10 Tips for Busy Moms To Reconnect With Their Kids
Are you tired of spending all school year fighting with your kids? Do you want to feel closer, more connected, and maybe even feel like you’re making a difference in your child’s life? Here are 10 tips for busy moms to reconnect with their kids and enjoy their families once again! Some tips require 15 minutes and some only 15 seconds! Many can even be done in combination to get an even deeper connection in the time you do have. Continue reading or watch the video to learn how to make your valuable time more meaningful.
10 Tips For Busy Moms (and Dads) To Reconnect With Their Kids During The Hectic School Season
Don’t forget to pin it so you can come back to it when you need it again!
Do you struggle to connect with your children more or less during the school year? Why do you think that is? Let me know down in the comments!
1- Start eating more meals around the table together as a family.
- Studies show that regular meals together as a family, not in front of a tv, help children be healthier, happier, and even smarter as they are exposed to adult level vocabulary and current events.
- Meals together help families reconnect by talking about their day, their successes and failures, and their goals and dreams.
- Families that eat together often have a better chance of noticing or preventing depression and social issues.
- Children feel more heard
- Research says mothers also are less stressed and happier than mothers who don’t.
How To Work It In Your Schedule
There are so many benefits to meals together as a family, but this can be one of the hardest methods of reconnection to master. With busy work schedules, after-school activities, religious functions, school meetings, performances, and play-dates, it can seem unattainable. Set small goals and slowly increase the number of meals you eat together. Don’t try to go from never eating together to trying to eat together every day, you’ll just burn yourself out. Find one day a week and schedule it in. It may be easiest to remember if it’s the same day every week, but it doesn’t have to be. Then say no to anything that comes up that would keep you from it. Literally, write it on the calendar and make it a priority.
Word of Warning
It’s important to note though, that the quality of the time together is just as essential to the success of this time together as the actual amount of time. If you are on your phones, yelling, or just scarfing your food down to leave the table, then it’s not going to work. Be careful on casting judgments on what your children, or your spouse, tell you and work on just listening with intent.
2- Make sure to give physical affection
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth”. ~Virginia Satir, Author and family therapist
Research shows hugging for at least 15 seconds at a time can:
- Decrease stress and makes you both happier
- Keep you and your child healthier
- Makes your child feel safe which helps foster independence later
- Helps your child regulate emotion
- Helps your child grow and even some studies have attributed a higher IQ to those who got lots of affection as a child.
- “A Hug A Day Keeps The Doctor Away”
- The Importance of Hugging Your Children
- The Importance of Hugs Everyday
While full-on hugs are essential, it’s not the only way to give physical affection. Sometimes a child doesn’t even want a hug, so maybe you just hold their hand or put a hand on their arm to show you’re there for them. Reading a book to them doesn’t have to be just about reading the book, but a time for snuggles! Finally, one of my favorite ways to get some physical affection in… holding him while he falls asleep. Sure sometimes I feel like it takes forever, but one day he won’t let me and I’ll miss these nights where he wants to snuggle up to me and feel safe enough to fall asleep.
3- Spend more quality time together, preferably one-on-one.
Remember, quality over quantity. Even if you spend all day with your child, but you are multi-tasking and not fully engaged, then it’s not as effective as even 15 minutes of being fully present and responsive. While quality time with all the whole family is great and even essential, children desire to have time alone with their parents as well. They don’t want to share you 100% of the time, they want to build memories as individuals.
- Prevents a child from feeling lonely or unimportant
- Creates valuable memories that will be cherished as they get older, or when you’re gone…
- Builds security within your child
- Develops confidence
- Minimizes sibling rivalry
- Encourages cooperation
- Helps us feel more attuned to our child
- Is a great time to pass on words of wisdom and encouragement
A few ways to spend quality time:
- Cuddle them to sleep, or even lay down next to them and talk to settle them down to sleep.
- Cook together
- Go on a walk together
- Play a game together
- Go play putt-putt
- Get ice cream
- Visit the bookstore together and choose one book each
- Play at the park
- Learn to skate together
- Teach your child to ride a bike
- Look at the night sky and identify constellations
- Spend time before homework just having a conversation- Sign Up for the Indulgent Tribe and get access to a free list of after-school conversation starters
This is one of the more difficult ways to reconnect for me because I’ve forgotten how to play, as many adults have. But it’s so important for a child’s development and can really bring you closer together. Rough play is one of the best types of play for children, though can be hardest for moms typically.
- Promotes a secure attachment to parents
- Helps develop self-regulation of emotions
- Develops social skills
- Cultivates problem-solving skills
- Enhances cognitive and language development
- Prepares children for cooperation and building friendships
- Helps children determine their own physical and emotional limits
- Teaches a child to control their aggression
- Tells a child they are important to you
- Develops the ability to stop when asked
- Teaches a child they are in control over their own body
- They learn to recognize other’s limits
- Develops their imaginations
Some playtime ideas:
- Have a dance party
- Play make believe
- Build a fort
- Sing silly songs
- Play tickle monster
- Wrestle- especially before bedtime!
- Do arts and crafts and get messy! DO NOT SAY YOU AREN’T ANY GOOD AT ART!
- Pretend to be ninjas
- Play cop and robbers
- Sword fight
- Re-enact your favorite scene from a book or movie
- Make and then put on a puppet show
- Recreate some science experiments
5- Verbalize your feelings
I remember when my grandfather died my mom realized that she had only ever heard “I love you.” from him maybe 4x in her whole life. We KNEW he loved us, but he never said the words. And in that moment, we really wanted to remember the words.
- Helps them feel safe and secure
- Saying it even when they’ve made a mistake shows them it’s ok to make mistakes, that your love is not conditional on being perfect.
- Helps develop resilience and confidence
- Helps them feel comfortable saying it (If you’ve grown up in a house that doesn’t say it, you know how uncomfortable the phrase can make you feel)
- Reminds them that they are worthy of love
- Heals wounds of the heart
Many go through life just constantly trying to please their parents because they never hear those words of affirmation and feel they constantly have to be working for their parent’s affection. We need to verbalize our feelings to our children. It’s not easy for everyone, but here are some easy ways to show affection to your child… Remember, that words of affirmation are some people’s love language so some may need it more than others.
- Say “I love you” at least 5x a day and make it the first thing they hear in the morning and last thing they hear at night.
- Ask them about their dreams, their goals, or about their favorite topic… dinosaurs anyone?!
- Tell them what you love about them, but make it something they have control over. Don’t say “I love how smart you are” Instead say something like “I love watching you work through a problem.” or “I love how you show perseverance.” And then, of course, you’re teaching them a new vocabulary word too!
- Write it with lipstick on their mirror.
- Put a little note in their lunchbox
- Spell it out with magnet letters on the fridge.
- Use sign language
- Tell them you like them… It’s as important as “I love you”. they may feel you have to love them, but liking is a choice.
6- Make eye contact
What’s great about this way to reconnect is that you can combine it with a few other methods!
Here are some reasons to be intentional about making eye-contact with your child, especially during conversations.
- Lack of eye contact gives the message that you aren’t really listening, you might be lying, you don’t find the child or the conversation important, or even it can be construed as disrespectful…
- Having eye contact helps everyone focus on the conversation better.
- You make a deeper connection. We know that eyes are the window to the soul, I mean how many cheesy romance movies start with eye contact across the room, it’s that powerful!
- It increases the likelihood of understanding. You can see their body language better and make sure you’re both fully listening.
- Reduces the need for yelling
- Helps the child feel heard and important
When Eye-Contact Isn’t Best
Eye contact shows care and concern. However, there will be some instances where no eye-contact is best. Ever wonder why your best conversations are in the car sometimes? It’s because you can be more open and vulnerable without the intensity of eye-contact. So definitely include eye contact throughout the day, but don’t push for it if the child, or you, is feeling more comfortable not having eye-contact.
It’s not just parents that love to think back on fond memories, but kids do too! In fact, they also love to hear about memories that don’t even include them! They want to hear about your life and learn about what it was like for you as a kid, what your favorite memories were, and of course, any funny story that shows you’re human and make mistakes too!
- Helps your children relate to you more, shows you’re human too
- Reminds the child about happy moments in their life
- Develops a sense of attachment and confidence knowing their parents remember the small stuff about them
- Keeps the family history alive
- Creates a sense of connection through shared experiences
- Encourages language development
- Develops story-telling skills
- Connects a child to their culture
When Can You Find Time:
Because this activity takes more thought, it can be hard to find time to fit it in naturally. However, it can be done around the dinner table, at bedtime, at the park, in the store, in the car, and really anywhere. Here are some specific examples to get your memory machine flowing…
- When cooking a spinach omelet I might reminisce with my son how that was his first solid food and how he played with it and got the spinach everywhere, even his ears (throwing in some humor is always a bonus!).
- While sibling a complains about how much drool baby sibling b makes, you could fondly remember how much they used to drool.
- With your teen, you could reminisce about the play experiences you used to have together as you drive past a park.
- Instead of, or in addition to, reading before bed, pull out the photo album/ book, and go through them together.
- Creating a routine helps a child feel safe because they know what to expect. It’s not that going with the flow or surprises are bad, they definitely have their place, but a routine makes it easier to connect daily. Especially when everyone is so busy all the time.
- Helps you feel more in control over your time, and eases your stress and mental load
- Reduces power struggles because a child knows what to expect.
- Gives you the opportunity to prioritize these moments of reconnection
- Teaches independence and responsibility
- For some children, not having a routine can cause them anxiety
Create a routine on what to do in the morning, what to do when they get home, and around dinner and bedtime. Then input some of these ways to reconnect into the schedule so you make sure they happen. Make it a priority. But again, leave some room to be spontaneous because sometimes the greatest memories happen when you follow a whim. I found this blog post to be easy to institute routine.
9- Offer choices
Kids want to have some independence and they want to feel like their opinion matters.
Parents want to get through their checklist, keep their kids healthy and happy, and relieve some of their mental load from the day.
The best way to accomplish both is to give some choices. It will decrease the daily battles and give your kids some ownership.
Some areas to offer choices could be:
- Dinner choices, easiest would be to meal plan for the week and have them help with grocery shopping (depending on age lol)
- Bath or shower
- Homework at the table or on the floor
- Brush our teeth while dancing or while making funny faces
- Or get really silly for those younger kids, jump to the car or walk backward!
10- Take time to breathe and talk when you get home
This is similar to #3 but is for a specific time of day and this shouldn’t be the only time all week you connect… We all have so much to do in such a short amount of time together. Homework, housework, dinner, bath, bedtime… that seems to be all most families have time for most weeknights. Then add in extra-curriculars and it gets even more complicated!
I suggest that you make reconnecting a priority when you get home. Even if your child still has homework to do, it can wait. Heck, I’ll even be the teacher to say it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t get done (just make sure to inform the teacher of your point of view so they don’t take something like recess away… but that’s a whole other post!)
- Allows everyone to decompress from the stresses of the day
- Shows your child you value them and their experiences/ feelings
- Gives you a heads-up on any social issues that might have happened
- Develops the ability for a child to recount events
- Gives a safe-space for feelings and worries
- Helps you understand your child better
- Is a great time to use eye-contact, physical affection, and expressing your feelings.
- Starts the evening off on a good note, even if your days were bad
- Develops security and trust
Take 10 minutes every day when you get home to reconnect. Have a conversation. It could even be while you fold laundry together or cook together, but if possible, just sit down and snuggle and talk. Literally, just drop everything, sit on the couch or at the table together and just talk.
If you don’t know what questions to ask or what to talk about, I’ll be including a link in the description that will lead you to this blog post and a sign-up form. When you sign up for my newsletter you’ll get access to this After-School Talking Points cheatsheet, as well as any other free resources I’ve created.
Our lives are hectic and there never seems to be enough time in the day for all our chores and errands and well, life. But it’s essential to the growth and well being of you and your children to spend some time each day reconnecting.
Keep in mind that some of these methods will only take you 15 seconds at a time and that 15 minutes of one-on-one time is more valuable than 3 hours of co-existing in the same room.
I hope this post has helped you come up with some ideas on easy to implement ways to reconnect with your child. If it has please let me know your favorite way in the comments and then share this post with your friends so they too can benefit!
Remember to sign up for the newsletter and receive access to not only the After-School Talking Points Cheat-sheet but the growing list of resources I’ve developed for the Indulgent Tribe!
For more tips on developing a deep parent-child relationship, Sidra Zaheer of She Often Blogs has some great ideas here!
Illustration credit: <a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com”>Vecteezy!</a>