I’m laying in bed with my six-year-old, his heavy head on my shoulder. He had just finished reading The Avengers book to me.
He looks up at me and his big brown eyes catch mine. “Mommy,” he says, ” I miss you when I’m at school all day. I miss spending time with you and playing together.”
My heart plummets to my stomach. “I miss you too, buddy. We should really find some time together, just the two of us.”
“Yes, Mommy we should.”
We don’t get as much time together as we used to. Between school, friends, boy scouts, and little brother in tow, my oldest and I don’t get much time for just the two of us.
He misses me, and I miss him.
I give goodnight kisses and hugs. I shut his bedroom door and head straight for my calendar.
I look through all the boxes on the page to see where I can carve out time. Saturday…I can do Saturday.
I’ll to take him to the indoor trampoline park, lunch, and cupcakes after.
My husband agreed to take little brother home for a nap and me and my boy will enjoy some time just for us.
I run back to my son’s room. I crawl into bed with him and tell him about our plans for Saturday. He laughs and hugs me and I can hear the excitement in his voice.
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Kids crave attention from the adults they love
Kids are constantly asking parents to play. My boys ask “Mommy Will You Play With Me?” a gazillion times a day. It can get maddening.
Especially when I’m already overwhelmed with things to do.
But kids seek our attention because it’s healthy. Kids learn from us, model everything after us, and we are the center of their little worlds.
Children need attention like a plant needs water or sun. It’s a part of their basic needs.
It’s important to connect with our children in meaningful ways throughout the day, but…
But I’m So Busy!
Moms these days are juggling so much and society pushes such high expectations on us. We’re like little guilt-ridden tornados just trying to keep up and get stuff done.
Even moms who stay at home with their kids all day confide that it’s hard to find quality time with each of their children.
I was super relieved when I read a recent scientific study that proves that quality of time spent with our children trumps the quantity of time.
I took a big exhale when I read that time spent with our kids doesn’t matter near as much as how we spend the time we have.
This made me feel a lot better, but I’d still like to have a few minutes with my kids on a regular basis.
I know one family who has several children and they struggled with finding special time with each one.
They came up with this brilliant idea.
They give each child a day that they get to stay up a few minutes later than their siblings, I’m talking 15-20 minutes here. You’ll still have time to eat your ice cream and binge on Netflix.
During that special time, they do whatever the child wants to do. Sometimes they read books or play board games, but that child gets his parent’s full attention for a few minutes every week.
My friend told me that these few minutes make all the difference in the world for her kids and their behavior.
They listen better, they’re happier, and there are fewer emotional outburst about random things like not being able to open the car door first. Yep…that happened at my house today.
It’s amazing what a bit of connection can do.
Special outings are fun and I do think we need to find the time for them every once in a while.
But, it’s not always about cupcakes and trampoline parks.
It’s The Little Moments
You don’t have to set aside hours and hours for special time, a few minutes will do. It’s the quality of the time you have with your kids that matters.
Basically, in order for a relationship to be healthy, we need to maintain a 5 to 1 ratio. For every negative interaction (eye roll, lashing out in anger, ignoring, etc.) we must have 5 positive interactions (smiles, gentle touches, kind eye contact, etc.) to offset that one negative.
Dr. Gottman makes it very clear that the positive interactions that keep relationships healthy don’t have to be grand gestures.
The most powerful moments of connection are smiles across the room, hugs, and giving you full attention to your son’s never-ending Minecraft story.
It’s the little things that matter the most.
When life gets busy and you feel like you haven’t had time with your kids, remember that small moments of love and appreciation can go a long way.
Yes, planning a special outing is fun and a good way to fill your kid’s tank quickly, but small moments keep that tank full.
To help you with this, I’ve created two handouts for you.
The first is a list of 50 Ways To Love On Your Kids. It gives you lots of small ways to show your kids how much you love them.
The second handout is a contract to give to your child when you schedule your special time with them.
With both of these handouts, you’ll be on your way to building an awesome relationship with your child.
More Good Reads:
- Reset Bad Moods With This Favorite Childhood Pastime
- Science Says Doing This One Thing Will Make You Happier
- How Not to Waste a Kid-Free Hour