Hands up if you’re feeling a bit tired and stretched this week!
Is there’s a cloud hanging over the family and you’re looking for that sunshine to bathe in? That warm light of laughter, smiles and connection to return.
We want to have better relationships with our spouse and our kids but things just happen and we get into a rut or a funk. How do we bridge those places and have better times with our kids?
Here’s a go to list that you can grab something off here and run with it. I know it’s hard when we want to have better times with our kids.
72 Things We Can Do To Have Better Times With Our Kids
- Smile before your see your kids
- Find a joke to tell them at the dinner table.
- Stop look and listen when they’re telling you that story
- Build part of their favourite manipulative- LEGO, Blocks and leave out. They are bound to ask who did it?
- Snuggle and read a book with a flashlight
- Hear their dreams
- Establish a contribution system it’s not a chore to support the family. We are all contributing.
- Let them build a den with the sheets and bring in a snack
- Throw a ball with them
- Share music you remember regularly
- Insist on connection and seeing each child when they come through the door. Those first few minutes are golden.
- Let it go and connect quicker after a disconnection with your son or daughter
- Start a family roundtable to share the good things and air the frustrations
- Tell stories from your childhood that you can start and Grandma can finish with the details.
- Play a game with them
- Just say yes to something that you know is good to do
- Read something inspirational and challenging everyday for you.
- Go for a walk or run with each child separately. Get to know them so when those awkward , difficult talk sessions come we can talk birds and bees, pornography, relationships, bullying etc
- Entertain them less.
- Let them witness you doing a random act of kindness
- Know your limits. Friday night family night may not be good for you as you’re exhausted and they are cranky.
- Build more margin into your schedule so there is TIME to stop, listen and share.
- Coach them on how to get your attention when you’re talking to others
- Ask the kids questions: What would happen if.. (If you didn’t tidy your room)… to share your point of view
- Talk to someone who has already been where you are. They can give you so much perspective.
- What 3 words sum up your family and is it the same 3 words you’d all use?
- Be interested in their words and actions
- Allow new habits, routines, rituals a chance to develop, mellow and remain.
- Wash dishes together. You may have a dishwasher but good conversations develop when we’re doing family altogether.
- Be excited to see them the first times- in the morning, when they come from school,
- Offer to comb their hair and steal a kiss on their forehead when you are done.
- Buy a joke book
- Grow something together.
- Ask questions and pay attention.
- Learn about simple parenting
- Win sometimes. Lose sometimes.
- Rotate their toys, games, art supplies so they are pricked with creativity.
- Let them be the leader- What shall we do this afternoon? Which cake recipe- this one or that one should we try?
- Stare off into space. Daydreaming has it’s place
- Roughousing and tickling are not the same. Most kids love roughousing you just have to find what’s right for your child.
- Introduce board games, puzzles, LEGO and join in at times
- Know when to listen, be close and say nothing
- Focus on the positive of your child and getting more of that.
- If you’re reducing or stopping something that’s a big deal in your house. Have plan b,c,d,e and f and lots of ideas.( and patience. Be gentle with yourself)
- Plan a fun trip
- Set your expectations for the trip to the doctors office, supermarket or family trip to the beach together beforehand.
- Encourage side by side activities as a regular part of your day
- Have a mood lifting playlist of family songs
- Have an answer when they come over and say, “I’m bored!” that’s positive.
- Look forward to better times but love the times you have
- Put family time on the calendar
- Introduce an appreciation board
- Conspire with them to do something thoughtful, simple and kind for your spouse, partner or their siblings
- Get down on the floor and play
- Give younger children words and phrases to help express themselves to older siblings
- Sit and blow bubbles
- Do something you’ve always planned to do but haven’t
- Swap with another family so you can have an evening without the kids ( Good for your relationship and good for the kids)
- Start a reconnection ritual- handshake or dance that gets you hugging, touching and smiling after being separated
- Only read part of the book and set a time to read the rest tonight, tomorrow or this weekend. ( Keep your promise)
- Start a family read aloud. It doesn’t have to be long or a chapter book
- Don’t rise to the whinning and complaining. Find your happy place and go there when it starts.
- Find an activity where everyone is together as a family and can laugh
- Encourage retelling of stories around the dinner table
- Take more pictures of the everyday
- Encourage older siblings to share and teach as they would like to be taught. No Payback isn’t teaching
- Listen to wild adventurous stories while you travel in the car
- Take time to find podcasts and shows that fill your cup with encouragement, inspiration and humour
- Encourage your husband when they play with the kids
- “Let a light touch be the melody of your home”
- Record their voice telling a story, reading their poetry, their first joke or what happened a moment ago ?
- Embrace the simple
Not all of these are quick moments some will be new systems to develop, iron out and try. Some like #54 you can do today. All too often we feel the weight of being a parent with all the shoulds. We should be doing this and should be doing that. Enjoy a better time with your kids today starts with embracing just ONE of these tips today, just one. Enjoy your simple parenting.
Which one will you try?