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My son and I recently started visiting colleges. Yes, colleges! How did this happen? Didn’t I just bring him home from the hospital in one of those cozy hospital blankets and little hat?
After getting one child to 18 (still have two to go) I can’t say I got everything right! No one does! But I can tell you I have pretty great relationships with my children! It has been something that has really been important to me since the day I did bring my oldest home from the hospital. I wanted to end our time well!
And although being my children’s parent doesn’t end at 18 or 21 or even 40 for that matter, I will always be their mom but I also knew that the years would go so fast and I that I was on borrowed time to make a real impact in their lives. I knew I had one shot to get this parenting thing right and I really wanted to accomplish that.
I thought today I would share with you some of the ways I connect with my children and how you can too!
1. Pray together, remind your kids you can pray about anything together. If you do this when your kids while they are very young, it becomes a natural way of life. There is nothing better than when your children ask you to pray for them? It is a wonderful feeling to know they know where to go with the concerns of their heart.
2. Have fun-make sure you’re taking time to have fun together. Watch movies, go for walks, have picnics, play board games together and have family nights, these things bring you together and stir great conversation! Don’t just do this with your younger children , you may have to make your older child at first but trust me-they want to spend time with you, they may just need a little push (not literally of course)
3. Read God’s word together-do fun devotions and look for fun ways to study the bible together, and/or memorize scripture with your kids.
4. Conversations– have great talks with your kids (kids understand your talk before they talk themselves) Take special times (bedtime is a great time) just to ask them about their day or to listen to what they want to talk about.
5. Have meals together– not just at the table, but also picnics in the back yard or park. Eat dinner watching a great show or movie together (be careful not to do this one too much but once in a while it’s fun) especially if is something you can learn or talk about as a family.
6. Read aloud-This is not just with your small children, you can connect with your older kids in a big way reading great literature or listening to audio books together. Some of our best memories came from reading Chronicles of Narnia or listening to the Harry Potter Series. Books have a way of bringing out great conversations and situations about real life that can be discussed.
7. Work together-giving kids responsibility is so important and when you work together in the home, it helps you connect to them. You can also get them involved with your business (if you have one) they learn so much. You can find a chore age printable list here!
8. Give them your full attention – Children need to know they are important! I had an uncle who recently past away that my brother was especially close to. You know why? My brother always said it was because Uncle Jim always made him feel important. He engaged him in full conversation from the time he was toddler all the way through law school. He asked him about things he was interested in, gave him full eye contact and always included him in decision making. Don’t treat your children like they are not even in the room. They matter and the more you invest in them the better they will be.
9. Serve others-When you get your children involved with helping others you teach a valuable lesson. Sponsor a child, help serve your church together, have your kids serve widows or the elderly on your street. My kids bless a neighbor by taking her mail to her everyday because it is hard for her to get out. My children have learned so much from this wonderful lady and they have grown to love her so much.
10.Love your spouse, the best ways to show your kids a healthy family life is to model it. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be perfect-none of us are but you connect more as a family when your marriage is healthy. Loving your wife or husband is the best modeling of Christ you can do! Make your children long to be married. We live in a culture that doesn’t value marriage much anymore. Model to them why it should be different!
What are some ways you connect to your kids? I would love to add to the list.
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