We all know how hard it can be to really enjoy spending time with our kids… and I mean REALLY enjoy it. We all have busy lives, with full-page to-do lists that we have to conquer every day, and when we force ourselves to spend some time with our precious little ones, it can seem like a chore. Every thing we’ve ever done with them has been boring, a challenge or has ended in tears, so why bother, right?
Wrong. Our children desperately need our attention and it’s our duty as a parent to give it to them, to invest in their emotional well-being just as we do their physical well-being. We need to feed them with our love every day and SHOW them (not just tell them) that they are special to us and we find joy in being their mother.
Here are 5 ways that can drastically change the relationship you have with your children.
1. Less screen time.
In our modern culture, we can easily waste hours every day in front of a screen doing nothing productive. According to sixwise.com, the average adult spends 162 minutes per day in front of a computer or engaged on their cellphone… that’s almost 3 hours. Now, if those screen hours are productive and wisely used, that’s not bad, but if most of it is wasted in mind-numbing web surfing or playing games, that’s 3 hours per day (or 19,656 hours before their 18th birthday) that could be spent investing in our children. We only have them for a short time (936 weeks from birth until they’re 18… I know, not a whole lot, is it?!) so take back those wasted hours and enjoy them while they’re still here.
2. Say “yes”.
This is a hard one, especially for those of us who prefer a clean home and clean children most of the time. But saying “yes” to the messy stuff will result in a ton of fun and lots of great memories for you and your kids to look back on. I know, at the moment of decision-making, we automatically want to say no to puddle-jumping, mud-pies, finger-painting and all the other messy things our kids want to do. But just saying “yes” sometimes can drastically improve our enjoyment in our children. And, hey, bathtubs were invented for a reason!
3. Fill your homes (and minds) with lots of quality literature.
You know those kid’s books that get boring after reading them only twice? Those aren’t quality children’s books. When you have some great, living literature on your bookshelf, you will find yourself in tears over a simple children’s story and be wanting to read to your kids every day. Believe me, I cry every time I read The Little House by Virginia Lee Murphy. My son looks at me a little confused, because even though it’s a story meant for kids his age and is very enjoyable and educational for him, there is a deeper meaning there that he doesn’t understand yet, but is being introduced to in a living, engaging way. For more information on what a living book is, click here. (And this can be useful in your personal reading selections as well. When we read living books, our minds are engaged and we learn and experience great things through our reading.)
This applies to everything in life. But in regards to our children, over-complicating anything only creates more stress and less joy in their young lives. (Now, this does not, nor should it, always apply to answering their questions – more often than not, over-simplifying an answer to a question will not fill our child with the information he’s looking for. They are usually able to handle a lot more information than we give them credit for!) Rather, I’m talking about planned activities, clothing and food choices, decorating our homes, high-tech toys and gadgets, etc. In all of these areas, choosing simplicity over complexity is almost always better. They are usually much happier (and healthier) with less stuff, simpler homes and more time. And happier kids = happier mom!
5. Slow down… life is NOT an emergency.
Take a deep breath. So what if things take a bit longer than you want them to. Your kids are growing, learning, taking in the world around them and they are much smaller than we are. When we rush through life, we never really live. We are in the middle of our own wonderful story… why wouldn’t we try to slow down and breathe it all in while we’re still in this stage of our lives. We don’t have to hurry life up – it goes by fast enough on it’s own. So why not try our best to just slow it down?