Life is busy, and spending quality time with our kids can be a challenging thing! On some days, it takes all we’ve got just to keep the kids clean, clothed and fed! However, it is so important to realize and remember that spending quality time together is what helps us connect to our kids, and grow closer to them. The closer the heart ties are with our children, the greater influence we will have on them.
When we make heart ties we open the door of emotional closeness with our kids, and they are more willing to listen to us and talk with us about difficult or sensitive issues. Developing a closeness which connects us to our kids is something that we must do INTENTIONALLY. Winning the hearts of our children is one of the most important things we can do as parents, so we must purposefully practice some daily habits to connect with our kids.
Here are seven simple things that we have done with our eight kids over the years, to make strong heart ties with them:
1. Have a weekly family night.
This doesn’t have to be something that costs money! Choose some simple activities that the kids enjoy. They are usually happy just to spend time doing something special with you. It can be baking together, playing games, or occasional outings to the park. This tells your kids they are important to you, and you enjoy spending time with them.
2. Make bedtime special.
At bedtime, allow extra time for some chatting, and prayer. Often kids will open up about their day and share their heart with you. After the chatting, pray with them. Praying together brings a unity and closeness unlike anything else can do.
3. Unplug when the kids are around!
Electronics can be such a HUGE distraction! Consider how much time you spend on SCREEN time. You may be surprised to realize just how much of your time is consumed that way, when you could be spending it with your kids. When your kids want to talk, put the electronics down and give them your attention. They will remember that they were important enough to you that you were willing to get off of Facebook, or put your phone down.
4. Play together.
Make time daily to play with your kids. Join them when they are building with their blocks, or playing with play dough. Do something with them that THEY enjoy. Often just getting down and playing beside them for a few minutes fills their love tank, and they are happier and more content for the rest of the day.
5. Connect physically every day.
Hug your kids, tickle them, rub their back, tousle their hair, etc. Kids never get too old for this. Teens need to be hugged, even though they may act resistant to it at times. Always hugs your kids before they leave, when they come home, and at bedtime!
6. Listen to their heart, not just their words.
Often we are distracted and don’t really get what it is our kids are telling us. Often they are trying to express hurt, or fear. Rather than being quick to give an answer, we should listen with the intent to understand and feel what they are feeling. Get excited about what they are excited about, and offer comfort when they are expressing sadness.
7. Spend time outside with them.
Whether it’s going for a walk or bike ride, or just playing kick ball in the back yard, being out in the fresh air helps to clear your mind. It gets you away from the things in the house that distract you, enabling you to really enjoy the time you are spending with the kids.
What are some things you do to keep strong heart ties with your children?