Quick Ways to Reach Kids When You’re Busy
It would be great if we had all the time in the world to communicate with our children. We know that this time is still small, fleeting. We know that one day we will look back and wish we hadn’t gone down to the floor to play with the trains more, not read them more, or linger on their endless questions. But the fact is that there is still dinner to be prepared, baths to be poured, and work, and business, and washing, and everything else.
When I asked earlier this week which artworks you’d like to see more on Offspring, a Bekahcubed reader came up with a specific request: How can I find time to interact with every child when life is already so busy?
As a parent of many young children (including foster children) … I can’t necessarily spend half an hour alone with each child every day to make sure they know they are special, but what questions can I ask? myself to help me identify those small, less time-consuming things that will go a long way, allowing each child to understand how special he or she is?
So, I went looking for ideas and set myself a limit of five minutes per connection. We may not have half an hour, but we probably have five minutes to connect – and we may even be able to incorporate this connection into existing procedures.
Sing while you brush your teeth
Bekahcubed herself began me with this sweet sentence: while you are brushing your child’s teeth, sing to him.
“I really enjoy singing to each child as I brush their teeth – and which I found to be more beneficial than I could have imagined,” she says. “I sing ‘You are My Sunshine’ except I ask the (oral) children what they want me to sing instead of ‘sunshine’. This gives me the opportunity to better understand what children think and feel. Does my 4-year-old want me to sing You My Baby? She feels a little needy and needs an extra hug. “
Have an appointment
Every night before bed, Laura (a member of our parent Facebook group Offspring ) has a family gathering. “We call him to order, and everyone announces their new business,” says Laura. “My husband and I use this as time to tell our 4-year-old (or each other) what made us happy, what we are grateful for, or what we look forward to. A 4-year-old’s new activity is usually summer exercise. “
There are many variations on this score. You can do ups and downs or roses and thorns during lunch or before bed, when everyone is sharing both the best and the hardest part of their day. But I especially like the formal feeling that Laura’s meeting is “called to order.”
You may not be able to sit down for 45 minutes for a difficult one-on-one game with your children. But that doesn’t always have to be a serious commitment. Descendant member Anderson is looking for moments to join the action.
“I jump in the middle of what the kids are doing for 5 minutes, knowing that I’m short on time,” he says. “Whether it’s playing tag in the park, watching TV or playing games. Sometimes 5 minutes is enough for us to stay in touch. “
Make it fantastic
Group member Clovis says that her husband is Jewish and that she loves Shabbat. Regardless of whether you are religious or not, her advice is a great way to make food more special without too much effort.
“Unusual surroundings, candles, special prayers and blessings, children’s favorite foods for dinner along with juice that we otherwise don’t have at home, in glasses, etc.,” says Clovis. “And we always use that as time to talk about general things that don’t always make it into the daily narrative. How is their friendship progressing? Did they have any disappointment that week? Are there any longer term goals they hope to achieve? Something like that. It really won’t take that long, but it’s a special feeling and a good opportunity for everyone to hear each other a little better. ”
Hide them a note
Who doesn’t like finding a note from a loved one in a lunch bag, suitcase, or backpack? It only takes a minute and it creates a moment of connection between you and your child when you are not even together.
“I put stickers in random places for both my child and my partner – messages of gratitude for what they did, praise for what they worked hard on, random“ I love you, ”says a member of the group Jamie. “They both LOVE finding them, and when I haven’t left them for a long time, I get complaints.”
If your child cannot read yet, you can draw a picture instead.
You might wish you could snuggle up to your kids all morning, but how often do we have all morning? Not too often. How often do we have a few minutes? Eh, from time to time; but when we do that, we can take advantage of it, like Jackie does.
“I have a 5- and 7-year-old child and a double dad,” says Jackie. “We had a full three extra minutes this morning before we had to leave the house to catch the bus. Told Alex to set a three-minute timer and clung to it. “
Create a secret handshake
This is what my husband does to our son (as well as one of our former adopted sons) – creates a special handshake with your child. This is great with an only child, but even better with more than one child, because each handshake will be unique and something that you came up with together. Every few months my husband and son change it and adapt the handshake or come up with something completely new.
Do you have time for all these ideas? Doubtful. But you probably have five minutes to try one of them today. (And if you have any other ideas, leave them in the comments; I love variety.)