Think about your morning routine before the kids go to school. Play it out in your mind for a second. Where is your focus? What are your priorities? The morning hustle and bustle can be so chaotic. Sometimes, shifting your priorities from your kids to your morning routine can be easy. It can happen quickly. Connecting with your kids in the morning can be challenging.
Thankfully, there are a few questions you can ask yourself each morning before the kids go to school to make sure you are present. Did you make eye contact with them? Did you let them know nothing else in the world matters? Sometimes, you drop them off, they shut the car door, and then you realize, wow, that was fast! Then you feel terrible for how fast it went and start counting the minutes until they come home. Honestly, connecting with your kids is hard, especially as a busy parent.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
The Power of Systems: Strengthening your Parent-Child Connection
Parents always have the best intentions. Connecting with your kids is hard when we’re focused on everything that must be done. Honestly, it’s the reason why I systemize every single thing that I can. It’s so I can connect. To begin systemizing, check out Part 1 of our Back to School Series on time blocking, then click over to Part 2 to learn all about to-do lists! As parents, we need that connection factor, especially with our kids. Sometimes, not getting that can lead to guilt. When this happens, you can implement systems and lean on them. They will give you time, and time allows you to connect.
Everyone has a super-busy schedule in today’s modern hectic life. Between juggling work, your house, and commitments, it’s no wonder you are distracted by everything. Most of these distractions are made to be addictive. For example, your smartphone and social media fall into the addictive category. Your phone is constantly beeping, something needs to be answered, or you must scroll social media constantly. These distractions lead to exhaustion, stress, not feeling physically fit, and even feeling like you lack parenting skills. Things are different in today’s world.
There are so many reasons parents experience burnout. You often place self-care on the back burner because you must work and uphold a house. That’s hard and keeps you from making time to talk, hug, love, and connect with your kids. Connecting with your kids after summer is over is even more difficult. School is back in session, and the hustle culture seems to take over. Laundry alone is enough to take any mom down. However, there is a way out of your guilt other than scrolling your phone or pawning off your kids to screens. Here are some ways you can start connecting with your kids in five minutes or less.
Creating Meaningful Connections Before School
Intentionally creating systems in your home allows for connection with your kids in a way you never knew you could. Kids need deep connections every day, even before school begins.
We usually only consider connecting with our kids after school because they’ve been gone for so long. Much research shows that connecting with your kids first thing in the morning and right before they go to bed are two of the most critical times to connect.
Starting the day with positive and meaningful interactions with them will set a super positive tone for their entire day. It’s going to help them feel supported and loved. Honestly, this encourages them to face complex challenges, mean friends, and all the things little kindergarteners or first graders go through. Nurturing connections emotionally prepares them for many things in their day. It also reduces their stress tremendously. Making them feel loved and valued right from the start allows them to approach challenges with a growth mindset.
Creating Meaningful Connections After School
Connecting with your kids after school is just as important. Honestly, bonding with your kids after school may come a bit more naturally to you. After a long day of learning, setting aside time to listen and connect with your kids is crucial. Your kids go through so much emotionally, physically, and socially each day. Kids are so hungry for a safe and supportive environment. However, we may not be able to recognize how eager they are for that environment through their behaviors. But they are. They want to be able to unwind and share their experiences. Kids also want emotional support for the good, the bad, and the indifferent.
They will feel much more valued when you try to connect with them after school. Honestly, you’re sending the message that you value what they did all day long. You weren’t just dropping them off to pick them up to rush them off to do a million different things. You care about their opinions, their self-worth, their confidence.
How to Open the Door for Communication With Your Kids
Opening the door for communication through connecting with your kids will lead to a lifetime of your kids feeling supported. Taking the time to stop being so busy and carving out intentional time will create that deep connection you and your kids need. The quality of the intention behind your relationship is far more critical than the time you spend with them. This list of 15 different ways to spend focused attention on your kids in five minutes or less will make a significant difference.
“Taking the time to stop being so busy and carving out intentional time will create that deep connection you and your kids need.”
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #1: Story Swap
This first tip is so much fun and allows you to make genuine connections. This first tip is called story swap. Basically, you take turns sharing stories about the most exciting part of your day. It could also be a story about your hopes for the day or what you are most excited about. Story swap sparks really fun conversations. Ultimately, it also helps you learn what your kids are looking forward to, what they’re not looking forward to, and even what they actually did at school.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #2: After-School Snack Ritual
Typically, kids eat lunch early in the day at school. Even if they get an afternoon snack at school, they have put out so much energy by the time they get home that they are starving. When your kids get home from school, you should have a snack for them. You can even take the snacks in the car as you pick them up. You know the drill: When they hop in the car, they immediately ask for something to eat. Food makes them sit still for a short amount of time. Luckily, this allows you to be still and sit with them while they eat.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #3: Art Show
Kids have such a jam-packed day at school it’s hard for them to answer the “What did you do today?” question. However, showing you something they created or did that day is easy. Kids are always so eager to share any artwork they do. This may not be the case as much with older kids, but it can even be something they wrote that day or even their graded math homework. Anything they can pull out of their backpack and show you. Set aside a specific time for this when they can have your undivided attention.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #4: Outdoor Exploration
This tip is packed with opportunity! Getting outside with your kids and exploring can bring about many ways to bond. Exploring the outdoors is truly limitless. You can use your backyard, the park, or even just a walk around your neighborhood. Leave your phone in the car, try connecting with your kids, and enjoy nature.
Additionally, a game of tag is always fun, or even something simple as holding their hand while you’re walking. Talk about what you see, or ask them questions you usually ask indoors. Switching up the environment but asking the same questions may have a different outcome.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #5: Making Food Together
As busy moms, we wake up, throw breakfast together in a dash, and then pack lunches before our kids even brush their teeth. But what happens if we include our kids in the food-making? This is a great time to connect. If you are worried about moving slower with the kids helping, swap it up and try packing lunches in the evening or giving them a small task to help with at dinnertime.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #6: Rose and Thorn
This simple tip for connecting with your kids is an all-time favorite of mine. When I typed this list, I realized we last did this a while ago. No worries, I am Inserting it back into our routine now! So, this is called Rose and Thorn. It’s where you sit at the dinner table, and everyone shares their “rose” and “thorn” of the day. Your rose would be the peak of your day, and the thorn would be the pit of your day.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #7: Personality Power-Up
Sometimes, our kids may struggle with things you struggled with at their age, too. Or even something you still struggle with now. This can trigger and bring back waves of emotions of how you felt as a kid in those moments. Indeed, it can be so frustrating to see them struggle. One way to flip the frustration is to gamify it for yourself so that you can grow and be a better mom in that area. Take one thing your child struggles with that they got from you. Make a game out of it, and at the end of the day, see who could challenge that struggle the most. For example, who had excellent listening skills, did something brave, or could focus more.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #8: Music Moment
Music is a great tool to use for connecting with your kids. The ride to school is an excellent time to try this out. Play a specific song or playlist each morning, and create fun dance moves, hand claps, or freestyle. The best part for them will be that you are all doing it together. A music moment is a great way to ensure they are in good spirits when you drop them off at school.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #9: Triple Threat
Okay, so this one is super simple. If there has ever been a way of connecting with your kids in seconds, this is it! The triple threat is a hug. However, you must get down on your knee, make eye contact, and say, I love you. Game over. If that’s all you can give your kids today, should we stop with number nine or keep going? Because that is really like the end all be all.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #10: Conversation Cards
Conversation cards are a great way to spark conversation with your kids that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Conversation cards are those pre-made cards with questions or conversation starters on them. We get ours from Chick-fil-A and some other resources we love. Our favorites are the ones that combine with our faith. Using conversation cards helps you ask questions and connect with your kids meaningfully while infusing your faith into your answers.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #11: Homework Helper
Okay, so this tip is one that typically makes parents cringe. However, helping your kids with their homework is a great way to show them you are there for them. Make sure you are available and present at the table: no phone, no screens, no snacks, no distractions. Thankfully, you can have their homework station already set up. You both can sit down and get straight to work. Being their homework helper will show them you support their learning.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #12: Plant Care
Okay, hear me out. This one is funny, but you will understand if you’re a plant mom. Taking care of the plants before or after school can teach them how to be nurturing. It also gives them a responsibility. It’s an enjoyable, simple task—” Hey, let’s water the plants.” We check on them, and it gives us time to be together.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #13: Let Them Teach
Kids love to show us what they know. This way of connecting with your kids puts them in the limelight. Ask your kids to teach you something. Ask them to teach you how to do math in that way or how to do a cartwheel. It can be anything you know that they can do. Letting them teach is an easy way to show them that you are interested in their work.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #14: Pocket Treasures
This is a unique way to create connections between you and your kids. I like to call these pocket treasures. Ask your kids to pick something up throughout the day. This could be a leaf, a rock, flowers, a pencil eraser, or anything small they can bring home. Strike up a conversation about where they found it, why they like it, and why they picked it up. Additionally, have them keep the treasure in their pocket. Let them know that each time they feel the treasure in their pocket, they can think about Mom and that you are thinking about them, too.
Connecting With Your Kids Tip #15: How are you feeling?
This way of connecting with your kids is straightforward. Asking your kids, “How are you feeling?” is as easy as it gets. This is a great place to start making connections with your kids. Make sure you make eye contact, have intention when you ask, and make time to listen to their answers. Yes, it can be tough to be present in the short little moments and actively listen. However, showing genuine interest in your kids’ lives will help build an abundant life for them.
Unlocking Stronger Relationships: Simple Steps for a Better Tomorrow
These simple things will help you build strong relationships with your kids. Making deep connections with your children cannot be overstated. These bonds form the foundation of trust, love, and understanding within your family. By investing time and effort into connecting with your kids, you’re enriching their lives and yours. So, as we navigate back-to-school challenges and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, remember that these simple steps can lead to profound connections. Until then, keep building those bonds, and I can’t wait to see you back here tomorrow for our final day of the Back to School series.
Follow the Full Back to School Series
Make sure to follow the rest of the Back to School series to set you up for success this year. Here’s what you can expect:
- Navigating Time Blocks – 3 Tips to Set You Up for Success
- 12 Reasons You Need to Automate Your To-Do List Today
- 5 Things to Add to Your Before and After School Routine
- Top 3 Systems to Use as a Pre-K through High School Mom
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I start creating systems to give me more time to connect with my kids?
We have so many resources you can use to start your systems journey. Join us in our free Facebook Community where you can find help and useful tips from Chelsi Jo and other women. If you want to dive deep, I’d suggest joining Systemize Your Life Life for a step-by-step process.