By Amanda from Kickyboots
I don’t know about you, but parenthood has been more challenging than I ever thought it would be. Everyone always rants that “it’s the hardest job in the world” but I guess I thought they were being melodramatic. Turns out they weren’t. And nothing has pushed me to the brink of insanity, frustration and tears more powerfully than my (dearly beloved) children.
Our eldest child is what one might call “difficult” and as she neared her third birthday I was about ready to box her up and FedEx her to Antarctica. I was at such a loss as to how to parent her, how to discipline her, how to help her grow up to not be a total jerk. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel and inquire about boarding schools for toddlers, I heard about a book called “Connected Parenting” and I don’t hesitate to say that it has transformed both my daughter and my will to live. Here are the steps we’ve taken to connect with our kids:
1. Read the book “Connected Parenting”.
It is geared towards parents of challenging children but the concepts outlined in it are worthwhile for all families. I have never read a book that so resonated with me and gave me the empowering hope I was so desperately looking for. I first borrowed it from our local library, then bought it for myself shortly thereafter.
2. Turn off the TV and computer.
We had become entangled in a vicious circle that went like this: the kids were acting up and driving us bonkers so we’d feel like we need a break. I would bury my face in the laptop and turn on the TV for the kids so they’d be out of my hair, but then they’d start acting up even more because they were hungry for quality attention and connection. Then I would get even more frustrated and want to run for the hills. My husband and I have become more aware of our time online and have been closing the laptop, turning off the television and truly being present.
3. Look Through Baby Photos Together.
This is one of the ideas in “Connected Parenting” and it really creates a feeling of love and connection. Pull out an old scrapbook or photo album with pictures of your child and sit together, looking through them, remembering things they did as a little baby. Kids just eat this right up and love it!
4. Eat Meals Together.
We totally suck at this but in the past couple months have been making a real effort in this department.
5. Lower Your Expectations and Look For the Little Things.
You don’t need to plan a big, extravagant outing to connect with your kids. Whenever I’ve tried to create a perfect and fun experience, the kids inevitably take a proverbial dump all over my dreamy expectations. Some of the best times we’ve had with our kids have happened when we take a moment out of the everyday routine and focus on playing with them: an impromptu round of hide-and-seek, chasing them around the living room, or doing a ridiculously embarrassing puppet show with our talking hands.
How do you connect with your kids?