If you have children, you know that they play an important part in keeping your marriage happy and healthy; unhappy children means unhappy parents, and vice versa. With some insight and encouragement, you can connect with your kids on a deeper level, making your marriage, and overall, your family, happier. Marriage 365 has set out 4 easy ways for you to connect with your kids on a deeper level. They also have a book, 365 Connecting Questions for Families, that expands the concept.
CONNECTING WITH OUR CHILDREN IN THIS AGE OF “TECHNOLOGY” IS GETTING INCREASINGLY MORE CHALLENGING.
It seems that kids of all ages, babies through teenagers, are craving connection with their parents and struggle to communicate that. So, we came up with some ideas to help you connect with your kids on a deeper level:
1. Figure Out Their Love Language
Did you know that kids have love languages, too? Every child has a way that they understand love, and it can be completely different than their siblings. Each of your children needs you to figure out the way they best understand love and to speak love in that way to them. For some, it may be quality time; for others it might be you doing your best to stay engaged as they tell you long stories about their day. For others, it might be surprising them with tickets to a concert or with a new toy they’ve had their eye on.
2. Set Boundaries Around Routine Time Together With Each Parent
Whether you are a one or two parent household, your child wants and needs time alone with each parent in the home. They need to have a separate relationship with each parent completely independent and unique from the other. Between school, work, hobbies, daycare, and schedules, it can be difficult to make this happen weekly; but if you can, it’s really important for each parent to take each child on a date at least once a month that reflects their unique relationship. Try to have each date include something the child loves to do and something the parent loves to do. No matter what age your child is, this formula is sure to initiate connection.
3. Ask Open-Ended Connecting Questions
Children have a difficult time engaging with questions like, “How was your day?”, especially if you’re asking the same kinds of questions day in and out. We encourage you to go for something deeper and more open-ended with your kids; ask the questions that ultimately will build connection. A great tool for this is our book 365 Connecting Questions for Families. Take it with you in the car or sit around the dinner table with it and discuss the question for the day. This kind of intentionality lets your children know you truly desire to KNOW them, and that goes a really long way.
4. Give Your Kids At Least 5 Minutes To “Lead You” Every Day
This sounds interesting, I know, but hear me out. Children of all ages spend every day under our set routine and control, right? Think about it… for the most part we dictate when they sleep, what they eat, when to brush their teeth, when to change their clothes, when to clean, and when to do their homework. And if we aren’t the ones setting up that routine, then their school or their sports team is. There is little room in our children’s lives to practice being “in charge,” and a major way to connect with them is to find small ways in your home life where they can be in charge. It could be that they plan dinner and shop for all the ingredients, and get to have you as their helper in the kitchen. Maybe you could allow them to plan a few hours of the weekend activities, or for younger kids, it could be that you spend 10 minutes on the floor with them letting them lead you in playing blocks or whatever they are into. Letting them lead in certain situations actually helps them trust you, deepen their relationship with you, and above all… it helps them connect.