My small people are lucky. And by lucky, I mean they have had both my husband and I around 24-7 since they were itty-bitty. They enjoy the luxury of having parents who work from home. This means they don’t know a life that doesn’t include parents who drop them off at school, listen to them during family dinner conversations, coach their sports teams, read them bed-time stories and show up in the middle of the day for school events.
Creating family bonds has long been a priority for us. Naturally, it is easy to do around the holidays as traditions are a part of what we all love, but we have found it is the everyday moments that bond us together – from peaceful, encouraging conversations to activities the four of us can share.
Make it a ‘Yes Day’ – Since my children were very little, we have made it a habit to have at least one ‘yes day’ a month. Now that they are eight and six, we have been working on this tradition for quite some time. This means, I do everything I can to say ‘yes’ to everything they want (within reason) for the entire day. The good news is, we’ve made healthy habits such a priority, they are far more likely to ask for things that are good for them, than a dinner comprised strictly of candy or a day void of play. Do they want breakfast for dinner? Do they want to play soccer in the back yard? Basketball in the family room? Create a fort inside our house? Skip making their beds for the day? Dance on the beach? Joy is a tangible thing. Trying saying ‘yes’ and you will see what I mean.
Let Your Kids be the Teacher - I’ve confessed in the past that my incredibly athletic family often leaves me in the dust when they head outside to play. I can’t catch and I can’t throw. But I can try. Letting my kids lead – and teach me has created some beautiful moments.
Share Your Highs and Lows – it isn’t always possible to have dinner together every night as a family, but we certainly try our best while working within everyone’s schedules. And when we do, we work our way around the table and share our ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ from that day (and the day before too if we need to!). It is such a great opportunity to keep the conversation going and our kids know they can talk to us.
While they are still young, it is so important to me that we lay the foundation for a strong relationship and let your kids know open communication is important. By creating these bonds early, I hope to encourage them to continue to come to us whenever they need.