Hey Blog Friends! It’s so great to sit with you today for a little bit. I’m enjoying a cup of coffee with Italian Sweet Cream flavored creamer in it. Delish! And since it’s soooo hot here in North Carolina, I dropped a few ice cubes in it! Oh the little things in life that bring us pleasure~
Today, I have the pleasure of talking with author, Jeannie Cunnion. She wrote the book Parenting the Wholehearted Child. Her message is so refreshing in our hurried world of trying to be a perfect parent. As I was preparing for my chat with her, I remembered something I’d written a few years back about connecting with my children. I wrote this four years ago and even though things have changed in my family, I still agree with the list. I wouldn’t change a thing!
One disclaimer~ This Top 10 List of mine didn’t produce perfect children in my household, in fact, far from it! But it has helped me stay on track and remember what’s important. It’s also helped me communicate to my kids that they are always loved no matter what. I think if I could add one more to it, it would be about disagreements. Agree to disagree, speak the truth in love, and forgive and move on.
Dylan (17), Hayden (19), Hayley Grace (13), Blake (21)~ June, 2014
Top Ten Ways to Connect With Your Children
It ranks among one of my top priorities in life. I know my time with them is borrowed. My own mother told me to make the most of the time I have with my children, because it will be gone before I know it. Wow, isn’t that the truth? But what exactly does it mean “to make the most of the time” we have with our kids? I think a lot of it has to do with the ways we choose to connect with them. There are many ways we can find to bond with our children. Here are my Top Ten.
10. Ignore your cell phone when you are with them. Let it ring and let the caller leave a message! Send the message to your child that they are #1 and way more important than anyone who may be calling you.
9. Show up. Be there for their special days, no matter how little or big the event or the child is.
8. Game Time. Playing games is a great way to just hang out, be competitive, insert values when they don’t realize it, and just have fun! There are so many fun family games. Just last night, I observed my 9 year old daughter playing “Go Fish” with my husband. It was the tiniest deck of cards you ever did see, but they were laughing and having the best time.
7. One on one time. Be intentional on having some time just for you and one of your children. For me, this is tough sometimes. I have to make this happen. For example, my daughter and I have a lot of time alone and we do a regular Mommy~Daughter date night, but my sons and I don’t. (We used to, but since they have gotten older, not so much.) I have to create that time so I try to select an activity that will intrigue them…like going to Starbucks, to a sports store just to look around, to a movie then ice cream, or sitting in the garage to listen to the drums. The activity isn’t so important as the time is.
6. Family Devotions. Priceless. If you can get your whole family together for some Family Time Devotions and discussion, do it!!!! It’s a great time to have the opportunity to bring God’s Word to life and learn to apply to real life. My kids learned how to look up Bible verses because of family devotions.
5. Car Time/Bedtime. You have a captive audience in the car, don’t let that time slip by. Talk to them. Pay attention to what they want to listen to on the radio and let them listen to it. Ask them about their day. And at bedtime, tuck them in. Again, you have a captive audience. Sometimes this is when your kids will just unload. For some reason mine seem to let their guards down at bedtime. Pray for them and let them hear you.
4. Family Meals. Whether you are a single mom or the mom of six, try to make time for a meal together. Not only does it encourage conversation, but also table manners. We used to all have breakfast together. Something we like to incorporate into our Dinner time is reporting the High-Lows: Each person reveals their high of the day and their low of the day. Quite telling.
3. Get interested in what they love even if it’s not what you love. Find out the best way for THEM to communicate. This may not be your #1 way. Follow them on Facebook. Look at their iTunes music files. Play their video games. Get to know their friends and love them. Text them.
2. Talk to them about anything! And listen too! From early on, let them know that they can ask anything, talk to you about anything, or approach you with any subject. NOTHING is off limits. Oh I have stories on this one!
1. Be available. Show your children that they matter by being available to them.
And finally, one I can’t leave off.
*Pray for them. Pray a specific verse for them. Let them know you are doing this. It may be a life verse you have claimed for them or just a prayer you have on your heart that day. This is a way you can connect with them EVEN IF THEY DON’T RESPOND TO THE OTHER 10 SUGGESTIONS.
So, now that you’ve read mine, what do you think? What would you add to it that has been good for you? Share with me today in the comment section and you’ll be entered to win Jeannie Cunnion’s book, Parenting the Wholehearted Child! Winner will be randomly selected and notified via email. Can’t wait to hear from you!