Connecting With Our Kids When Life Gets Busy

Connecting with our kids

Time.

It seems to fly by faster each year our children get older. A friend once said to me, “Long days, short years” when describing raising children. She was spot on. We have the same 24 hours in a day as we did when our kids came into this world, but why does it feel like so much less?

In talking with other parents about time, there is a common theme:

There isn’t enough of it.

Between the demands of work, logistics of getting children to and from activities, caring for our homes, feeding our family, paying the bills, it can all be a bit overwhelming.

And the REALLY important stuff we want to make time for can get pushed to the side. Important stuff like connecting with our children.

It’s easy to say we’ll do better tomorrow, but tomorrow becomes the next day and the next day and so forth.

Since we can’t magically add minutes to our day, we’ve had to be creative in the ways we connect with our three sons.

Finding only 15 minutes a day can be all it takes to keep everyone centered and happy.

Below are the top 10 ways we connect with our kids:

1. Read.

This has been our favorite activity to do with our kids since they were wee ones. Reading with them on our laps, bedtime reading, somehow fitting into their forts for ‘undercover’ reading or simply sitting in our family room on the couch, this special time of bonding through a shared book is a cherished activity. Even our 11-year old still likes to hear us read a picture book to our youngest.

2. ‘Highs’ and ‘Lows.’

Let’s face it. We have really good intentions of sharing dinner together as a family as often as we can, but with work demands and activities it doesn’t always happen.

Whether it’s all five of us or three of us, we go around the table and share our highs (ups) and lows (downs) of the day. It’s good for the kids to hear that mom and dad have highs and lows, too.

3. Tuck ‘em in.

Yep, we still tuck in our 11, 8 and 6-year olds each night with a prayer and a song. It can be a quick 5-minutes or longer affair but it’s a way to connect at the end of the day. They say a prayer from their heart, and it is during this time we hear what is most on their minds. The darkness of the room lets them open up.

We have sung All My Loving by the Beatles to them as their bedtime song since they were little (a tradition started by my husband’s mother for him). The song is a family tradition we hope our kids pass on to their own children. Whether you pray, sing or do nothing else but say ‘I love you,’ you will be the last thing your child sees before drifting off….and that is a sweet thing.

4. Dance.

We will blast the music (our kids prefer a Johnny Cash station on Pandora) and dance around the house. They love seeing us let loose and get silly.

Disclaimer: If our kids have any dance moves whatsoever, they didn’t get them from me.

5. Create.

I know what I’m good at and crafting isn’t one of them.

Enter the World Wide Web.

There are some really great blogs with quick and easy craft ideas such as Kids Activities Blog and Happiness is Homemade.

Creating in our house is more than crafts though. Our kids love to build with anything and doing this alongside them is a way to connect. Just as long as mom doesn’t break what they are building!

6. Wrestle.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Our boys LOVE it when dad wrestles with them on the floor or tickles them.

I say dad because mom isn’t into wrestling (they’d hurt me)!

Warning: Wrestling with our 11-year old is a lot different than with our 6-year old. You might need to wear football pads and a helmet. Seriously.

7. Volunteer.

One of the most rewarding activities we do together as a family is service.

Teaching our kids to give back is so important at a young age. If we can teach this now, hopefully as they grow it’ll come naturally to serve others.

And the warm fuzzy feeling we get when focusing on others instead of ourselves….well, that’s the icing on the cake.

A few ways we give back:

– Delivering Thanksgiving meals through a local non-profit to those home-bound on Thanksgiving Day
– Making sack lunches for a homeless shelter program
– Ringing bells to raise money for the Salvation Army

These have all become annual traditions.

Volunteering

8. Play.

The kids’ eyes light up when I ask, “Do you want to play a game?” They literally drop whatever they are doing when I ask this.

Setting aside what I’m doing at that moment to be with them makes them feel special. It could be a game as simple as hide-and-seek, a board game, card game or whatever fills their bucket.

9. Go Outdoors.

When you have three boys, going outside is a REALLY GOOD THING! Fewer things to break. Ha!

Going to a park, throwing a ball, sidewalk chalk, going for a stroller or bike ride…

Being in nature and breathing in the fresh air seems to make us all more calm. Plus, exercise is a bonus.

10. Listen.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Simple yet powerful!

We find ourselves busy with other things while our kids are trying to get our attention. By stopping and really listening to what they have to say, we are telling them, ‘I hear you and I love you.’


Connecting with your children in some fashion every day says to them ‘You’re important.’ The demands of life will always be there, but our children won’t. Just as time marches on, our children grow up. Make the time today. They’re worth it.

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