Connecting with your Kids
Connecting with your Kids
2020 is over and we are faced with the unknown of 2021. No one knows what it will bring, and most people are leery of what we will experience. In the midst of ambiguity, one thing that is certain, is that our kids need to feel connected to us more than ever. And let’s face it, we all will benefit when we feel more connected to our kids as well.
My friend, Yvonne Strachan is an amazing homeschool mom who has been living the homeschool life successfully for a long time. Every time I talk with Yvonne, I walk away encouraged and inspired. She is a blessing to her family, and everyone who gets to call her “friend.” I am excited to share this blog post from her, it is all about making deeper connections with your kids.
She has a new book, which is perfectly titled “Inspirational Homeschooling.” If you are a Christian homeschooler, I encourage you to pick up a copy today! No matter your beliefs, the following post will help you connect with your kids.
Why? What? How?
I was preparing supper when my little girl entered the room. She realized I was making lasagna and wanted to help. She started asking questions. “What are you doing? Why are you boiling the noodles? Why do you use different types of cheese? Why do you cook the meat on the stove before you layer the lasagna and cook it in the oven? Are we going to eat lasagna for supper?
Questions are something I cherish. It means my child is interested in what I am doing. It means my child wants to learn. And most of all, when my kids are asking me questions, it means that I am spending time with them and connecting with them!
Questions are more than a child’s inquiry about the world surrounding him. Questions are part of a child’s heart-filled endeavor to connect with people he cares about. You see, kids connect to us by asking questions, listening, and showing interest in what we are doing or saying.
No matter how redundant or trivial your child’s question may seem, consider the many benefits that result from this connection with your child. By answering his questions, you are sending the message that you care about him and what he has to say. You are letting him know that he really matters. You are helping him gain self-confidence.
Through connection, you will gain insight into your child’s point of view (which can sometimes lead to laughter). For instance, my younger son shared with me that his older brother likes to watch “doctor memories” (instead of documentaries). He thought that they were called “doctor memories” because doctors study a lot and must have a great memory to keep all that knowledge in their heads!
Where connection happens…
Have you ever attended a retreat where you felt a great level of closeness to people that you had met only days earlier? Have your ever been amazed at how you can feel connected in such a short time? This connection happens when people ask and answer questions through discussion.
What if I’m not good at it?
Questions and conversation don’t come naturally for everyone. Maybe questions and conversation didn’t come naturally to your parents. Depending on your circumstances growing up, you may have had to be quiet at dinner time, at school, or when you had visitors. No matter your history or reasons, rest assured that you can share meaningful time together and build a deeper connection with your own child.
If you want to feel closer to your child (or rising young adult), don’t wait until a planned vacation to connect. Since children interpret time together as love, purposefully dedicate time to spend with your child. When you spend time with your child, unplug from media-based distractions and devote your undivided attention.
Time together doesn’t always have to consist of special plans. Put your phone away as you walk with your child around your neighborhood. Ask questions as you eat lunch. Converse with him as you work together to clean your kitchen. Enjoy the simplicity in letting your child sit on your lap while you talk. Play a game, bake cookies, or let your child “cook and serve” you play food at his pretend restaurant. As you spend more time with your child, opportunities for questions and closer connection will also increase.
During your time together, talk about something you have in common. For example, when one of my daughters was about to turn thirteen, my husband and I asked her if she would like her ears pierced. She was thrilled. As she anticipated the experience, I had an opportunity to share my own story. I told her how excited I was to have my ears pierced when I turned thirteen. I spoke of details such as my family’s planning a trip to visit my aunt and uncle who lived several hours away, how my aunt and my mom took me to a boutique, and that we went out to eat at a special restaurant afterward. After sharing details of my related experience, it felt natural to ask if she was excited to get her ears pierced. I also asked her if she would like to go out to eat afterward. Since she felt this connection with me, she proceeded to ask me more questions about my experience. Later, she would come to me with questions about ear care.
As a homeschool parent, I am grateful for the increased amount of opportunities we have to ask questions to help our children understand what they are learning and cultivate deeper connections with them. Read more about questions that encourage understanding here.
As you spend time together, embrace your children’s questions, knowing that your child will open to conversation, resulting in a closer relationship with you. Through questions, conversation, and time together, you will also help your child develop communication skills that will encourage connection in his future relationships with others.
With over 11 years of experience homeschooling five children, including a child with special needs, while simultaneously taking care of a parent, dealing with a personal chronic illness, working, leading a homeschool group, consulting with homeschool families, and speaking, Yvonne Strachan certainly understands the questions, concerns, challenges, and needs facing homeschool families. Having overcome many challenges in her own homeschooling adventure, she is uniquely qualified to encourage, nurture, and guide the success of others. A deeply steadfast belief in God’s will and word guides her passion and desire to aid others in their own challenging yet rewarding homeschool journeys. Her book, “Inspirational Homeschooling,” is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, and many other bookstores. You can visit her blog at www.inspirationalhomeschooling.com