Intentional connection helps a family stay close.
There is something so bittersweet about summer break winding down. The longing for routine and structure is stronger than ever. The kids are in the care of another adult for the day. They’re learning and happy to be back with their friends. They need you less.
Yet, while we’re so ready for that first day back to school, the end of summer also brings a quiet sadness. One more summer with your babies is gone. The lazy mornings and movie nights are put on pause. The sounds of summer — kids playing in the yard and running through the house — have shifted to silence.
As our fall activities begin to ramp up, it’s not lost on me that actual moments to connect with our children are few and far between. It’s important for me to find ways to connect with my children and also try to get a lens into their every day. I’m sharing some ways we promote connection in our home.
- Family dinner is a priority. Our motto is that family dinner is the most important “meeting” of the day. We each go around the table and share our “high, low, buffalo.” A high is the highlight of our day, a low is our least favorite part of the day, and a buffalo is something silly or random that happened.
- Monthly date nights with the kids. Each month, my husband and I split up and take one kid out for a special date night. This practice is so important to us to prioritize each child independently. With two children who have opposite personalities, genders, and interests, this carves out special time to bond with them and give them the attention they need.
- Ask specific questions. In an attempt to have my kids not only reflect on their day but also get in the practice of identifying their feelings, I ask them a series of questions such as:
What is something that made you feel happy today?
What is something that made you feel frustrated today?
We cycle through all the feelings: happy, sad, silly, frustrated, nervous, embarrassed, mad, etc. This has been such an effective way to get insight into specifics about their day and interactions with friends and/or teachers.
What are some ways you are intentional about connection with your children?