Mama Drama: Staying Connected to Our Kids
posted by: Lisa Vratny-Smith
Dear Mama Drama:
My children and I are so busy. Between work, school, activities and life, I feel like I am just not connected to them like I was when they were little. How can I find time to stay involved in their lives?
The connection we have with our children when they are little is special and fleeting. Maintaining those bonds while allowing our children room to grow can be a delicate dance, but is an important one to develop.
Begin by taking a look at the activities in which you and your children are participating. It is easy to become overscheduled, especially with multiple children, and feel like the only time you spend together is driving from place to place. Prioritize your family’s activities and determine what is essential and what can be let go. Make sure everyone has down time during the week to recharge themselves and that there are times when everyone is at home.
Mealtime is a great opportunity to spend time together as a family, but busy schedules can make this difficult. Plan to eat meals as an entire family at least two to three times a week. Having regular meals when everyone can be there provides opportunities for sharing about your experiences, problem solving, and planning future family activities. Get the kids involved in planning, cooking, serving, and cleaning up the meals to provide more time together. If dinnertime doesn’t work, be creative to have breakfasts, brunches, or lunches together. And no electronics during meals, that includes TVs and radios turned off.
Have your kids work on their homework in common family areas so you can stay in touch with what they are doing and support them while managing your tasks of getting dinner going, folding laundry, or taking care of other household chores.
Play together. We so often get caught up in the cooking, cleaning, homework, and racing around that we forget to play with our kids. Leave the chores for a while and play catch, a board game, or cards, do a crossword or jigsaw puzzle, or turn on some music and dance together (depending on the age of your child significant eye rolling may occur here, but do it anyway!).
Quality vs. quantity. Connecting with your kids doesn’t have to mean long periods of time together, but does mean being fully present. Stop what you’re doing, make eye contact, and really listen when your children are talking.
What does your family do to stay connected?
Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to Lisa@milehighmamas.com, and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! Lisa is also available for private consultations. All emails and identifying information will remain confidential.