“There’s never ever, ever, ever, ever been a show like Veggietales!”
Yep, you guessed it, the kids are out of school today and, thus, it’s family day in our house (however, family day has become just another way of saying that the kids have control of what we watch – and do – for the day). My kids have chosen to program a number of shows including: mostly Disney channel shows, but they also threw in other favorites like Veggietales, Toy Story, and Doc McStuffins, this morning. My thought is that the older girls only threw in those last two so that the younger kids can think they got a chance to watch something that interested them… I don’t know who they think they’re fooling but as long as everyone’s happy, it works for me.
I tend to treasure moments when I can be with my children, especially since I work full-time and barely have enough energy (or time) left after the work day to engage my children, so weekends (and any “vacation” days that I can take off) are definitely very special and very much looked forward to, by everyone, in my home.
My older girls and I cook dinner together during the week, and sometimes prepare meals in advance on the weekends before a super busy week, so we are able to chat and reconnect during those times but I find it takes a whole different type of effort to engage and reconnect with my little ones, especially when there is homework to be done, studying to do, dinner to prepare and hair to be done and nighttime routines to be kept.
I was recently speaking with a married friend and she agreed that this is even hard for her and she expressed how strong she thinks I am for doing it alone. This was definitely an encouragement but also an eye-opener since I’ve always felt that having a partner/spouse to share the load with would be ideal and help make things easier…and while that has some truth in it, it is also still sometimes difficult even with both parents in the home. This allowed me to see how much women are connected, whether single or married, novice or experienced, we all have some of the same struggles and it is in these things that we can connect (and should connect) with other women.
So, here are some ways to aid in reconnecting with our children, but you can also use this as a guide to reconnect with others in your life…
- Be Intentional: Much like any other relationship in our lives, we must be intentional with engaging our children. Intentional is doing something deliberately and on purpose. If we want to truly engage with our children, we must be aggressive and deliberate with the things that we say and do…the way we go about engaging them. Turn off the cell phones, tablets, laptops, television and engage…have a conversation for starters. Find out what your child does and does not like. I don’t care what you do, just do something!
- Be Realistic: You know your child better than anyone else so you know what will draw them in and what will not. Even if you don’t, you are more than capable of finding out. It’s probably not a good idea to plan dress-up and tea party time if you have a 16-year old daughter that has no interest in dressing up or tea. Plan your outings and activities appropriately and be realistic in your planning. Being realistic could just mean making sure that you allot enough time for a particular activity and being open to your child revamping your plans.
- Be Willing to Sacrifice: This means just what it sounds like. Be willing to sacrifice. You probably won’t be able to watch that show at that time but does that show even really matter??? You can always DVR it or watch it on Netflix, Hulu Plus, On-Demand, or even at another time (since most shows come on multiple times before the new episode appears). So, be willing to give up some things, if you want to truly show your child that they matter to you.
- Follow-Through: This is similar to being intentional but also different in a way. Following through just means that you have set a date, time, planned an activity, etc. and now it is time to actually do this thing! Not that difficult right…this depends on you. Don’t cancel your date with your child for anything (if you can help it). Let everyone know that you have plans and ask them not to bother you unless it is an absolute emergency. Make adjustments as needed but be sure to follow-through on your commitment because there is nothing more heart-breaking than being told something, by someone you love, and then it not actually happening. So follow through!
What tools or techniques do you use to reconnect in your relationships? How long have you done things in this way? Add some of your favorite activities or stories from things that worked for you to engage with others. Would love for you to join in the conversation.