I recently saw a post on Facebook that said something that made so much sense. It was a quote by Lawrence Cohen that stated “A child won’t say I’ve had a bad day, can we talk? They say will you come play with me?” Sometimes we forget that our children have a limited vocabulary to explain the complex things that are going on inside their ever developing brain. I think the problem is that we get so bogged down in the never ending barrage of “I want this”, “I want that”, “where are we going?”, and my daughter’s personal favorite, “why?” It all can certainly be overwhelming…. so overwhelming that we can sometimes become a little blind to it after a while.
As most of you know, Amber and I have been fostering for a few years now and we have to constantly take classes designed around helping kids from hard places. We learn how to meet basic needs in order to re-wire the brain. We have learned that being intentional with our kiddos plays a huge role. Sometimes its so easy to get stuck in the routine that we miss the simple questions, “Will you come play with me”.
In our last blog post we talked about slowing down, and taking time to spend as a family as well as time for you as parents, and all of that is still very important but I think the next step is being intentional. What will we do with that time? I think it starts by taking a moment to listen and asking how we can make the most out of what we have. If we don’t get in the habit of being intentional now, before we know it life can spiral out of control.
Start somewhere and with what you have. If you have a park close by, start by spending time there one day a week, have a picnic this summer, have a play date with a friend from school. Being intentional doesn’t have to cost any money, sometimes it is as easy and rolling a ball on the floor.
Here are some great simple ideas to some intentional time:
- snuggles first thing in the morning
- talking while eating breakfast together
- a 20 minute playtime with their choice of activity
- conversation at the supper table
- play a fun game
- reading a book on the couch
- conversation and a story before bed
- a dance party
- make dinner together
- play a simple game while driving them to school / extra-curricular activities (i.e. I-Spy, Would You Rather, etc.)
- talk about their day while cleaning up the dishes from supper
- go out for hot chocolate or ice cream
- visit the library and read aloud a book or two
- paint your child’s fingernails and toenails
- play at the park
- have a picnic
- take a nature walk
Very little of these take more than a few minutes, or cost any money, the important part is that you are spending dedicated time with your kiddos! Lets commit to being intentional this Summer with our kids. Pick one thing each day and spend a few moments with your family, I think you’ll find that in just a short time it can really make a huge impact!