As a working mom of three busy boys and a schedule full of appointments for both me and the kids, it can be tough to find time to really connect with my boys every day. With twenty four hours in the day, it seems like there would be tons of time to sit and talk or read or connect, but it’s easy to let the days slip away in between laundry, playdates, and doctor’s appointments. I guarantee those of you with kids feel the same!
But having a great relationship with my kids is a high priority for me, and I’m sure it is for you too, so I’ve teamed up with Baskin-Robbins today to share six things we do to make sure we really connect with our kids every day. Because there’s no better way to connect than over ice cream, right?? 😉
1. Set aside time every day for each child. It doesn’t have to been anything fancy or even lengthy, but a little time to connect every day goes a long way. Although it varies day to day, right before bedtime is when we do most of our connecting. Philip wrestles with the boys, or cuddles them and chats with them to calm them down before sleeping, I read aloud to the older boys, I play with San and nurse him before he goes to sleep, Philip builds one last lego creation with one of the boys before bed…whatever it is, that hour or so before bedtime is our connecting time. And as parents, we alternate who is taking care of whom so we both get good time with each boy.
2. Eat dinner together. I’ve heard a million things about the positive effects of family dinner, and we try to sit down at the table and eat together every single night. Philip is just getting home from work around this time, so it’s a good time for us to all be together and for all of us to share about our day.
3. Family dates. Philip and I aren’t super great about consistent date nights, but we’re really good about family dates. It’s an easy way to get out of cooking dinner for the night, and a great way to get your family out of the house and spending time together. We went out to Baskin-Robbins the other night to try out their new Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich, and it was the perfect family date night together. We all built our own sandwich, choosing our ice cream and cookie flavors, and then “sandwiched” all together while eating our sandwiches 😉 I love ice cream sandwiches, but when they’re warm and gooey, they’re about the best thing in the world. You have to go try them.
4. Family Travel. There’s no better way for me to unplug than to be on vacation. I put my phone in the stroller and then ask for “two hands” — one boy in each — and then we play. We let them stay up later, we spoil them a little, and we give them as much undivided attention as we can. When they have that undivided attention, they open up and talk and share and we connect more than ever.
5. Find things you can do together. There are certain things I like to do as a mom, and other things I really don’t like to do. I like to go to the beach, have a picnic at the park, take them to the library, read aloud to them, travel, and cook in the kitchen with them. So those are the things we do together so it’s fun for all of us. Then I let them do on their own the things I don’t love to do, like play legos, build forts, or play on the playground. You’ll connect so much more if your activity is fun for both of you!
6. Be on their team. I think one of the things children carry with them the most is their parents attitude toward them. I talk about being a team a lot in our home, and always want to make sure my kids know that I’ll stand up for them and support them no matter what!
It’s hard to implement all of these at once, so start with one and work your way up. I recommend starting with family dates…because you guys need a Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich right now!