Sometimes it's easy to get overwhelmed with parenting. We worry we aren't doing enough for our children, so we give more. Then we worry we are doing too much, so we pull back. Then we stress out. All the while, our little ones are growing up, right before our eyes.
As we spend time asking ourselves "Am I a good parent? Am I raising good children?" Our children just want us. There's nothing complicated about it. A good parent is a parent who takes time to be with their children.
Time is what gives us a chance to connect with our children. And connection is what allows us to teach them and influence them with ease. So if you're worried about being a better parent, worry no more. Just focus on these eight easy ways to connect with your child today:
1. Have a "yes" day
So much of the relationship between a parent and a child is saying no. Even when we don't want to say no, we find ourselves having to say it. "Can I wear my shorts to school" "No, it's 30 degrees outside" "Can I walk in the rain?" "No, we just blow-dried your hair" As a parent, most of the time it's easier to just say no.
So for one day, say yes as much as possible. Try and say yes to things you wouldn't normally agree to. Let your children know you are saying yes to have more fun with them today.
2. Go on a nature walk
The fun part of nature walk is that you get to do something completely different with your child - something you don't get to do every day. Before you go out adventuring, get out a bird book, print off an insect guide and go on a long walk. Try and learn together, explore together and make up stories about the birds you see as you walk. Don't rush, just enjoy your time together.
3. Let them dress you up
For one day, let your child dress you up! Whatever they choose, just go along with it. Let their imagination flow, and get into character once your children have picked your outfit. Then, take it one step further and go out to eat together. Don't give any hint that you look unusual - just enjoy the silliness.
4. Join in while they are playing with friends
This may sound kind of funny, but young kids still think their parents are cool. So the next time they are playing with friends, ask if you can join their tea party. You'll be cherished as the cool parent and will make your child feel important.
5. Go through old pictures
There is nothing that makes someone feel more loved like going through old memories. Children love to hear stories about themselves. Take an hour, sit down and open up their baby book, a picture album or a Facebook album. Go through the pictures one by one and tell your child about that memory. They will feel so special and loved.
6. Give them an alone day
If you have multiple kids, this is a great way to connect with your children. Take some time to go on a date with each of your children, alone - just the two of you. Let that date be a time where your child picks the restaurant and activity. Let them know how important you think one-on-one time is with them.
7. Have a dance party
There is no better way to start laughing with your child than to dance with them. It's a great way to join their world by hearing their music and a great way for them to learn more about yours. If you want to really make this memorable, choreograph a dance together. It may not be pretty, but it's a sure way to make memories.
8. Give them a "you-make-me-proud" moment
For a few weeks, keep track of things you see your child well. Then choose a night before bed and tell them about what they've done to make you proud. After you've gone through the list, finish by saying, "But even if I hadn't seen any of these things, I want you to know. I am proud of you just because you're you"
Parents only have a few short years to cherish their child. Focus on connecting with your little ones each day, test out a few of these ideas and always let them know how much you love them.