Updated: May 24
We are all really busy! It is easy to get caught up in the tasks of the day and not pay attention to the quality of our connections! Here are 3 ways to build connections that fit into your busy life: Each of these only takes 5 to 10 minutes a day.
We all know that it is important to build and maintain quality relationships with our children for so many reasons. Yet when we are busy, people that are going to stick around (our partners and our kids) tend to be last on our to-do list. Cue the mom guilt! The good news is that we can have the connections we want without sacrificing ourselves, our business, or our to-do lists. In this post we will talk about about three ways we can improve connection and trust with our children and reduce mom guilt!
Child-lead play is exactly what is sounds like! Let your child lead the play. Don’t give them any directions. Follow their lead. You can ask them what they want to do, and then start playing! Why is this important? It allows your child to be in control for once. It lets them show you how they want to play. Kids love love love when you give them control and have all eyes on them.
You may be tempted to ask questions or teach, but that can happen in a different moment. Instead, get down to their level and try to just narrate what they are doing or copy what they are doing. If they ask you not to play, then stop playing. If they ask you to do something, then do it. LET THEM BE IN CHARGE!
This can look different at different ages. But you do the same thing.
For little kids this might mean narrating them playing with blocks or toy cars. For example: Oh, the red car is driving past the house… Here comes the blue car; it’s passing the red car… etc. You could play a game with rules that are made up by your child. Or play kitchen where you are let them lead, saying things like “Oh, thank you, this is delicious!” rather than asking them to do things for you.
For older kids this might mean narrating the video game they are playing or sitting outside with them while they are skateboarding and jumping on the board too when they ask if you want to.
Note: If you have more than one kid, make sure you give each child undivided attention rather than doing this with multiple children at once.
2.Reviewing the day
Reviewing the day with your child lets them know that you care about them when you are apart from them. You care about hearing the ins and outs of what they did and how they felt when those things happened. When we review their day, we are giving them an opportunity to let us in, to let us support them and get to know them on a deeper level. When they are talking, we are listening to listen, not listening to respond. Even if you are not interested in the leaf that they found at recess, act like it is the coolest thing in the world and watch their face light up! Let them talk, ask follow up questions to keep them talking! Try and stay away from statements or questions that turn the conversation in a different direction away from their storyline.
If you have a teenager, it might be hard to pull this conversation out of them. One way to make this more effective is by asking open-ended questions rather than close-ended questions. Instead of saying “how was your day? Or did you have a good day? (which have one word answers) You might ask, What was your favorite part about the day so far? or What was your high and low from school today?"
If they start to tell you about a teacher being mean to them, or a friend that you know saying something hurtful, stay away from saying judgmental things like, Well you must have done something to cause that or you know better than to talk to a teacher like that. You will have time later to have conversations like that. Just stay in the moment and let your teen vent to you without any judgment.
3.Involving them in the tasks!
If you do not have time to do the first two, try involving your children in the to-do list! If you are trying to get dinner on the table, have the kids sit at the counter and pretend you are the host of a cooking show! Tell them out loud what you are doing. Get them involved in measuring things or putting things into bowls, turning on the oven… If you have to do the laundry, give them a pile of socks and ask if they can find the matches. If you have to go grocery shopping, invite your kids along and give them each a section of the list that they are in charge of, or let them pick out their own snacks for lunches that week.
Yes, this will mean the to-do item will take a little longer to complete, so there will be some emotion regulation on your part.
Taking care of yourself will help you take care of others and show up for your kids in a way that you can be proud of!
Hi, I’m Kristina Anzell, I am a Clinical Social Worker dedicated to providing compassionate and tailored mental health support for moms at all stages of motherhood. My mission is to empower you to thrive in your role as a mother while nurturing your own well-being. If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my blog here! If you want more information or are seeking treatment, feel free to reach out!