Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed with parenting. We worry we aren’t doing enough for our children. Then we worry we are doing too much. So we give more. Then we pull back. Then we stress out. All the while, our little ones are growing before our eyes.
As we spend time asking ourselves – “Am I being a good parent? Am I raising good children?” – our children just want us. There’s nothing complicated about it. A good parent is a parent that takes time to be with their children. Imperfections and all.
Because time is what gives us a chance to connect with our children. And connection is what allows us to teach them and influence them with ease. By feeling close, they continue to care what we think from age 2 to age 72.
So if you’re worried about being a better parent, worry no more. Just focus on these 8 easy ways to connect with your child today:
- Have a “Yes” Day
So much of the relationship between a parent and a child is saying no. Even when we don’t want to say no, we find ourselves having to say it. “Can I wear my shorts to school” “No, it’s 30 degrees outside.” “Can I walk in the rain?” “No, we just blow-dried your hair.” So for one day, have a day where you say yes as much as possible. And try and say yes to things you wouldn’t normally do. Then let them know, “Today I am saying yes because I want to have fun with you.”
- Go on a Nature Walk
The fun in a nature walk is that you get to do something completely different than your everyday life with them. Get some bird books and some insect books. And go on a long walk. Try and learn together. Explore together. Make up stories about the birds as you walk. Don’t rush. Just enjoy.
- Let Them Dress You Up
For one day, let your child dress you up! And whatever it is, go along with it. Don’t be embarrassed, instead roll with it. Get into character and let your imagination flow. Then take it one step further and go out to eat together. Don’t give any hint that you look unusual. Just enjoy it.
- Join in Play with Their Friends
This may sound kind of funny, but kids still think you’re cool when they’re little. So the next time they are playing with friends, ask if you can join in the football game or tea party. It makes you the fun parent. But even more than that, it makes your child feel so significant.
- Go Through Old Pictures of Them
There is nothing that will make someone feel loved like going through old memories with them. Children love to hear stories about themselves. Take an hour and sit down and open up their baby book. Or a picture album. Or a Facebook album. Then go through the pictures one by one and tell them about that memory. Tell them about as many cute stories as you can remember. They will feel so special.
- Give Them an Alone Day
If you have multiple kids, this is a great way to connect with your children. And something that is necessary but hard. Take some time to go on a date with each of your children alone. Let that date be a time where they pick the restaurant and activity. Join in with what they care about. Ask them about them. Let them know how important one-on-one time with them is.
- Have a Dance Party
There is no better way to start laughing with your child than to dance with them. It’s a great way to join their world by hearing their music and a great way for them to learn more about yours. And if you want to really make this really memorable, try and choregraph a dance together! It may not be pretty, but it’s a sure way to make memories.
- Give them a You-Make-Me-Proud-Moment
For a few weeks, keep track of things you see your child is doing well, things that naturally make you proud of them. Then choose a night before bed and tell them, “I want to talk with you about some things you’ve been doing that make me proud.” After you’ve gone through the list, finish by saying, “But even if I hadn’t seen any of these things, I want you to know. I am proud of you just because you’re you.”
I hope these things serve as ideas that can get you feeling closer and connected throughout this week and the weeks to come.