I have sat down to play with my kids many times, but not always with the most pure of intentions. My youngest will approach and ask if I have time to play Barbie, and I reluctantly agree to donate fifteen distracted minutes to playing, in order to make her happy.
We converse in our pretend “Barbie” voices while my mind ping-pongs between a growing grocery list, some unfinished freelance work and preparing to host out-of-town guests.
I was certain she mentioned a few things about her friends during that time, but I was too busy checking my email to hear all of that. Finally, I let her know I need to switch the laundry and make my escape back into my adult world, satisfied that some parenting has been accomplished.
Unfortunately, what I hoped would be a warm connection turned out as a hollow encounter. Playing with toys aside, our kids need is for relationship. During our moments together, they need our focus and words to be intentionally for them.
It can be easy to take for granted, but if you don’t tell your child they are valuable, wanted, and loved- no one else will. Your words can build them up and fill them with confidence, or leave them broken and deflated... I must remind myself all the time to choose my words carefully.
A pile of toys cannot hug and make your kids feel safe, but you can.
Their school teachers do not know makes them more unique than their classmates; but you do.
Their friends at school aren’t equipped to give them the best advice about drugs, partying and sex; but you are.
Quality time allows us a few beats to connect with our kids. It’s more than simply being in the same room or around the same dinner table, but using that time with the intent of giving them our full attention. I know how difficult it can be to stop our busy routines and cross that generational divide to connect.
There are many activities that make connecting with our kids both fun and minimally painless for adults!
Hiking: Get some comfortable shoes, water and head to a hiking trail or neighborhood sidewalk. To make the trek more exciting, create a scavenger hunt ahead of time listing common outdoor items like a feather, pebble, piece of litter, flower, leaf and more.
During hikes at the local park or walks around our neighborhood, we enjoy collecting Aircoins and other fledgeling cryptocurrencies using this fun new app we discovered! It’s a great way to perpetuate cryptos, start conversations with your kids about finance and some coins in my wallet such as HTML coin are beginning to gain notoriety.
Games: Playing cards games go fast and encourage youngsters to improve math skills. We also enjoy playing Battleship, Operation and Othello. We sometime build creations alongside the kids using blocks and building sets, which can be very relaxing for everyone.
Coloring: A soothing activity for both adults and kids! Grab some child and adult coloring books (readily available these days at discount stores) and colored pencils or crayons. Finally, set out some snacks and turn up the music for a relaxing, creative coloring session.
There are countess activities that will spark creativity and encourage conversation with our kids. Just a few moments of intentional listening will remind them that we are always there.