I’m sharing things that you don’t need to prepare for OR have extra time to do. I often come back to these things when I think “There’s no time to be fun!” and I incorporate these little things into my day intentionally.
I put my hand on their head when they come stand at my side. I kiss them randomly, and often. I hold their hand briefly when we talk. We tickle. And hug. I make a point of making physical connection often.
I work on giving my children my full attention for the 10 seconds they ask a question or make a comment. Just 10 seconds. 10 seconds of absolute, I’m-looking-at-you-right-in-the-eye attention. I can try and do that. Yes.
3. On Their Level
I get down on my children’s level as much as I can. When I talk to my son, I crouch down so we are eye to eye. Getting down on his level is something I’ve come to enjoy. I do it so often now, it’s like a habit and I often get down low; the view of the world is different from down there. I like it.
I love words and using them in my parenting. One of my favourites is Quick Stick, Bees Knees, which means “Hurry up.”
It’s nice when the kids start to get humour and I can get away with being sarcastic with them. For example: when my pre-teen is whinging about something really minor, I’ll say, “NO. WAY.” She will laugh and say, “MUM! I’m serious!” Ah yes, a bit of humour goes a long, long way.
My son has a Transformer doll. It says, in that techno voice, “Auto-bots, roll out.” Sometimes, when we get home, I’ll say, “Auto-bots, roll out,” as the children get out of the car. It’s silly, and I usually get a laugh from the kids. I want to connect the things in our lives, and what we do as a family, with the moments we have. Thanks to my husband, Star Wars quotes are often used in conversations at our place too. HA! That’s sad really.
My kids constantly remind me how amazing it is to use imagination. We can pretend the car is a plane on a long trip or imagine the bit of dirt in the middle of the lake is a Pirate’s Island. At one of our favourite parks, right next to a lake, there is an island. We named it Misty Island and we often talk about what could be over there (even when we are not at the park).
7. Use Expression
Thumbs up. High five.
Big grin. Bright Eyes.
Soft smile. Small jump.
A word. A hug.
There are million ways I can encourage, give and love through how I express myself, and it really doesn’t take any extra time.
I make a point of smiling when I greet my children after school. “Hi!! How was your day?” When my teen comes walks in the door home (she catches the bus), I often say, “Is that my eldest girl? She’s home again? Hi!”
I can’t include the children in everything I do (because frankly, it drives me nuts sometimes) but I try when I can. The older 2 girls take turns at pushing the trolley when we shop for food; the younger 2 love helping me with dinner. Those sorts of everyday things can be fun for kids.
10. Share Life
I want to walk beside my kids as we journey through life together. I want to share who I am with them and learn more about who they are. It’s about togetherness. Never underestimate the value of living and loving the best way you can.
If life is not so fun (and our family have been through many of those patches), remember there’s value in these little things when you recognise them, and make them intentional.
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