I love those times when things just work. You are playing together, you have your moment and you truly connect. But for me, those times are rare and I often find myself out of sync with my child and looking for ways to reconnect with the kids.
The days fly by in a haze of feeding, nappies, soccer training, and kindy drop offs, and those precious moments when I truly connect with my kids just don’t often happen in our world. And these out-of-sync days are also when the kids seem least cooperative and tensions run high.
We all feel connected when we listened to and loved. Kids especially need this connection, and when they don’t get it chaos can come! Pam Leo, author of Connective Parenting says, “The level of cooperation parents get from their children is usually equal to the level of connection children feel with their parents.”
“Rather than focusing on ways to discipline children when their feelings of disconnection result in uncooperative or unacceptable behavior, Connection Parenting focuses on ways to maintain and increase the parent-child bond/connection.”
10 minutes a day of full engagement with a child can be all it needs to build that bond and reconnect with the kids. Not just taking them to the park and watching them play, but letting them take the lead, and actually playing with them in their world. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and maybe each child doesn’t get it every day (God knows getting through the day is sometimes hard enough with an army of kids to tend to!), but if there is a child who seems out of sorts, having those 10 minutes together can make all the difference. We CAN find 10 minutes to listen to the latest update in Minecraft, and we CAN find 10 minutes to help tend to an injured teddy bear.
For those 10 minutes our kids will truly thrive on us just being there. And for that, the laundry can wait. When you feel tired, resentful, and the last thing you want to do is stop and play dress ups, bridging that gap is probably the ONE thing you need to do. Taking those 10 minutes, giving yourself permission to take a breath and letting the child take over, is enough to reset and reconnect.
Pam Leo says, “Children need at least one person in their life who thinks the sun rises and sets on them, someone who delights in their existence and love them unconditionally.” Regularly connecting with a child, one-on-one in their world, a child knows that they are loved – as an individual.
Great games and activities to help you reconnect with the kids
- Hide and seek
- Walking outside and seeing what you can find
- Throw or kick a ball
- Have a snack picnic
- Nightly cuddles and a chat
- Playing music or singing together
- Cooking together
- Arts and craft
- Family games
- Sensory play
- Talking about the day
- Family chores