Relationships are work. All relationships are work. Some require a lot of work, some require a little work and some require one partner to work at a time. Think about all the relationships that you have in your life. I am sure you can think of one that you put a lot of work into; maybe it is your marriage or maybe it is your relationship with your parents. I am sure you can also think of a relationship that requires little work; maybe it is a friendship or maybe it is one with your parents. Regardless of the level of effort in a relationship, I am sure we can agree, the one that requires the most time, effort and information is the one with your children. Many factors go into creating a positive relationship with your kids. I am not an expert but I do have two VERY different children and I would love to share with you what I have learned so far to help you on your parenting journey.
The hardest but easiest one is to sit and listen to your children. If you have small children like I do this can be difficult. Stories are often non-linear and many never have a point or conclusion...or then have many points and conclusions. Kids often don't pick ideal times to tell you stories or can keep the story to the point so that you can stay on time. But if you take the time to focus and listen to them you are showing them that what they think is important too. I often catch myself trying to get the kids to tell me the info faster or to remember what they wanted to tell me and tell me at a better time. But that only shows them that what they have to say is less important than what you are doing...now sometimes it is but more often than not it isn't. If you want to ensure that your kids feel valued and connected to you listen to them...no matter how many dinosaur facts you now know. It will serve you well in the teenage years because you have set up a relationship of trust and value in what they have to say.
In addition to listening to them...be present when they are with you. This one I am working on too. It can be hard when you are making dinner or trying to do a task at home and your kids want to share something with you. I challenge you to stop and listen...it will probably take less time and effort to listen to them than to try and get them to tell you at a later time. Again, when you are present with your kids they feel valued and important. A feel that is so important when they go out into the big scary world. I am also trying to put my phone down more and to just be present with them. I never regret spending quality time with my kids. The people on the internet can wait.
Finally, I encourage you to play with your kids. When they ask you for another game of Candyland...do it. I know that this is not always possible but when I remember how fast they are growing and how much time it takes to actually play Candyland...I choose Candyland. I also love letting their imagination run and going with it. The other day the kids were playing restaurant with us and we ate a chicken spice chocolate souffle. It was such a sweet and creative moment I was so happy happened. When you foster their imagination and creativity you are helping to develop their brain and increase their emotional balance.
We are not perfect but we do try hard and when we really focus on listening to our kids, being present and playing with them we see an increase in our positive relationship with our kids. I encourage you to try one of these out. I know you won't be disappointed with the outcome! If you want to see more into our lives make sure you are following me on Instagram @mountainmamawellness