Do you feel pressured to provide your kids with extravagant experiences? Simplify your life with kids by remembering the ordinary moments.
Like many parents, we want to be out and about with your kids. Weekends include back to back birthday parties. After school hours mean visiting the library or heading to tae kwan do practice. And let’s not forget the vacations, from far away places to the holidays between the school year.
And we do these for many reasons. We want to expose our kids to enriching experiences and new places. We want them to learn new skills and socialize with others. And we enjoy spending time with loved ones, from birthday parties to grand vacations.
And one of the biggest reasons is we want to create a positive childhood experience. No one wants their kids growing up thinking all they did every summer was watch cartoons and eat junk food.
No, we want the kinds of memories our kids will treasure. The traditions they’ll pass on to their kids. The ones we’ll look fondly on as we flip through photo albums (or is it swipe through iPads?).
Trouble is, sometimes creating memories gets overwhelming. Just thinking about the holidays already sends some of us cringing about all the things we have to do. And let’s not forget the expenses or time we may not have. I still wish we could take more vacations than we do. Our last one was a quick trip to San Francisco over a year and a half ago.
When I feel pressured to create this fantastic childhood for my kids, I remember this:
Remembering the ordinary moments
After all, what do I want to get out of these experiences? Is it a collection of photos to brag about on Facebook? Or is it something more meaningful?
Think about a few recent good memories with your kids. If I had to guess, many of them happened in regular, everyday events. It may not have even been the great vacation or your recent extravagant outing. But more than likely, it was the ordinary moments that allow you to connect with your kids.
For one thing, we have more ordinary moments than extravagant ones. You might go on annual vacations or attend weekend parties, but the regular days will always outnumber them.
And second, your kids don’t need much to feel loved and connected with you. We might think kids need us to entertain them every day. But they’re actually fine spending the morning at home playing robots or pretend cooking.
This should be reassuring for any of us who has felt pressured to entertain her kids 24/7. You can bond with your kids even if you do the same things every day.
So, all those times you lounged on the couch, read book after book, or ate together as a family? Those are all opportune moments to connect with your kids. They may even be a better way to connect because you don’t have distractions. You have only one another.
That’s why it’s even more important to be open to these simple activities. Rushing out the door or clouding your mind with worries prevent you from seeing and being with your kids.
Simple ways to connect
Want a few starters? Try one of these activities each day for the next several days:
- Give your child your full attention without any distractions. Make eye contact, and listen when she’s telling you something. Stop what you’re doing and engage with her story or play time.
- Greet her with a hug and smile in the morning. If you’re like me, you’re sleepy and distracted in the mornings with all your to-dos. Put them aside for a few seconds and give your child a big hug. Almost as if you haven’t seen her for a long time (because to her, you haven’t).
- Be fun and silly during bath time. I’ll admit, I use bath time to get other things done or to read a book. And my kids usually don’t complain because they get to play in the bath. But once in a while, use bath time to give your child your full attention without her siblings competing for it.
- Rub her hair. Even a simple rub through her hair as you walk by feels comforting.
- Randomly tell her you love her—and why. You likely have a habit of telling your kids you love them when you drop them off to school or say good night. But tell them you love them just out of the blue, and explain why. They’ll love hearing it, trust me.
- Listen to her stories without judgment. When your child is telling a story or explaining something, show genuine interest. Don’t correct her even if her facts are wrong. Don’t even tell her what you think of her story—urge her to keep going by asking questions.
- Laugh. Make it a point to laugh at least once a day with your child. If you can’t remember whether you laughed or not, find something silly to laugh about.
- Unwind together at the end of the day. Whether you spent the day together or apart, use the end of the day to reconnect. Establish a nighttime ritual that allows your child to unwind and feel safe in your arms.
These are the little, ordinary moments that speak loudly to our kids. Vacations and activities go a long way, but so do the regular events. Having you nearby in everyday moments are simple and long-lasting ways to connect.
Get more parenting tips:
- Why Boredom is Good for Your Child
- The Downsides of Having Too Many Toys
- Parent Child Connection: Why You Need to Be Your Child’s Biggest Influence
- Small Habits to Improve Your Parenting
- Positive Parenting Resolutions You Can Actually Keep
Tell me in the comments: How are you remembering the ordinary moments in your life with kids?
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