Connecting with your child should be the easiest thing in the world – but it isn’t.
Children live in the moment. “Here” and “Now” are all that they understand.
And adults almost never live in the here and now.
There is always the future to worry about.
You are expecting that very important email anytime now
There is an EMI that needs to paid next week
An important project is due by the end of the month
And of course the appraisal needs to be great at the end of the year.
If nothing else – there is the worry about what to make for dinner – or the clothes that need to be put into the washing machine to be laundered.
The clock is constantly ticking. Yes – that is life.
Whether it is the beginning of the day or the end – worries like this – make it difficult for parents to connect with their child.
Planning elaborate activities with children is a noble intention. But in the midst of busy workdays – these are almost impossible to accomplish and can be tremendously stressful if tried.
Connecting with children however is vital – even if it is for a short while. Because allowing disconnect to grow can be dangerous. A disconnected child is prone to bullying and abuse. And disconnected children will certainly not grow into connected teenagers.
How to connect with your child – here are 4 effortless ways to do it -
Smile more. Whenever you make eye contact with your child – make it a point to smile.
Smiling should come naturally to us – especially when we are looking at our children – because we love them so much. But it doesn’t. Because we are preoccupied or worried all the time.
We are taught that we smile when we are happy and so when we see nothing to make us happy – we simply don’t smile.
Not too many people know this – but smiling actually makes you happy.
When you smile at your child and they smile back at you – they convey their happiness with their innocent spontaneous smiles – and that makes you so happy – that it leads you into another smile.
Smile a lot. It is a habit – and it is contagious.
As soon as you walk into the house – drop whatever precious thing you are carrying and give your child a hug
Children wait for hugs. They want to end the period of separation from you – however long or short – with contact. They need actual bodily contact to reassure themselves that you are back – you are really back – and that they are no longer alone.
Often when we walk into the house we are loaded with “things” that keep us from hugging. Or we are in clothes that are too good for messy hugs. Or we are too preoccupied to give in to hugs.
Remember - whatever it is that you are carrying on your mind, body or hands – is never more precious than a hug from your child.
Be generous with hugs. They are a great way to destress and connect.
Sit or lie on the floor – it is a cue for your child to connect
When you are at home – the easiest way to connect is to look relaxed. And the easiest way to look relaxed is – to get down to the level of your child.
Sit or lie on the floor. When was the last time you did that?
Sitting in straight backed chairs or stuffy sofas compels you to keep your distance because of the boundaries of the furniture. When you are on the floor – boundaries are blurred.
Allow your child to sit on your lap or clamber all over you as you lie. There can be no deeper connect.
If housework is stressing you out – drop everything and go with your child for a 10 minute walk
Regular parents have a truckload of housework waiting for them when they get back from work and being in the house and looking at the toys that need to picked up – the laundry that needs to be folded and the dinner that needs to be fixed – can be really stressful.
Housework however can wait – your moment of connection with your child can’t.
Pushing housework back by 10 minutes can do absolutely no harm. Ignore the mess, pay no attention to your child’s shabby clothes – just grab your child and head out for a 10 minute walk.
Those 10 minutes can make a world of a difference to your connection with your child
Surprise yourself and your child
As adults who have children to bring up “perfectly” – we often become boring. Yes – routines are important, homework must be done, every meal must be nutrient packed – but not all the time.
On an odd day – just relax and let go.
Eat a full meal of mangoes. Snuggle into bed as soon as you are back instead of doing housework and homework. Walk in and immediately pull out a board game and start playing instead of interrogating your child about his constructive utilization of time while you were away.
Be spontaneous – it is the easiest way to bond.
Life is beautiful. And it is the connections and bonds that make life so beautiful. Schedule time to bond with your child