You already know what a mothers love for her child feels like, but do you know how to make sure the child feels it? Post contains affiliate links.
“Can you play wif me?” my 3 year old asked me this morning.
I was about to walk out of his room to get his little brother up, but his question stopped me in my tracks.
My little one was asking me to stop, connect, and be with him. So many times during the day it’s not practical to do so, but this time… it was. As we moved his cars around on his little car rug play mat he was so happy. Smiling and giving me directions and clearly glad I’d taken a few minutes out of normal family life to slow down.
This is not easy.
Even when I slow down to play with the kids things run through my head. My to do list. Things that pop up and need to be written down… and you know what it feels like?
It feels like everything works in an effort to keep me from connecting with my kids on a deeper level.
How To Build Lasting Connections With Your Kids
I read this quote that made me cry and resonated so strongly. According to my husband it’s a bit of a downer, but the point is solid.
Watching one’s small humans age and grow up packs a serious punch. It’s like being stuck in a dream unable to speak, like being a ghost that can see but not touch, like standing on a huge grate while a storm rains oiled diamonds, like collecting feathers in a storm.
Parents in love with their children are all amnesiacs, trying to remember, trying to cherish moments, ghosts trying to hold the world. N. D. Wilson
So, because we love them so, we desperately want to connect with them. Well, the good news is this… they desperately want to connect with us too.
Kids Feel Connected When You Love And Nurture Them
You don’t have to drum this up.
When you hug your child, feed them, clothe them, change them, and tuck them into their beds at night… they feel a sense of care. A feeling that all is right with the world. Mom and dad make sure that I am okay. When I send mom and dad signals – crying, fussing, whining, scared looks, etc. – they come and help me resolve them.
They don’t leave me alone and powerless.
This takes a load off.
We are already doing these things. Our children already feel a sense of connection with us. Let this encourage you when you feel you’re Too Much or Too Busy or Not Good Enough… you already are connecting with them day in and day out by meeting their need for love and acceptance.
Kids Feel Connected When You Accept And Understand Them
This is huge.
A large part of parenting is realizing that most of what makes us nervous in parenting is all about us and not about them.
We don’t want them to wear that shirt to school because they’ll get made fun of and we remember the sting of humiliation. We don’t want them to get too excited about art because we know how hard it is to make a good income and we don’t want them wasting their time on something that won’t pay the bills.
Of course it’s good to help our children pick suitable clothes and suitable life paths… but the point remains: we are often worried about letting our kids take their own paths... we want to make a path for them then push them down it.
Instead, we want to show our children we accept them for who they are. Work on their character traits? Of course! But to try and change their personalities and likes and preferences? No.
How To Accept Children For Who They Are In Action:
- Don’t try and convince your kids they like what they don’t like | Maybe one of your children doesn’t like sports and the others are nuts for them. This child doesn’t need lectures about how they’d love sports if they found the right one. If you want to expose them to various sports, fine, but don’t communicate to your child that they are somehow wrong because they aren’t sporty. If your child says they like or don’t like something… believe them.
- Validate your children’s feelings, even if you don’t understand | If your child is crying or upset, validate what they are feeling… don’t try to “comfort” them with phrases like, “There’s nothing to cry about” or “What’s the big deal?” That communicates that what they’re feeling is somehow wrong, but feelings are neutral. They come and go and can’t be controlled, your child can only control what they do with those feelings.
- Give them freedom to express their preferences | Where the issue is not moral (lying or hurting others, for example) allow your child to have their own opinion. They may think very differently than you in many ways and not share many interests and, if that’s the case, it’s even more important they know you accept them as they are. We’d not want to give our children the impression we don’t approve of them since they aren’t just like us.
Kids who feel like they are okay as they are, feel connected to those around them. Kids who feel like they are somehow wrong, have a whole host of issues.
Kids Feel Accepted When You Purposefully Get On Their Level
A child knows your place in the home. They know you need to cook, clean, organize, run errands, change diapers, and do the tidy up routines. They know this.
That’s why, occasionally, when you get down to their level, they feel so treasured. Safe. Loved.
It doesn’t mean you’ve gotta spend hours playing with them each day and they don’t ever learn to play on their own. It just means that you know when to get down to their level and meet them where they’re at.
How To Get On Your Child’s Level
- Make eye contact with them
- Squat down so you are eye to eye with your little one if you are going to say something important
- Sit down on the floor with your child during some individual time
- When reading a book, use fun voices
- Become more playful in the every day moments, kids love this!
Back to my 3 year old…
After we spent a precious few minutes playing with his cars, I told him I needed to get his baby brother for breakfast. He jumped up and said, “Can I come with you?” with a gleam in his eye.
Even 5 minutes made him feel closer to me…
I didn’t have to schedule it in or spend 20 minutes prepping…
I just got on his level and showed him I cared.