From Kids: What Can Parents Do To Connect? Part 1 of 3
I asked my kids the other day, "What can parents do to connect with kids?" I have three kids, so I got three pretty different answers.
Now, before I get to their answers I want to share one big concept that might not be completely obvious. One technique I use to connect with my family is to simply ask my kids relevant, thought-provoking questions, such as "What can parents do to connect with kids?" In other words, show a sincere interest in them and their opinions.
Why is that important? Well, believe it or not, regardless of age most kids want to feel important and special. Said yet another way, like us adults who want to feel important and are naturally drawn to folks who seek out OUR opinions...we have a home full of little people who want the same. Make sense?
So, as we get into some specific suggestions from kids, don't forget the key ingredient to family connections: showing interest in another person. Asking questions is a great way to do that. So, consider that suggestion #1.
Kid Suggestion #1:
My youngest son who is 13 years old said, "Spend alone time with me...watching a movie, playing a board game,...things like that."
I actually think there are two lessons for all of us here. 1) Sometimes a child just wants us to hang out with them. We don't have to talk or interact, although that is certainly better most of the time. Watching a movie side-by-side is not just for dating or married couples. It's also something parents and kids should do together BECAUSE we like hanging out with each other. I know this is sometimes tough, as any parent who has memorized the script of Bambi or Frozen can attest. However, it's great "low pressure" time to just be in close proximity. It's pretty nice to snuggle too.
I hope you are also getting this point: being in a connected relationship with our kids sometimes means being interested in the thing THEY are interested in. You ask, "such as showing an interest when they want to show you their Pokemon collection?" Exactly! And sometimes when they want to watch a movie with you that you aren't really that excited about.
2) The second lesson here for me is that they DO want to interact with us...and what better way than by playing a board game together. My son also used the phrase "alone time"...meaning he wants to feel special and like the center of my world. This is especially important in families with 2 or more children...all seeking attention.
To reinforce an earlier point, playing a board game together is great. Just make sure and ask the child what game THEY want to play. Then play that game. After you play it for a while, feel free to offer up your own suggestion and play that. Click here for a list of simple games to play together.
Ready for more? Continue on to Part 2 of 3...and if you have your own suggestions, please leave them in the comments. Ask your own kids...and share what they suggest here too!