The Connection Tool is one of the most powerful tools we can use. If we want our kids to know that we are on their team, we must learn to connect with them and connect often. How often we connect with our kids is the one thing we can control in our parenting. Even when we work or have busy lives, we can still find time to make connecting with our kids a priority. Kids are more apt to listen and obey us when we connect with them. Respect becomes mutual when we connect with them. Love and trust get built when we connect with them. More fun, more joy, more laughter, more unity, more teamwork are found when we connect with them. Kids whose parents take time to connect with them on a regular basis feel more significant and well-loved and therefore, behave better, make better choices, and love God, themselves, and others better…now and in the future.
When we connect with our kids, we are saying…
- “I see you as valuable.”
- “You are worth my time.”
- “You are significant to me.”
- “You are loved.”
We cannot let the only time we pay attention to our kids be the times when they misbehave. We cannot let them get our closeness, our words, and our energy only when they have done something wrong. When we intentionally connect with our kids in positive ways, we have moments to notice the good stuff…to call out their positive qualities…to open our eyes to the great kids God has given us. We can pour our closeness, our words, and our energy into those respectful behaviors that we want to see repeated. Connection is the key to a closer, more positive relationship with our kids.
Connecting with our kids takes our time and maybe a little planning, but it’s so worth it. So let’s put down our phones and put more effort into our families!
Here are some tips to apply The Connection Tool in your family:
- schedule time with your kids so that you don’t forget. Maybe even have specific days/times of the week that are your “Special Time.”
- give up unnecessary busyness so that you have more time to connect with your kids.
- get creative with your busy schedules so you make connecting with your kids a priority!
Here are some ideas of ways to connect with your kids:
- Each day (or as much as you can), ask them: “What do you want to do for our time together? (Hint–give it a special name like Take-10 Time, Special Time, Our Time, etc.)?” Then do it for 10 minutes.
- Leave a note that says “You’re awesome because…” in their lunch box, on their pillow, at the breakfast or dinner table, on the bathroom mirror, etc.
- Each month, do something special with them on the day of the month they were born.
- Make a meal for a friend in need together.
- Find a book that has a movie to go with it. Read the book together then watch the movie together.
- Go on a nature walk.
- Hug them every day before they leave the house and when they get home.
- Learn something new—play the guitar, learn a new language, learn how to draw cartoon characters, etc.
- Rub their back at night while you do 4-bedtime questions.
- Give them a high five.
- Tell them what makes them unique and why you love that about them.
I started doing “Take-10 Time” in our home where I take 10 minutes with each child every day (or at least as often as I can). They LOVE it! I simply say: “Hey ___________, will you do Take-10 Time with me?” Then, they get to decide what they want to do for that 10 minutes. I set a timer and just connect with them. Sometimes they choose to play cards, or our own made up game of Crazy Basketball or they just want me to listen to them describe their police costume and equipment for a whole 10 minutes. The point is that I’m connecting with them. I’m getting down on their level doing whatever they want me to do. And it’s been so good for our relationship! I’m getting to know my kids more and they are getting to know me more.
When the timer goes off, our rule is that we don’t fuss. We choose gratitude. We give each other a hug and I say: “I love you and I love spending time with you.” And they say: “I love you too and I can’t wait to do this again.” And we do it again and again and again—day after day after day. Yes, it’s hard some days and some days I just don’t have time to do it. But when do, I see a positive difference in our relationship because of it!
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3
Lord, our kids are a gift from You. Help us to treasure them, appreciate them, delight in them, and spend time with them…even when we’re tired…even when their behavior has left us feeling we would rather run far, far away from them. Change our hearts to want to be near them, connect with them, and really get to know these gifts You have given us.
The Connection Tool is one of many tools in the Teamwork Parenting Approach. Want more? Check them out.