Unfortunately, between working as many hours as you do, and all the other responsibilities that fill your days and nights, you may feel like you're not really connecting with your kids. While this certainly feels discouraging, "fixing" the problem doesn't have to take up hours of your already-limited free time. Here are some practical tips to connect with kids of all ages in just 15 minutes per day:
Play TogetherReconnect with your kids simply by playing with them. If your kids are fairly young, get down on the floor together and work a puzzle or play a board game. If you have older kids, play their favorite video game together. This is a great way to supervise the content of their video games while also spending time together and giving yourselves a healthy dose of togetherness.
Listen to Music TogetherThis is another great way for moms and dads to connect with kids of all ages. If you have toddlers or preschool children, dance around the living room together to their favorite songs. If you have older children or teens, take some time to find out what music they're into and why they enjoy it. Since we're often drawn to music that speaks to our own emotions and circumstances, sharing music with your kids is a great way to learn more about where they're at and what they're really going through.
Create Your Own Spa at HomeBath time is a regular, built-in opportunity for parents and kids to share some laughter and fun! As your children get older, though, they'll be able to shower on their own and won't need as much supervision in the bathroom. But that doesn't mean this unique opportunity to reconnect will just disappear! If you have tweens or teenagers, take the time to do your nails together or have your own "spa day" at home. This can be a wonderful tool in opening up the doors of communication with your kids.
Cook and Eat TogetherDinner time offers another important way for parents to connect with their kids. Even during the busiest seasons, see if you can't find at least three nights a week to include your children in the effort to make dinner, from start to finish, and eat it together around the kitchen table. During this time, turn off the TV and any other distractions, so that you can really sit down and talk while you eat. You'd be amazed at what a difference this one little habit will make.
BedtimeThe bedtime routine is another great way to regularly connect with your kids. More than just a "bedtime story," your routine can include prayer time (which is a great way to find out what's going on in your child's world), sharing the day's "highs" and "lows," and the opportunity to ask questions or simply cuddle with one another. Keep in mind, too, that the bedtime routine doesn't disappear once your kids are old enough to tuck themselves in. Look for ways to adjust your routine, and yet still connect, as your kids get older.
These strategies are just a few ways to connect with kids in and through the busyness of life. Be creative and look for ways to acknowledge your kids and reconnect with them in some small way each and every day.