishes on that important test.

Use the last five minutes of the day to pop into your child’s room as they are going to bed and review their day.
At this time of the day, kids are their most relaxed and, therefore, the most receptive to us - so remind them of your love, their strengths and special good night rituals. By doing this, you will also help them sleep more soundly and can reduce those nightmares - the last thing they will hear before falling asleep is the sound of your voice.

If everyone is going in different directions and you simply can’t get your whole family at the dinner table together, then try a family ritual where everyone joins you in the kitchen or family room after dinner for a 15 minute ‘family debrief.’ Ask the kids, “How was your day?” Eat a healthy night-time snack and do a quick review of the day.

After this connecting time, parents can head off to bed and the kids can go back to their homework but it will help everyone stay involved.


Michele Borba, Ed.D., is an internationally-renowned educator, award-winning author of 22 books including The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, parenting expert and child and adolescent expert. She is recognized for her practical, solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s behavior, character, and social development, and to build strong families. For more information, visit www.micheleborba.com.

 

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