“Monday is ballet, Tuesday is swimming, Wednesday is karate, Thursday is piano and basketball, Friday is choir, Saturday is girl guides, no, wait, the whole weekend is girl guides because there’s that camping thing…”
Parents, I hear you. You feel like you are one pre-planned activity away from running away to a cabin in the woods that (miraculously) has good enough wifi for Netflix but not a strong enough connection to log on for that virtual work meeting.
In the midst of all this, I know that you want to connect with your child. Not just the regular “How was your day?” point of contact but to experience an authentic connection that allows you to better get to know your incredible kid.
Contrary to popular belief, connecting with your kids doesn’t have to be another pre-planned activity. As a teacher who gets ALL the stories from my students (the good, the bad and the ugly!), I can tell you that what they talk about as meaningful interactions with their parents if often spontaneous and simple.
Here are few of examples:
- I love going sliding with mom, especially when we go really fast!
- Going to Menchie’s for frozen yogurt is the best!
- The best part of my weekend was feeding ducks at the park with dad.
- The best part of my summer was going biking with my family.
- My favorite thing to do with my family is skating at the loop!
- I’m so excited for Friday night because it’s family movie night!
- Playing monopoly with my parents is super fun!
- Me and Dad went to Starbucks yesterday. I got a hot chocolate and we played a game of Uno. It’s awesome!
- I like it when Mom lets me help with supper. Cutting up veggies make me feel like a real chef!
- I went snowshoeing with my parents over Christmas break and it was the best!
- Mme, I have something REALLY important to share! Me and my dad made a super cool snow fort!
Despite the fact that we can’t currently hop on a plane and enjoy a family vacation as we may have in pre-COVID times, our kids are ready to step up and make the ordinary extraordinary with us. A moment of connection can take place in that extra second of eye contact with your child before they leave for school. It could be deciding to make those pancakes on Sunday morning because it means that everyone will sit down and eat them together. It doesn’t have to be complicated but it does need to be meaningful. More than anything, your child wants to know that you are listening to them and that you care about what they have to say.
If you DO like pre-planning, try making a family weekend activities list. Ask every member of your family to add 3-4 things that they’d like to do over the next few months. Work your way down through the list and carry over activities that everyone enjoyed to a list for future activities together. Connection is about feeling heard, so by asking your child’s input regarding which activities should get repeated or get axed, they’ll feel that their opinion matters to you.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’d like to wish you all a week full of love, joy and deep connections with your friends and family!
Mme Michelle is an Instructional Resource Teacher in St. John’s, Newfoundland and is passionate about helping students with diverse needs thrive at school and in the real world. She started French For Life in 2012 with the goal of helping French Immersion students get the support they need to become bilingual, despite academic challenges. Interested in learning more about French For Life virtual or in-person tutoring? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org .