School has started up again! For us it means our lazy pajama mornings, hanging out being artsy and baking together have been bumped to weekends only. Where we live, school is mandatory so although a tough decision for me, my boys are off to Kindergarten each morning so they can start getting a taste for the school system. Although school can be a very rewarding experience for preschoolers and school children alike, this time away from mom and/or dad can sometimes lead to a bit of disconnection. Feeling disconnected, children will often start exhibiting so called misbehavior; yelling, aggravating siblings, ignoring and destruction to name a few. Staying connected can not only prevent misbehavior but create more harmony in the home.
Here are 7 ways we stay connected:
Hugs: Little ones love hugs. My three year old loves to get a giant goodbye hug that includes lots of kisses before we leave. We make sure to always have time for it, everyday, no matter what. Maybe your child is a bit older and thinks it’s not so cool to be hugged at school in front of classmates, how about hugging your child before heading out the door? Then, repeat those hugs after school too.
Bridge Items: Sometimes separating can be hard and having a little reminder of mom/dad or home can help a lot. My five year old took a small piece of paper that said “mom loves you” in his pocket on his first day. Later he told me “One time I felt scared of doing something new, I checked my pocket and then I felt much better trying.” A friend told me her daughter kept a small ball in her backpack that was special her first year in school. Just knowing there is that little thing that connects the child back to home can go a long way.
Disconnect to Connect: Ideally, I try to forget emails, cell phones and errands for the first fifteen to twenty minutes when everyone returns home. This is a great time to listen to what your child has to say. Today both boys brought home Robot drawings, they were so excited to talk about them, we spent five minutes in the car just looking at them and I got to hear all about the hair and hats, beards, eyes and of course the remote control.
Eat Together: Whether your child does a half day or a full day program, planning to have something to eat together even if just a small snack after time away is a great way to slow down and reconnect. Some days, I like asking the boys what they wish for as a snack that day and then have it ready for them after school. I think it’s a nice way for them to know I was thinking about them while they were in school.
Read: We love to hop on the sofa, get out some favorite stories and read together, just for fun. Don’t worry about reading skills, really just enjoy a story together and of course if your child wants to read to you, sit back and listen.
Relax: My kids love to play massage train or lay on the grass and watch the clouds together. Sometimes I’m lucky enough that everyone will catch a short nap together. Whatever the activity, slowing down for a few minutes together is so special.
Play: At home or at the playground, taking a bike ride or building some Lego, finding time to play together is a great way to reconnect and help your child feel loved. Yesterday, we folded some paper boats and then headed to the playground to float them in the fountain. This was great fun for all of us.
How do you like to connect with your children after a few hours apart?
Peace & Be Well,
Foto Credit: thank you to my very special friend Crystal, a wonderful mom of two adorable girls who baked and ate the school bus cake to celebrate their first day of school!
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Joy of Eating...Family Style